Most people think of introverts as those who either isolate themselves or who when with friends, simply count down the minutes until they can escape to their own homes. On the flip side, people see extroverts as an uber-confident social butterfly who is satisfied and nourished by social interaction.
The reality is more complex than these stereotypes but even at their most basic level, these personality types can complement each other in many ways. Here are some areas where the introverts and extroverts can benefit from each other’s company.
1. You’ll have more diverse conversations.
There’s a misconception that extroverts generally have less meaningful conversations because they’re more likely to engage in small talk.
The truth is that extroverts tend to think out loud while introverts tend to keep their thoughts to themselves. Both forms of introspection are valid and when introverts and extroverts come together, conversations can become very elevated.
They will likely have very different views on the same topic but will leave a conversation having a new outlook influenced by each other’s external and internal perspectives.
Because introverts gain energy from interacting with people in small groups or one-on-one, they tend to be good listeners. This means that they’ll likely encourage you to speak enthusiastically about your interests.
Once both of you know that you’re equally engaged in the conversation you can both be more vulnerable and have a greater appreciation for each other’s unique way of thinking.
2. They can push each other out of their comfort zone.
Many introverts don’t like to attend social events because there isn’t the guarantee of conversation that goes past the basic platitudes inherent to small talk.
But if they were to go with an extrovert, not only will they know someone there, there would also be a guarantee that the conversation will go deeper.
Extroverts are very skillful when it comes to facilitating conversation, so if you’re feeling left out of a conversation your extroverted friend can draw you into the conversation.
Because introverts are introspective and uncomfortable with small talk, there will likely be more silence in their presence. They are initially uncomfortable with a lack of conversation but will develop an appreciation for being in the company of others without needing to talk.
Extroverts can sometimes forget to focus on themselves because they tend to have a lot more friends and acquaintances. Being in the presence of a person that mainly prefers their own company can remind an extrovert that there is great value in solitude.
3. Two heads and perspectives are better than one.
When faced with complex issues introverts and extroverts have different ways of approaching them. Extroverts tend to make decisions more quickly while introverts usually need more time to make decisions.
However, there are cons to each approach. An extrovert might make a decision too quickly, failing to consider the bigger picture and other factors. An introvert might overthink so much that they hesitate to act when action is necessary.
When an extrovert and introvert come together, they can reach an equilibrium. Extroverts tend to be more skilled at verbalizing their thoughts so they can help an introvert articulate their thoughts which become more real and can motivate them to take action.
Introverts can help extroverts to identify the long-term consequences of their decision. Both people would walk away with a well-rounded perspective on the situation and a clearer idea of what to do.
There is a spectrum between introversion and extroversion and most people fall in between. We’re similar in more ways than we are different and the ways in which we differ can only help us to better ourselves.