Internet quizzes that promise to tell you if you're an introvert or an extrovert are a dime a dozen. The terms however trace back to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who, in his 1921 book Psychological Types, said that there are two main attitude types: introversion and extroversion.
Explained simply, an extrovert is an outgoing, social, and expressive individual who typically thrives around others. Jung believed that extroverts get their stimulation from the environment, and their personality is extremely outwardly directed.
Given this general disposition, it may seem that extroverts have it easier than their introverted peers. This is true only to an extent.
Also Read: Best ways to help your child study for exams
From Jung's analysis we know that extroverts would be more likely to enjoy social benefits, leading to encountering better social opportunities. They also tend to be more socially active and informed, making it easier for them to adapt seamlessly into most social situations like parties, group sports, small and large gatherings, and more.
This makes it easier for them to make friends and social connections. Extroverts are known for expressing their feelings and thoughts, making relationships easier for them. Naturally curious, they also find holding surface level conversations, the otherwise dreaded small talk, easy.
However, it isn't all smooth sailing for extroverts – this personality type tends to be quick to act, talk, and react. If not tempered by a little mindfulness, this could lead to avoidable situations. Introverts are usually accused of being in their heads too much, meticulously thinking through actions, sometimes even overthinking before doing anything. Extroverts run the risk of operating at the other extreme.
On the other hand though, their ability to make diverse connections easily might mean that their social energy is spread too thin. Each one of us, notwithstanding our personality types, need to be mindful of allocating and prioritising the relationships into which we'd like to pour our energies. A busy social calendar could, but not always, make it harder for extroverts to prioritise ruthlessly.
The biggest drawback of all however, is an extrovert's dependency on people for emotional contentment. The internet turned this into memes, as expected, during the worldwide lockdowns during the early years of the covid-19 pandemic. Introverts found it almost natural to be staying home with minimal social interaction. Extroverts had to go through a serious and steep learning curve, affecting many of them mentally and physically. This is because despite being emotionally sufficient in more ways than one, an extrovert's happiness would more likely depend on having people around them and being stimulated by their external environment.
It is easy to assume that extroverts have it all figured out. Their confidence and ease in social situations as well as with a diverse cross section of people makes it seem that way. However, extroverts and people who love them must be aware that an extrovert can as easily also slip into chronic loneliness and feel the constant need for external validation, both of which stand in the way of healthy mental and emotional self-dependency.
Sheetal Shaparia is a Mumbai-based a lifestyle coach