The Introvert Extrovert MBTI scale relates to how we get and renew our energy. It is not about shy and gregarious/talkative behavior. Do you get your energy from your inner or outer world?
We often describe timid and sociable behavior as being introvert or extrovert. Jung’s conception was whether someone recharged energy by being with people or by spending time alone, especially when stressed. It is whether we prefer the inner or outer world.
Introverts get energy from spending time alone, especially if tired, stressed or upset. They use social interactions for expressing themselves and their strengths. Socializing is not for renewing their emotional/physiological state. In fact being with people tends to drain their energy. They can enjoy the company of a few people at once – large gatherings feel awkward, especially with lots of strangers. They don’t enjoy being the center of attention usually. They tend to have depth in their relationships rather than breadth. They prefer to work by themselves. Extroverts can see them as antisocial, withdrawn, inhibited and uninterested.
The Extrovert pattern enjoys the company of lots of others, so they generally like parties and crowds. They tend to have lots of friends and acquaintances (not so many “relationships”) – breadth rather than depth. They can feel lonely when they are not with other people, and find it draining to be by themselves.
They like meeting new people and develop their ideas mainly by talking them through. They are often enthusiastic, and to an Introvert can seem pushy and intrusive. They can be stimulus hungry in other ways than people – needing activity and change as well as interaction. They look for events they can experience.
Changing the Introvert Extrovert orientation
Many studies suggest that this predisposition is born rather than developed. That it is a function of our sympathetic/parasympathetic systems. It is not the entire explanation however. Your system of associations, what you link or anchor to pain and pleasure, misery and joy can determine whether you seek out certain experiences or not. For many on the Introvert side of the Introvert Extrovert orientation, people = pain.
Conditioning has a lot to do with the minefields we avoid and behaviors we engage in. For instance, surfing can be an exhilarating reward or an excruciating terrifying fear depending on what we have linked to either past experiences or our ideas about it. NLP anchoring techniques can collapse links that have us avoid crowds or our own company. New associations can make a huge change in how enjoyable and energizing other people can be.
The Extrovert side of the Introvert Extrovert orientation can come about because of a terror of being alone. Some may lack the skill to process thoughts other than with people.
Extroverts can become negative or self-pitying when not distracted by lots of action and people. Distractions can be addictive like this.