OK, so this is not a particularly scientific approach to explaining the differences between introverts and extroverts, and may well offend cat and dog owners in the process (I am not one of either by the way) but this, somewhat tenuous, analogy seemed like a good idea at the time so here goes…
Picture your average family cat and dog.
The cat is very happy with its own company, disappearing for hours, even days, on solitary missions. It is hugely independent – sometimes annoyingly so – as well as slightly aloof and enigmatic. Although it enjoys the company of humans and other animals, social contact has to be on its own terms – a warm lap is very welcome but, when it’s had enough, the cat is off without so much as a backward glance. Too many noisy visitors in the house and it is nowhere to be seen. When it’s all over, it slinks quietly back into the room without anyone noticing. The cat is content to wait for the right moment, stalking its prey in the garden slowly, patiently and with complete concentration – subtle and effective. From the outside at least, it seems knowing, unflappable and in control.
The dog, in contrast, is everybody’s best friend, desperate for company and liking nothing better than tearing round the park with a large pack of other dogs. It’s excitement at seeing someone come to the door is almost uncontainable and it simply can’t wait for you take it out or throw that ball. Tail beating furiously, it loves to please and is delighted with all the extra attention this can generate. A house full of people provides an excuse to get its nose into everything, darting from one new thing to another and mopping up all the extra strokes on the way. It announces its presence with a whirl of noise and movement. Always at the heart of the action – places to go, people to see – the dog’s boundless enthusiasm endears it to many (except cats of course).
But both are equally loveable in their own different ways and both are very good at what they do. So are you more of an (introvert) cat or an (extrovert) dog?