People are different, different personality styles, different interests. And we can sometimes want to step outside our comfort zone.

As we age, we may be clearer on our personality and be happy with, for example being alone, but others may want us to change. In work we may have acted ‘as if’ we were someone else, but as we move to later life, we may want great clarity on who we are.

I am happy with stronger introvert qualities, I like the way that I’m happy with my own company and enjoy being lost in my own thoughts but sometimes I enjoy parties, and being sociable, but not for long.

More unusual, as an introvert, I’m open to talking about more personal stuff.

Some academic research looked at, and concluded that Extraverts are happier more of the time than introverts and that prompting people to act more like an introvert, made them happier and truer to themselves. First question, to me is how do they define happiness. I’m happy spending a weekend alone with a book, working on crafts or alone in nature. All of these bring me happiness.

However, further research by the psychologist Rowan Jacques-Hamilton at the University of Melbourne urge caution: ‘Until we have a well-rounded understanding of both the positive and negative consequences of extraverted behaviour, advocating any real-world applications of acting extraverted could be premature and potentially hazardous.’

In this experiment people were randomly allocated to different groups, one group to act like an extravert, the other to ‘act unassuming, sensitive, calm and modest’. There was also a control group who were not given any instructions.

Whilst the initial results show that those who acted like an extravert was associated with more positive emotions such as excited, lively and enthusiastic this was not dependent on being in more social environments.

However, the participants included people who both classified themselves as introvert and extravert and whilst introverts reported some positive gains ‘in the moment’ this did not continue and did increase levels of fatigue and negative emotions. Indeed, the researchers said that not all introverts want to experience more positive emotions.

Should I, and my fellow Introverts put in effort to be more outgoing? I see life as a continued experiment where we are our own observer, so why not see how it feels when you act more sociable in different circumstances and journal about it.

You may also benefit from learning more about your personal style.

Whilst there are many free versions of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator you can get in-depth understanding via the much more detailed Step 2 version which breaks down the 4 main areas into the facets.

For example, instead of an overall view on where you are on the Extravert – Introvert scale, it breaks down into the facets of

  • Initiating – Receiving
  • Expressive – Contained
  • Gregarious – Intimate
  • Active – Reflective
  • Enthusiastic – Quiet

You can read more on my website including a link to take the MBTI Step 2 at a 20% discount (limited time offer).