Psychological Types – Introversion and Extraversion



In his book Psychological Types Carl Jung conceptualized two attitudes of introversion and extraversion. I’ll keep this nontechnical. One way to describe the attitudes is to refer to them as offering a context for how we approach the world. There is no value judgement attached. Each attitude has its own special place and its own annoying attributes as far as people of the other attitude are concerned.

The Introvert

We all know an introvert. They tend to be quiet and not easily engaged. Yes, they do come in degrees. There are some people who are extremely introverted and some people not so much. But the type shapes the person more than the degree. An introvert is an introvert first and foremost and his view of the world and relation to it is very different from an extravert of any degree.

The introvert directs his attention inward. His personal viewpoint is more important to him than the views held by the people around him. He finds and restores his energy inside himself and rejuvenates himself. It is tempting to be dismissive, but their independence and detachment has its own reward for the introvert and for the people they relate to. They are not easily swayed by the crowd which can be a saving grace.

And with the source of energy being generated within, it means they will limit their relationship with those around them because those experiences drain him or her of energy. But, yes, they do form friendships and they may be deep, rich and anything but superficial. You can share the greatest depth with an introvert. They will not fly away. Just give them some space and time. You can give them energy but it must be in a way that is like a comrade not someone making demands.

Their detachment means they may well come up with unique solutions because the prevailing orientation of the moment may not influence them very much. The intimacy can be intense. An interesting aspect of the introvert is that they may seem to be an extravert in public when they know exactly what to expect and how to be in command. But you may be sure their referent ultimately is deep inside them.

The Extravert

Of course we all know an extravert. They may be the life of the party and will be in touch with a lot of people. While the introvert seeks restoration in his inner private self the extravert finds it in personal contact with others. To the introvert, they are an energy drain, but, to fellow extraverts, they sustain each other.

The extravert directs their attention outward. The viewpoint of their fellows is important to them and they find their niche in the public. Group gatherings are rewarding to them. They build the crowd and the enthusiasm. They have their own special place in the group and weld it together.

They find their gratification in the group and reward the group at the same time. They serve a special purpose because the person to orchestrate the group is essential. They bring us together and mobilize us. It would be hard to imagine a world peopled only by introverts. How dull and quiet that would be. And so we must tolerate the differences and recognize the rewards offered by each.

A Part of the Whole

These attitudes are then a context and condition the relationships with the functions which will be described shortly. The attitudes indicate direction and then we add on the orchestra which they conduct. It is truly fascinating to see the multitude of abilities, orientations and talent which grow out of this system.

Are you clear about your attitude type?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

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