You are spending an entire evening in a

You are spending an entire evening in a room completely by yourself, with only a book for company.  Is this your idea of a paradise or a torture chamber?  Believe it or not, there are people who see this situation from both angles.  There are billions of people in the world, and yet all of them can be sorted into one of just three different groups: introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts.  Extroverts love to be with lots of people as much as they possibly can, while introverts prefer time in small groups or alone.  Ambiverts are a compilation of both extroverted and introverted tendencies, but even though they are not totally one thing or the other they tend to lean more towards one side of the spectrum.  Introverts and extroverts function very differently; therefore, the learning style and environment required for each type of person to thrive is unique to their temperament.   Learning about how introverts and extroverts function can help you to better understand both yourself and others around you.  A psychologist named Carl Jung was the first person to define and name the three different personality types.  Jung believed that introverts are mostly inward looking, extroverts are mostly outward looking, and ambiverts are a combination of both.  If you are reserved, contemplative, can have excessive daydreaming and introspection, have difficulty adjusting to social situations, withdraw under severe stress, carefully consider each option before making decisions, need privacy and space, and view solitude as a source of energy, you are probably introverted.  If you are responsive to other people, active, can make quick decisions, are aggressive at social interaction, need sociability, view other people as a source of energy, and find being alone draining, you are probably extroverted.  If you found that some characteristics of both introverts and extroverts apply to you, you fit into the most common group: the ambiverts.  These people show introverted and extroverted tendencies at different times in response to different situations and can be both social and reserved.  Being introverted or extroverted is not a bad thing, but simply a part of who you are.  Researchers have found that it may even be hereditary.  It’s important to learn more about how you relate to others so that you can reach your full potential in all areas of life.  Although it seems that introverts have more room to grow, there are things that extroverts can work on, too.   Based on the characteristics of both personality types, you might think that extroverts have mastered all forms of social interaction and that introverts need to become better at a multitude of social skills, but extroverts also have areas that they can improve in.  For one thing, extroverts can have difficulty concentrating on something for a long period of time.  They generally get bored easily and have relatively short attention spans.  This can lead to disruptions in the classroom or workplace if an extrovert decides that they’ve had enough and want to do something more exciting.  Extroverts have a great need for social interaction and can feel drained if they don’t get enough of it.  This social need can lead extroverts to lots of acquaintances and very few close friendships.  Extroverts have many strengths, too.  They are not afraid to contribute their ideas to a discussion, and they can concentrate well in areas with loud background noises.  They work well in groups and are good at quickly answering questions and brainstorming ideas.  They can also make decisions faster than introverts, who need more time to think.  Extroverts learn well during whole class discussions, and work best in large groups.  When an entire group thinks of ideas together, extroverts are usually the biggest contributors because of how they function.  However, extroverts are not the only ones with unique ideas.  Introverts have strengths, too, and more than you might think.   Despite their quiet nature, introverts have many ideas and gifts.  Some challenges exist for them as well.  For instance, oftentimes introverts have just as many ideas as extroverts do, but it takes them longer to process a question or problem and come up with an answer.  Combining this with the fact that introverts are more likely to worry about getting an answer wrong than extroverts are means that sometimes, even if they think they know the answer, an introvert will not raise their hand.  Perfectionism, or the tendency to consider anything short of perfect unacceptable, is common among introverts and is both a strength and a weakness.  Although they almost always don’t want other people to see their work until it is flawless, introverts can concentrate on doing one thing and making it their absolute best work for long periods of time because of their perfectionism.  Introverts don’t feel refreshed during social interaction; it drains them the way being alone does for extroverts, and solitude is the introvert way to recharge.  Introverts are good at connecting with people on a deeper, more emotional level than extroverts usually do, so although they don’t know nearly as many people they have a few very close friends.  They also have an extraordinary attention to detail and are good at picking up on nonverbal cues.  Introverts may need time to think before answering a question, especially in front of a large group of people.  They learn fine during whole class lessons where participation is not mandatory, and will often choose to work alone or in a group of two or three at the most to complete projects.  Introverts and extroverts work in different ways, but because of this they compliment each other.   Overall, introverts and extroverts function very differently and need different learning environments to thrive.  Being introverted or extroverted is a natural thing, and each personality has strengths and weaknesses that the other fills in.  Introverts can do things that extroverts struggle with, and extroverts can do things that don’t come easily to introverts.  Having a society with people of different talents in it makes things more functional, more diverse, more interesting, and more beautiful.  Our differences mean that we don’t always fully understand other people, and yet we need each other more than we can possibly begin to fathom.  

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