Personality Types Recharge Differently
January 28, 2023
What makes an extrovert an extrovert? Merriam-Webster defines it as this: “a typically gregarious and unreserved person who enjoys and seeks out social interaction.” Growing up I always wanted to relate to this definition, but because I grew up in a family of introverts, I felt fixed in the category of an introvert. As a child I tended to copy the behavior of those around me, being my family. So, growing up in a family of introverts, I acquired the belief that I too was an introvert. My family also tended to be self-conscious and shy, and so I followed along with that belief. I distinctly remember one time in my 7th grade English class when I was called on to answer a question. I began getting visibly stressed and after a few seconds quickly answered “word thingies.” I felt so embarrassed because everyone knew I just messed up so badly. I thought it was better to be quiet and unknown than have the potential to be disliked or talked about. I felt safe being quiet and shy, I didn’t want to face judgments from others. But, over time I realized being shy and quiet was no longer serving a positive purpose in my life. I felt bored and unfulfilled. This made me realize that I might not be an introvert, since introverts tend to feel better being alone. I decided to make a change and figure out who I truly am.
Since I was going to switch schools the following year (9th grade), I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to face my fears of speaking up in class. I didn’t care if others judged me because I wasn’t going to see them again after that year. I discovered my love for talking. I noticed talking more, made me feel more energized, fulfilled, and happy. This was an important milestone in my journey of embracing myself as an extrovert. Then over the summer of 2020, I decided to work on my confidence, since that had also been lacking throughout the years of being shy. I decided I no longer was going to be affected by the judgments of others. Throughout the school year 2020-2021, my first year at Blake, I discovered the importance of socializing in my life. I began embracing myself as an extrovert more and more each day.
Today, I feel most comfortable when I am talking to others and speaking up in class. I feel so much more confident and happy now that I have embraced my extroversion. Developing confidence and embracing my extroverted personality has genuinely changed my life. I do better in school when I am actively speaking up in class and talking to my peers and teachers. I feel happier when I am talking to people, whether they be strangers or friends. I feel so at home with myself and happier than I have ever been before.
What do you first think of when the word “introvert” comes up? A shy and quiet person? Merriam-Webster’s definition is “a person whose personality is characterized by introversion: a typically reserved or quiet person who tends to be introspective and enjoys spending time alone.” In the 1900s, a psychologist named Carl Jung was the first person to use the term “introvert,” explaining how these two personality types are sorted into how they obtain and spend energy. An introverted person may feel more comfortable being alone and dislike big crowds, prefer to write rather than talk, have few friendships but are very close with the friends they do have, dislike being the center of attention but are observant and make thoughtful decisions.
A few of my introverted friends have agreed with these statements, sharing that they dislike group discussions and are not comfortable with sharing their ideas. This does not pertain to the fact that introverts don’t speak at all, or that there is no room for growth and risk-taking. Taking risks helps a person grow and learn, and introverts are fully capable of doing so. Jack Dillion’ 26 says that “I think overall the teachers at Blake are really good and just school as an institution it does very much award [talking] directly to the classes.”
Some common misconceptions that I hear is that introverted people don’t have friends and they can’t be leaders. Many introverts I know have different levels of being one. Some have characteristics of extroverts, talking loudly and feeling completely comfortable with a group of people. Others on the more introverted side don’t talk as much but are still able to have a good relationship with others, like simple and kind actions. Introversion doesn’t mean an isolated life, but rather being comfortable with being alone. Dillon says “I think introversion is I don’t feel as much of a need [to] converse with other people as much like you’re okay with being on your own for a bit but then, you do enjoy being with your friends.”
A person can still talk and share ideas while being introverted, recharging by themselves in their own time. Dillon explains that “it’s a lot more than a simple binary, one definition that I really liked was, introverts are people who recharge on their own and spend their energy to interact with other people.” Dillon points out the fact that “if you’re an extrovert or an introvert it doesn’t mean it’s going to be that for the rest of your life or even that it’s going to be constant, [people] change and have different moods.”
The idea that introverted people can’t be leaders is false, as very successful people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Albert Einstein Emma Watson, Maryl Streep, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and Abraham Lincoln are more introverted and are able to change the world with their ideas.
I have always hesitated to call myself an ambivert, as it’s such an arbitrary term since no one is 100% introverted nor 100% extroverted. Oxford Languages defines ambivert as “a person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features.” Rather than being constrained to just one personality type or the other, an ambivert might function with a blend of traits from each side.
In school, Saléya Scott ‘25 (an ambivert) noticed that the amount she talks and acts in an extroverted manner in class has a strong correlation with what class she’s in. “It depends on the classes, like when I’m in one class that I have with friends I might talk a lot, or even if I don’t have friends I might talk a lot, but it all just depends on the class,” said Scott. Scott’s level of comfort with speaking depending on which class she’s in could provide an advantage for her, as she finds that in classes where she is relatively quiet, she feels just as engaged with the material, and says in fact, she sometimes learns more, because she’s less distracted. On the other hand, she’s also able to understand the material better by conferring with her peers by asking questions and sharing ideas.
Ella Tutterow ‘25, an introvert, gave her opinion about the impact, or lack thereof, her introversion has on her social life saying“I don’t really feel the need to spend time with my friends every single weekend.” Tutterow also doesn’t “really seek out new people, but still [has] friends” she values.
Rather than “ambivert,” I think of myself as an introverted extrovert. I love spending time alone drawing, reading, watching TV, exercising, and more. But I definitely get more energy from my interactions with friends, teammates, family, coaches, and teachers. One advantage of being an introverted extrovert is that I get to recharge with downtime, but I also have more fun with friends. It’s a different kind of reenergizing, and for me, it’s all about keeping the right balance between the two.