How many times do you see a title like this one in a magazine or a newspaper? Way too often! The problem is that it makes it sound like people are either total introverts or total extroverts and yet in real life, it would be super duper rare to meet anyone like this. While people may be more introverted or extroverted, how much more depends on lots of other things, like the situation, gender, mood and age etc.
So why do the terms introversion and extroversion get thrown around so much? Pretty simply, because most personality tests are based largely on these two ideas. This is despite the fact the humans are not introverted or extroverted robots, but rather living, breathing, crazy, beautiful, different human beings (sometimes all at once!). But while the ideas of introversion and extroversion are not the be all and end all, they do provide a pretty good baseline for looking at personalities… and this is precisely why so many personality tests focus on them.
And what exactly does it mean to be introverted or extroverted? Generally (and like anything personality related, this is very, very broadly speaking), introverts tend to be thoughtful, self-aware, quiet in large groups, private with their emotions and understanding of others. Extroverts tend to be social, practical, affectionate, outgoing, active, warm, assertive, cheerful and talkative. Obviously, most of these characteristics tend to cross over as well… we all know people who are affectionate but also introverted or thoughtful but also extroverted!
Neither being an introvert or an extrovert is better than the other. In fact, if we lived in a world made up entirely of introverts, it would be a very quiet, boring place to be. And yet, a world full of extroverts would be like one massive, crazy, loud party that continues on wayyyy past the point of being fun!
One problem with personality tests is that people sometimes exaggerate (ahem tell fibbies), because they think that one answer is better than another. Or they believe that they are an extrovert so they answer all of the questions in the extreme to confirm their belief! Another problem is that people are not all or nothing. We are not extroverts ALL the time, nor are we introverts ALL the time! I know that for myself, I work in a job where I interact with lots of people all day long, I’m constantly talking to others and really don’t have a second to myself…and most of the time I LOVE it! But I also enjoy having some time on my own, kicking back reading a magazine and drinking a cuppa. So am I an introvert or an extrovert? And things change with age too… when I was younger I hated spending time on my own and always had to be around others, but now I’m quite happy spending time with me, myself and I (not all of the time though!). It would be a bit ridiculous to think that personalities wouldn’t change at all over time… just like anything they are constantly evolving.
When I was studying psychology I absolutely loved administering and scoring personality tests in class and it was even more fun when you got to take the tests yourself. Even though they only give you a rough idea of your personality, if you are totally honest when taking the tests, you will often find out some pretty interesting stuff about yourself! And so in that spirit, why not have a bit of fun checking out these personality tests and seeing where you sit on the introversion/extroversion pendulum!
Psych Central (on this Big 5 personality test I came out as slightly more extroverted).
Humanmetrics.com (On Jung’s personality test I came out as almost equally introverted/extroverted).
Anyway, that’s about all the serious talk this light-hearted little blog can take in one day! Thanks for reading and I’d love to know what your personality test results say…. are you totally wild and crazy or super shy and thoughtful… or a little bit of both?