Misconceptions and Stereotypes for Extraversion and Introversion


This week I have been thinking a great deal about the topic of type and misconceptions, so I thought it would be a good topic to address here.  While I plan to eventually discuss misconceptions about all eight type preferences, I thought I would take it from the top.

When I explain Extraversion and Introversion in individual and group interpretations of the MBTI®, I ask the person or group I am working with how they currently define these terms and what they think about them.  These are words that are frequently thrown around in everyday society, and I think it s important to address possible biases before describing the preferences to allow individuals to identify their preferences with a clear mind.  Below, I describe the most common misconceptions I hear about Extraversion and Introversion, and I make an attempt to set them straight.


Extraverts like people, and Introverts don't. Extraverts gain energy from spending time with people and Introverts from spending time alone. That being said, both types like people, are capable of having meaningful and loving relationships, and will encounter people in life that they don't particularly care for.
Introverts are shy, and Extraverts are not.Shyness has to do with anxiety in interactions with people, and it can be more general or centered around specific issues or circumstances. The Jungian concepts of Extraversion and Introversion do not address stress and anxiety, but methods of gaining and being drained of energy. It is possible for both types to experience shyness, and it is possible for either type to lack shyness!
Extraverts are loud and talkative, and Introverts are quiet and withdrawn.People who prefer Extraversion often find it easier to process thoughts and ideas by speaking them, while people who prefer Introversion often like to process ideas and thoughts inwardly before sharing them with the world. That being said, there are certainly times when Es prefer not to talk, and there are times, especially in small groups of old friends, where Is will talk your head off (present company included). As for volume, I can't say that type is a factor... especially during sporting events.
Introverts are hermits, and Extraverts are intrusive.While home is a place where Introverts are likely able to recharge their batteries, Introversion is not the equivalent of being a homebody. Many introverts enjoy entertaining guests and spending a great deal of time away from the house. They just typically want alone time to reflect after an interactive day or experience. As for Extravert intrusion, type does not dictate manners or how well developed an individual's boundaries are. Knowledge of type can often ease confusion of conversational styles, which can allow individuals to see that what seems intrusive may be a simple difference in preference.
Extraverts wanna rock and roll all night and party every day, while Introverts just wanna avoid parties like the plague.Well, I think the first comment has more to do with Gene Simmons from Kiss than Extraverts... but, especially in college, a lot of Extraverts and Introverts enjoy parties. That being said, there are many more ways to interact with people than going to parties. Individuals of both types may also enjoy going to dinner with friends, going to Kiss (or Paul McCartney or other) concerts, attending church functions, going to sporting events, and a variety of other functions. It all comes back to energy!


Finally, I will mention that these terms also have slightly different meanings in other personality assessments.  Some assessments measure amounts of extroversion (note the spelling difference). In these assessments, it may be seen as preferable to have more extroversion, and introversion may be viewed in a less positive light.

There are also assessments that allow for the distinction of being both introverted and extroverted, often described as ambiversion.  You may have even seen articles lately that describe individuals ambiverts in a positive way.  This post is in no way intended to pass judgment on any of these terms or ideas, but I do want to draw a distinction between the Jungian (MBTI®) definition of the words and other definitions.

I hope after reading this post, you have gained some insight into the worlds of people who prefer Introversion and people who prefer Extraversion, solidified the knowledge that the MBTI® uses these terms to describe how individuals gain and spend energy, and appreciated that both preferences are equal!  If you have gained the urge to listen to a Kiss album, I do apologize (unless you’re a fan)… Feel free to add your comments on E and I misconceptions below!


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