It seems like introverts are starting to get a little more recognition with books like The Introvert Advantage and cute little videos describing the difference between the way extroverts and introverts perceive the world these days.
To make it short, introverts tend to get their energy from within while extroverts draw energy from the people around them. Chances are, you may fall somewhere in between the two, but for those who scored INFP or ENFP on the MBTI (Myers-Brigg Type Indicator), finding balance becomes a very important topic.
In one of his YouTube videos about the differences between INFP’s and ENFP’s, DaveSuperPowers from INtuitiveTime.com, says that the best way to manage our lows is to also manage our highs.
In the context of Myers-Brigg personality types, this means that those who are introverted tend to experience highs when they spend a lot of time inside their own heads. This leads them to seek out social experiences before they can go back to living comfortably in their own world. If an introvert spends too much time being “high” in their internal world, they will eventually reach a breaking point and then seek out a social environment with just as much intensity, often overdoing it by drinking too much or extending too much energy over a short period of time.
On the flip side of this Jungian coin, when an extrovert spends all weekend partying hard and being with friends, what is considered a high for them (or actually being high), they can easily overdo it and hastily retreat into their own world in order to recuperate before spending more energy being social again. But if the intensity of their socializing goes overboard, they can fall off the face of the earth for more days than their normal schedule may be able to afford.
As an INFP with ENFP tendencies, I’ve got my share of angry friends and family who feel they can never get a hold of me.
In both of these cases, one can see that it is a play between two extremes. When we flip from one extreme to the next—like being alone the entire week without social interaction and then spending the entire weekend with friends to make up for all the solitude—things become unbalanced. Life becomes nothing but a string of highs and lows because we’re constantly swinging from one end of the pendulum to the next.
The best way to manage the low points in your life (the times you feel really down, guilty that you haven’t picked up your phone in days or upset that you decided to get hammered the day before an exam) is to also manage your highs.
People who are super social should try to make time every day to be with themselves in a quiet place (pick up a book, meditate, or create something), so that they don’t feel the need to disappear for days at a time after spending all of their waking time expelling energy with others. People who are very introverted should try to make a phone call here and there or see a friend for lunch to get in some social interaction, so they don’t find themselves at the bottom of a bottle of tequila by the end of the week.
When we’re balanced we’re better able to make good decisions for ourselves.
And that’s a path to happiness.
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Asst Ed: Kevin Macku/ Ed: Lynn Hasselberger