Thursday, October 31, 2019

Is It Easier to Be a Minimalist as an Introvert?

In my last post, I talked about spending money where it matters most as a minimalist concept. But does your personality type make it easier to be a minimalist? Here’s why it might be easier to be a minimalist as an introvert, but also how to deal with minimalist challenges as an extrovert.
A study looked at more than 76,000 bank transaction records and discovered that personality type may make a difference in how happy someone is based on their spending. For example, an extrovert might be happier spending money on a social activity while an introvert would be happier spending money on something they can do by themselves. The important takeaway was to spend your money on what matters to you, which is likely in line with your personality type, and definitely matches your unique tastes.

Can an extrovert be a minimalist?

One article says that 5 common traits of extroverts are:
  • They love to talk
  • Open and willing to share
  • Often described as friendly and approachable
  • Like to solve problems through discussion
  • Getting energized by socializing
It goes on to say that extroverts are more likely to engage in risky behavior - both healthy and unhealthy risks. This could mean a tendency to do more impulsive things, like spending money on a whim. This could certainly lead to troubles with a minimalist lifestyle.
There are other ways an extrovert might have a difficult time with minimalism. For example, if they love to have people over to entertain, they might feel the need to have lots of furniture, dishes, etc. They might also want lots of different clothes so their friends don’t always see them in the same outfits.
They might also have a lot of memorabilia related to social activities—lots of photo albums, keepsakes from events, and decorations for holiday parties.
Having a busy social life could also mean spending a large amount of money and time on going out with friends.

If you’re an extrovert who wants to be more minimalist, there are plenty of ways to do it without compromising the things you enjoy.

If you want to downsize your personal space, how about having smaller get-togethers at your place? You can still have people over, just break things down into several smaller parties. When people come over, you’ll need less seating and other supplies to host a party. It will also be easier to spend more time with each person you invite.
You can also consider utilizing more outdoor space, or asking people to bring folding chairs or other furniture with them. Alternatively, you can host an event at a park, restaurant or event center.
If you feel like you have too many clothes to sift through each time you need something to wear, how about using a capsule wardrobe? This is an easy way to separate your clothes by season into usable outfits. The rest gets stored away, and suddenly it’s a lot easier to see what’s in your closet!
If you feel like your calendar is too full and you want to cut back, I recommend considering saying no more often to less valuable social activities.

How introverts handle minimalism

According to this article, 8 traits of introverts are:
  • Being around lots of people drains energy
  • Having a small group of friends
  • Prefers solitude
  • Sometimes thought of as “shy,” which is not the same thing (although you can be both). Also more reserved and perhaps seen as unapproachable
  • Good at self-reflection
  • Learns by watching
  • Prefers independent work
However, being an introvert doesn’t eliminate difficulties being minimalist. For example, an introvert might immerse themselves in things at home, which could mean buying/collecting more and more objects: books, materials for hobbies, kitchen gadgets, etc.
And being introverted does not mean that one would enjoy having lots of clothes, furniture, etc.
There are also many activities an introvert could do that could involve smaller groups of people, like visiting an art museum on a less busy day or taking a hiking or camping trip in a remote area.
And just because introverts prefer smaller groups doesn’t mean that they won’t occasionally immerse themselves in larger groups.

How to be more minimalist as an introvert

Being more self-aware means having more opportunities to examine your behavior and find the meaning behind it. So the next time you’re thinking of adding one more item to your collection, ask yourself the “why” behind it. Do you really need it? What purpose does it serve to own this item? Is it filling an emotional or physical need? Is it possible you can fulfill this need in other ways—with things you already own?
Thinking before you bring something into your home helps both with clutter and your finances. Take a moment to have gratitude for what you already have and what it brings to your life.
And if you’re like me and you get stuck in a thought loop, try time blocking. Studies show that after about 30 minutes, most people are no longer concentrating on a task at an effective level. So give time blocking a try—set a time for yourself for 30 minutes and when the timer goes off, move on.

Are there more extroverts or introverts who are minimalists?

Here’s the plot twist: according to Psychology Today, anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of the population are considered ambiverts. These people have a unique combination of self-assertion and listening skills, which makes them successful in areas like sales that require both.
This same article seems to imply that introversion and extroversion, in addition to being exceptions to the rule, are more of a mindset. You think you are one, so you are. If this belief is harming you, then perhaps you should read the article and determine if it’s something you need to work on.
There just isn’t enough data out there to determine how many minimalists are introverts, extroverts or ambiverts. But statistically speaking, if there are that many ambiverts, they could easily make up the majority of minimalists. And since they may have attributes of both introverts and extroverts, they could encounter both the advantages and pitfalls involved in trying to be more minimalist.
I did an informal survey of minimalist blogs, and it does appear there are several self-proclaimed introverted minimalists out there. They also seem to be in agreement that introverts would be more drawn to minimalism.
However, could they actually be ambiverts with introverted leanings?
Not to mention many introverts could be hiding out from the internet altogether. They could also be shy, which would make it unlikely they would make their presence known in a blog.
Bottom line: as I’ve said before, minimalism is accessible to everyone. Anyone can find a facet of the minimalist lifestyle that could make things better for them. So no matter your personality type, you can find benefits from being more minimalist.