Introversion and extroversion are among the most important personality traits shaping human experience and this is why a lot of research is being done on this topic. Introversion is one of the most researched personality traits in the world.
Let’s start with discussing what is Introvert and Extrovert. These two terms first appeared in a book, Psychological Types by Carl Jung in 1921 as the building blocks of personality. Introverts are drawn to an inner world of thoughts and feelings, said Jung, extroverts to the external life of people and activities. Introverts focus on the meaning they make of the events swirling around them; extroverts plunge into the events themselves. Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone; extroverts need to recharge when they don’t socialize enough. This was the basic definition of introverts and extroverts. Every person has both the traits, one is dormant and other is dominant.
Now let us look at why there is such a difference between these two personality traits. The major difference lies n “Reactivity to stimulation”. Reactivity to stimulation means that how a person reacts to its surrounding environment. Introverts and extroverts generally have different nervous systems. Introverts nervous system reacts more intensely than extroverts to social situations as well as to sensory experiences. Extroverts nervous system doesn’t react as much i.e. they crave stimulation, like brighter lights and louder sounds and social activities. When not getting enough stimulation they start to feel bored and antsy. They prefer a more gregarious, or chatty, style of socializing. They need to be around people, and they thrive on the energy of crowds. While introverts, reacts more – sometimes much, much more – to stimulating environment such as crowdy public places. They tend to feel more relaxed and energized when in quieter settings – not necessarily alone, but often with small numbers of friends or family, they know well.
This is not just a theoretical fact. Various experiments have also been performed to verify this.
A famous psychologist named Hans Eysenck placed lemon juice – a stimulant – on the tongues of adult introverts and extroverts. The human mouth’s natural response to a burst of lemon juice is to produce saliva, which balances out the acidic citrus taste. So Eysenck figured he could measure sensitivity to stimulation – in this case, the stimulation of a drop of lemon juice – by measuring how much saliva each person produces in response to the liquid. He guessed that the introverts would be more sensitive to lemon juice and generate more saliva. And he was right.
In another experiment, scientists found that infants who are more sensitive to the sweet taste of sugar water are more likely to grow up to be teenagers who are sensitive to noise of a loud party.
These experiments establish that introverts are more sensitive to the taste, sound and social life than the extroverted counterparts. Introverts react more to stimulating environment, they do have extra adjustments to make. When introverts feel more stimulation, they feel exhausted, their energy level starts decreasing and they starts wishing were home in their comfortable pajamas, so that they could gain the energy back. They start acting withdrawn and this sometimes can be problematic and convey the wrong message to the other person. For example: say you’re walking from one place to another, deep in thought or possibly overwhelmed by the crowds. You pass a friend or a known person and glance at him/her briefly, but you’re so preoccupied that you don’t manage to stop today hi and chitchat. You haven’t meant to be rude or hurtful, but the other person might think you are being rude or are angry about something. Such a misunderstanding can occur at other times too.
To stop being misunderstood and to convey what you want to, you must pay attention to your body language. Once you start paying attention to the messages your body is sending you – such as feeling anxious or overwhelmed – the power is in your hands. You’ve recognized that something feels off, and now you know that a change needs to be made. You can take action to find your equilibrium – even before you get back to the sanctuary of your room at home. Listen to your body and seek out the quiet spot nearby to collect yourself and to recharge your battery and then act accordingly.
Here are a few tips which will be helpful to avoid such misunderstanding and to understand yourself better.
UNDERSTAND YOUR NEEDS:
The boisterous environment is a very common scene in public which is often demanding for the introverts. Sometimes there is a mismatch between you and your environment. Try not to let it stop you from being you. Find quiet times and places to recharge your batteries. Find the people who feel the same way, or who just understands you.
LOOK FOR YOUR OWN CIRCLE:
You may find easy to connect with sporty people, geeks, or with people who are just plain nice whether or not your interests are perfectly aligned. Make a checklist of things to talk about in order to get a friendship rolling.
Make sure your friends understand why you retreat or becomes quiet at times. Talk to them about introversion and extroversion. Ask them what they need from you.
FIND YOUR PASSION:
This is important as many of us want to focus our energy on one or two projects we really care about. Also, when feeling scared, genuine passion will lift you and give you the excitement you need. Fear is a powerful enemy, but passion is an even stronger friend.
EXPAND YOUR COMFORT ZONE:
It’s essential to get out of our comfort zone in order to develop, so stretch your comfort zone. If you’re stretching into an area that really frightens you, make sure to practice in small, manageable steps.
KNOW YOUR BODY LANGUAGE:
Pay attention to what your body does when you’re feeling confident and at ease and what it does when you feel tense. Crossing your arm is often a reaction to nervousness, and it can make you appear – and feel – closed off. Practice arranging your body in the positions that don’t signal distress and that makes you feel good.