Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Introvert or Extrovert? Can you Tell? Does it Matter?

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Jun 7, 2013 6:47 PM

You may have heard about the Meyers Briggs Personality Test, based on Jung's personality types. You answer questions about choices you'd make and it factors those choices into personality types, basically labeling who you are, which you already know, or you wouldn't have answered the qustions the way you did. Yes, it's circular. Anyway, one of main dimensions is introversion-extroversion. It's a continuum. The introvert is more self-contained, doesn't need to be social as much, doesn't fear being alone and takes care of him/herself well. The extrovert craves social interaction and feedback. I'm simplifying. Anyway, you can't always tell someone's type by how she acts because people react differently in different circumstances and disguise their real feelings and first choices, as well.

All of that is background. I started groups, like parties, have friends, and sometimes talk with strangers. While traveling with a friend, I found out just how introverted I am, though. She spoke English with people who didn't, used gestures, started up discussions and touched people physically. They could tell that she was friendly and no one complained aloud. I withdrew and watched in wonder with no desire to participate. When I talked with someone, it was because we sat near each other on a bus or train and they smiled first. Then, we held a conversation, in English or Spanish. Back home, she seemed more reclusive than I but she isn't. So much for trying to guess someone's "label" on a test. She's the extrovert, I'm the introvert, or does it matter?

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