Choices of Personality: The Basic Choice

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Are you an introvert or extrovert?




Extroverts are oriented to the outer world.




Introverts are oriented to the inner world












Extroversion / Introversion

The fundamental choice of personality determines your orientation or attitude to the world. Are you going to move towards it or away from it? Are you going to be an extrovert or an introvert?

This choice may be related to temperament. These two attitudes may be biologically influenced. They are initially observed as differences in temperaments that can be seen from birth. Among siblings it may be noted that one child has a higher activity level. One is more oriented to the outer environment. Another child is less active and more self absorbed. Such basic temperamental differences can be the starting point for introversion and extroversion, especially if the family system reinforces and supports the natural temperament.

The critical difference between the two attitudes is that extroverts are oriented to the outer world of people, places, and things while introverts are oriented to the inner world of thoughts, ideas, and concepts.


Extroverts are motivated from "without" and their attention is directed outward. They are people who are sociable, friendly, self-confident and outgoing. They appear relaxed and confident. Extroverts have trouble understanding life until they have lived it. When extroverts are feeling bad, low in energy, or stressed, they are likely to look outside themselves for relief. They might go shopping, call friends to come over, or arrange a party. They are energized from without, and they look for meaning outside of themselves. Extroverts make up about 75% of the American population.


Introverts are motivated from "within" and they are oriented towards the inner world of ideas, imagery, and reflection. Introverts get their energy from within rather than from the outside world. An introvert values quiet time alone for thinking while an extrovert wants time with others for action. Introverts believe that they cannot live life until they have understood it. They are seen as reserved, quiet, shy, aloof, and distant. When an introvert is tired, stressed or feels bad he is likely to withdraw to a quiet place and engage in reflective activity. Introverts look to the inner world for energy and meaning. Approximately 25% of the American population is introverted.

Differences in introversion and extroversion can result in interpersonal conflict. If an introvert and an extrovert in a relationship are both under stress each will use a different strategy of coping. The extrovert will want to go out to a party or shopping while the introvert will want quietness and solitude. As they interact with each other the extrovert may feel rejected while the introvert imposed upon. What reduces stress for one will not for the other. These two people are caught in a type difference but may only see the other person as being demanding or resistive. Learning to understand the type difference can be helpful and open a door to understanding and cooperation.

Attitudes: The Orientation to Life



Energized by the outer world

Energized by the inner world





Acts first. Thinks later .

Thinks and may act.

Values breadth of experience

Values depth of experience

Once an orientation to the world is adopted we must take in information from our surroundings and eventually use this information to make decisions. We are aided in this process by the perceptive and judging functions of personality. The perceptive functions are Sensing and Intuition. The judging functions are Thinking and Feeling.

Learn about the Perceptive Functions


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