Whether you are an extrovert, ambivert or introvert, what advantages do you have from your extroversion/ambiversion/introversion in the society?
I am quite decidedly an introvert and find it to have a lot of advantages. My Mum, who is generally more of an extrovert-leaning ambivert but has her more introvert periods, always kept telling me as a kid that introverts are very useful and needed in the society, even if to some people it might seem like it’s better to be an extrovert. She always claimed that introverts are better at listening than extroverts are, and so if the world consisted only of extroverts, they’d keep talking about themselves but no one would listen to one another. I am pretty sure that listening skills or lack thereof aren’t strictly corelated with introversion/extroversion, because there certainly are extroverts who can also be great listeners, they simply tend to do it in a different way, just as I know introverts who are extremely self-absorbed and the mere fact that a lot of introverts don’t like talking about themselves doesn’t mean they’re automatically good active listeners, but I do think it might be true that introversion helps with listening more than extroversion does. I guess it does help me, anyway. I like listening to people and often find it interesting even if also usually a bit challenging at the same time because I feel I don’t always know how I should/how they want me to react to whatever they’re saying and I always fear that I don’t react appropriately or adequately to whatever is expected. I do have to have the brain energy for it though. I also think my introversion makes me a good observer, or in any case, better than I would have been otherwise, because often when I’m in a large/medium group of people I’ll often be the sort of person who is on the outside, looking in, so I often don’t engage very actively in the conversations, but will much more happily analyse the situation, people’s behaviours, what they’re saying, people’s interactions and relationships with one another, what they seem to be like etc. as I find it far more interesting and far less stressful, because I find people in general quite fascinating in their diversity and complexity, yet actual interacting with them is very exhausting. A lot of people think that you miss out on a lot with this sort of attitude, and that I in fact must be longing to be more in the centre of things, as is apparently the case with a lot of people who act similarly, but I seriously do not and I don’t do it solely out of anxiety. Perhaps I do indeed miss out on some good things that could have come out of it if I was interacting with people more actively and openly, but it gets compensated by all sorts of little things that I pick up on and that other people don’t because they’re too engrossed in engaging in peopling more actively, so I like to think that my perspective is in the end more multidimensional. I think being good at observing and analysing things does come in handy and useful and is therefore valued as an advantage in the society. Similarly, we introverts tend to be more in tune with all sorts of lil gut feelings and things, which can also be very useful for us and for others around us.
For some of us, we’ve been in a better position during the pandemic, as we naturally tend to deal better with isolation and aloneness than more extroverted folks, and I’ve come to realise that this is a really huge advantage in prolonged situations like this, and I really feel for people who find it difficult to cope on their own.
And, also recently, I’ve particularly grown to like the fact that my introversion makes me fairly self-sufficient emotionally. I generally think that, overall, life’s easier when you are an extrovert or at least more ambi-, but this one thing in particular is a really big upside to introversion in my opinion. I mean, our Sofi is very strongly an extrovert and she needs a lot of stimulation, adrenaline and a lot of stuff to be going on around her, she’s easily bored if she doesn’t have people around her and if things aren’t changing often enough. She needs things like having sleepovers, or herself sleeping at her friends’/cousins’ houses, parties, outings, travelling, people to play or even just hang out with on a regular basis, or if she’s alone she needs to have a clear idea what she’ll be doing in this time and preferably some strong, fun emotions, and she struggles to actually come up with any ideas herself of what she could be doing so she needs some prompting and encouraging and stuff. If she happens to have a week where no one can visit her, or she can’t visit anyone, can’t go anywhere or do any very fun activity, everything is meh. These are the things she looks forward to and her life goes from one such thing to another. Sofi only has a good day when it’s spent having a lot of WOW experiences and big emotions, surrounded by friends. And that’s fun and cool, except people aren’t available 24/7, 7 days a week, so she’s bored quite often and has to depend on others to provide her some kind of entertainment and stimulation. Which I think is sad, because her friendships are often quite flaky and superficial, and even in the best friendship arguments happen, plus her friends have other friends and social obligations, and can’t spend all their free time with Sofi. And then there are things like COVID that can get in the way. Over the last couple years Sofi has learnt to tolerate being alone a lot better, as in the past she needed pretty much non stop attention to feel good, but her own company is still far from being something she likes for more than half an hour max, and it feels quite tricky to me when you have to depend on other people to make you feel good, therefore I’m really grateful that this isn’t the case with me and that I don’t need people to feel happy or stimulated or have fun, and that I rarely feel lonely as in in need of contact with human beings. In fact, as I think I’ve often mentioned, I often actually feel more lonely when I am around a lot of people, and I find this feeling way more difficult to manage and quite crushing than the regular loneliness.
How is it with you? 🙂