In the popular Masterpiece Theatre show, Downton Abbey, Tom Branson profoundly summarizes his evolving social perspective by saying...
'I don't believe in types, I believe in people.'
My husband Tripp has always protested the famous Myers & Briggs personality type assessment. I, on the other hand, really enjoy reading the results and how my 'type' is interacts with the world. Recently, I've been reflecting on two of the character types - Introvert + Extravert. The M&B definition is very thorough and frames the discussion around whether or not you receive energy from people or solitude.
Most of my life, I've selected answers based on what I believed was true about me. I really like people and feel comfortable forming new relationships. So therefore, M&B assessed that I was an Extravert. Today, I feel very strongly that I always was and am currently and Introvert. And my husband, from close observation is most definitely an Extravert.
I'd like to theoretically suggest a revision to the assessment. An addition of one letter superseding the E or the I. And those categories would be (F) Friendly and (U) Unfriendly. [I use the term unfriendly somewhat jokingly because that's how I would characterize my husband's default response to new social situations].
I feel there's an assumption that Extravert is synonymous with 'friendly'. And similarly, I think there's a misconception that all Introverts are shy or 'unfriendly'. For example, based on our responses to people - one would assume that I am in charge of the Grant social calendar and drive most of our time with people. Nope. Tripp beats me to the punch most weekends and expresses a need to 'get out' and see friends if we've spent a day or two at home. In contrast, I was snowed in with my first son when he was 6 months old, and didn't step out my front door for 4 days. I loved it. I didn't realize how strange it appeared until a friend came over and Tripp honestly informed her I'd be happy to see her after such solitude. And I was!
As a 'Friendly Introvert' I feel more comfortable prioritizing solitude if not especially for the purpose of serving well and being more level headed. Strangely, at home I live very authentically with my two sons and therefore still feel some solitude with them, despite the volume. Growing up, I similarly felt the most solitude and safety at home, so the key may in fact be my home.
Regardless of personality types, and maybe more in the thinking of Downton's Bronson, where is your solitude and where do you draw energy?