For most of my life, I’ve been the extroverted friend to countless introverts. As a result, I’ve always noticed the differences—both obvious and subtle—between the ways extroverts and introverts manage stress and anxiety.
Though movies, televisions, and books generally portray extroverts as more carefree, the reality of extroversion and stress management relies on the outside variables of their environment.
WORK: STIMULUS AND SOCIETY
According to Dr. Nigel Barber, extroverts are “stimulus hungry.” This means that, unlike introverts, extroverts are more likely to work in places with lots of people—say, a bustling coffee shop. Introverts, on the other hand, are more often then not overstimulated, so they search for quieter areas to work.
In regard to stress and anxiety, it may seem that extroverts handle stress better, when in reality, they just work better in places where they’re more likely to be seen.
FRIENDSHIP: STIMULUS ON A PERSONAL LEVEL
Jumping from work to personal relationships, the interaction between stress and extroversion/introversion should be noted when it comes to friendship.
If you’re an extrovert, understand that maybe the best way to “de-stress” is to go out and hang out with friends in places like busy coffee shops, concerts, and parties. It’s totally normal to get tired from staying in (it took me a long time to figure this out as well).
If you’re an introvert and friends with an extrovert, know that your extrovert friend may get stimulus hungry or tired doing quieter activities—this, in turn, might stress you out. The stress is okay and totally normal, and as long as you communicate with your friend and talk about your personal needs in regards to stress and anxiety, you two can find a compromise.
Compromises include going out to busy place that feeds the under-stimulated party, and then staying in after to de-stress the overstimulated party; hanging out with smaller groups of people; and in general, just finding common ground.
SOCIAL ANXIETY AND EXTROVERSION
A demographic of extroverts that is commonly misunderstood are those with social anxiety. Extroverts are oftentimes generalized as being inherently social, when in reality, extroversion just means gaining energy by being around other people.
Extroverts with social anxiety, however, become more anxious when around groups of people. This fosters a dilemma between choosing to put themselves in situations where they’ll feel anxious or choosing to separate themselves from people at the risk of lethargy and depression.
Extroverts with social anxieties thus have different methods of dealing with anxieties that include keeping track of their familiar safe spaces, building a support system, setting goals for themselves regarding their anxieties, being mindful of their anxiety, etc.
Note: Stress management and anxiety are very idiosyncratic things that vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about personal issues regarding stress management and anxiety, consider doing more research on the specifics of your concerns and speak to a professional if you have any more questions.
Do you think extroversion leads to a less stressful lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below, and join the community at Hey! VINA on the app store.
(Featured image via Jenavieve Belair)