In brief: Are extroverts happier and introverts more thoughtful? According to research, extroverts are happier. Yet, I question it. Isn’t happiness an inside job? Being thoughtful does have ties to personality typing, and introverts do appear to be more thoughtful. Read on if you’re so inclined as I go into greater detail.
Definitions: Extroverts and Introverts
These two traits, extroversion, and introversion are how you direct and receive energy — the definitions, according to The Myers-Briggs® Foundation.
People who prefer extraversion like to focus on the outside world, they direct their energy and attention outward and are energized by interaction with people and taking action.
- Drawn to the physical world,
- Prefer to communicate by talking,
- Work out ideas, out loud by talking through them,
- Learn best by doing or discussing,
- Tend to be sociable and expressive,
- Readily take initiative at work and in relationships.
People with an introvert trait focus on their inner world. They direct their energy and attention inward and are energized by reflecting on their own and other’s ideas, memories, and experiences.
- Drawn to their inner world,
- Prefer to communicate in writing,
- Work out ideas by reflecting on them,
- Learn best by reflection mental practice,
- Focus in-depth on a few interests, a few friends, a few hobbies…,
- Tend to be private and contained,
- Take an initiative selectively – especially when the situation is important to them.
Are Extroverts Happier and Introverts More Thoughtful: Arguments for Both Sides
Back to the post idea, are extroverts happier and are introverts more thoughtful. There are yes and no arguments on both sides of these personality functions. My 2¢. I agree with the typology theorists that state:
- Extroverts are happier being in the world,
- Experiencing new things and,
- Engaging with people.
I also 1000% believe happiness starts within. If you’re not a happy camper, I don’t care what trait you have; you won’t be happy.
The very happiness of your life experience, in general, is happening because of the story that you tell.Abraham Hicks, Money, and the Law of Attraction.
So typology, getting in touch with your personality, and inner soul work, in my opinion, is a divided highway. You can’t have one without the other. We are a trinity; a mind, body, and soul.
Are Extroverts Happier? What does the Research Say?
A popular theory holds that extraverts are happier because they find activities more enjoyable. It’s as if they have a more responsive “pleasure system” in their brains than introverts. A study from Research Digest, the British psychological society finds
Wido Oerlemans and Arnold Bakker recruited 1,364 Dutch participants (average age 45; 86 percent were female) to complete a detailed retrospective record of one or more days. The Research used the “Day Reconstruction Method,” which involves the participants recalling the previous day’s activities in chronological order, who they were with, what they were doing, and how they felt during each activity. In total, 5,595 days were examined in this way.
Extraverts reported more happiness than introverts during what the researchers define as effortful “rewarding” activities, such as sports and exercise. Could this be because extraverts were engaging with other people? The report doesn’t say?
- Introverts can be rewarded with activities too, especially solo sports, golf, paddle boarding, hiking … because they’re inclined to enjoy alone time ⏤ which brings them great satisfaction.
The one exception to this pattern was reading – surprisingly, perhaps, extraverts appeared to derive more enjoyment from this activity than introverts. The psychologist suggested the reading reward could be aligned with reading to pass an exam, aka an activity. Still, I wonder about this finding. It’s a gut instinct, nothing more or less.
Extraverts experience a bigger happiness boost (than introverts) when they perform rewarding activities with other people, rather than alone. Yep, we know that, because extroversion gets its energy in this behavior pattern.
- Would an introvert experience a greater happiness boost when performing rewarding activities with a few intimate friends or alone? The study didn’t say, but I bet they could.
Are Introverts More Thoughtful? What Does the Research Say?
A Time Magazine article reports on introverts and the many wonderful assets they bring into the world. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Motor Behavior found that introverts take a longer time to process information than extroverts. Kahnweiler says this is because they process more thoughtfully than extroverts do — they take extra time to understand ideas before moving on to new ones.
The article goes on to report that introverts are:
Better listeners they are reflective and contemplative as a listener. A personal opinion, when you’re a better listener, your responses are well thought out. Their words are chosen wisely
- Extroverts have a need to jump in and actively take part in a conversation before they reach an understanding
Introvert think before speaking. Does that make Introverts more thoughtful? Yes, because they think through what is being said and make thoughtful comments and suggestions.
- An extrovert has a pattern of talking out their problems and not always hearing what others say.
The world’s observers. Most introverts are astute observers, one of the most critical aspects of creativity.
- Extroverts are actively discussing, pursuing, and are busily involved in the situation. All this busyness can lead to overlooking things. Know this is not true for all extroverts when coupled with additional functions.
Are Extroverts Happier and Introverts More Thoughtful?
Who am I to dispute the theories of personality typing pioneered by 20th-century Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Well, I’m not challenging his assumptions, only adding in a spiritual component. I believe the DIVINE intended us to use our mind, body, and spirit. Using one with the other does not make a concentric whole.
If you believe like energy attracts like energy, then, can you agree a person who commits to being happy and practices ways to be happier will find activities, experiences, and interactions with others to be more pleasant? Likewise, if you are an empathic and thoughtful individual, your communications with others will reflect this energy.
So while typology is an excellent starting point, I also believe a spiritual practice is necessary to build a firm foundation.
Understanding the Differences for Self-Growth
Does it make sense then that during vacation when people of opposite traits intersect, a quarrel can occur? Do you, as an introvert, come away thinking what is wrong with them? Do you think WOW they don’t even know me?
Tip: It isn’t about YOU; it’s about your travel mates personality traits. I know that one can hurt, but it’s a big learning lesson.
Would a better understanding of characteristics help you NOT take things so personally? Could you be more understanding, more peaceful? Would you then count on your thinking mate to make a logical choice in a travel crisis?
Now under development is a free quiz and 16 guidebooks that act as tools, to help you unpack your personality using travel vs. a classroom or a masterclass. These e-guidebooks take a deep dive into your exclusive travel personality aka your genuine, soul-self.
Do you desire a new vacation paradigm to gently transform, awaken, and inspire something new in you? If you said YES then you are in the right place.
If you want to learn more check out my interview on Speaking of Travel part of the iHeart radio network with Marilyn Ball. Give it a listen here.
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