Updated: Mar 1, 2019
There’s a book that became an overnight success. The book is called, “Quiet,” and it’s a nonfiction work about the challenges of being an introvert in an extroverted world. Perusing the book has made me realize that not just introverts, but extroverts as well, can struggle from being in situations where they feel out of place. This is because introverts need time alone to refuel, while extroverts must be around people to restore their energy.
And yet life often positions us in situations that don’t work for us because we are an introvert or an extrovert. A friend of mine, Sam, for instance, chose a profession that ultimately caused him a great deal of discomfort.
An introvert, Sam decided to become a psychologist, a career where he was dealing with people all the time. When he returned home at the end of the day, Sam felt depleted and stressed out. Upon realizing that there was a mismatch between his temperament and his job choice, Sam found a position in a mental health job where he was doing more policy and research (solitary work) than direct service.
We may struggle not just in jobs, but in our personal lives, if we are an introvert in an extrovert-like setting (and vise versa). For instance, if you married an introvert, and you are craving more people contact, you may feel frustrated. Or if you prefer to have the house to yourself, and your partner keeps inviting over friends, you may feel tense and stressed.
The first step in recovering your equilibrium is deciding whether you lean more towards the introvert or the extrovert side. Then you’ll want to find ways to de-stress and recover from the day.
For an extrovert, this may mean meeting up with a bunch of friends after work. For an introvert, it may be going home and unwinding with a good book. And if you live with someone in a “mixed marriage or partnership” (that is, an introvert with an extrovert), you’ll want to negotiate how you can each have the type of time you need to de-stress from the day.
(Note: any reference to a person in this blog, or any other blog, is a composite, not a real person.)