It might not be surprising to learn that introverts and extroverts can look identical as far as appearances are concerned. However, if one scrutinizes their actions and behaviours, the differences can be shocking indeed.
Melissa Dahl of Science of Us recently uncovered research by psychologist Brian Little (Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being) which revealed that introverts receive more benefits from avoiding caffeine—rather than indulging in it, like their extrovert counterparts. Odd findings such as this support previous arguments that being an introvert is much different than simply “being shy,” as Susan Cain proclaims a 2012 TED Talk “The Power of Introverts.”
But it’s also important to remember that most individuals are made up of some parts introvert and some parts extrovert, as the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung concluded. Furthermore, Jung found that overstimulation was sometimes detrimental to introverts, and this could mean trouble according to Susan Cain: “We hit the 20th century and we entered a new culture that historians call the culture of personality. . . . We had evolved from an agricultural economy to a world of big business, and so suddenly people are moving from small towns to the cities, and instead of working alongside people they’ve known all their lives, now they are having to prove themselves in a crowd of strangers.”
Although extroverts frequently thrive in these new environments, introverts can experience countless negative emotions ranging from intimidation to boredom to exhaustion. Many of these feelings boil down to lack of energy, as Sophia Dembling argues in her book The Introvert’s Way: Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World. However, it is certainly possible for introverts to overcome these emotions and issues, as Jennifer B. Kahnweiler indicates in her book Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference: “At least half of people who speak for a living are introverted in nature.” If introverts can be professional, successful public speakers—or even successful public performers—there really are no excuses for any other healthy and able human beings, in general.
Conversely, introverts seem to inherently thrive when the world around them slows and quiets down: professions like writing, field science, and IT are near perfect fits. Yet, as mentioned, introverts can thrive in virtually any profession by finding their niche and making it as comfortable as possible. This makes even more sense when you consider a 2013 study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, which argues that introverts comprehend experiences in their brains’ “reward” centers entirely differently than extroverts.
Here are all the ways an Introvert is different:
1.They withdraw in crowds.
2.Small talk stresses them out, while deeper conversations make them feel alive.
3.They succeed on stage — just not in the chit-chat afterwards.
4.They get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored.
5.They are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented and solitary careers.
6.When surrounded by people, they locate themselves close to an exit.
7.They think before they speak.
8.They don’t take on the mood of their environment like extraverts do.
9.They physically can’t stand talking on the phone.
10.They literally shut down when it’s time to be alone.
In conclusion, Huffington Post blogger Kate Bartolotta likely summarizes all of this info best: “Think of each of us as having a cup of energy available. For introverts, most social interactions take a little out of that cup instead of filling it the way it does for extroverts. Most of us like it. We’re happy to give, and love to see you. When the cup is empty though, we need some time to refuel.”
Excellent food for thought—for both introverts and extroverts alike.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.
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