How to Understand Extraverts
Most of us have a basic understanding of what the term ‘extroversion’ means. We often identify an extrovert by their friendly and approachable nature, as well as jovial personality. There is, however, much more to gregarious people than what meets the eye. As humans, it is part of our being to analyse those around us, and infer things about them based upon our observations; that said, it is important to know that there are certain aspects of an individual’s personality that exist, but go unnoticed. These characteristics, feelings, or thoughts are internal, and are thus kept hidden away from the surface.
No matter what the personality type, just like the rest of them, there are a few facts and myths about extroverts that one should be aware of. While some of you may relate to these as being one of your own, those of you who have extroverts for family members or peers will gain further insight into their minds, and how they may be feeling at times. Drawing assumptions about people based on their overall conduct has become a part of our existence, but isn’t it always good to know our loved ones above and beyond what is visible to everyone?
Before we move on to learning things about extroverts, let us first understand what the term truly means from a Psychological perspective.
What does ‘Extroversion’ mean?
A term coined by psychologist Carl Jung, extroversion is a personality trait where a person directs their energy outwards by seeking stimulus from either being social and outgoing, taking risk taking activities and generally seeking excitement from the outside environment.
In simple words, an individual with ‘extroversion’ as a personality trait would be one who derives energy from those around them. These people may be their family members, friends, fellow associates, or mere acquaintances.
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Whom do we ideally call an Extrovert?
Extroverts are often perceived as well adjusted and socially intelligent. Some of the commonly known and accepted characteristics of extroverts can be found below:
Thrives in the company of other people
Constantly seeks new experiences
Drawn to crowds
Generally quite animated
Responsive to external stimuli
While most of us tend to praise such personality types, extroverts do face challenges of their own. By understanding the same, it will be easier for us to co-exist with them. Also, if I happen to have extroverts for readers here, please feel free to identify yourselves and indulge in some self-acceptance, and maybe even self-discovery!
Extrovert Facts & Myths
Let us explore some facts about extroverts, and also debunk a few myths surrounding their persona:
Being an exhibitionist
As much as many of us would like to believe, not all extroverts favour or enjoy the idea of showing off. The crux of an extrovert’s personality lies in the fact that they draw their energy from people, which is why some of them may just wish to enjoy their company, and not necessarily come under the spotlight.
Extroverts are always okay
It is a widely assumed fact about extroverts that they always manage to bounce back out of difficult situations, and are instantly okay. Extroverts, however, just like the rest of us have their own set of lows, and may even ponder over displeasing thoughts or sad memories for days together. It is because a lot of them do not bring this on to their surface, that we often draw such conclusions about them.
Misinterpreting their out-going nature
Extroverts, being their jovial and chatty selves, often have people inferring this nature of theirs for being flirtatious. There exists a fine line between being nice and being a flirt, but in the case of extroverts, a person may be unable to distinguish between the two, even if they are just being plain friendly.
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Returns on emotional investments
The fact that extroverts love being around people means that they not only enjoy the company of others, but also are emotionally reliant upon at least some of them, if not all. At times, however, extroverts fail to receive responses that are in accordance with their actions towards others i.e., extroverts make substantial emotional investments in people, and are thus more likely to feel disappointed when the other person does not respond the same way.
Variance in social life
As much as extroverts love the presence of people around them, not all of them tend to have a very active social life. Being around individuals need not imply that a person has a big social circle, or is always out and about. Some extroverts have a set group of persons whose company they cherish, thereby not choosing to socialise with anybody and everybody.
Extroverts are poor listeners
Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, a certified speaking professional states that extroverts are great listeners, because of their willingness to socialise and make people comfortable around them. They are known to be as compassionate as the introverts, and engage in active listening since they enjoy a back-and-fourth conversation with people.
Reading books is discomforting for some
Yes, you read that right! Reading is a very healthy practise; however, some extroverts simply fail to enjoy this activity. You ask why? Because reading would require one to be by themselves - something that does not quite agree with every extrovert. They would rather invest that time in talking to somebody and discussing the same things that a book might carry. It is not reading, but the whole act of being alone during its process that makes some extroverts literally experience discomfort or boredom to say the least.
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All extroverts are blabbermouths
Extroverts love having a lively conversation with people, wherein they also give the other person a chance to participate as speaker. A blabbermouth is someone who does not allow others to speak, and continuously keeps on ranting their own stories. While all blabbermouths might be extroverts, not all extroverts are blabbermouths.
Extroverts are never shy
That is yet another myth! Both introverts and extroverts are shy, and also tend to experience nervousness prior to meeting new people or trying something new. The difference lies in the extent to which they feel anxious. Extroverts may be better at hiding their thoughts and feelings, but that does not mean they do not have difficulty breaking the ice at times.
You’re an introvert if you feel left out
Being an extrovert does not mean one always succeeds in mingling with other individuals. Feeling left out is not an ‘introvert thing’. Even extroverts have their moments wherein, despite being among people, they do not feel like a part of the crowd.
Alone time is an introvert thing
Just like introverts, even extroverts value alone time, and like to have their own company once in a while. Extroversion does not mean that one likes to be around people 24*7; but rather most of the time. The difference lies in the duration and frequency of alone-time that introverts and extroverts invest in. While an introvert would require a few hours to recharge every single day, an extrovert on the other hand may need it once every few days for fewer number of hours.
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As somebody who is very social and expressive, extroverts are prone to over-communicating their thoughts and feelings, which may at times land them in trouble. While on one hand, it is good to over-communicate in certain situations, on the other hand, doing so may give rise to people having negative perceptions about the person doing so.
Extroverts make for good orators
There is a significant difference between hanging out with one’s friends or family group, and speaking in front of an audience. Extroverts are super comfortable spending time with people within their social circle. They may, however, not necessarily make for good speakers, since addressing a crowd of people is a different ball-game altogether, and generally involves you stepping out of your comfort zone for it, which in turn may negatively impact an extrovert’s public speaking abilities.
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Lastly, extrovert or not, it is important that we both acknowledge and understand the feelings of those around us by virtue of us all being human, so as to live a more happier and fulfilling life!