Understanding Temperament: The Extrovert and Introvert

Understanding Temperament:  The Extrovert and Introvert

Milan and I were greatly helped the first time we were exposed to the Myers Briggs Temperament Test.  It’s actually a funny story.  I was taught the material first and I gave Milan the test but believed I already knew what temperament type he would be.  We scored the results and he was different than I expected in three of the four categories.  I was shocked.  We had been married about six years at the time.  I believed I knew him pretty well.  I think there is a mistake…take it again, I urged.  Same results.  So, I started really observing my husband according the test results.  What an eye opener.  So, we will spend the next four weeks on temperament, and I hope you all benefit as much as we did.

It’s a good way to better understand your kids as well.

To expand your knowledge of this helpful information read, Please Understand Me by Kiersey and Bates

The extrovert introvert continuum is not just about being shy or social.  It is more about how you approach your world and how you rejuvenate and renew yourself.  An introvert can be very social.  They just need alone time afterward.  Here are some differences between the introvert and extrovert.  You might be a mild, medium, or strong extrovert or introvert.  There is no right or wrong to this.  We are looking at preferences.

EXTROVERT  [E]: (About 75% of population)

  • Gain energy from people
  • Think and process by talking with others
  • Good talkers
  • Talk loud, fast and tend to interrupt
  • Like noisy active environment (radio, TV).
  • Need a lot of verbal feed back and affirmation from others.
  • Have conversations with others.
  • They tend to be after thinkers. They cannot understand life until they have lived it.  They act and then (maybe) reflect.
  • Their attitude is relaxed and confident.
  • Their focus is more on the outer world of people and things.  They need relationships.
    They are friendly, talkative and easy to know.  More at home with the world of people and things rather than the world of ideas.
  • They unload their emotions as they go along.
  • They tend to be noticed by others.

INTROVERT [I] :  (About 25% of the population.)

  • They are drained by people.  They gain energy by solitude and quiet and time to reflect
  • They like to think and process inwardly before giving an answer.
  • They are good listeners.
  • They tend to talk slower and like to state thoughts without being interrupted.
  • They like a quiet environment, and have a higher power of concentration.
  • They need less verbal feed back and affirmation from others.
  • They have conversations within their own minds.
  • They are fore thinkers.  They cannot live life until they understand it.  They reflect then (maybe) act.
  • Their attitude is reserved and questioning.  They are often reserved, quiet and hard to know.  They are subtle and more at home in the world of ideas than in the world of people and things.
  • Their focus is on the inner world of ideas and understanding.  Needs privacy.
  • They bottle up their emotions and guard them carefully.

They don’t like public show.

I am and introvert and Milan is an extrovert.  We have learned to respect these differences and not take our different needs personally.   Let’s discuss a few of the most common problems we see between couples with these differences.  Introverts process by thinking quietly before they speak.  Extroverts process by talking out loud. If you want to have a conversation with an introvert, especially if it is a difficult subject, announce it beforehand.  For example in the morning Milan might say to me,  “I’d like to talk about the outline of our next book .  Think about it today and we can talk tonight.”  Introverts do well with some thinking and processing time before a talk.

If you have a conversation with an introverted spouse or child, don’t interrupt!  Don’t answer for them or give them a multiple choices because they don’t respond in three seconds.  Ask, and wait.  If too much time passes say; “Take your time, I really want to hear your thoughts, feelings, or ideas”.  Then wait.   Respect the fact that they need time to think before they put words to it.  Introverts need alone time to recharge.  I’ve watched some introverted kids get really cranky and out of sorts trying to keep up with extroverted schedules and activity level.  Don’t take it personally when you spouse or child want time alone.  It is how they recharge and rejuvenate.

Likewise extroverts renew and recharge with activity, talking and people.  When introverts are ready to leave a gathering, extroverts are just getting started.  Driving separately or agreeing before hand on a reasonable time can help forestall arguments.

Next week we will talk about the Sensory person and the Intuitive person.

Milan and Kay