Whilst perusing Delicious earlier today I came across a really interesting post Introverts and Extraverts : Can’t We Just Get Along which in turn led me to another post by the same author The Introverts Strike Back.
I agree with the author’s basic premise that an introvert cannot or at least is very unlikely to become an extravert and vice versa. These are core, even defining, parts of our personality and as such pretty much hard wired. I also share the authors frustration in many people’s belief that being an extravert is somehow better than being an introvert.
I don’t have such a binary view of whether a person is an introvert or extravert; I think people have a tendency towards a type but there are many, many shades of introvert and extravert personality between the two extremes.
Reading the articles it would seem initially that I tend towards introversion, but there are many occasions where actively want to be with others not least my wife and children. One possible difference between the introvert and extravert, based on this article, is that an extravert just needs people whereas I, the alleged introvert, only want to be with a certain and select set of people.
I also found the description of an extravert’s desire to be with people bordering on insensitive rather interesting. You see, I work best with music (I’m listening to Stanley Clarke Live as I type this) as it blocks out distractions and helps me to concentrate. As such, I often listen to my iPhone at work but this seems to act as an extrovert lure; I can go hours without interruption if not listening to it but the moment my earphones go in somebody just has to speak to me – without fail.
A slight aside, but it brings to mind the wonderful Stephen Fry describing the telephone as the rudest invention created. He suggests that calling somebody on the phone is like walking up to their desk and shouting “talk to me now! talk to me now!” until they do. Brilliant.
Where was I? Oh yes introversion… I agree with the author that you cannot change your basic personality type and that “how to become an extravert” type articles are ridiculous, and I’m sure written by bloody extraverts.
It’s funny, typing this post and suggesting that I am perhaps more introverted does seem slightly contradictory – is blogging an extravert or introvert activity? Ahhh the wonders of the human personality…