Introversion and Extroversion
Understanding the fundamental differences between introverts and extroverts can be the key to living harmoniously with others! It can be the enlightening solution to oh-so-many petty squabbles or pet peeves, and it can lead to increased self-esteem for those who've always felt that they didn't quite fit into the social world around them.
Many people seem to have a basic, often rather simplified and warped understanding of what the terms 'introvert' and 'extrovert' mean.
Introverts are completely asocial loners who avoid people utterly, while extroverts are wild, boisterous party animals! Social butterflies who never shut up!! I'm somewhere in the middle, so neither word fits me!
It's said that all stereotypes are born from kernels of truth, and that's all that these are. Exaggrated stereotypes, based on rudimentary conceptions. It's entirely possible to be introverted and fond of socialising, or extroverted and calm and serious.
The defining difference between introverts and extroverts is how they recharge their energy.
Extroverts derive their energy externally. They feed off the 'good vibes' of those around them, and they enjoy loud, lively environments with lots of sound, action, and activity. They make noise and receive the noise of others quite happily. They need this active buzz to 'feel alive'. It could be said that they recharge by absorbing the energy in the environment. They tend to feel fidgety and restless when deprived of such environments, often resorting to external self-generation via clicking their fingers or tapping them on surfaces, humming to themselves, etc.
Introverts, conversely, derive their energy internally, from quiet contemplation. They recharge when left alone in their quiet thoughts. While they can certainly enjoy the active world of extroverts in small doses, they spend energy from doing so, and will eventually run out and wish to seek an escape to find quiet respite in order to recharge their batteries. The more energy they're exposed to, the faster they feel drained and frustrated. Introverts generally prefer to ration their energy; while an extrovert would love to go out as much as possible, to talk to as many people as they could, an introvert might avoid social encounters if they feel that they haven't the energy to enjoy them.
Interaction between introverts and extroverts is generally enjoyable for both parties. Many marriages are based on partnerships like this. However, certain cracks may appear when each person has different expectations.
Introverts are happiest when they can retreat to be alone when they need to... as they often do, in order to recharge. They need their quiet nights in, or else they become stressed and frustrated. Extroverts, however, crave action and volume, so they can become annoyed at an introvert who doesn't want to come along to a party or some other social gathering. Many extroverts can't understand why the introvert might want to stay at home, and they might assume that the introvert dislikes them, that they're deliberately shunning them. Different needs and expectations create frustration and confusion for them both.