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introversion

You want to go out but your partner wants to stay in

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You want to go out but your partner wants to stay in

Pic Credit: Ambro

Pic Credit: Ambro

You want to go out and be sociable; your lover prefers watching TV. 

What do you do?

1. Compromise

Draw up a social calendar with events you'd like to attend and activities you'd like to participate in as a couple. Let's say there are 10 events in a month. If your partner doesn't really want to go to any of them, perhaps you can agree on going to the Top Five.

Result: Nobody is getting what they really want. You'll be miserable watching Law and Order repeats when you know something more exciting is going on elsewhere. Your partner'll be miserable on the days you are going out - making you also miserable for having to drag 'em out and look at their miserable face all night.

2. Avoid

Who needs friends when you have the perfect relationship? Who needs face-to-face interactions when there are dramas to be witnessed and lived out through the magic of the silver screen and YouTube? You stay in with your other half and spend time together, cuddled up on the sofa. There may even be foot-rubs for a while, if you're into that kind of thing.

Result: Eventually, your dreams turn into technicolor avant-garde chaos, and during waking hours you resent your partner for not paying attention to you anymore. Not even during commercial breaks. You find yourself working late trying to schedule meetings for 5.30 pm, and more often than not you want to scream. You also get too tired to actually go out and do something. This completely confuses your partner, who at this point is trying to understand what's wrong with you, because they never asked you to stay in with them in the first place. 

3. Break up

Life's too short to spend it in front of the TV - you're going out there and finding someone who's also into going out!

Result: Your new lover is spending so much time and money on all their hobbies and friends that there's no time to be had to just relax and be. You wonder if they're slightly mad, and all of a sudden your quiet ex doesn't look half as bad anymore. And if you're really honest with yourself, a) you kind of begrudge 'em the attention, and b) you're tired and want to stay in tonight. 

4. Honor Your Preferences

Understand that your brain is wired to need a larger amount of outside stimuli to feel alert. Understand that you will feel drained and without energy if you don't interact with the actual real-life outside world. Understand that your partner's brain is active and processing most of the time anyway, so having outside stimulation and trying to follow 3 conversations, say, at a social gathering is quite literally frying their circuits. Understand that they feel most alert and energetic when they have time to reflect. 

Result: You go out by yourself, meet friends, do your thang, as it were, and then come home and tell your partner about it. They'll live through you and love hearing stories and anecdotes. And if you invite one or two friends at a time to your house, your partner will slowly get to know them and vice versa.  

Adios resentment, buh-bye miserable face, hello loving encouraging equal respectful learn-from-one-another partnership. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with this or other relationship issues, may I interest you in my MBTI® for Couples? :-) 

Image by metku, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

 

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Jung on Psychological Type theory

Carl-JungSince my blog post "There are no Introverts" garnered a bit of attention, here is a fitting passage again from The Collected Works of CG Jung:

"Recapitulating, I would like to stress that each of the two general attitudes, introversion and extraversion, manifests itself in a special way in an individual through the predominance of one of the four basic functions. Strictly speaking, there are no introverts and extraverts pure and simple, but only introverted and extraverted function-types, such as thinking-types, sensation types, etc."

Jung goes on to say that there could be sub-divisions in each function, e.g. intuitive and speculative, logical and mathematical, or empirical and positivist Thinking. He concludes:

"For the sake of completeness, I must add that I do not regard the classification of types according to introversion and extraversion and the four basic functions as the only possible one. Any other psychological criterion could serve just as well as a classifier, although, in my view, no other possesses so great a practical significance."

I for one can't wait to see what the next few years of neuroscience advances hold. Kahneman and Eagleman already talked about the brain's subconscious systems, and when I see him at the end of the month I'll hopefully remember to ask him if, then, our dominant and auxiliary functions would be located in the neurocortex while the inferior functions are buried deeper elsewhere.

And at the end of the day, is it our consciousness that defines our selves, or our unconscious predispositions? Are we more truly ourselves when we don't think about it?

Don't want to miss mentioning Dario's excellent work in this field either; in case you haven't already, check out his Google talk.

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Only you know who you are, and too much of anything isn't helpful

psych types collected worksLearning about psychological Type is a life's work, and I really enjoyed reading "The Collected Works of CG Jung - A revision by R.F.C. Hull of the translation by H.G. Baynes", published by Bollingen Series / Princeton in 1990. The following are quotes taken without express permission from this book italics are mine. Let's begin with

“Classification does not explain the individual psyche. Nevertheless, an understanding of psychological types opens the way to a better understanding of human psychology in general.”

This quote is über-important, say, in case you're filling in a questionnaire and anyone is trying to tell you who or what you are.

They don't know. Only you know.

It also shows that Type doesn't explain everything, because humans beings are too complex to be ever completely understood. Jung was humble and realistic enough not to insist his way was the only way.

When talking about the importance of balance among Extraversion and Introversion in regard to the cognitive functions Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking, and Feeling, he had this to say:

“In reality, however, these basic functions are seldom or never uniformly differentiated and equally at our disposal. As a rule one or the other function occupies the foreground, while the rest remain undifferentiated in the background. (... A) one-sidedness (of Extraversion or Introversion) would lead to a complete loss of psychic balance if it were not compensated by an unconscious counterposition.”

Does that mean that in an ideal world, we would all have access to all functions equally?

I'm not so sure. After all, isn't it the differentiation that lights a fire under our inner drive to become who we can truly be? Awareness of your strengths and blind spots is crucial for conscious development, and as we see today, Type knowledge has applications in stress, change, anger management, relationship counseling, communication and leadership styles, to name a few. Can you imagine living in a world where everyone is enlightened and able to access all eight functions equally well? All mental healing professionals would be out of a job!

For now, I'd be more than happy if these concepts were taught in Kindergarten so that we raise if not a balanced then at least a well-aware next generation.

 

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Introverting and Extraverting Functions

lotus doodleContinuing on from yesterday, Introversion and Extraversion are only pieces of the puzzle in that they inform how we use the four functions: Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking, and Feeling.

And guess what (again): Everybody USES all of these, but with different levels of expertise.

For balance, all of us use some processes on the inside or introvertedly, and some on the outside or extravertedly. (Those probably aren't even words. See how desperate I am?)

You use Introverted Sensing when reviewing past experiences and memories.

You use Extraverted Sensing when experiencing the current environment, noticing opportunities for action.

You use Introverted Intuiting when you're foreseeing what will be, like a flash of insight or a vision.

You use Extraverted Intuiting when you're interpreting ideas and options, finding patterns and themes.

You use Introverted Thinking when you're analyzing an issue precisely.

You use Extraverted Thinking when you're segmenting, organizing something systematically.

You use Introverted Feeling when you're valuing something, liking or disliking it.

You use Extraverted Feeling when you're connecting, considering other people's needs or society's values.

(Verbiage by Linda V. Berens, more here or at lindaberens.com)

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There are no Introverts

by katmary Books and articles on introversion have received a lot of attention lately, and I'm sorry to say, there's a lot of misinformation out there. I love that we're talking about it, but let's try not to oversimplify the matter, shall we?

Here's my take, and for your reference, I've been certified in MBTI and somewhat seriously learning about Personality Theory, Temperament / Essential Motivators, the Neuroscience of Type, and Interaction Styles for about 3 years. Not PhD expert level yet, but not quite laywoman either.

Introversion and Extraversion, as explained by Carl Gustav Jung, describe

a) how we gain energy, and

b) where our mental energy flows first.

They can NOT be inferred by how many people we hang out with, they do NOT predict how much we talk, and they CERTAINLY don't indicate how many books we've read.

Everybody DOES both, but PREFERS one over the other.

People with Introversion preferences gain energy from their inner world of thoughts, ideas, principles, values, experiences, memories, and visions. When presented with a new object or new thought or new person, they are more likely to take a mental step back to observe. They are still able and likely to be brilliant presenters or trainers when the subject or group is important to them.

People with Extraversion preferences gain energy from the outside world of things, impressions, connections, patterns, ideas, and themes. When presented with a new object or new thought or new person, they are more likely to take a (mental) step forward to interact and involve. They are still able and likely to enjoy down time on their own or with few close friends when given the chance.

Yes, I believe there's also a third group who is ambivalent.

Why am I saying there are no Introverts?

Because we're more than that.

Where we gain energy and how it flows is only one part of the theory. Jung also talked about how we process information and make decisions. He called those the perceiving and the judging functions, there's four of them, and they can all be expressed in both introverted and extraverted attitudes. This brings us to a total of eight so-called function-attitudes.

Since Jung's days we now have some more data on type dynamics (how those function-attitudes interact with one another) and type development (how they show up and when). Dr. John Beebe makes a compelling case mapping the eight function-attitudes on eight different archetypes (representations of persons everybody understands / universal images), and when he strapped EEG caps on his subjects making them go through hours of activities, Dr. Dario Nardi found that people of different personality types use their brain in fundamentally different ways - again, mappable onto the eight different functions.

Dr. Linda Berens first turned me on to paying attention to Type language, and how using nouns sounds and feels more finite than using verbs. Since we're talking about processes, an action word is a better description. "Introvert" sounds like that's it, done. "Introverting your Sensing function" allows for a lot more awareness of the fact that it's happening in any given moment, and that perhaps 10 minutes from now, you might be extraverting your Thinking function. Notice the difference? So, please:

Don't believe the hype and think you can dumb personality theory down to two boxes. There are no Introverts or Extraverts. There is balance between the two, and we can't do both at the same time. All of us use some of our functions in the introverted attitude at least some of the time. And all of us use some of our functions in the extraverted attitude at least some of the time.

 

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Parties aren't always fun

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Parties aren't always fun

Introversion and Extraversion differences offer lots of room for misunderstanding and conflict. To the unaware or opposite-preference mind, Extraversion can look like loud-mouthed, over-the-top, talk-too-much noise. Introversion can look like shyness, withholding information, or aloofness. 

Screen shot 2012-08-23 at 3.17.34 PM
Screen shot 2012-08-23 at 3.17.34 PM

She's so loud! He's so shy!

Introversion and Extraversion differences offer lots of room for misunderstanding and conflict. To the unaware or opposite-preference mind, Extraversion can look like loud-mouthed, over-the-top, talk-too-much noise. Introversion can look like shyness, withholding information, or aloofness. I'm going to go on a limb and say that most people with Extraversion preferences don't steamroll anyone or monopolize any conversation on purpose, and that Introverts don't intentionally keep quiet or exclude themselves from group processes. Many Introverts I know will only contribute something to a group conversation if they have something new to add.

Origins of Extraversion and Introversion

When Jung first discovered and studied these different attitudes to dealing with the world, he was talking about the direction of mental or "psychic" energy. Here are some paragraphs from his 1928 publication, A Psychological Theory of Types:

"My profession has always obliged me to take account of the peculiarities of individuals, and the special circumstance that in the course of I don't know how many years I have had to treat innumerable married couples and have been faced with the task of making husband and wife plausible to each other has emphasized the need to establish certain average truths. How many times, for instance, have I not had to say: "Look here, your wife has a very active nature, and it cannot be expected that her whole life should centre on housekeeping."

He goes on to say that during his many years in practice, he observed active and passive natures, who either seemed to jump in or reflect first:

"(...) there is a whole class of men who, at the moment of reaction to a given situation, at first draw back a little as if with an unvoiced "No," and only after that are able to react; and there is another class who, in the same situation, come out with an immediate reaction, apparently quite confident that their behavior is self-evidently right. The former class would therefore be characterized by a negative relation to the object, and the latter by a positive one."

Different ways of dealing with the world

What this means in every-day terms is that in the first instance of being presented with something or someone new, Introverts are more likely to take some energy inward, perhaps recalling previous situations (introverted Sensing), activating the sixth sense for hidden messages (introverted Intuiting), categorizing information (introverted Thinking), or checking with their own values (introverted Feeling).

Extraverts, on the other hand, may be more likely to focus their energy on the object or person, perhaps fully experiencing the moment (extraverted Sensing), finding patterns and possibilities (extraverted Intuiting), bringing order to the pieces (extraverted Thinking), or harmonizing and finding common areas (extraverted Feeling).

So - next time you invite someone to a party and they don't really want to go, perhaps they have preferences for introversion and would rather spend an evening with you alone or in a smaller group setting, because too many new people to meet and interact with may be overwhelming. And next time you're having dinner with someone and they keep looking around at other diners, maybe they have preferences for extraversion which means they're drawn to stimuli from the outside world, because they enjoy having things to react to.

 

Image by Suburban Prairie, flickr, Creative Commons License

 

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Goal-setting exercises

jc tsp book image"Bring Me Your Biggest Goals for 2010, and I'll Spend One Powerful Day Helping You Master the Proven Success Principles Needed to Achieve Them" That's Jack Canfield's promise for his The Success Principles Workshop, happening in Dallas on February 27th, 2010. If you're reading this today, that's where you can find me. His statement reminded me a little bit of the poem inscribed in the Statue of Liberty,

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I look forward to finding out how many others I'll meet there,

your motivated, your ambitious, eager masses yearning to find happiness and success, the optimistic entrepreneurs of the world. The students who are ready for their teacher, to support them and help unlock the golden door!

:-) Yes, you may quote, but remember to say where you found this masterpiece. ;-)

If big groups of people drain your energy or you can't travel to one of his workshop destinations but would still like some help and guidance to keep you accountable, check out this website for lots of free resources. Your library should also have a copy of his book, and no, I'm not receiving any royalties for endorsing him. I'm not even sure I agree with everything he stands for, especially the whole Law of Attraction stuff. However, I know that a) I'm an extravert who gets energized by people, and b) I set more realistic goals for every area in my life using a coach and sounding board. Doing those exercises in a room full of like-minded people is therefore right up my alley.

I'll let you know how it all went next week. Til then, have a good one!

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Psychological Type Theory

Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961) developed a personality theory at the beginning of the 20th century. He observed and explained patterns in seemingly random individual behavior.

His theory forms the basis for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Tool and has most recently found application in the Neuroscience of Personality research.

Energy

Jung's first observations revolved around two ways people engage with the world.

He defined the term Extraversion (in the MBTI results described with an 'E') for people who gain energy by relating to the outside world.
He defined Introversion (in the MBTI results described with a 'T') for people who gain energy by focusing on their own internal world.

Extraversion does not mean exaggerated, Introversion does not mean shy. The terms describe where our mental energy flows, and are also referred to as an "attitude".

Jung continued, stating that our brain activity is mainly engaged in one of two things: taking in information (a process he called Perception), or making decisions based on the information we have taken in (which he called a Judging process). These two processes are also referred to as the cognitive or mental functions.

Perception

Jung describes two forms of taking in information: Sensation (aka Sensing) 'S' or Intuition 'N'.

People who prefer Sensing 'S' tend to trust information from their five senses. They prefer detailed information about the here and now, as well as practical application. Introverted Sensing 'Si' is focused on past experiences and reviewing, Extraverted Sensing 'Se' is focused on experiencing the surroundings in the moment.
People who prefer Intuiting 'N' tend to find patterns and themes in the information they gather. They prefer general overviews and find possibilities of what the information might mean for future development. Introverted Intuiting 'Ni' is focused on a vision of what might be and foreseeing, Extraverted Intuiting 'Ne' is focused on future possibilities and brainstorming.

Sensing does not mean sensitive, Intuiting does not mean intuitive. The terms describe how we use our brains to take in information.

Judgment

Jung described two forms of decision-making: Thinking 'T' or Feeling 'F'.

People who prefer Thinking 'T' tend to make rational decisions based on logical objective analysis, considering the system and connected frameworks, and may not shy away from a debate. Introverted Thinking 'Ti' focuses on defining principles and analyzing, Extraverted Thinking 'Te' focuses on organizing and systematizing.
People who prefer Feeling 'F' tend to make rational decisions according to the framework of their values, how the decision might impact the people involved, and may prefer to have consensus and maintain harmony. Introverted Feeling 'Fi' focuses on clarifying what's important and valuing, Extraverted Feeling 'Fe' focuses on harmony and connecting.

Thinking does not mean rational, Feeling does not mean emotional. The terms describe how we use our brains to make decisions. 

If you'd like to bring a Type Workshop to your organization or community:

E-mail me

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