Why I am trying to move away from the introvert/extrovert debate

Introvert/extrovert articles have been all over the place lately, but why are we so quick to throw ourselves into a two-category, us-vs.-them personality box? I love personality tests and the books and articles about the variables that make up who we are (see the list at the end of this post for what I’ve been reading lately on the subject). But I have found the best ones have many different categories and always emphasize that people are too complex to perfectly fit in them.

Not all writers are introverts. There are incredibly shy extroverts. Some of the most sociable people you know are introverts. An inability to spend much time alone may mean we’re hiding from ourselves with distractions and busyness, not necessarily extroverted. I am an off-the-charts extrovert and I also love to read and write and have been called an “old soul” countless times; I’m the child of an incredibly social introvert and a shy extrovert. And perhaps I’m feeling defensive because it’s trendy to be an introvert right now. But this attempt to stop stereotyping seems to be churning out quite a few lists of detailed points with which to stereotype.

Should you understand whether or not hours of mingling stress you out or recharge you–and the same for hours of alone time? Absolutely; it’s good for your soul. We should seek to know when we feel off-balance and find tools to remedy that, because our lives invariably consist of a mixture of some time alone and some time with other people. But isn’t everyone is a walking contradiction in one way or another when it comes to personality types?
Does our obsession with the introvert/extrovert debate help or hinder us as we try to see each person as a complex, unique individual, worthy of notice?

Reading inspiration for this post:
StrengthsFinder 2.0 (http://www.amazon.com/StrengthsFinder-2-0-Tom-Rath/dp/159562015X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377285460&sr=8-1&keywords=strengthsfinder+2.0)