Many people who know me would be surprised to read that. They would consider me an extrovert, relishing the possibility to get energised by other people. Indeed, I am an open, gregarious, outgoing person. I have no problem starting a conversation with a stranger, even someone I hold in high-esteem, but it does not mean I find it easy.
The trouble with the standard definitions of an “extrovert" and an “introvert” is that they are too black and white. You are either “outgoing and gregarious” or “reticent and shy.” In reality (and Myers Briggs agree), people are not that polar. The most outgoing person may need time for herself to reflect, recoup and spend time in the world of ideas and stories. I have always suspected that a simple label does not fit me or any other person, but it was not until I met Gavin Presman of Inspire, that I’ve realised the obvious: we are all distributed somewhere along the line drawn between the two polarities, and it is most likely that none of us are either 'black' or 'white'.
Gavin helped me recognise another pattern: after a big party or a networking event, I crave solitude. It’s almost like I am on a string, being pulled into one direction, then going exactly the opposite way to restore my inner balance.
Once you recognise such patterns of behaviour in yourself, it becomes easier to understand yourself and others. Spotting someone who is mostly an extrovert is easy: they dress for others, whilst those who are mostly introverts dress for themselves. The former might wear high heels or something bright, the latter - comfortable clothes. The benefits of attuning to your circle of friends and colleagues are obvious: you’ll build and nurture better relationships. If your friend is an introvert, don’t invite her to a noisy party cum networking event. If your potential client is an extrovert, take him to a trendy, airy lunch spot (not an intimate cafe) and let him do the talking.
Finally, what is it that irritates us so much about each other? Extroverts seem to say things before they’ve thought about them, which tends to cause trouble. What if we started to appreciate that extroverts are wired that way - they need to put a problem out there in order to tackle it? Introverts appear to be indecisive. In reality, they are just taking time to think things through, it’s their nature and a real asset at that.
Having spent sometime writing this in solitude, I am now ready for the buzz again. In fact, I crave it!