“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a laplit desk.” ~ Susan Cain
At any given gathering, a group will always form around Lauren while she makes people belly laugh from her hilarious stories and unbelievable relatable anecdotes. She comes alive when she is surrounded by family, friends, and strangers alike. She is the center of attention and dislikes being alone. She organizes and hosts gatherings of all kinds; there is never a dull moment with Lauren! I have been in such groups, and have clutched my side too many times to count as this textbook extrovert wows the casual crowd with her pizazz.
Alli, on the other hand, is an introvert through and through. In a group setting she will sit back and listen while the Laurens of the world do their thing, and will laugh at their hilarious jokes and stories. Alli thrives on connecting one-on-one. She is an incredible listener, asks meaningful questions and truly cares to hear and understand the answer, she absorbs and remembers all sorts of information, she works well on her own, and her alone time recharges her.
Is Lauren or Alli better? Neither! That was a trick question because there is no right answer–both are great human beings, possessing valuable and admirable traits. Whether we are an extrovert or an introvert, we have major strengths and can contribute to the gatherings happening this holiday season!
I feel like extroverts are portrayed by the media as the coveted personality type. We always see the extroverted cheerleader or football player overshadowing a nerdy or awkward introvert. I truly do not see it that way–mostly because my clients are a vast mix (and range!) of extroverts and introverts and I see both groups tackle different issues. In general, extroverts enjoy working in a group, are always ready to try something new, talk through problems to solve them, they find it easy to express themselves, they often feel drained by alone time, they are able to find good in everything and make friends easily.
What we do not see is that extroverts struggle because of their extroversion. They actually need people around them; it is hard for them to be comfortable in their own skin because they rely on others to be happy. Extroverts can be annoying! Some people are rubbed wrong by the loud guy in the room who is incapable of being quiet, and it can cause tension with friends, family or acquaintances. They often take excessive risks, they lack control of their emotions, and they often struggle to be productive and focus on their tasks at hand.
Introverts get a bad wrap. It is sometimes said that introverts lack interpersonal skills, are shy or socially awkward, or are not good leaders. This could not be farther from the truth! Introverts consider things carefully, prefer to avoid conflict, are good at visualizing and creating, are natural listeners, enjoy alone time, and connect with their friends and family in a deep, meaningful way. Introverts likely have a small circle of individuals with whom they are very, very close.
Introverts struggle with unique issues that extroverts do not worry about. For starters, because they keep to themselves, sometimes they are labeled as snobby or weird. They are often overlooked and not invited to events because they are private. Because of their private nature, they do not stand out on social media, may struggle to expand their network, and are potentially overshadowed at work.
As we are well into the holiday season, our extroverts are LOVING life. They are going to all the Christmas parties they can, being the life of the party–as always–and they are staying busy socializing the season away. They are creating fun memories with their friends and family members and that is a beautiful thing! On the other hand, our introverts are steadily and quietly creating thoughtful gifts or getting together with the people they care deeply about. They are connecting on a personal level with their loved ones and are also creating special memories this holiday season. Whether we are an extrovert or an introvert, we have major strengths and can contribute to the gatherings happening this holiday season!
In the end, let’s all act according to our true nature and not try to be someone we are not. The world is full of both extroverts and introverts–it is what makes our societies and families function. Neither is better than the other. Let’s embrace our personality traits to the fullest this holiday season and make the most of it! Happy holidays, dear friends!
Melissa Cluff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.
- Environmental Conscience: Pros and Cons of Being an Extrovert vs. Introvert
- Healthline: Extroverts, Introverts, and Everything in Between
- Healthline: What Is an Extrovert?
- Insider: 7 disadvantages of being an introvert
- Introvert Dear: What is an Introvert?
- Positive Psychology: Introvert vs Extrovert: A Look at the Spectrum and Psychology
- Very Well Mind: Signs You Are an Extrovert