Extraverted? Here's how to be more quiet and reflective.
Melissa, MBTI Marketing Manager
You’ve probably seen articles like “Introverted? Here’s how to be more social.” They’re fairly common, but what’s not common are articles suggesting how those preferring Extraversion can be more like Introverts.
In American society (and many other Western cultures), extraverted behaviors are valued more than introverted behaviors. And while we (at The Myers-Briggs Company) work hard to convey the value of introverted behaviors (because they're equally valuable), you don’t often see articles expanding on how those preferring Extraversion could actively try to utilize the positive behaviors of their introverted neighbors.
In fact, I took a screenshot of a tweet from @tomandlorenzo and saved it to my phone for this exact purpose. They were commenting on the O The Oprah Magazine article titled, “Introverted? Here’s how to be more social” suggesting “just once I’d like to see an article like, 'Extroverted? Here’s some tips on how to be quiet and reflective.'" And here it is!
Before the advice, it’s important to point out that even if you have a preference for Extraversion (your MBTI type is ENFJ, ENFP, ENTJ, ENTP, ESFJ, ESFP, ESTJ, ESTP), you actually do already have an introverted part to your personality.
The seen and unseen parts of personality and type dynamics
Myers-Briggs personality type goes much deeper than just describing four preferences. Just as MBTI type describes one part of the many, many parts of what makes you unique, your four-letter type tells you more about your personality than what each of those four letters describes.
How these preferences interact is called type dynamics.
Let’s use the ENFJ Myers-Briggs personality type as an example.
The letters ENFJ stand for Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging. Those with ENFJ preferences make up about 2.2% of the world’s population, and are known for having a great awareness of others, finding happiness in being part of a group and being overall friendly and personable.
And yes, they prefer Extraversion. But Extraversion and Introversion are not only how you’re energized, but also how parts of your personality are expressed. They're nouns and verbs.
Everyone (all MBTI types) has parts of their personality they introvert and parts of their personality they extravert. Carl Jung himself even said, “there’s no way any one man could be 100% Extravert or 100% Introvert, that person would go insane!” So there’re parts of your personality that you outwardly show to others (what you extravert), and part of your personality that’re internal and you work through in your own head (what you introvert).
For those with ENFJ preferences, the part of their personality that they extravert is the Feeling preference. ENFJ types are typically seen by others as warm, enthusiastic, energetic and very aware of others. One of the reasons that they're seen this way is because the behavior that they express outwardly to others (aka extravert) is that Feeling preference. And the Feeling preference is primarily concerned with how decisions and actions affect other people.
They use their Feeling preference externally, radiating compassion and energy. Extraverted Feeling is the ENFJ type’s favorite process. It’s the strongest part of their personality. And the part that’s most developed compared to the other parts of their personality.
But, back to ENFJs.
The strongest part of the ENFJ’s personality is extraverted Feeling, also called the favorite function.
The second favorite function (second most developed part of their personality) is introverted Intuition.
Yep – ENFJ’s (and all Exxx types) have an introverted side to their personality.
So why don’t we see that side? Why aren’t those behaviors more obvious? Two reasons.
First, introverted functions happen primarily inside the mind. They’re a pattern or way of thinking (according to Myers-Briggs theory they’re either a way of taking in information or making decisions) that happens in a completely internal manner.
Second, because these second favorite functions are not the most developed part of that person’s personality, they’re not used quite as often as the favorite preference. Notice I didn’t say that they’re RARELY used, or NEVER used.
PS: This is also why it’s often SO FRUSTRATING for those who understand the basics of type dynamics when people claim that they’re an ambivert, or use Jung’s above quote to say that the MBTI assessment is invalid.
Extraverted? How to practice using your introverted side
How can those with extraverted personality types tap into their introverted sides?
How can Extraverts actively practice introverted behaviors for their own personal development?
Glad you asked! Below are two ways all Extraverts can flex their introverted side. Also below are recommendations for each of the eight extraverted personality types detailing each of their second favorite functions and how to develop that part of their personality further.
Two ears and one mouth? Try that ratio in your actions
Most of us have two ears and one mouth. In your next interaction with someone else, try focusing your behavior in line with that ratio.
Listen to others twice as much as you speak.
This works in group settings or in one-on-one communication. Be mindful about the amount that you’re speaking out loud and try to cut back so that you’re only speaking half as much (or less) than the other person or people. And don’t worry if there’re long pauses or bouts of silence. Many of us find silence uncomfortable. That could come from a the society you were raised in, the family that was around you growing up, and what all those around you told you directly or indirectly was valuable.
Here’s where I let you in on a little secret that a lot of MBTI experts know: in group settings, most people with introverted preferences think through the bulk of their comments, questions and thoughts they want to talk about BEFORE they say them out loud.
Picture a group setting, maybe a classroom or workplace brainstorming meeting. The teacher or meeting leader asks a question to the group.
Those with extraverted preferences who want to answer will immediately shout out or raise their hand. They have an idea and their hands shoot up (or in brainstorming, they’ll immediately speak up) because they want to say their answer out loud even if it’s not fully formed. Because isn't that the point of brainstorming?
But it doesn't work the same way for most people preferring Introversion. When the question is asked, those with introverted preferences (ISTJ, INTJ, ISTP, INTP, ISFP, ISFJ, INFP, and INFJ types) are going to think about their answers. They’ll mull it over usually more than once until they’ve got that answer mostly or fully formed. Or maybe they’ll consider a few potential right answers and pick the best one. Then and only then they’ll raise their hands or speak up.
In our team development workshops, our MBTI experts help people, managers and leaders understand that once the Extraverts have spoken, leaders or teachers should wait at least 8 seconds (or count to 10 in their heads or under their breath), before continuing on. Usually around the six-second mark, those with introverted preferences will share their thoughts.
Imagine what you could learn from those around you if you actively tried to stop sharing your thoughts, stopped talking, and just waited. And listened.
Tap into your second favorite function (aka your introverted function)
All those with extraverted preferences have a part of their personality that they introvert. If you know your MBTI personality type, check out the list below. Then for the next few days, try to focus on that part of your personality. Notice when ideas comes into your head, or when you’re thinking through taking in information or making decisions internally. Try using that internal part of your personality more in your everyday interactions.
Your second favorite function is introverted Thinking. You generally use this part of your personality when thinking through something quickly and logically to solve a practical problem.
The next time you need to solve a problem, try to work through it internally first, from beginning to end, before expressing it verbally. But once you have solved it, don’t forget to let others know the answer.
Your second favorite function is introverted Sensing. You generally use this part of your personality when storing specific, realistic data about the real world to refer back to when you need it.
The next time you’re doing something that has a sensory component (exercise, cooking, crafts, etc.) try to pay particular attention to the details and take a moment to think about the last time you did something similar.
Your second favorite function is introverted Sensing. You generally use this part of your personality when storing detailed, specific information about people.
The next time you meet someone in person, take a moment to think about what you experienced the last time you met them, or the last time you were in a similar situation.
Your second favorite function is introverted Feeling. You generally use this part of your personality when setting priorities that have to do with people and their needs and when thinking through what’s actually important in life.
The next time you’re working with someone else, practice thinking about what the biggest thing that person might need or what would help them most. Take a moment to think about what might be important to them, and to you – your values. Don’t express this verbally, but make a mental note for yourself about the person for later.
Your second favorite function is introverted Feeling. You generally use this part of your personality when organizing info and insights about people that could help them become the best version of them.
The next time you’re in a group setting, pick out a few of the people closest to you and think about what you know about them that would help that person reach their potential. What’s something that you might know or have observed about these people that they might not know themselves? And does this reveal something about yourself you hadn’t thought of before?
Your second favorite function is introverted Thinking. You generally use this part of your personality when logically finding the errors or problems in ideas or plans.
The next time you’re working on a project, notice when you’re mentally critiquing the plan or first finding errors within the project. Don’t express them outright at first, but when it’s time let others point out what issues they see first, and then compare them against what you thought about before sharing your own points. Make sure that once you make a decision, you let other people know why you made it.
Your second favorite function is introverted Intuition. You generally use this part of your personality to think about new ways for people and groups to get to their potential.
The next time you’re meeting with someone in person, think about what that person’s ideal future might be like. And what sort of things you know about them that could help them get to where they want to be. But don’t let yourself be pressured to talk about your ideas until they are ready.
Your second favorite function is introverted Intuition. You generally use this part of your personality when seeing patterns and potential in both the present moment and in the future.
The next time you’re working on a project, try to map out the possibilities for the project in your mind. What’s the best case scenario for success in this project. What’s the goal and how does that connect to where you are with the project in the present moment. Don’t be tempted to rush this.