Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


When it comes to building energy, deciding if we are introverts or extroverts is helpful. It helps understand why we like and do not like what we do. If we are one type but forced to operate in the other mode, we likely will find ourselves frustrated, feeling drained. It can happen as society or parenting sometimes pushes us against our nature. Understanding what that nature is helps us avoid that happening.

I am no psychologist; so what follows is my opinion based on personal experience which I thought would start with simple definitions. Unfortunately the simple definitions in the dictionary didn't seem correct to me. So I came up with my own. If you don't like them, you can head to the dictionary for theirs.

Introverts get their energy from themselves. Introverts are oriented inwardly. Extroverts get their energy from connections to other people. Extroverts are oriented outwardly. This is not to say that either cannot operate in another realm for awhile but I am talking about what is inherent.

It might sound like one is superior to another, but my opinion is it isn't. The main thing is knowing where you get your energy and operating enough in that venue to stay strong.

In the United States, the extrovert is most highly praised, ends up heading more companies, and is where most people think everyone should be. Extroverts are also most common.

I think more artists and writers tend to be introverts by nature of the enjoyment of working with ideas from which art originates. It takes time to generate your own ideas or your own art. Not to say all artists or crafts people are introverts but it helps in doing original work.

Extroverts enjoy social settings. Introverts feel drained by them.

Basically this doesn't mean extroverts have superior people skills or that introverts have inferior ones. That's something totally different. Even though it's often thought it relates to shyness, I don't think it does. Shyness comes out of insecurity, is mostly taught, and could inflict either introverts or extroverts. I use the word inflict because I think shyness is an indication of damage where one has been taught to fear others or feel insecure about self.

Shyness might hinder the extrovert the most as it would limit their ability to move within their natural realm; but it wouldn't be great for the introvert either as they might become more reclusive than is healthy based on fear not as a natural reaction to where they refuel their energy.

When I thought about people I know, I quickly realized we cannot judge whether someone else is an extrovert or introvert. They might be an introvert necessarily operating in a more public realm for a period of time or an extrovert who has a special purpose for a time. The searching for a mate could encourage a natural introvert to move more in groups (leading the partner after the relationship is established to wonder what happened.)

If someone isn't sure if they are by nature introvert or extrovert, there are some personality tests, some even online, that can help decide like this simple one-- [Personality Test Based on Jung].

The thing that I think important about knowing is when you understand where you draw your energy, you won't feel apologetic for it and you can best utilize it. When you understand it's more about where you get energy than it is how you interact with others, you can make sure to allow yourself time in the arenas that best serve you.

Also, it isn't about liking or disliking people as individuals. Introverts don't have to be people haters more often than extroverts who might milk crowds for their power all the time not respecting any of the individuals within the crowd.

I am by the way, an introvert which probably if you have been reading my blog for awhile, you already might have guessed. I feel I have good people skills, empathy with others, am not shy, enjoy time with friends, but I never purpose to spend a lot of time in large groups because I know that for me it's draining. For a short time, it's fine; but after it I will need to have that alone time again to recharge my batteries.

Photo above is from Finley Wildlife Refuge. These sandpipers soared across the pond in one big cloud, changing shapes and direction but always working as what seemed a joyful whole. Being an introvert for them would likely be out of the question. Their energy is their flock.

On the other hand, predatory birds like eagles tend to operate more by themselves or with their mate. Although we did see one that same day, it was immature and at a distance. This photo is from the Yellowstone River in Montana in 200
8. I wanta go back!!! Soon!!!


robin andrea said...

Interesting post, rain. I have always been an introvert, and your perceptions about it ring quite true to me.

mandt said...

---Another, thoughtful superb essay. Well done.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Beautiful Pictures, Rain....
I like your explaination of the Introvert and Extrovert....I think I am a combination of both---to some extent, but basically am more of an Introvert. Like you, I need a lot of time alone to re-charge and to create. I have always loved lossing all sense of timme while Painting or Writing or Composing....Being so connected to one's inner self which is where all these creative urges come from, you need that "alone" time. That quiet time. I treasure that. And yet, I also know I need that outside stimulus, too....That social gathering wether it be going to the Theatre or a dinner with friends, etc., etc.

Well said, Rain, as always.

Rain said...

I thought of that when I wrote it that it probably is possible to be some of each. There aren't many things in life that are really black or white. In my case though I can enjoy having large dinner parties sometimes or big family gatherings. I think though I do it more for the energy I feel it gives others than maybe what it gives me although I get satisfaction out of entertaining. I definitely enjoy time with friends in small groups or one-on-one. Being an introvert doesn't mean a hermit necessarily. But where does one get their main energy burst would be the question, I think.

Kay Dennison said...

The photos are awesome -- as always.

Lately I'm an introvert but I'm also somewhat of an extrovert but I'm picky about it.

Annie said...

I heard a definition of introvert/extrovert that is very similar to yours but takes it a step further. Introverts get their energy from inside, and are overwhelmed by energy input from outside. Extroverts crave outside energy input because they don't get enough from inside. Neither is better, it's just a different way to balance energy input. Our culture tends to emphasize extroverted styles so introverts are at a bit of a disadvantage. Unless you are at the extreme end of introversion, most introverts can handle a certain amount of extroverted behaviour when appropriate, but everyone has their own comfort level. I generally test out as an introvert, but I am comfortable and even energized being sociable and outgoing under the right circumstances. I have a friend who looks to me like a raging extrovert but she self-defines as an introvert.

I've met some pretty extroverted artists, I suspect creative energy can come from either inside or outside. Maybe how one expresses creativity is influenced by one's intro/extroversion. Maybe performing arts are more attractive to extroverts? My DIL is very creative and very extroverted. She loves the process of selling her creations, it energizes her for more creative effort.

Your photos are great, the sky in the eagle pic is amazing.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Good post Rain. My family and friends would say I'm an extrovert...a real people person. But, I think I'm a mixture of both. Though I do love the company, conversation and the comradarie of people around me; I definitely have my introvert moments. I find that I'm have more as I've gotten older. I know that I definitely need to recharge and have my alone time more than I ever use to. ~Joy

Annotated Margins said...

Funny, being a performer, most people might consider me an extrovert, especially during a particular rowdy gig. And perhaps, while I'm performing, I am. But when not performing, I'm content. I don't mind being alone with myself—there's a lot to explore.

Rain said...

From what I have read, a lot of celebrities define themselves as introverts. Famously Johnny Carson could get out in front of an audience and interact with his guests with what seemed ease and yet they say he was a very private man who didn't do that at all in his off time; which might mean his energy came from that off time.

I think that is the way to look at introvert or extrovert-- where do you get recharged?

Parapluie said...

On the test my highestscore was intuitive and the lowest was judge. As a creative person I go through both extrovert and introvert energy gathering. As I get older I am becoming more introvert.