The elephant in the room for extroverts is that many introverts perceive them to be.

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What are the down sides of being an extrovert? originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Philip Cobb, Political Worker, on Quora:

I work in an arena (politics) that is full of extroverts. Lobbyists, politicians, media types, all tend to be extroverts by nature. Some of the downsides include:

  • Excluding introverts when surrounded by other extroverts: this is really unfortunate, but something I commonly see; people tend to gravitate towards dominant personalities. When surrounded by a mix of extroverts and introverts, the introverts can get drowned out. That is a shame, because they provide meaningful insight into discussions as well. Think of the extroverts as the fuel for the conversation, while the introverts are the machine itself. They help steer, while the extroverts help push. Without someone to steer, the conversation can go off the rails.
  • Engaging in competitive conversations with other extroverts: we’ve all seen this. Everyone tries to be the life of the party. No one listens to anyone. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. There is no give and take in discussion, only take. Everyone gets annoyed, conversation erupts into petty disagreement.
  • Being perceived as disingenuous: this is the elephant in the room for extroverts; I hate to break it to them, but many introverts find them to be fake. It’s not necessarily that they are fake, but they appear to be to introverts. It’s a foreign language to them; why do you enjoy talking to random strangers in the middle of the day when surrounded by people? It appears that they’re trying to look important to the world, when in reality they’re just doing it for their own well-being (which may involve a bit of self-importance, but that’s not that bad of a trait if it doesn’t become self-obsession).
  • Relying on positive feedback for improved self-esteem: this is another deeper issue with extroverts, but many of them are actually insecure. They would never admit it, but the extroversion is sometimes a cover-up for their lack of self-worth. Constant conversation is more of a means to an end to some extroverts; they’ve honed the ability of self-promotion in a way that elicits positive feedback from others. The conversation in and of itself isn’t what’s enjoyable, but rather the energy directed toward them as a result of it.
  • Being expected to engage in conversation at any time: one that would seem obvious, and one that most extroverts would admit. They don’t always want to talk to people, but they appear to enjoy it which gives off the impression of constant availability. They feel the need to uphold this image.
  • Feeling pressure to create constant energy: some people view extroverts as entertainers. They’re there to simply provide laughs and ear candy for the group. It can even be somewhat degrading at times. Some of them have no problem taking on this role, but it’s not always fun to feel like the weight of the evening is on their shoulders.

I once took the true colors personality test and my results were dominant green/orange. Complete opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of introversion/extroversion. I can identify with both groups at times, and I think most people can to be honest. It’s a sliding scale similar to sexuality, and people who identify purely as one or the other might find life to be confusing at times, thus creating “down sides” to either label.

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