What Gives You a Lift

My dad gave me a clear example of extraversion, in the Jungian sense.

He gave a short introductory speech at a gathering of the local Kiwanis chapter. There was nothing special about the occasion, but I can imagine my dad was quite professional about it. Afterward, another member said that in the 10 years he has been a member that was the best speech he has heard. My dad told me that gave him a ‘lift’.

That is Jungian extraversion. It is when social activities give you energy, on a regular basis. That is why my dad belongs to Kiwanis, even having been the president last year. It’s why he is often in leadership positions in whatever church he belongs to. It’s why he was a professor, before that a manager, and before that an army officer. He seeks out social situations that will give him that ‘lift’. It makes him feel good.

He claims he didn’t used to be an extravert. I doubt that is the case. It’s probably that he didn’t used to have the social skills and so was more shy, a separate issue from Jungian extraversion/introversion. But if he hadn’t been an extravert, he wouldn’t have been motivated in the first place to learn those social skills.

As an introvert, I have less desire to learn them. That is because if someone gave me a compliment like that it wouldn’t likely give me the same kind of ‘lift’. Social situations are more tiresome than uplifting for me.

It’s not a matter of liking or disliking people. An introvert may like people just fine. And an extravert may despise people.

These psychological traits can express in many ways, someteimes in stereotypical ways but not always. An extravert, instead of giving speeches, may quietly volunteer at a soup kitchen or play on a sports team. Being an extravert doesn’t necessarily mean taking on leadership positions and being the center of all attention, any more than being an introvert means hiding from people and always avoiding social situations.

Most basically, it’s about what gives a person energy versus what tires them out. It’s that simple.