November 17, 2013

What Is an Extravert?

First of all, before you correct me and tell me that it's spelled extrOvert, let me just say that it was Carl Jung who came up with the term and he spelled it extrAvert.

So, what is an extravert? Many people seem to think that an extravert is a person who is energized by being around other people - and that's totally true for one fourth of the types of extraverts in the world. But the other three fourths are energized by things that may or may not have anything to do with people.

I've met several people who are pretty clearly extraverts, but when we talk about what they are, they call themselves ambiverts or even introverts simply because they don't fit the popular (albiet incomplete) definition of extraverts as people who are energized by lots and lots of other people.

Introverts don't tend to like all being lumped into one category of shy or socially inept because, despite the fact that some introverts are that way, most are not. Likewise, extraverts shouldn't all be lumped into a people-loving group when some extraverts love accomplishment or excitement or possibilities even more.

So here's an extravert chart to help you better understand the extraverts in your life. And if you're an introvert but one of these descriptions seems to capture your personality a bit, that's because every introvert has an extraverted side (and every extravert has an introverted side). Your extraverted side isn't as strong as your introverted side, but given that extraverting means dealing with the outside world, and all of us have to deal with the outside world if we want to live, then most introverts have a fairly well developed extraverted side. This isn't quite as true of extraverts who aren't forced to live in their inner world in the same way introverts are forced to live in the outer world. But extraverts do have an introverted side that is usually subordinate to (that means it works for the betterment of) their extraverted side. So if you're an extravert and you want a better sense of what your introverted side is, check out my previous post on the various types of introverts.