I've been thinking of the impact of siblings (or lack of siblings) on expressions of introversion and extraversion. I guess that I think that intro/extraversion is pretty hard-wired (visible even in infants and toddlers!) but I wonder what siblings (and maybe their types in relation to ours) or not having them affects how we deal with our orientations.
For my part, I'm an introvert, and sometimes a fairly shy one (but sometimes not shy at all). Both of my siblings are/were also introverted, but we played well together and, I think, learned how to cooperate, draw boundaries, and basically interact with each other socially. As an effectively oldest child (though I was chronologically in the middle), I often managed our play and tended to be the one to include or exclude (I wasn't always nice, alas!). I can be a little socially skittish, but I feel that I have some kind of interactive tool box to draw from when put in a situation where I have to extravert and relate to people. I also tend to be a node of friendship in the regular social interactions that I do have; even though I AM shy and quiet, I tend to be the person who brings people into a space together to interact, and then I step back and socialize as the introvert I am (in small pockets, though I will flit about as I am comfortable). I'm not sure how much that has to do with having siblings, but it doesn't seem irrelevant, anyway...
My boyfriend is an extravert, but he was an only child--and I suspect that this is a reason that he's a sort of funny (shy) extravert. He has always sought out brothers and sisters and has often been lonely, I think. He's very conscious of "roles" and wants to fill a particular one in social situations (as the entertainer and sometimes the advisor). He's uncomfortable socially if he doesn't know where he fits. He seems less flexible about the roles he can fill, and I wonder if he just never had the same kind of practice I had having siblings. I think that, even though I was the bossy kid, I learned a certain kind of negotiation (which was perhaps easier for me to learn in my situation because we were all introverted kids, instead of being a mix) that he still struggles with as an adult.
Anyway. Just some thoughts. What do you think?