How Introverts and Extroverts End Up in Conflict

Introverts and Extroverts

Understanding the cause of conflict between introverts and extroverts is half the battle (and half the victory).

First, however, let’s be sure we are talking about the same thing.  Let’s define the two terms correctly:

Extrovert:  someone who replenishes their drained energy resources by connecting with other people and activities or things outside of themselves.

The definition is NOT someone who is “outgoing, the life of the party.”

Introvert: someone who replenishes their drained energy resources in solitude or in the presence of a close friend.

The definition is NOT someone who is “shy and reserved.”

Introversion and extroversion are indications of how you recharge when your energy resources are drained.  When their energy resources are drained, both introverts and extroverts will often show irritability because this is a real human need.  The irritability is a “survival response.”  It is that serious.

The Needs of the Introverts and Extroverts Oppose Each Other

Because the extrovert recharges by connecting with other people, activities or things outside of themselves and the introvert recharges by seeking solitude, there are often fireworks when both need to replace their energy and the extrovert enters the introvert’s space.  Consider the following scenarios.

Introverts and Extroverts In Social Engagement

Extroverts excitedly plan an outing at the local hangout where the music is loud, the crowd grows in number, and the partying extends into the wee hours of the morning.  “Everyone” is going — everyone but one, the introvert.  Or perhaps she joined the group initially and then left after an hour or two.  What’s wrong with her?  Does she think she is too good for the others?  Is she antisocial?  Did she take offense at something?

Or perhaps she joined the group and remained past her level of comfort in order to “fit in” until someone asked, “Hey, what’s wrong with you?” in reference to her withdrawal from the crowd or her lack of joviality.  Then she gave a terse reply and the evening went downhill from there.

Sometimes, even “battle lines” are drawn when energy needs are not met. Irritability is a perfectly natural reaction.

Extroverts can be “space invaders” when they do not understand their own needs and the needs of the introvert.  This is the beginning of many conflicts. If a conflict starts, determine whether this is the cause.

Introverts are “watchdogs” and they guard their space. They can, at times, guard their space unreasonably and must be taught to appreciate the extrovert’s motives and needs, but it does not mean they must ignore their own needs.  It’s just a matter of understanding what is happening and communicating appropriately.

Introverts and Extroverts At Odds Again

A drained extrovert may simply be trying to recharge.  Unwittingly, he excitedly charges into the presence of the introvert who is quietly reading or just absorbing the serene scene around him in an effort to recharge his own battery in solitude.  The extrovert receives a rebuff or a less than welcome response and perhaps even angry words.

Redirection of both the extrovert’s and the introvert’s attempts at recharging is the key to finding peace. The extrovert needs recognition and connection.  The introvert needs peace and solitude. And those who understand both his or her own needs and those of their opposite can help to prevent conflict.  This understanding is a real relationship saver.

One Further Caveat Regarding Introverts and Extroverts

Not only do introverts and extroverts recharge in different ways; they recharge to different levels:

  • When an extrovert is drained, their battery still contains about 25% of its energy because they both lose and gain energy from their interactions with others, gaining more than they lose and thus refilling their energy resources.
  • An extrovert’s “recharged battery” fills to “FULL.”
  • Introverts whose batteries are drained are on “EMPTY” and, therefore, their need is greater than that of a drained extrovert.
  • The introvert’s “full” battery is actually only at about 75% of its capacity.
  • Therefore, when conflicts arise between a drained introvert and a drained extrovert, we call upon the extrovert to give more since they have more to give.

Is a Battle Between These Two Types Going On in One of Your Relationships?

While the “E” (extrovert) and “I” (introvert) characteristics are not a part of your temperament (signified by you two-letter code), they are a part of your type, which is indicated by the four-letter profile.  Do you know your temperament and type?  If not, you can discover it now by clicking on the link below.

Then discover more in INNERKINETICS and improve all your relationships!

You can also read more about introverts and extroverts in the following articles:

Avoid Burnout in Your Fast-Forward Life with this Simple Strategy

With So Many Ways to Re-Charge, How Do You Choose What Really Works?

Your Inner Resources Are Completely Exhausted — What Should You Do?

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