As Dwight Schrute so perfectly put it in an episode of The Office, “There’s too many people on this Earth. We need a new plague.” Lately, I have been feeling the exact same way. Don’t get me wrong, I love people and being around them, and I assuredly would go crazy without them. At the same time, somedays I can barely stand them and just need to be left alone. Does this make me strange? An introvert? An extrovert? While I cannot refute that I am a strange being, I do not believe my ambivalence towards others makes me an extrovert or an introvert, rather, I simply do not completely fit into either camp.
Most days I eat meals alone, I sit there and watch people enjoy the company of others but have absolutely no desire to do the same. I remember not always being like this. As a kid, I used to crave the incessant presence of others, never wanting to be alone. I remember my parents laughing at me when I said that I was shy at school given at home I barely took a breath in between sentences before rambling on about a play-by-play of my day. However, at some point, this shifted for me and while I still am very talkative with those close to me, I no longer need the incessant presence of others to feel peace and find that sometimes I need to just pull back and find time to myself.
On the other side of the spectrum, I can also be very extroverted. I have no problem, and actually quite enjoy, approaching strangers and striking up a conversation. I process concepts, problems, and emotions best by talking them out with another person, and I typically work well in group settings.
I think it is arbitrary and unhelpful to try to attempt to put something as fluid and complex as one's personality in a box. Much less the fact that personality tests like the popular Myers-Briggs are proven to be highly inaccurate and likened to the astrological and dream analysis industries rather than one of science. Given this information, I find the usage of personality tests to help determine which candidate is the best match for the company or to help foster better teamwork in the workplace highly inappropriate and truly unsuccessful at achieving the desired goal. Human beings are just far to complex to be compartmentalized into boxes, instead of trying to make someone fit inside the lines, we ought to embrace people living outside them.