I asked someone the other day to have a guess at my personality type.
“Easy! You’re an introvert!”
“Hmm, interesting. What makes you say that?”
“Well, whenever we talk, you’re always really good at listening.”
It surprised them when I revealed that I’m a high-preference extravert.
While they weren’t right in choosing my psychological type along the extravert/introvert dichotomy, they were right about one thing: I am a good listener. They’d simply mistaken this skill/attitude for introversion.
Which made me think . . .
. . . that perhaps:
- extraverts don’t only talk, and
- introverts don’t only wait to be asked.
While I wouldn’t dare to speak safely from the perspective of an introvert, I guess that what makes others think I’m a good listener is simply the very nature of my extravert preferences: I love to know what others are thinking, and I’m curious about their worlds, and I’m interested in them. Knowing about them, learning about them, and interacting with them gives me that high-energy buzz that I thrive on.
And working as a coach where my priority, most days, is to listen to people, I spend a lot of my time:
- listening, not talking
- facilitating, not telling
- nudging, not pushing
Hardly the domain of the high level extravert, is it? Well actually, I think it might be.
When we consider extraversion in its true sense – an interest in, and having relationships with, people, things and events – I’m more than comfortable to say that intrinsically, I need to be with people, to listen to them and to reflect on what they have to say.
But, Carl Jung suggested that no one lives completely as one type or the other.
So, yes please . . . allow me to draw energy from you. Feel able to talk at me.
And then, in moments when I’m not coaching . . . when I’m putting my high energy extraversion into perspective . . . when I’m working with you as my colleague, or relaxing with you as my friend . . . please know that I’d occasionally like to be asked.
It’s OK to ask me some questions too . . . please, sometimes I like to be heard.