Extraverts must speak a thought in order to think it.  The introvert must think a thought in order to speak it.  Both ways of being are excellent ways to be, simply different.

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Where Do You Get Energy - by Yourself or with Others?

Originally published in Today's Woman

By Anne Murray


Is your preference for introversion or extraversion? No matter. If you are an extravert, you also introvert. If you are an introvert, you extravert. We will, however, prefer one to the other. Knowing which you prefer can give you an edge in understanding yourself and others and in positioning yourself for success. Which of these descriptions is more like you?

bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)  Receives energy from the outside world
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Prefers action over reflection
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Prefers to communicate by talking
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Has wide network of friends
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Discloses personal information quickly
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   May speak first; think later
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Takes initiative in social situations
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Easily distracted
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Will seek people, noise, and

        action to restore energy
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Easily bored when alone
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Learns by talking
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Seeks affirmation and approval from others
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Aware of what’s going on around us
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   May be unaware of what’s going on inside
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   "What you see is generally what you get"; there are few surprises get"
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)  Receives energy from inner world
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Prefers reflection over action
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Prefers written communication
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Has few intimate friends
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Reluctant to self-disclose
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Will think first, speak later
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes) Prefers to observe others first
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Easily focused
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Will seek quiet, privacy and

        space to restore energy
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Enjoys solitude
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Learns by reflecting privately
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Seeks approval from self
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Not so aware of what’s going on
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   Aware of what’s going on inside
bullet_01.gif (1930 bytes)   "What you see will not be what you; important hidden sides to self

Without the actual Myers-Briggs Type Indicator we can only guess who we prefer to be. If you prefer extraversion you may be described as action-oriented, talkative, socially adept, expressive, open and friendly. Introverts typically are described as contemplative, cautious in communication, quiet, reserved or even distant or hard to get to know. Both ways of being are excellent ways to be, simply different.

What are some of the implications of this difference in communication, work styles, and interpersonal interaction? For starters, extraverts must SPEAK a thought in order to think it. This explains why so many extraverts wander from their workstations to seek people for talk. They are merely trying to think! By talking an idea through with a listener, the extravert can then reflect on what they have just said so they will know what they think. This pattern can be annoying to introverts who listen to such talk intently.

The introvert must THINK a thought in order to speak it. Introverts assume that what an extravert says is what they think; a "done deal". The extravert often has no memory of what they have said, much less any intent of doing it! If an introvert tells you something you can assume that it is definite. It must be definite in the mind of the introvert before there is comfort in speaking it to another.

Introverts detest redundancy. Introverts will tell you something extremely important just once, and even then, in a quiet voice. Listen well; they will not repeat it. Extraverts use repetitious speech as they assume others are not listening any better than they are listening. Introverts find this tendency irritating. They often say, "I got it the first time".

Extraverts tend to communicate with dramatic expressiveness. As they talk they get more animated, effusive and noisy. Extraverts talking together resemble sharks in a feeding frenzy, with all talking at once and no one being offended. The introverts who are watching, however, are offended. More than one introvert has called extraverted communication obnoxious. Introverts do not talk simultaneously and do not tend to overlap the last few words of a sentence. Extraverts engage in overlap and talk simultaneously and loudly. Often, when an extravert has a compelling thought, he/she will interrupt the speaker for fear of forgetting the point to be made. If the speaker is another extravert, it is likely that he/she will continue to speak, undaunted by the interruption. If the speaker is an introvert, it is likely that the speaker will be offended and will remember the person who interrupted as rude, arrogant, or aggressive.

In relationships, extraverts need to hear in words how important they are on a daily basis. With no affirmation, the extravert will question the partner about the relationship. If the partner is an introvert, they may wonder why their partner is wondering about the relationship. The introvert needs to be told once they are loved; after that it stands as a truth, to be doubted only when there is some action or talk to the contrary. Introverts may intentionally or unintentionally use silence as a weapon in their relationships. Extraverts are frustrated by no response from a partner. It may be that the introvert needs time to think about the issue while the extravert is seeking a tentative position on which to base a discussion. The introvert typically will not talk about the issue until he/she has thought about it. Preliminary talk about the issue from the extravert may be helpful for the introvert in the reflecting process.

Interruptions are resented by introverts. They value being focused on their work and are irritated by having to start and stop. Extraverts find total concentration difficult and can be easily distracted. They actually find interruptions to be stimulating

Introverts dislike being thrust into the spotlight before they are prepared. If you are going to call on an introvert to perform in any way, even speaking, give them advance notice so they can reflect on what they want to say or do. They suffer embarrassment at being asked to perform spontaneously. Extraverts will respond spontaneously to almost any request and will not often experience embarrassment, no matter how unprepared they were for the task.

When you are working with an introvert and you need an answer from them, pose the problem to them and ask them to let you know when they are ready to discuss it. They will appreciate the time to reflect and prepare their position. Even a few minutes means the difference in feeling inept or competent for the introvert.

"Small talk" is difficult for the introvert. Many of them feel if the talk is small, why are we talking? Small talk is an art form for the extravert. Receptions and cocktail parties may be a source of dread for the introvert and a source of pleasant anticipation for the extravert. Talk requires much energy from the introvert. Meaningless talk can leave the introvert feeling drained, while the extravert is invigorated by it. Knowing your preference, the degree of your preference and the interaction effects of your preference can open exciting possibilities for you in shaping your self-concept, your work life and your relationships.


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For further information on personality type or The Association for Psychological Type contact the author Anne Murray, qualified type trainer, at 270 / 781-3677 or email.  Anne speaks on many topics around the country.

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