The Difference Between Introverts & Extroverts

The Difference Between Introverts & Extroverts

Who We Are…Defined.

Does everyone know the true definition of an introvert? I ask because I didn’t and for a while it made me feel bad as an introvert. If I’d known, I would have understood that I wasn’t just quiet and shy - but that my whole being was wired differently.

And to this day people say things like, “you are WAY too friendly to be an introvert.” Like if you’re not stuck-up or a TOTAL recluse, then there’s no way you fit the mold.

The real meaning is introverts need time alone to recharge their energy levels because time with others is draining. For extroverts, if your energy levels are depleting, hanging out with others will make you feel full of energy again.

That’s the TRUE meaning. It’s not shy versus outgoing, pretty versus ugly or in other words, great attributes versus average – it’s simply an energy conversation.

Key Differences

Beside that quick definition, there are differences between how introverts and extroverts use different neurotransmitters in their brains.

There are two neurotransmitters that everyone has whether you’re introverted or extroverted - dopamine and acetylcholine. EVERYONE has the same amount of both.

Dopamine makes us feel good with external behaviors like praise, earning money and climbing the social ladder. Acetylcholine focuses on internal rewards, deep thinking and focus.

The extrovert brain is driven by the dopamine rush and craves more. The introvert brain is driven by oxyacetylene and can be overwhelmed by dopamine.

Natural Behavioral Differences

Because we are drawn to different neurotransmitters, different activities catch our attention and recharge our energy. Behaviorally - introverts value authenticity over attention, we listen more, we reflect then decide. Extroverts love attention, speak more, are highly distracted and make fast decisions.

One isn’t better than the other, we are just different. For me, I felt like most of my life I judged myself for not being part of the “cool”group. For not having more friends, being friendlier or enjoying the company of large groups. Instead I wanted to escape. I fantasized that my personality would change.

When introverts want to be different:

  • We are allowing others to shape us
  • We are allowing others to tell us what is acceptable in society
  • We are listening to their judgements
  • We are focused on what’s “lacking” inside versus knowing where we add value with our introverted qualities

Think about it,what phrases do you often hear about extroverts?

  • Charismatic
  • Life of the party
  • Social butterfly

What if you did the same with introverts? What would people typically say?

  • Quiet
  • Anti-social
  • Boring
  • Unhappy?

I’ve heard ALL of these terms about me in my introverted life, so often that I bought a book called “How to Be Interesting in 10 Simple Steps,” by Jessica Hagy in hopes to learn how. About 464 Kindle pages later with some and hand-drawn illustrations and decent advice, I was still just me. No book was ever going to help me change. But understanding introversion would.

Focus Where Introverts Win

What would happen INSTEAD if we focused on these traits?

  • Authenticity
  • Deep listening
  • Focus
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Problem solving

These are common introverted traits that add value in our daily interactions. It’s time to focus on where we can win with introversion to believe in ourselves and show the world we ARE valuable with the personality traits we already have. We don’t have to change, we don’t have to act like extroverts. We just need to love being ourselves.

My Commitment To You

With this blog, I hope to provide support to fellow introverts. I’d like to help educate their extroverted friends and family about introversion and why we should be accepted for who we are. Once a week I will post a new entry related to one of the following topics - self-improvement, career, health and happiness all geared toward an introverted audience. My hope is for every introvert to have confidence and acceptance in their lives.

If you’ve felt any of the same struggles noted above, please share this article with your extroverted friends and family. Let them know how you’re feeling, let them understand you better so they can see how your introversion is valuable. What has been your experience as an introvert? Please let me know in the comments below!

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