So, you might not have noticed, because it's not obvious and I don't mention it much, but I'm a bit of an extrovert...
Ha! I am, in fact, quite literally 'off the scale.' (Seriously, I did some sort of test once and somehow my score was beyond the 100% line...)
When I first discovered, years ago now, the real difference between extroverts and introverts, I was fascinated - it all suddenly made sense! Before that, I think I'd just fallen into the trap (that you used to see perpetuated a lot, although less so now), of thinking that extrovert = outgoing and confident, and introvert = shy and withdrawn. That's not really the case at all, it's actually far more interesting and complex than that.
I learned then a method that I still use now if I'm explaining this to people who aren't sure which they are. 2 questions:
1) If you've been working all day and are tired, how would you most like to relax and wind down? a) by going out and meeting up with lots of friends; or b) by curling up on your own with a book.
2) If you have a big decision to make, or a problem to work through, what's the best way for you to do that? a) by chatting it through with other people; or b) by some time on your own to mull it over.
As = extrovert, Bs = introvert.
Obviously it's all a bit more nuanced than that in reality, and some people find themselves somewhere in the middle, or one side sometimes and the other side other times.
For me though, I'm extrovert all day long! It sounds a bit mad to those people who aren't the same way, but those who are will totally understand:
- I don't know what I think about something until I've said it out loud. Sometimes I hear myself speak and am quite surprised to find out what I think! This can be disconcerting for other people in meetings, especially ones I'm chairing - I have to make sure there's a disclaimer at the beginning about 'thinking out loud.'
- I can't make a decision without talking about it. Often I don't even need the other person to say anything, but the process of saying it out loud helps me to decide.
- I can't process or work through any stuff unless I have someone to talk it through with. That's a bit of an issue in a year which has been packed full of All Of The Stuff. (Spare a thought for my Bubble Of Joy who are faced with an extreme amount of splurging every time I visit).
- I don't really know how I'm doing unless I say it out loud. People will ask 'how are you?' and I invariably think 'hmm, how am I?' I then start to reply, and discover the answer at about the same time as they do.
- I get my energy from other people. It took me really quite a long time into this whole pandemic thing to realise that was one of the reasons why I was so exhausted (I mean there are lots of other reasons too, who isn't exhausted?!). But I simply was not getting enough energy from other people to keep me going. (A good (introvert) friend of mine observed early on that Zoom is too much people for the introverts and not enough people for the extroverts!).
- I prefer to do about 12 different things at the same time, because it genuinely helps me to concentrate better on each of them.