Introverts and extroverts are wired differently. While extroverts require high levels of external stimulation to thrive, introverts prefer to spend more time alone to develop their thoughts. These differences can sometimes cause misunderstandings in the workplace, at school, or even at home.
Dr. Jeff Nalin, a licensed clinical psychologist, explains, “Because the two personality types communicate in different ways, they won’t always understand the other’s traits and temperament.”
For instance, an introvert may consider their extroverted counterpart loud and impulsive. In the same vein, an extrovert may view the introvert as antisocial.
This, however, should not be the case. Dr. Nain ascertains that extroverts and introverts can work together, despite their differences. He says, “Each personality type brings something different to the table. Where one is weak, the other is strong.”
He further encourages that introverts and extroverts focus less on their disparities and instead appreciate each other’s innate skills and personality traits.
Introvert Vs. Extrovert
Modern psychology presents an introvert-extrovert spectrum, with introverts and extroverts being polar opposites. Nonetheless, there are many things each personality type can learn from the other. Here are 7:
(Not sure where you fall on the spectrum? Check out these 14 signs that show you are an introvert.)
1. Introverts, Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
At a function, introverts are more likely to speak to people they already know than try to meet new people. This can sometimes make them miss out on great opportunities and conversations. Extroverts, on the other hand, enjoy networking. They are more likely to say hello to a stranger or go on a blind date. In return, their lives are often colored with exciting new experiences.
So, introverts, try to burst out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Reply to that DM or call that guy who slipped you his number at lunch. You never know, he might be obsessed with your favorite movie too.
2. Extroverts, Step Outside the Limelight
If you are having a conversation with an extrovert, chances are, they will try to dominate it. Extroverts love to speak out. They don’t hesitate to ask questions at office meetings or to give their opinion on why they think lunch tasted like 5-year-old fish. And although this is a powerful trait, it can also prevent them from learning about other people.
Introverts tend to have strong listening skills. They pay attention to details and will probably remember your cat’s birthday. By listening, they get to broaden their world view and learn more about the people around them.
Extroverts, take a step back every once in a while, and listen. You may discover something amazing about the quiet girl who never complains about her old fish lunch.
3. Introverts, Don’t Be Afraid to Lead
According to research, around 70 percent of CEOs describe themselves as introverts. Popular examples include Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Sara Lee’s Brenda Barnes. It can be argued that they are successful because they have honed the skill of moving beyond their introverted nature when necessary. Some of them are so extrovert-like they are at times considered ambiverts.
Introverts, if you are passionate about something, step up. Take charge and volunteer for that team leader position. Maybe your keen eye is what your team needs to reach new heights.
4. Extroverts, Build Strong Relationships
Extroverts love everyone, and everyone loves them. When they arrive at a party, people relax. They know things are about to get fun. That said, extroverts can have so many friends that they forget to create deeper ties. They may have different friends to do different things with, but no one person who knows them in their entirety.
Extroverts, we all need a confidant. Or two. Someone to tell you that that sweater was probably cute in the 90s. Who doesn’t’ want that?
5. Introverts, A Little Small Talk Won’t Kill You
Even as I write this, I feel like small talk should be listed among 1000 ways to die. But, in the spirit of bursting out of my comfort zone, I will advocate for it. Introverts loathe small talk. They also loathe the word loathe. They don’t. That’s just me. See what I’m saying?
Extroverts are smooth talkers. They can glide through a conversation with effortless grace and confidence. However, the moment you ask an introvert what they did this weekend, they develop a cough. Introverts prefer in-depth discussions, which may not always be the way to start a Monday morning.
So guys, let’s learn to engage in some small talk. There.
6. Extroverts, The Opposite of That
Conversations with extroverts are often lighthearted. They also almost always take place in a group. Again, this is great. But, as Dr. Nain puts it, “It can be valuable for extroverts to delve in deeper, seeking out more meaningful conversations that inspire, fulfill, and help form deeper connections.”
7. Introverts, Learn to Ask for Help
This really hits home for me. I’d rather choke on a half-chewed meatball than ask someone to pass me some water. Just kidding, I’m not that far gone.
This year, the best thing that happened to me only happened because I asked for help. So yes, I had to rest for one week after that, but it was worth it.
Try it sometime. Asking for help, not resting for one week. People love you and would rather you don’t choke to death on meat.
To come up with this list, I researched, of course. But I also had a 1-hour conversation with a dear extrovert friend. My original plan was to investigate how society views introversion, but the discussion ended with ‘we can all learn something from each other.’
And because I wholeheartedly believe this, I’ll recommend that you call your friend who’s ‘not like you.’ Look beyond your differences, and just have fun with the conversation. I promise you’ll love it. It’ll hurt your phone bill, but you’ll love it.