Fact #1: Introversion and extraversion are amongst the most misunderstood concepts about human behavior.
Fact #2: Social skills and personality are not what these are about. Introversion and extraversion are all about where we get energy from.
Fact #3: There is no such thing as a 100% introvert/extravert. We are all somewhere in the spectrum and in the rare case where the split is 50-50, the resulting type is an “ambivert”
How-to?: There are many means to determine this. The Quiet Quiz is a quick solution. If you like digging into the theory, Isabel Briggs Myers’ original work ‘Gifts Differing’ is a must read. Warning: It is a very dense book. There are numerous other derivative books out there.
What does this mean for me?: I think it means three things.
First, a proper understanding of where you get an energy from will help you make many a decision. For example, when I was in my first project, it was very common for the rest of the team (pretty close knit as we were in a remote location) to go out for dinner together. I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to go home and just be by myself.. and I had no idea why. I remember wondering if there was something wrong with me as people had always told me I was an extravert.
Luckily, I had a very inspirational wiser friend who helped me with this and explained why I likely behaved the way I did. And that’s helped me take all sorts of decisions on a day-to-day basis. I can only do few social interactions every weekend, for example, and not feel completely drained.
Second, it will help you explain yourself to others. I know this doesn’t sound great. But, it helps a lot. You could find yourself in a similar position e.g. invited to after work drinks every evening that you desperately want to avoid. I have explained this to people many a time and they have always understood. Of course, it doesn’t mean you cut interaction but I guess we all know that.
Thirdly, your behaviour will begin to make sense to you. And that’s valuable.