A question that I wondered is whether or not the scope of introversion and extroversion that applies to a person could significantly shift. If someone has grown up being introverted, staying at home not caring to do things, could they break this style of life and become a person who is extroverted, and not only goes out and is social, but enjoys these activities that they may previously not have
For the purpose of this blog I’ll be looking at someone who is specifically introverted, not someone who was leaning on the edge and who may be classed with the more modern term of being an “ambivert”.
The simple answer to this kind of question is “no”. According to Hans Eysenck who did research in such a field, introversion and extroversion actually appears to be “hard-wired” in our brains. Our brain chemistry actually dictates these tendencies. Because of this knowledge it looks like it may not be technically possible to “switch” between the two traits, however that does not put an end to such a theory. Just because you will always have some introverted or extroverted tendencies and desires, does not mean that you could not end up learning to cope and adjust to a new style and end up being rated as “extroverted” on a test, even if you are wired to be introverted.
Essentially it is basic human nature that each human has to lean one way or the other, and I am trying to see if it is possible to overlap into the other domain enough that you’d be classified as a different personality type.
The Big 5 personality traits typically rate a level of extroversion and introversion using various sets of personality traits. The majority of the time you want to define personality traits of being pretty static and unchanging, otherwise they really are not personality traits, they are more so effects of the environment you’re in.
There are also many theories and scientific findings that suggest that you’re born with certain personality traits and they cannot really train, however they may adapt or you may appear to have different personalities based on different environments.
Changing of Personality Traits
As just discussed, it is very unlikely that you can ever really change a personality trait. But it sounds like traits can appear often times based on different environments people are in.
Therefore by surrounding oneself with extroverted people often and social environments transitions, abiet temporary transitions to other traits may be possible.
Using this reasoning, someone could likely acquire many extroverted traits, while still being biologically an introverted person. They may even still feel very introverted in situations and want to be alone. However, I’d argue that this can be coped with, just like mental disorders like anxiety and depression, which are often traits that relate to introversion.
You may be able to see where this is going. If you can expose yourself to situations that are extroverted style events, and also to learn to cope with personality traits that may draw you to the introverted side, is there a reason to say that you are not extroverted?
Is this possible?
Is it actually possible? You could argue that someone was really extroverted in these cases and maybe didn’t know it, or that their introverted tendencies were already not strong to begin with, and by modern standards may be classed as an “ambivert”.
Looking at the scientific data I doubt it is really possible to switch between the two, however I do believe the studies that suggest coping is possible, and you can employ a “fake-it-till-you-make-it” approach.
And maybe there is nothing wrong with that either?
In the end it seems to come to the conclusion that while you can’t get away from being introverted, you can try and implement coping methods to be more extroverted. Being an introverted personality does not mean you still can’t desire and want to be social and do social activities. No need to let a label define how an individual must feel or act in their day to day lives.