Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's it mean to be an extrovert?

My Intervarsity staff worker (and good friend) posted the above on her blog a bit ago (and if you have time, her blog is a good one to subscribe to - her thoughts are more formalized than mine and she always succeeds in making me think).

Anyways. To add some of my own thoughts to what she wrote. I always describe myself as an extrovert raised by introverts (I wrote about it back in March 2012). I don't particularly enjoy parties or crowds, but as I've been dating, I've realized more and more how actually extroverted I really am. When we talk, I constantly ask, "OK, what do you wanna talk about next?" or "Tell me what you're thinking?" or "Ask me a question!" or "Tell me a story!". For my introverted boyfriend, that's a little tough. He asked me if it's because I'm uncomfortable with silence - no, I'm not uncomfortable with it, it's just that talking to you, for me, indicates how much I'm enjoying spending time with you.

Also, I find the implications that only introverts read and only introverts can be nerds to be a little disconcerting. I LOVE to read, and I am definitely nerdy. If only introverts read/are nerdy, why are their social groups like the "Nerdfighters"? And this is what frustrates me about the Meyers-Briggs test (or at least the version I've taken). It requires things be a binary value - either you are this or you are not this.

Recently I also took the Strengths Finders test, which was very interesting. My results were Learner, Input, Intellection, Discipline and Responsibility. So I'm a little one-sided in my strengths - but notice how none of the "traditionally extroverted" strengths are in my list? ("traditionally extroverted" strengths are WOO,  Competitiveness, Includer, etc.)

Like any stereotype, there's some truth to the I/E dichotomy. But like any other stereotype, they can also be hurtful and offensive to someone if you're not careful.

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