Part of profiling my own interests and motivations involves deciding where I stand in relation to other people.
Where do I fit in the scheme of things? Well, that depends on what the scheme is.
For example, the most popular schemes seem to revolve around a Jungian typology of (intro/extra)version. It doesn’t matter if the scheme is realistic or accurate, because all I’m really interested in is how I relate to other people. I need to use the most popular scheme. But the most popular schemes are commercialised, expensive, and beyond my reach.
So I’ve taken this free and easy one from Wikipedia, and added a column for myself at the left.
Extraversion-introversion is normally measured by self-report. A questionnaire might ask if the test-taker agrees or disagrees with statements such as I am the life of the party or I think before I talk. Imagine a questionnaire consisting of ten “agree or disagree” statements. For the first five questions, agreement indicates a tendency towards extraversion, while for the last five questions, agreement indicates introversion. Five people take this questionnaire and answer as follows.
So, where do I fit? Somewhere in the middle. I have both introvert and extravert tendencies, and apparently tend toward extraversion.
But that assessment is based only on the 10 questions above. The questions themselves are faulty to some degree, just through lack of clarity. For instance, am I quiet around strangers? What does quiet mean in this case?
If I am in a queue for the checkout or bus, do I stand silently? Yes.
If I am in a pub on my own, do I sit away from the bar and keep to myself? Yes, but that’s one reason I don’t go to pubs on my own.
If I am at an event, like a seminar or performance, do I strike up a conversation with other attendees? Sometimes. It depends on whether I get a sense that other people are receptive to conversation with a stranger.
So, am I an extravert, introvert, or ambivert? It looks as though I’m the latter. Which is not helpful in identifying my superlatives, my strengths. I’m not about to go around telling people that I’m not particularly driven by either quality. So I need to find a different test, a different scheme that helps me find ways of framing and describing what I am driven by.