Sunday, September 18, 2016

Four (or Five) Ways an Extrovert Can Be Introverted

Last time I mentioned four ways an introvert can be extroverted, so it seems only fair to address the opposite situation. No matter how far you lean one way or the other on the E-I scale, MBTI theory places each individual with both introverted and extroverted traits. I've had a couple extroverts read something for introverts and say, "hey, I kinda related to that too, but I am definitely no introvert," and I think, "of course you related to some of it!" Unfortunately it's a little harder to explain than introverts acting like extroverts, so this factor doesn't usually get it's due.

So while you or a friend may have a preference for extroversion, here are four ways an extrovert can be introverted, plus a bonus point at the end:

1) Logical Introversion
These extroverts make their logical decisions quietly and take some time before divulging them. This is a form of introversion that directs logical opinions and determinations inward for examination before expressing them openly. If the individual were looking to build a bridge, for example, they examine everything in great detail, and they would do it exactly how they want it no matter the amount of time it may take to accomplish the task. More theory-oriented extroverts may prone to procrastination because of this extreme perfectionism.

Although they incline toward their logical brain, those with this trait may also feel strongly pulled by their emotions. Therefore, women with this way of thinking often enjoy discussing people, and both men and women prefer conversations to be genial and agreeable. Negativity in a relationship can cause serious insecurity, even if the other party was just trying to be honest, however, this is borne mostly out of a strong desire to create harmony with their community. Confusingly, they usually love to argue in order to uncover truths, and can be critical or even mocking of "lesser" opinions, but it is extremely important to be able to walk away from a disagreement with a sense that everyone is still friends, tension-free. Because emotional health is not necessarily their forte, a little bit of time to step back from a tense situation, as well as friendly encouragement will help them to regain logical footing and resolve emotional conflicts very effectively.
In MBTI, this function is called Ti or Introverted Thinking. It applies to personality types ENTP, INTP, ESTP and ISTP, though xxFJ types may also relate to a lesser degree. Some Fe or Extroverted Feeling is also discussed as it works in tandem with Ti and is easier to recognize.

2) Emotional Introversion
Extroverts with this variation of introversion have strong internal consciences often accompanied by a strong desire to make the world a better place. This can cause them to be more sensitive than your average extrovert. Furthermore, because they process their feelings internally, they might not tell you when something is bugging them. Emotions are very private to them. You can usually afford to be very real about your thoughts and feelings around these extroverts, but just be prepared that they might not be shy about telling you you're wrong, and do not lie or put up a fa├žade about how you feel.

Although more emotionally inclined, these extroverts are usually very industrious and like to tackle things directly and efficiently (or at least what they see as efficient). There is an expression of disapproval that many of these extroverts have mastered, which they utilize when it would be a bad time to start an argument (like say, with a coworker or good friend). They might apply this face with a subtle comment that makes it clear what they think without being directly combative, or they might remain silent, depending on how important the subject matter is. Others whose emotions are introverted might care to be more subtle and can act pretty well, but might still manage to rub people the wrong way.

Despite seeming abrasive to some, however, extroverts like this strongly care for the welfare of others and about doing what is morally right. They don't need it to make sense logically, as long as it makes sense in their moral construct. EXAMPLE: If an emotional introvert is a Christian and they hold this philosophy most precious to them, they will be ready to defend any "rule" or concept which it has to present. If a rule at work conflicts with a Christian ideal, they will defend their Christian ideal, rather than blindly follow the work rule. On the flip side of that, they can also fall easy prey to false information presented as a Christian philosophy if they are not well-versed in it's source (the Bible).
In MBTI, this function is called Fi or Introverted Feeling. It applies to personality types ENFP, INFP, ESFP and ISFP, though xxTJ types may also relate to a lesser degree. Some Te or Extroverted Thinking is also discussed as it works in tandem with Fi and is easier to recognize.

3) Experiential Introversion
This type of introversion causes an individual to bank their experiences with the outside world so as to compare and contrast with other events. This assists in making practical decisions, though sometimes means they have trouble breaking personal traditions. If something has worked well enough for them in the past, then they like to stick with that method in the future as well. Some rather odd characters can come out of this, as people discover different ways to accomplish the same task (not all of them entirely logical, but hey, if it works for them, then what's the fuss). Extroverts with this kind of introversion like discussing stories and experiences, occasionally with an accidental "lecture" tone. 

Although old methods are a favorite, these extroverts also like supplementing their databases with new things, such as traveling to new places, trying new foods or new music. They do require some time to process and savor each experience, so be absolutely 100% sure not to rush them. Contrary to how most people think extroverts ought to enjoy their time, most of this kind really enjoy reading, as a way of absorbing new experiences in a safe, easy-to-access environment. Professions like writing, editing, science and math can be extremely appealing to these extroverts, even if they are more often thought of as "introverted" professions. Exactness and accuracy are extremely important to these extroverts, and they also may have a great talent for detailed description. Some less quirky individuals might be seen as boring to an easily-distracted mind, but stick with them long enough and they'll be sure to make loyal and good-hearted (if not entirely entertaining) companions.
In MBTI, this function is called Si or Introverted Sensing. It applies to personality types ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ and ISFJ, though xNxP types may also relate to a lesser degree. Some Ne or Extroverted iNtuition is also discussed as it works in tandem with Si and is easier to recognize.

4) Pondering Introversion
These extroverts are often confused for introverts because they take their time when talking to you. Unlike the extroverted ponderer, the one who utilizes introverted ponderings does not state their incomplete ideas out loud. Instead, they take some time to process the information, and then give you a judgment based on what their idea is. It can be difficult to read them while they think because they are busy perceiving the outer world and that doesn't require a facial expression until a judgment is made. Although they might like to talk a lot for purposes of simple conversation, when it comes to stuff that is truly important, they won't be endless fountains of chatter unless they are already decided on the subject. They want to digest it all internally first, which gives an impression of maturity. In many cases, it can even seem like a pondering introvert is upset with you when they are actually just taking some time to think. It might also seem like they are done talking when they are not, so you must be careful not to interrupt their thinking process. 

Extroverts with this kind of introversion are an interesting balance between experience and deep conversation. They do enjoy having deep conversation more than many other extroverts, however, it's almost equally important to relate on an experiential level - as in, they'll want to spend time doing something with you before they just sit around and chat. They want to make plans, whether it be a computer game or a tea party, and they don't desperately want to share their half-baked ideas, which may not even have words applied to them yet. At their healthiest, they are action driven, goal-oriented planners who do well in a corporate world that requires responsibility and effectiveness.
In MBTI, this function is called Ni or Introverted iNtuition. It applies to personality types ENTJ, INTJ, ENFJ and INFJ, though xSxP types may also relate to a lesser degree. Some Se or Extroverted Sensing is also discussed as it works in tandem with Ni and is easier to recognize. 

HSP (or the Highly Sensitive Person)
In addition to one (or two) of the above, an extrovert might also relate to being Highly Sensitive. While this trait is more commonly discovered in introverts, some extroverts also relate to this concept, introduced by Dr. Aron. What it is, is a tendency to absorb more sensory information than the average person. This can cause simple things that make other extroverts happy to overwhelm these particular people. For example, a bright sunny day might be too much, or worse yet, florescent lights. HSPs might prefer foods that aren't as strongly flavored, in addition to being a bit more picky overall. They (or shall I say "we") typically dislike noisy crowds, and unless they have ADD like myself, caffeine is likely to be overstimulating (though even with ADD, an HSP might want to be careful with caffeine, as it could cause headaches and other problems if taken too much - about 100mg a day is plenty). Many are prone to look like wimps because the sensation of pain is so much stronger in them.

Most HSPs also experience difficulties when it comes to fiction. While those like me may absolutely love the intensity of a movie or book, most are going to want to avoid a lot of graphic or upsetting stories because watching someone get stabbed, no matter how brief, is more or less felt by the HSP in question. So are all of the emotional conflicts and joys; so perhaps they won't want to read the Hunger Games, but that's okay - they'll be just as moved by a beautiful sunset or piece of music. HSPs cry pretty easily as well, and so despite being an extrovert, this one might need to retreat simply to readjust, and might even turn down a request to go see that really good movie.
http://hsperson.com/

So, yes, extroverts are primarily extroverted; however, we all love our introverted functions just as much (even extroverts love their introverted sides). While there isn't a whole lot of relating to be discussed when talking about introversion, there is some understanding required. Everyone needs a chance to recharge their introverted brain, whether that be (1) removing oneself from disharmony in order to charge the logic, (2) removing oneself from habitual efficiency to revisit morality, (3) taking a break from new experiences to reexamine old experiences, or (4) taking the time to digest new ideas slowly, internally, and without interference.

Also, of course, there are always other mental factors that play a part in your personal dichotomy. For example, autism and HSP could make someone appear more introverted, while being a high sensation seeker or a chatterer could make someone appear more extroverted. Keeping all of this in mind, it's a bit easier to understand one another not so much as members of an alien race, but rather as humans with unique and complex brain structures.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Meredith! My 10-year-old daughter is just like you, I believe: an INTP and a highly sensitive person. I am neither of those and I struggle to understand and help her many times. I am ISFJ. Would you be willing to give me some advice? I just got Dr. Aron's book, the highly sensitive child. It is very helpful. I am still wondering, however, how to increase her tolerance for getting her school work done. She is easily overwhelmed when she feels she has too much to do, but really it's not that much. We are homeschooling this year. Thank you for any advice you can give me!

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