The Myers-Briggs assessment is made up of four dichotomies. Each dichotomy has two letters your more in-tune with. The first dichotomy deals more with how people gain energy.
On page 298 of the MBTI Manual (third edition), 49.3% of the population is extroverted. The remaining 50.7% are introverted.
Being an Introvert
Being an introvert does not mean someone does not like people. Introverts simply need to look within themselves, in quite, to process the day’s bombardment of information. As the day wears on, if an introvert is unable to block out the noise they begin to tire. They can become more irritable. If you have toddlers, think of your toddler when they’re hungry… they can get a little cranky, unfocused, tired or any combination of the three. Introverts, when they’re unable to be in solitude, they start to show signs of a toddler being hungry. The same goes for extroverts, just in reverse.
Introverts process information before they speak. They want to make sure what they say is what they intend to say.
Being an Extrovert
Extroverts recharge by being around other people. You can tell who extroverts are as they typically are the ones in groups of people. If they’re left alone in their own world too long, they begin to get antsy. They begin to seek the company of others.
Extroverts process information aloud. When a thought comes to mind, an extrovert is likely to blurt it out before they think. It’s not that they’re being rude, it’s simply their way of processing the thoughts they have.
How to Pick Out The Introverts from the Extroverts
Observation is your key. As you watch or listen to someone, does it seem they’re taking some time to answer a question? Or, do you notice they’re answering questions quickly or have trouble with hearing silence in the room?
If someone is being thoughtful before they speak, they’re likely to be an introvert. Allow them the time to think before they speak and you’ll get a very thoughtful answer.
If it seems someone responds quickly or has trouble with silence in the room, they’re likely an extrovert. Allow them to speak aloud and give them the time they need to process their thoughts in real-time (maybe the same thought a few times in a row).
You Can Be An Introvert and Extrovert (Sorta)
Ambivert is a common term people use when they’re not sure if they’re an introvert or extrovert. In the Myers-Briggs assessment, you’re either one or the other – you’re either an “I” or an “E.” However, you must remember, the MBTI was built to measure your innate, stress-free personality. What the MBTI recognizes – and this is often what’s missing from so many people who do not believe the MBTI is valid – is people are not static.
People change when stressors enter their lives (the good and bad kind). With changes in stress, comes changes in personality – think back to that toddler again.
I believe people who believe they’re ambiverts are simply in a state of long-term stress that’s impacting the way they function. They’ve been able to adapt to what’s needed at that time in their life.
People who take the MBTI multiple times in their lives are likely to have slightly different outcomes each time.
Which Are You?
There is no right or wrong when it comes to the MBTI. If at any time you read what it means to be any letter combination the assessment comes back with and you don’t agree, it’s your right to find the one you believe best fits you. With one caveat… we all have blind spots. Having an outside perspective gives you a different view.