Is it better to be an introvert or extrovert? Great question. I’m glad you asked. Being an introvert myself I tend to think we are…just kidding. The short answer is neither. And here’s my take on why.
Deciding whether you are an introvert or extrovert has become very popular lately. We like to place ourselves, our friends and our family into “either-or” and from there use it to explain all our actions.
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Is it better to be an introvert or extrovert?
I can admit some of the jokes are true. Introverts do prefer to stay at home and read rather than go out. And on occasion extroverts may “talk you to death.” But too often we take sides instead of recognizing both personalities have good qualities. We then use our differences to divide instead of allowing them to sharp each other.
Growing up my family had many jokes about introverts and extroverts, except we called them the “I’s and the “we’s.” Interestingly, all the women in my family align closer with “I’s” or introverts, while the men are closer to “we’s” or “extroverts.” Keeping with tradition my husband is more extroverted than I am, proving that opposites do attract. And that we like and need people that are different than us.
It’s my extroverted friends who will come over at the drop of a hat, are up for any adventure, and are my biggest cheerleaders in life. Their enthusiasm can be infectious and they are everyone’s friend. I know I need my outgoing, people-loving friends.
Introverts may have fewer friends but they will love them and want the best for them with an intensity that makes you want more introverted friends. They also make great roommates and house guests because they will never overstay their welcome and are great listeners!
Strengths in the Workplace
We may differ in personality, but we can also bring our different strengths to the workplace. Need someone to greet visitors at the office or talk to people on the phone for long periods of time? Extrovert. Need someone to quickly complete a task by themselves? Introvert. Although there are introverts and extroverts in every career, we do tend to gravitate towards certain jobs. You’ll likely find more extroverts in performance arts, or even CEO’s. Many authors, speakers and engineers meanwhile, are introverts.
We also have different strengths to bring to the church body and both are needed to make it whole. The Church needs out-going people to the lonely, broken or new person. We also need the prayer warriors and bible scholars who can devote hours to studying and praying and find joy in it.
After all, Jesus was neither an introvert or an extrovert.
He never said, “Oh man, these disciples are really wearing me out today. I think I’ll pretend to be asleep in the bottom of a boat during a storm so I can recharge.”
Nor did he say, “I’m feeling so lonely today. I wish I had 5,000 people to feed just so we can chat and hang out all day!”
Instead, He welcomed little children, beggars, sinners, lame men, blind men and adulterous women. All were treated with love and kindness. He listened, spoke truth and served – even washing the feet of His disciples. He lived our His commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).
But occasionally He also spent time alone with his father. He needed to hear from God himself as we need to do too. No one can have a relationship with Christ for us and we must put in the effort to get to know Him ourselves.
“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:15-16).
He was neither an introvert or extrovert but demonstrated qualities of both. Can we learn something from that? I think so. Instead of feeling special that we’re “popular” or a “deep thinker” we should learn from our brothers and sisters who have different personalities. How do they reflect Christ’s work in them and how can we too?
Although it doesn’t come naturally to me I often pray for God to fill me with more love – and yes even energy – to pour out on others. Meanwhile, my extrovert friends have confessed their struggle to read their bible daily, or pray alone – especially when they’d rather just be hanging out with their friends. But just because these things do not come naturally to us, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue them. I believe God wants us to be both.
He desires that we read His Word fervently, meditate on it and draw closer to Him through solitary time. Yet we’re also called to take what we learn and put it into practice in the world – loving people, speaking the truth and serving.
For more inspiration on living as an introvert in an extrovert world, pick up the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World that Can’t Stop Talking.
Let’s put aside our “us vs them” mentality because neither personality is better – just different. Instead let us praise God for making us how He did, and thank Him that we can learn from each other.
Introverts, unite. Separately.
Introverts and extroverts unite!