It isn’t just about being shy
If you’re not sure where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, here is the place to assess yourself.
Answer each question True or False, choosing the answer that applies to you more often than not.
1. I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
2. I often prefer to express myself in writing.
3. I enjoy solitude.
4. I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.
5. I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in-depth about topics that matter to me.
6. People tell me that I’m a good listener.
7. I’m not a big risk-taker.
8. I enjoy work that allows me to “dive in” with few interruptions.
9. I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.
10. People describe me as “soft-spoken” or “mellow.”
11. I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it’s finished.
12. I dislike conflict.
13. I do my best work on my own.
14. I tend to think before I speak.
15. I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.
16. I often let calls go through to voice-mail.
17. If I had to choose, I’d prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.
18. I don’t enjoy multi-tasking.
19. I can concentrate easily.
20. In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.
The more often you answered True, the more introverted you probably are. Lots of Falses suggests you’re an extrovert. If you had a roughly equal number of Trues and Falses, then you may be an “ambivert” – yes, there really is such a word.
Why does it matter where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum? Because introversion and extroversion are at the heart of human nature — one scientist refers to them as “the north and south of temperament.” And when you make life choices that are congruent with your temperament, you unleash vast stores of energy. Conversely, when you spend too much time battling your own nature, the opposite happens — you deplete yourself. I’ve met too many people living lives that didn’t suit them — introverts with frenetic social schedules, extroverts with jobs that required them to sit in front of their computers for hours at a stretch.
We all have to do things that don’t come naturally — some of the time. But it shouldn’t be all the time. It shouldn’t even be most of the time. This is particularly important for introverts, who have often spent so much of their lives conforming to extroverted norms that by the time they choose a career, or a calling, it feels perfectly normal to ignore their own preferences. You may be uncomfortable in law school or in the marketing department, but no more so than you were back in junior high or summer camp.
This post originally appeared on Quiet Revolution.