You May Not Be An Extrovert Or An Introvert

Abby Deeths, Editor

Describing a person as “an extrovert” or “an introvert” has become commonplace, but what do these words really mean? Is anyone fully extroverted or introverted? As it turns out, most people may not understand these terms as well as they thought they did. 

The phrase “extrovert” is commonly used to refer to someone who is talkative. This is not incorrect, but the social side of this personality is only one part of it. Extroverts seek out social interaction because it energizes them. But they also are marked by the fact that they revel in engaging with the world around them, relishing in its responses to them and pushing the limits. They have many friends because of this and are known to enjoy being in the center of attention. They gravitate towards group activities and would rather speak than write to express themselves. They are often labeled as cheerful and assertive. According to the Meyers Briggs personality test, “An idle Extrovert is an Extrovert looking for something to do.”

Introverts carry just as much of a stereotype as extroverts do. They are often expected to dwell in the corner and speak to no one, their eyes on the floor. While it may appear this way, introverts are usually just reflecting. Introverts are very thoughtful and private. They like to have a small group of friends that they can share their truths with, but are very quiet in situations involving larger groups and less familiar people. Instead of engaging in the world like extroverts do, introverts observe it, learning to read people and situations. They contemplate their problems in their heads instead of sharing them and often feel drained by social interaction, finding comfort in solitude as a way of recharging. 

As you read, you may see traits of both an extrovert and an introvert in yourself. Maybe you have always considered yourself to be one or the other, and now see that you have some of both. This is because extroverted and introvertedness are likely not black and white, but a continuum. Many people lean to one side of the other, instead of being on the extremes. These people are ambiverts, an uncommon meaning that they display traits of both extroverts and introverts, changing their behavior depending on the situation that they are in. 

Kirrily Balestrieri, Fruita Monument’s school psychologist, agrees that extroverted and introvertedness is on a continuum. She stated also, that people can be fully on one side or the other, meaning fully extroverted or introverted. When people follow the extremes, she pointed out that it can get unhealthy for them. “I do think those people on the extremes can have a difficult time either getting comfort from themselves or being comfortable around other people,” she said. She also mentioned the many stereotypes around extroverts and introverts, saying that people often make assumptions based on how others present themselves. 

So what about Fruita Monument? Are we a school of mostly introverts? Extroverts? Ambiverts? A survey of 200 randomly selected students helped to reveal the answer. The survey asked participants to choose a trait that better fitted them, one of these traits being that of an extrovert and one of an introvert. These traits were based off of the Meyers Briggs core traits of extroverts and introverts. There were 7 questions involving these traits. As it turns out, it could be inferred that Fruita has a lot of ambiverts. 49.2% of students stated that they were seen as “outgoing” or a “people person”, and 50.8% were seen as “reflective” or “reserved”. According to this nearly 50-50 split, one would assume that all of the traits would be split this way, but many of the traits lean heavily towards one side or the other. On two of the questions, over 60% of the students chose the introverted trait, with 70% of people saying that they recharge alone. Possibly the most interesting of all is the small number of students that selected all extroverted or introverted traits. Only 12% of the surveyed, or 24 out of the 200, chose completely introverted traits. 3% demonstrated all introverted traits but stated that they were seen as “outgoing or a people person”. Even more, 2.5%, or 5 out of 200 students selected all extroverted traits. 6% demonstrated all extroverted traits besides one introverted trait. All of this put together, Fruita has just 14.5% of students who are completely on one side of the continuum or the other and 21.5% who are only one trait away from one side or the other. This leaves Fruita at about 64% completely mixed traits. So, unless you are in that 14.5%, you probably are not fully an extrovert or an introvert. 

No matter what you consider yourself, both extroverts and introverts are vital to mankind. The world needs people who are willing to put themselves out there and engage just as much as it needs people to quietly contemplate our problems. Every personality is a vital one and has an important role.