Identifying the Temperaments of Others – A Big First Step in Understanding

Introvert vs Extrovert

Let’s take a step-by-step approach with a big first step in learning: identifying the temperaments of others.  I hope you will find it interesting, helpful and, perhaps, even develop it into a bit of a game with your partner or friends. 


Identifying the Temperaments of Others: Introversion versus Extroversion

First, let’s deal with one of the factors that make up your “type.”  To clarify:  Your “type” is one of four variations of your temperament.  There are sixteen types. There are four temperaments. 

Let’s start with a look at introversion versus extroversion.  This factor causes many of the problems that occur in our relationships with others who are of the opposite type.


Let’s Get the Definitions Right First

While most people define extroversion as “outgoing, friendly, energetic, the life of the party,”  in truth, there are some extremely introverted individuals who display these same characteristics to the people they meet.  Therefore, this cannot be an accurate definition and this misunderstanding contributes to many of the problems.

The terms introvert and extrovert really refer to “how we charge our batteries.”  “What in the world are you talking about,” you ask.  Please allow me to explain.  


Introverts and Extroverts Are Hard-Wired That Way

Each of us is hard-wired in a particular way so that our interactions with other people either drain our energy levels or charge our energy levels.  For example, do you happily go to a party with friends, but after a couple of hours, you find you are tiring fast and want to retreat to a corner — or even go home to peace, quiet and a good book.  It’s not that you don’t like the company of your friends.  It’s just that you are really an introvert and the interactions and small talk have drained your “battery.”  Your battery recharges from within you — usually in quiet times, alone or with a very few close friends or your spouse.  You can (and even prefer) to exist happily on your own for long periods of time.

By contrast, perhaps you are of the extroverted nature.  If you are, the longer you are at the party, the more it energizes you.  To be alone for an extended period of time is quite uncomfortable to you.  Your battery goes flat when you are alone.  You soon find yourself calling a friend to get together, texting, emailing or chatting on the phone.  Interaction with others charges your battery.


There Are Varying Degrees of Introversion and Extroversion

Further to this discussion, there are varying degrees of each of these extremes, but a preference for one or the other defines which type you are.  Seventy-five percent of the population are extroverts.  School is designed around them. Marketers design advertisements to appeal to them.  Produces create movies to attract them.  Introverts often feel a bit left out because of this.  


How Can I Use the Information?

What happens in relationships between these two types if they do not understand each other?  Extroverts often interpret the actions of the introverts as “anti-social” and “dull.”  Introverts often feel extroverts are intrusive, arrogant, pushy, and rude. 

For instance, take the introverted office mate who is quietly working alone in a cubicle or office, happily enjoying the quiet and opportunity to get some “think time” and make some real progress on his tasks. Enter the extroverted worker who has been working on his own for half an hour and just must get some person-to-person time.  So he barges into the introvert’s office to discuss his ideas and “bounce his ideas (think time, to him) off” his introverted friend. 

When this interaction takes place repeatedly, the introvert may react in an apparently “unfriendly” way by ushering him out, closing the door behind the extrovert, and hanging out a “Do Not Disturb” sign.   The extrovert reacts with, “What’s wrong with him?  He’s weird — a real ‘misfit’.”  At the same time, the introvert is thinking, “All he wants to do is visit.  He never gets work done.  He’s always playing.  And he’s always in my space!  Oh, for a little solitude and quiet.”

Can you identify with either of these? Can you see how identifying the temperaments of others can reduce workplace conflict?


Misunderstandings Happen in the Family, Too

The same kinds of situations occur within a family.  Johnny (an introvert) is quietly (and happily) playing alone upstairs in his room.  The rest of the family (all extroverts) are downstairs involved in a very active and rowdy game.  Dad calls out to Johnny, “Why don’t you come down here and have some fun?”  Dad doesn’t understand.  Johnny is having fun — quietly, alone in his room.  If his battery is low and the family forces him to join the group, fireworks are sure to follow — a case of what was intended to be positive parenting gone wrong because of misunderstanding.


It’s Important to Understand Your Own Needs AND the Needs of Others

Identifying the temperaments of others aids understanding.  If you are an extrovert, understand that the introvert likes to be with people too.  However, as their energy level drops, they must recharge in quieter surrounds and with close friends or alone.  Don’t take it personally and do respect their need.   When the battery of an introvert is running low, it goes flat very quickly.  Furthermore, the introvert’s battery goes lower than an extrovert’s battery ever does — even at the extrovert’s lowest level.  A flat battery results in irritability and sometimes anger — or both.  Recharging really is a need.  The introverts are deep, careful thinkers, and in many ways, we desperately need them in our society. 

So, if you are an introvert, appreciate the need of the extroverts to party on and recharge their batteries as they need.  They really are not trying to overpower, invade or monopolize.  The seeming “in your face,” “performing,” and hyperactivity are natural to their InnerKinetics®.   This is how they were made to function, and they serve a very important purpose in our society as well.


Self-Understanding and Understanding Others Helps Us Avoid Conflict

An understanding of the above factors will equip you with the knowledge you need to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.  I’ve prepared a f-r-e-e little guide to identifying the temperaments of others that will help you to identify the temperaments of others.  Just click the button and you’ll get it right away.

It is incumbent upon each type that they understand their own needs as well as the needs of the other person. Each must also communicate understanding and appreciation for the other person’s needs. At the same time, they must communicate their own individual needs so that others do not misinterpret their actions.   With understanding, we can all get along much better.  Understanding is underrated!

If you haven’t already discovered your InnerKinetics (temperament strengths), you can start on an exciting road of self-discovery and understanding by completing the InnerKinetics Adult Temperament Key.  Just click the pretty orange button below.

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