I was playing around with a Myers-Briggs online tool today and learned something about the difference between introverts and extroverts. We understand that extroverts like to be around a lot of other people (stigmatized as social butterflys). Introverts like to keep to themselves or to small groups (stigmatized as loners).
However that is not precisely correct. Many introverts like to be around other people and part of the social scene, and many extroverts like to be alone and focused.
The key difference is how the person recharges. Which environment best juices your batteries?
Some people charge their batteries by surrounding themselves with other people; those are the extroverts. Being alone in focused solitude is draining for extroverts.
Others charge their batteries by finding alone time; those are introverts. Being in a social setting is draining for introverts.
It is an important distinction I think. I’ve always been surprised to hear some very visible people refer to themselves introverts. Now I know how that makes sense. It’s all about how they feel.
How do you best recharge your batteries? Alone or in a group?
Update April 24, 2013
I’ve learned some more on the topic. There are two other characteristics that delineate introverts from extroverts:
- Where you do your best thinking? Introverts do their best thinking alone. Extroverts like to talk it out with others.
- How quick are you to share personal information with others? Introverts withhold personal information. Extroverts are more comfortable in sharing. It is easier to get to know extroverts.
There are plenty of shy extroverts and outgoing introverts. The real test is how do you recharge, where do you do your best thinking, and how quick are you to share personal information.