I want to start simple. Lets look at introvert v extrovert personality types. I have done personality tests before, a ton of times. But someone I encountered a wee while back forced me to look inside at myself and ask, what was it that drives me, what makes me tick?
When I first asked myself this, I initially misunderstood what it actually means. My default assumption (whether this is my autism or otherwise, who knows) was an introvert was shy and an extrovert was the opposite. But, when I delved deeper I realised that this was not the case at all.
Introvert personality type
Introverted individuals generally prefer to take time on their own to contemplate or reflect upon ideas before taking decisive action. They are also usually more comfortable after a decision has been made. It is not uncommon for introverted people to experience liking the “idea” of something better than the “real thing.”
Extrovert personality type
Extroverted individuals tend to derive their energy from being actively involved in events and activities with social interaction. They tend to enjoy moving into action and energizing other people around them. Many extroverts have a tendency to enjoy “talking through” their problems/thoughts/feelings with another person, as opposed to processing internally.
(both descriptions taken from the Myers Briggs Personality types website)
Of course this is a short simple description but it highlights the core difference between these personality types. If you did a simple google search that would throw up a plethora of other ‘descriptions’ that confuse the issue. Reserved v outgoing, internalise v verbalise, active v reflective, expressive v measured… and so on.
Where some of these might be true, I would argue that not all of them are, but that the core difference of these two personality types is this.
How I see it in my world
I am definitely an introvert. If you knew me well enough you might question this. I come across as outgoing, chatty, can talk to anyone, but actually, I am that person who needs some quiet alone time when things get too much. I can feel overwhelmed and overcrowded if my day gets too ‘peopley’, silence recharges me, being off grid or out of the way of other people recharge me.
But.. on an side from that, if I am feeling ‘lonely, I don’t necessarily need to go and spend time with a bunch of my friends, Sitting in the park, or a coffee shop with people nearby also works. its the perfect halfway house. I get my inner silence and don’t have to make conversation, while also having things going on around me. I wouldn’t say that ‘recharges me’ as such, though.
When at home, I don’t have the TV or radio on for background noise. I don’t always have to be actively doing something. Introverts will understand this, extroverts will probably struggle with this.
My strengths as an introvert
- honest and direct
- strong willed
- create and enforce order
My weaknesses as an introvert
- insensitive (in so much as I prefer the truth, not flowery language)
- always by the book
- often unreasonably blame myself
Logical, methodical, reliable and hard working are words that I do not mind at all being used to describe me. But, the driving force behind me staying in a healthy happy space is being able to have the silent re-charge. I have come to understand that not only is this ok, it is, quite simply, what I NEED in order to stay afloat.
But, some of my internalised thoughts – well in fact most – are best understood by me if I write them down. This is the autistic brain that I am talking about. And although I do not have a burning desire to talk all my problems aloud. I do find it definitely helps me because often what I am thinking is not actually in line with what is happening. This is because my autism makes social interactions, thoughts and feelings really hard to understand and process.
If you would like to find out more about your personality traits you can take the free online Myers Briggs personality test and it will send you follow up emails so you can learn more.