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A mental health expert says rather than putting a personality type into a 'good' or 'bad' category, it's better to say they are simply different.
"Personality tests can be fun to do and usually identify and confirm things that we already know about ourselves. Like all personality traits, there is a very big component that is genetic, but gender, culture, race and life experiences can also be big contributors," says Terry Warburton, the Clinical Director at Recovery of Hope Counselling in Winnipeg.
If a person believes themselves to be only an introvert or extrovert, they may find they have certain tendencies of both, according to Warburton.
"It’s helpful to understand introversion and extroversion on a continuum, and we are usually not all one extreme or the other, but fall somewhere in between. There are those who are very introverted, who are happy to spend a lot of time alone. In fact, a true introvert might tell you that they had a great weekend because they didn’t have to see anyone! Those who are very extroverted, love being with people all of the time. We are all literally wired differently which makes us unique and makes relationships and friendships very interesting."
What are some of the main differences between introverts and extroverts? Warburton shares her thoughts.
"Introverts usually prefer listening to speaking and reading to partying. They are often innovative and creative. They don’t like to draw attention to themselves. They are usually very methodical in how they do things. They tend to notice more details in their environment. They usually don’t like small talk but love a deep conversation. They can have great social skills but prefer small groups. They dislike conflict and crave solitude. Extroverts, on the other hand, enjoy the jolt that comes from meeting new people are cranking up the music. They often make decisions and tackle tasks quickly. They are more apt to multi-task and take risks. Their personalities often exude confidence and dominance. They are okay with conflict but dislike solitude."
Warburton says the world needs both of these types of personalities, each carrying amazing qualities.
"There is something called “free trait theory.” This happens when we will act in a way that is outside of our typical personality for the sake of something we consider to be very important to us. Personally, I lean strongly towards introversion. But I love supporting parents and professionals in gaining deep insights to help them understand the behaviour of children. So I will get out of my comfort zone and run courses and do public presentations. This “free trait theory” probably explains why I can be more extroverted at times."
An understanding of one's personality can bring new awareness.
"Whatever our personality is, accepting ourselves with grace will make all the difference! Comments like, 'You need to come out of your shell' or 'What’s wrong with you?' can be hurtful. Let’s find ways to enjoy what we have in common and celebrate our differences. Sometimes we get hurtful messages that cause us to think that there is something wrong with us. These can follow us into adulthood."
Warburton shares that whichever personality type someone leans to, it isn't a black and white situation.
"It’s not about better or worse, good or bad. We are just an amazing variety of human beings! When we can embrace who we are and the amazing things that come with the personality that we have, we will find it much easier to navigate our lives."