Is it better to be an Introvert or an Extravert? Here’s the answer in a nutshell: no personality trait – including Introversion and Extraversion – is better than any other trait. That said, there’s a bit more to the story, and here’s why.
You may have seen Introverts stereotyped as deep-thinking loners or Extraverts stereotyped as smooth talkers, but these stereotypes are misleading. That’s because Introversion and Extraversion aren’t really about our social skills or how self-aware we are – they’re about where we get our energy and how we engage with our environment. Here’s what that means:
- When Introverts feel depleted, they may need to spend some time without too much outside stimuli. This comfort with quiet and solitude can lead these personalities to become introspective – and it often does – but it doesn’t automatically make an Introvert “better” at introspection than an Extravert. Extraverts can be very self-aware – they just tend to get more energy from outside stimuli and being around others than from spending time on their own.
- When Extraverts feel depleted, they generally go out into the world to reenergize. This drive to go out and about can lead these personalities to become socially adept – and it often does – but it doesn’t automatically make an Extravert “better” at socializing than an Introvert. Introverts can be very friendly and engaging – they may just need to relax on their own after they’ve spent time socializing.
Depending on the culture in which you live, it might feel easier to be either an Introvert or an Extravert. If you’re surrounded by Extraverts, for example, it might feel easier to be an Extravert because your preferences and energy are relatively similar to those of the people around you.
Now, it isn’t necessarily better to fit in with the norms of your culture – in many cases, being different can be an advantage. However, if you’re regularly surrounded by people who don’t share your personality type, you may sometimes feel as if you’re at a disadvantage.
The Role of Other Traits and Experiences
Introversion and Extraversion serve as just one aspect of someone’s personality type. Their other traits will have a significant influence on their actions, thoughts, and feelings. An Introvert with the Thinking trait, for example, might handle a job interview very differently from an Introvert with the Feeling trait.
A person’s life experiences will also be a significant factor in how they fare in a given situation. If one of the aforementioned Introverts used to work in recruiting, for example, that experience would certainly affect what they’d say in the interview. So who would fare better in a job interview: an Extravert with no recruiting experience or an Introvert with recruiting experience? It’s impossible to say.
And that just goes to show why it isn’t “better” to be an Introvert or an Extravert. Each trait comes with certain strengths and weaknesses, and neither has more strengths (or more weaknesses) than the other. Besides, Introversion and Extraversion are just one aspect of our personality – an important aspect, to be sure, but still only a single part of what makes us who we are.