The pandemic created challenges for everyone, but individuals with certain personality types may have had an easier time coping with some of the challenges it created. While this division may not account for each situation, it does bring up an interesting assumption.
Everyone has had their share of adapting to the new ways of living in the last two years. Is it possible that introverts, the notorious homebodies, had an easier time handling the pandemic than their gregarious counterparts, the extroverts?
Below we cover the key differences between introverts and extroverts and whether or not personality plays a role in adaptability to situations experienced during the pandemic.
What is the difference between introverts and extroverts?
The differences between introversion and extroversion go beyond comparing ‘shy’ and ‘outgoing’. Introversion and extroversion are two extremes on a spectrum that includes many core personality traits. These traits influence how individuals think and interact with the world around them.
The introvert blog explores the many facets of living life as an introvert in an often extrovert-dominated society. Introversion is often seen as the underdog of personality classifications, but both have their strengths in different situations.
Carl Jung was the first person to create a definition and framework for introversion and extroversion within a psychological context. He reduced the two personality types into a collection of four primary traits that existed on the opposite side of the spectrum from each other.
Here are the four dimensions
- Extroversion/ introversion
- Sensing/ intuition
- Thinking/ feeling
- Judging/ perceiving
Views on introversion and extroversion have become more nuanced, and the continuum used by Jung has become more inclusive for those who fall more closely in the middle between the two. This framework is still widely used to find where individuals lie on the spectrum.
Does personality affect adaptability?
Being adaptable is associated with positive reactions to significant life changes. The division of traits provided by Jung and their connection to the Big Five personality traits determine how well an individual adapted to changes that took place during the pandemic.
The differences are not intended to rank the personality types as better or worse than each other, but having certain traits makes it easier to adapt to high-stress situations or dramatic life changes.
Introversion is associated with traits like:
With extroversion associated with traits like:
- Easily distracted
Introverts tend to feel emotions very deeply and contemplate their choices before making decisions, which can make handling new situations, with the addition of other stressors, more complex. Extroverts tend to be quicker on their feet, responding to stimuli much quicker and with more ease.
How well a person adapts to change affects their overall well-being. While introverts may have had an easier time adjusting to changes in their social lives than extroverts, this doesn’t account for the variation of other physical and mental changes introverts had to overcome due to the pandemic.
Introverts may have had an easier time maintaining relationships from afar during periods of lockdown and social distancing. But, traits associated with introversion, like experiencing emotions intensely and struggling to adapt to changes, prevent introversion from being seen as a clear advantage during the pandemic.
There lacks empirical evidence that those who prefer less stimulating environments and thrive in solitude truly had the upper hand. Introverts and extroverts alike had to overcome new ways to socialize, maintain relationships, and enjoy old hobbies in what is now known as the new normal.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interest in mental health and well-being.