There seems to be a rise in the amount of recent research being conducted about whether we are ‘introverts or extroverts’. After reading the cover story article in Time magazine’s February 6, 2012 issue, entitled “ The Power of Shyness”, I asked myself a few questions. Why are both these personality types on the same scale? What do we do as the reader, with our new revelation about where we ‘fit’ on this scale. The author did a great job highlighting the definitions of introvert vs. extrovert. He continued to identify prominent figures in our modern day society as well as people we honor from our past. And finally he offered a quiz to help the reader evaluate whether we could identify as an introvert or extrovert.

It was truly a fascinating article. I learned the spectrum between both of these personality types and where I fit on the author’s scale. I had two problems. One was, I found out I was an ‘Introvert’ when I had thought I was an ‘extrovert’ my entire life. Did the definition change? Or have I changed? The second problem I had was the scale the author used. It wasn’t that it was a faulty spectrum; it was that I completely disagreed with it entirely. Maybe he used what most experts in the field, had already established, but to me, it sent up some red flags. This is why.

I think any well-rounded, well-adjusted individual would fall in the middle of this spectrum he outlined. I know that future employers want both qualities in the same person. An employer wants a team player that can lead as well as someone who can thrive in a solitary or strictly independent environment on certain projects. They want it all. Most people know this and will work hard to be as versatile as possible. My thought after learning that I wasn’t who I thought I was, was I have very strong qualities of both personality types and therefore it eliminates the possibility of being ‘somewhere in the middle’.

The article continues to assert that being an extrovert is overrated. Being noisy is often associated with being an extrovert. But, as he points out, being noisy isn’t an admiral quality. True, there are many good qualities with both personality types. An introvert will work well alone, while an extrovert will thrive in a team environment. But as the author outlines in this article, an extrovert does not necessarily work well with others, they just talk more and are louder than others on this scale. My quest in discussing this issue is to dissect the scale. The importance of where you identify yourself is the key to how you relate to others based on what you think of yourself.

Why must the scale be with introvert on one end of the spectrum and extrovert on the other? Having strong qualities means that you are on both ends of the spectrum but the spectrum isn’t equal. Nor should it be. The spectrum highlights extremes and both extremes are just as important if not more than just having a little of both. I find more comfort knowing that I am both and both are independent of each other.
In order to identify who you are, the quiz asked questions like “Do you find that large social events or gatherings give you energy or zap energy from you?” An introvert would feel that a large party or social event would completely exhaust them, while an extrovert would thrive in that environment and actually get energy from it. Like most people, I can step up to the plate and be 100% engaged during a large-scale event and completely enjoy it, but feel tired afterwards. Where does that fit on this scale?

Being both an extrovert and an introvert as defined by the author is the best place to be, not in the middle. So I learned something new about myself from the author’s perspective and spectrum. I learned that I have very prominent personality types in both introvert and extrovert…I just challenge that because I have both, I am in the middle somewhere. I prefer to have both be strengths and know exactly when to be loud and when to sit down and shut up.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Ruiz was born in Boston, MA, raised in New York City and graduated from the University of Connecticut with two degrees. She obtained her degrees in Communications and Psychology. Through her own personal tragedies and struggles Sarah married young and had two beautiful girls. Even though her marriage failed, her devotion to her graduate education and her girls was unsurpassed. With her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in analyzing foreign markets, and a new career opportunity in MD, she moved to MD where she met and fell in love with Enrique. Today, Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband and their children, researching, writing and publishing articles and books.