Introverts versus Extroverts

Jack is a quiet and reserved guy. He has a few close friends. He hates being the center of attention, and as much as possible, he avoids attracting too much attention. He usually wears clothes with neutral colors. When he's with his friends, he is always the listener. He is more at ease when he's hanging out with just a couple of friends. He doesn't want to be in big groups; it tires him to talk a lot. He's not much of a party-goer, although he goes to parties if he has to. He prefers staying home and curling up with a good book.
Jill is very different from Jack. She is very outgoing. She is the life of parties. She enjoys telling stories that amuse people and she's always the center of attention. She is very friendly and is people-oriented. She talks a lot and doesn't seem to run out of topics. As long as there are people around, she's happy. Being alone drives her crazy. That's why she is rarely at home. She never seems to get tired of socializing. 
One day, Jack and Jill met at a common friend's birthday party. They hit it off. Jill talks, and Jack listens. Jack admires Jill's outgoingness, and Jill loves Jack’s quietness. They started going out and after a few years, the couple got married.
You may ask me who Jack and Jill are, or if I am Jill, or if I know them. I'm not Jill, and I do not know them. I invented them (except for their names, which I obviously got from the nursery rhyme), but I know a lot of people who are like them. They are everywhere: Jack represents the introverts; Jill represents the extroverts.

Who are the introverts?

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Introverts are individuals who are usually described as quiet, reserved, and solitary. Just think of Jack. He is a good example of introvert. Introverts have low energy levels. Their energy is more inward rather than outward. They tend to reflect a lot. Socializing can be tiring, as well as attending different events which require a lot of social interactions. That can be the reason why they prefer to stay at home or spend their time with a few friends.


What introverts are not

Introverts are not necessarily shy. In order to understand this, let me give you a definition of shyness. According to Wikipedia, shyness is "a social psychology term used to describe the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness experienced when a person is in proximity to, approaching, or being approached by other people, especially in new situations or with unfamiliar people." There could be a lot of introverts who are shy, but not all shy people are introverts. Notice that I did not described Jack as shy, because he can approach people without feeling awkward. He doesn't sweat or stutter when approached by strangers. He is not afraid of parties, he just doesn't like it as he finds socializing exhausting.

Who are the extroverts?

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Extroverts are people with high energy levels. Their energy is more outward than inward. They tend to be talkative and outgoing like Jill. They prefer to be with people, and they find socializing with people relaxing. They tend to like being the center of attention.


What extroverts are not

Just like introverts are usually associated with shyness, extroverts are associated with good social skills. Since they are always with people, we may think that they should have good social skills. However, this is not always the case. Not all extroverts possess people skills. People skills are developed through time, and introverts can learn it, too. Think of those outgoing people you know. Not all of them are actually good with people. In contrast, some introverts you know may even be better with people.

Extroversion and Introversion

There is no hard-and-fast rule in determining whether a person is an extrovert or an introvert. Everyone is a mixture of both. These terms were created by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung to help us understand and appreciate people who are different from us. Picture a straight line. At the left side is introversion and at the right is extroversion. We fall somewhere between the line. No individual is a pure introvert or extrovert (although there are extremes). Some people may be hard to identify, probably because they are somewhere in the middle of the line.

Final Words

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of yourself and those around you. Each of us is unique and special. Don't be upset if you're a little different from others and don't regard others as weird if they're different. Just remember, we need both types of people. Imagine our world filled only with extroverts, we'll all want to talk and be the center of attention. We'll definitely explode. In contrast, if everyone is an introvert, our world will indeed be a lot lonelier without our extrovert friends. Just remember about Jack and Jill. Both of them are different, but they end up being married, because by being different, they complete each other.
© Rainy Kua 2014. All Rights Reserved.