Later I will add the other three dichotomies and their facets. This is the first dichotomy, and once I have added them all, I will post them as my first article contribution to PerC. I am posting them first here for discussion and evaluation as I go. I will try to do at least one dichotomy a day.
The Extraversion-Introversion Facets
The five facets of the Extraversion-Introversion dichotomy are Initiating-Receiving, Expressive-Contained, Gregarious-Intimate, Active-Reflective, and Enthusiastic-Quiet.
This core facet of the E-I dichotomy is broad and general and describes a person's basic orientation to communicating and connecting with others.
People at this pole get pleasure from mingling with others in large or small gatherings. They enjoy connecting and helping people in a group make connections with others. They are particularly adept at and enjoy the light conversation characteristics of receptions, meeting breaks, and formal and informal parties. Connecting with people they already know, even if only briefly, is also an essential part of the process. At large social gatherings, they are usually quite comfortable introducing themselves to people they may have heard about but do not yet know. In doing so, they are adroit at finding some common ground from which to get to know the other person.
Initiating people are able to keep a conversation going. They can talk to almost anyone indefinitely and have the socially relevant information that is useful in unstructured settings. They enjoy mixing, so they tend to seek others out. They may even feel somewhat stifled if they can't easily circulate and make contact with a lot of people in informal group settings. They will readily move on to new connections in a conversation as they are good at starting up a dialogue. However, they keep a continuous lookout for new people with whom to make contact. Once initiating people see someone they have not yet had a chance to connect with, they will often wrap up their present conversation and move on to the next person. Initiating people also help facilitate interaction among others. They enjoy "getting things going" in a social situation and often have the kind of information that helps them make such connections.
People at this pole are much more comfortable letting conversations come to them than initiating contact. This is particularly so in a group and with people they don't know. At social gatherings they are much more likely to be introduced to new people than to introduce their friends or acquaintances to one another. They are more comfortable talking to people they know than making new connections. Part of their Receiving approach stems from the effort it takes to keep a conversation going with someone with whom they seem to have little in common. In addition, their Receiving approach makes it unlikely that they will have enough common ground for a lengthy conversation with someone they don't know. However, Receiving people are often introduced by an Initiating friend to someone who values their unique job, expertise, personal background, leisure activity, or travel experience. Then this happens, the Receiving person is quite able to talk at length with a new acquaintance because the discussion centers on a topic that he or she knows in depth and enjoys sharing. Unlike Initiating people, Receiving people may feel uncomfortable and adrift in informal group settings if they are not anchored by a known person or topic. As a result, they may literally corner someone they know and spend as much time as possible in conversation with that person.
This facet's focus is on communicating one's emotional state, feelings, and experiences.
People at this pole are quite ready and willing to share their feelings, thoughts, personal history, interests, and opinions with others. Indeed, they feel that not doing so would be dishonest and possibly damaging to the health of their relationships. They prefer open and honest communication and are forthright about expressing their feelings. In a meeting or group setting in which an uncomfortable but unacknowledged feeling is circulating, and Expressive person is often the one to bring that feeling into the open. The whole group is then able to deal with it. Expressive people seek two-way and open conversations about feeling states. If a relationship lacks this essential characteristic, they may experience it as not complete or genuine, and usually will say so. They are therefore easy to get to know since it does not take long for them to make their feelings and views known. Their openness also includes whatever aspects of themselves are relevant to the conversation, situation, or relationship at hand. At its best, this facet if Extraversion in its most sincere and genuine form. It is not compromised by self-conscious hesitations, second thoughts, or a wish to impress others. In addition to expressing themselves to others, Expressive people need the feedback others give them. This two-way interaction helps them process their own thoughts, feelings, or issues. People at the Expressive pole often discover how they feel or what they think in discussion with others. Others can thus acquire a very close knowledge of the Expressive person's thought process.
People at this pole are selective about what and with whom they share information about themselves. This includes, among other things, feelings, thoughts, personal history, interests, and opinions. They tend to reveal their interests most readily when a conversation happens to hit on a favored topic and share their personal history when comfort has been established with another person and such sharing becomes relevant to the conversation. It is often difficult for others to know about Contained people's thoughts and feelings since they tend to be sparing with both words and body language. Then they are under stress or upset, Contained people may be less able to talk to others about their distress than they normally would be. The greater their distress, the harder it is for them to find either the words or the energy to communicate their inner state. They believe that their turmoil is known and can be understood only by them, so others' input would not be helpful. They do not think that others would want to know what is going on with them, or they may fear that discussing themselves will be an interruption or an imposition. It therefore takes considerably longer to get to know Contained people than it does their Expressive counterparts. A sufficient level of trust must exist before they feel free to share truly personal matters. Even when personal affairs are not the issue, Contained people still may not be given to a high level of self-disclosure. This is not because they are guarded, mistrustful, worried, or self-conscious about themselves. Rather, they need to process their experiences internally and at length before they will be ready or even able to share them. Processing an issue through talking to others is usually a very poor way for Contained people to discover their own thoughts and feelings. Talking can even hinder self-discovery because others' input may interfere with their own assessments. External sharing can begin and others' views can be helpful only after the internal processing has been completed.
The focus of this facet is on the breadth and depth of one's connections to others.
People at this pole enjoy friendships and associations with a variety of people. The number of relationships and their heterogeneity are both important in their social life. Such relationships are typically enjoyed in group settings, where group interaction is likely, rather than in one-on-one dialogue. Variety in relationships is highly valued because of the diverse interactions involved and the wide range of activities made possible. Being popular and known by a wide circle of people provides Gregarious individuals with the meaningful foundation needed to develop their personal identity. It is from the broad expanse of such networks and the popularity they offer that a sense of personhood occurs. Gregarious people also value the freshness and adventure of making new friends and the chance to connect with others who have larger social networks. They like opportunities to expand their circle of friends and acquaintances through meeting new people. They also see their friendship networks as a way of opening doors to new and bigger horizons of experience. If they want or need to change jobs, they have a readily available network of people with whom they can connect, and they are able to make the most of their contacts. Being cut off from this network is stressful in two ways: It prevents them from knowing the latest news about the many people with whom they interact, and it leaves a void in their sense of self. This void cannot be filled even by frequent contact with their closer friends. Through contacts with many different people, people at this pole develop the social dexterity to respond to diverse expectations without compromising their own identities. They are able to juggle several different people-oriented tasks at once without compromising their performance of any of them. Maintaining connections with a variety of people also gives them a heightened sensitivity to the subtleties of communication. They are apt to pick up on nuances of meaning that may be overlooked by people with fewer social contacts. In large group settings they are aware of the flow of the group's mood or sentiment. However, they may not always be sensitive to the opinions of emotional states of more reserved group members. In smaller groups, where they have more time and opportunity to connect with most people, they can be quite attuned to involving quieter people, who may have unique viewpoints or needs.
Finally, Gregarious people can respond rapidly in social contexts that involve a series of quick exchanges with others. They are comfortable with the lively give-and-take of social mingling that occurs in large groups. In group meetings where they know most of the people, their contributions may carry more weight than those of their Intimate counterparts. One reason is the broad awareness of group sentiments that they acquire by touching base with many people. In doing so, they get a good sense of what views, proposals, or compromises may be acceptable to the majority of group members.
People at this pole are most at ease in social exchanges with others whom they know well. They find social mingling and quick chitchat with a large number of people unappealing, if not something to be avoided. They prefer lengthy one-on-one conversations with few interruptions. For them, conversation cannot occur in a group. Rather, it involves a back-and-forth exchange with one person where together they spiral deeper into a topic. They don't like people changing the subject or intruding other topics into the discussion. Their preference for deep, intimate exchange may lead them to avoid large group situations where they don't know anyone. When they are in a large group, they try to find others who prefer one-on-one exchanges. In a large, freely mingling group, they may spend an entire evening talking to one or a few friends with whom a private, exclusive, and well-known connection can be maintained.
People at the Intimate pole greatly prefer a limited range of friendships. They feel comfortable sharing the more personal aspects of their lives with very few people. A Gregarious person might share such details with a much broader circle. For the Intimate person, both the information itself and the sharing of it are reserved for only certain people. For this reason, the Intimate person's friendships entail a significant amount of trust, tend to develop slowly, and require a fair amount of time to maintain. The time commitment is great enough, in fact, that Intimate people feel they simply do not have the time or energy to maintain a large number of true friendships.
Intimate people also tend to be involved in a more selective set of interests and activities than are their Gregarious counterparts. They enjoy concentrating their energy on specific interests that they can explore in depth over fairly long periods of time. They dislike being involved in so many activities that they are unable to give each of them the extended attention they feel is needed, appropriate, and satisfying. Cursory involvement may make the work meaningless or make them feel uncomfortable about not being able to do a better job.
For people at this pole, the intimacy involved in sharing secluded parts of oneself with a trusted friend is much more highly valued than is popularity. The shared parts of the Intimate person constitute the real "who I am." An Intimate person who lacks deep friendships is as important to the Intimate person as being popular and having a wide social circle is to the Gregarious person. However, it may be more difficult for the one seeking intimacy to satisfy this need. In group discussions, the views and comments of Intimate people may involve a fairly in-depth consideration of both the topic and their associations to it. Consequently, when the exchange involves a rapid series of remarks by different people, the Intimate person's lengthier processing may delay his or her comments and observations. As a result, a valuable contribution may remain unspoken because of the dynamics of a larger group.
In social contexts, people at the Intimate pole seek out experiences they believe they are more likely to enjoy. They prefer environments with intimate interactions, and they may not value opportunities for networking. Their comfort, interests, and satisfaction lie in intimate connections with others. They want to focus on the substance of their own and their friends' inner lives. In focusing at that level, they may be more adept at picking up nuances of meaning from intimate friends than they are at recognizing the nuances of group dynamics.
The focus of this facet is on how a person engages with his or her general environment for entertainment, socializing, and learning.
People at this pole like to be actively engaged with their environment, especially when this means energetic face-to-face interactions with others. They prefer active involvement over passive viewing and find parties more entertaining than watching a performance. They like to be actively and socially engaged rather than detached and removed from the action. Active people may lean toward pursuits that permit them to actively engage with the world. They may also prefer work and activities there they can contribute by speaking rather than writing. They are comfortable meeting strangers and often take the lead and do much of the talking in social interactions. They also tend to learn better by doing, listening, and questioning than by independent study or reading, and they like to communicate by speaking to people face-to-face. Participation is the means by which they come to know themselves, the world, and how self and world are dynamically connected.
People at this pole seek out and enjoy entertainment that evokes visual, intellectual, or mental responses. They prefer this over participation in an activity and, in fact, such evocation may actually be the way they participate. They enjoy the interaction of their own mental responses with creative, artistic, intellectual, or cultural works. They participate just as fully as Active people, but with different kinds of activities that can be enjoyed internally rather than externally. For Reflective people, the meaning of things arises from their active mental engagement with them. Physical or verbal interaction with their environment is often unnecessary. Consequently, they tend to learn best from written material that they can read on their own. In this way, their learning can be structured by the (possibly lengthy) mental associations they make to the material. A group process that interrupts their internal dialogue is not an effective way for Reflective people to learn or an enjoyable way for them to use leisure time. They communicate with others most comfortably through writing and reading. Meeting and interacting with strangers can be uncomfortable and they are likely to let others keep a conversation going in social situations.
This facet focuses on the level and kind of energy one brings to exchanges with others, rather than on the content of what is exchanged.
People at this pole are talkative, hearty, and lively. They enjoy conversation for its own sake. They like the give-and-take of conversation and emit and receive energy through talking to others. Verbal exchange is a stimulant; it activates a reservoir of social energy that bubbles forth with high octane and good spirit. As a result, they especially enjoy discussions in group settings; the lively input from several people helps create a conversational event bordering on a spontaneous social art form. Their enthusiasm for connecting in a direct and immediate way also carries over to one-on-one conversation. The basic enjoyment comes from a love of communicating with others.
Enthusiastic people tend to be among the first to know what is going on among their network of friends and acquaintances. This is because they are attracted to settings where people are mingling at a high level of energy. They readily pick up and remember information about people they may not know personally but who are the subject of current conversation. Enthusiastic people seek out group settings where collective energy is high and upbeat. They are attracted to places and events with lots of action and to other people who like the same level of energy. This does not necessarily mean they like raucous parties. Rather, people at this pole enjoy gatherings where the joy of just being with others can flow freely and find expression in whatever form happens to evolve at the time.
Enthusiastic people tend to like being the center of attention and, in their enthusiasm, may overstate or embellish their accounts of events. For Enthusiastic people, the main purpose of an entertaining conversation is not to communicate matters of fact. Rather, it is to create a social, interactional happening that is engaging, lively, and simply fun. Stories are often a primary medium for this kind of exchange. Through stories, they can share the most entertaining sides of their personal histories as well as emotional states in the present moment. While they are not the only instrument by which Enthusiastic people create amusement, stories are a particularly engaging means by which they can entertain themselves and others.
People at this pole usually have a calm bearing. They are reserved and quiet, even in group settings where their Enthusiastic counterparts are creating lively and animated interactions. The quiet and reserve of people at this pole are a function of energy level; their response to group and social exchanges is simply at a lower level of energy. The stimulation from interacting with others neither energizes now animates them. In fact, it may drain the energy they have available for interacting with the world. This does not mean they are uninterested or uninteresting. Rather, their level of social output and response is subdued. One effect of their reserve is that the subtleties and meanings of their responses may easily be overlooked or misunderstood. Others may catch their meaning only if they are willing and able to attend carefully to the low-key style of Quiet people.
There is evidence suggesting that this kind of quietude has a physiological basis. It is likely that Quiet people have a highly active internal response to social stimuli. They are not underresponding, although it might look that way to an observer. Studies of brain wave patterns have shown that Introverts exhibit much greater levels of arousal to external stimuli than do Extraverts. This difference is what we may be seeing in Quiet people. Their internal responses are so active and riveting that they minimizing the energy available for making animated reactions that the outside world can see. Whether this phenomenon is specific to the Enthusiastic-Quiet facet as opposed to a generalized feature of an underlying preference for Extraversion of Introversion must await further brain wave studies.
One consequence of being energized internally is that Quiet people may sometimes be more succinct and reveal less than they intended, especially to people who don't know them well. This is not a deliberate effort to economize words, to keep others in the dark, or to maintain a high level of privacy. They say less than they may mean because of the overwhelming richness of the inner experience they are trying to convey. Quiet people may not be able to fully describe their interior world because its parts are so highly interconnected (for Intuitive types) or so rich in detail (for Sensing types). They find it hard to put their awareness and understanding of their inner, personal world into words. They may thus understate things in order to minimize the cascade of inner images that a stronger statement would create. Finally, Quiet people may be the last on a grapevine to hear what is going on. This is partly because they interact with fewer people and thus have less access to the exchange of information. Being one of the last to hear, however, is not the same as not knowing. Quiet people generally do have connections with others who will keep them informed.