According to new research from the University of Portsmouth Business School, being an extrovert makes it harder to maintain a green lifestyle.
Introverts take a lot of heat from extroverts—and apparently, the planet does too.
Researchers conducted a small-scale study to try and establish if personality type has an impact on how green a person is. They found those with open personalities were the most green, while extroverts were the least.
“It isn’t surprising that people who we describe as open, those who are curious, imaginative, and untraditional, are more likely to be green,” study co-author Sianne Gordon-Wilson said in a statement. “But we were surprised that extroverts are less likely to be green. We had expected that of all the five main personality types, open and extroverted people would be the most green.”
The study surveyed 204 people aged 50 and over using two different theories: The first is called “socio-emotional selective theory,” which essentially describes the way aging people are choosing to spend their time—for example, being more selective with how they spend it and choosing more emotionally meaningful activities. The second is called the “time perspective theory,” which is used to understand how people behave in relation to how much time they assume they have—for example, a 50-year-old is going to have vastly different goals compared to a 70-year-old.
When most people think of an extrovert, they think of a terrifingly loud person who’s all about the spotlight and never stops talking—like, ever (or I could just be projecting). But according to the Myers-Brigg Foundation, extraversion means the person gets energy from being involved in events and oodles of activities; they’re not necessarily the loudest talker, they’re just more comfortable in a group setting.
It’s not that extroverts don’t want to adopt a green lifestyle or aren’t trying to. The reason for the shortfall in their efforts, researchers suspect, is that although they might totally agree with what it means to live an environmentally conscious and green lifestyle, they struggle to put it into practice.
Some everyday examples of a green lifestyle include turning off the lights, buying recycled products, taking your own bags to the supermarket, and not using more water than you need. Extroverts might find they do well with green lifestyle habits that have a quick payoff like the above, but are easily distracted from making bigger changes because of other things competing for their attention. Because they feed off the energy of social situations, they may unintentionally waste energy in other ways.
So while Chatty McNevershutsup goes on and on about her awesome weekend in the lunch room, you may have to be the one who shuts off the lights after she leaves. Keeping the planet healthy is a team sport.
Do you think being an extrovert makes it harder to adopt a green lifestyle?
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