Introvert vs Extrovert: A Deep Dive into the Differences

Introvert vs Extrovert blog cover

We’ve all heard of the terms introvert vs extrovert, but what do they really mean? Do you know which one you are? If not, take our 16 personalities test to find out.

Introversion and extroversion are terms popularized by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and are terms used to describe an aspect of personality. Jung defined introversion as an “attitude type characterized by orientation in life through subjective psychic contents”, and extraversion as “an attitude type characterized by concentration of interest on the external object”.

In a nutshell, extroverts prefer to engage with the outside world of objects, sensory perception, and action. Introverts are more focused on the internal world of reflection and introspection.

This means that extroverts like to spend their time seeing friends, meeting new people, playing sports, going out, or trying new experiences. On the other hand, introverts prefer to spend their time reading, writing, walking in nature, listening to music, and researching topics that interest them.

There’s a lot more to it than that, though. Read on to learn about the differences between introverts and extroverts, how they interact with the world, and what makes them unique.

Introvert vs extrovert distribution in the population

It’s estimated that around 50% of the population are introverts and 50% are extroverts. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding introversion and extroversion can help you in your everyday life. For example, if you know that someone close to you is an introvert, you are less likely to take it personally if they say they need alone time. Alternatively, if you know someone close to you is an extrovert, you might make an extra effort to talk to them more frequently.

8 signs you’re an introvert

Introvert writing

Introverts direct their energy inwards. People of this type feel energized by focusing on their inner thoughts. Seeing as they spend a lot of time reflecting, introverts are often deep thinkers and enjoy solitary activities such as reading, writing, and spending time in nature.

Introverts are usually quite private people and can be seen as being shy or reserved. But that’s not always the case. Just because someone is introverted, it doesn’t mean they don’t like socializing or engaging in conversations. In fact, introverts can be quite people-oriented. It’s just that their social battery drains faster than that of an extrovert.

Here are eight signs that you’re an introvert.

1. You find busy or loud environments overwhelming.

Introverts are often sensitive to external stimulation, which can lead to them feeling overwhelmed in busy or loud environments. As a result, they often prefer spending time alone or in small groups. Going to a loud bar or club can be fun for an introvert once in a while, but you won’t find them in busy environments night after night.

2. You like to take your time before making decisions.

Introverts are more likely to take time before making a decision. This is because they like to carefully consider all the options before coming to a conclusion. Introverts have the desire to make sure that what they say and do aligns with their inner world, which is why they often pause or spend time mulling things over. If you’re an introvert and someone asks you to make a quick decision, it can be quite jarring.

3. You enjoy being alone.

Introverts gain energy from spending time alone. This is because they are able to focus on their thoughts and feelings without any external distractions. For introverts, being alone is a chance to recharge and reset. They are often comfortable with their own company, and while a lot of introverts enjoy spending time with people, too, they reach a point fairly quickly where they feel drained from social situations.

21 Best books for introverts

4. You prefer one-on-one interactions over group conversations.

Introverts generally prefer one-on-one interactions, and they can find large group conversations overwhelming. This is because introverts like to have in-depth conversations where they can connect with the other person free from distractions. They are often more articulate in one-on-one conversations where they can express their thoughts without being interrupted. Introverts are often good listeners and are less likely to dominate the conversation.

5. You need a quiet environment to concentrate.

Introverts often need to be in a quiet environment in order to concentrate because they are easily distracted by external stimuli. For introverts, it can be difficult to filter out background noise or chatter to focus on a task. As a result, they generally prefer to work alone rather than in busy offices. Some introverts find that they work better in the evening when it’s quiet and there are fewer distractions.

6. You listen more than you talk.

Introverts tend to listen more than they talk. This is because they like to take the time to process what is being said before responding. They tend to be private and can be difficult to get to know. Introverts are often cautious about what they say, which can lead people to think that they are shy or uninterested in the conversation. This isn’t necessarily true, but they don’t share as openly or freely as extroverts.

7. You don’t like being the center of attention.

Introverts generally don’t enjoy being the center of attention. This is because they can feel uncomfortable or self-conscious in the spotlight. Introverts often prefer to sit back and observe rather than be the life and soul of the party. That’s not to say that introverts don’t like attention at all; it’s just that they don’t usually love that feeling of all eyes being on them in a group setting.

8. You avoid talking to strangers.

Introverts can find talking to strangers to be quite daunting. This is because they prefer to spend time with people they know and feel comfortable with. For introverts, meeting new people can be quite draining as they have to expend significant energy trying to make small talk. Thus, they often prefer to stick to their close friends and familiar faces.

5 myths about introversion

There are a number of myths about introverts that simply aren’t true, and if you’re trying to work out if you’re an introvert vs extrovert, you should be aware of them. Here are some of the most common ones:

Myth 1: Introverts are shy.

This is one of the most common myths about introverts. While some introverts do tend to be shy, this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, many introverts are quite outgoing and sociable. Many have a quiet confidence that allows them to shine in an understated way.

Myth 2: Introverts don’t like people.

Another common myth about introverts is that they don’t like people. This simply isn’t true. While introverts may prefer to spend time alone, they still enjoy spending time with people. In fact, many introverts have a small group of close friends that they are very close to, and some introverts are actually very people-focused, even more so than some extroverts.

Introvert bookcase

Myth 3: Introverts sit at home all the time.

This is another myth about introverts is that they are always by themselves at home. While introverts may enjoy staying at home, they also like to get out and about. In fact, many introverts are quite active and enjoy spending time outdoors.

Myth 4: Introverts are bored by socializing.

This is another myth that suggests that introverts don’t like socializing. However, this is simply not the case. While introverts may prefer quieter activities, they can still enjoy socializing. In fact, many introverts find socializing to be stimulating and enjoyable up until a certain point.

Myth 5: Introverts are boring.

This is a damaging myth about introverts. However, it’s also one of the most untrue. While introverts may not be the life and soul of the party, they are still interesting and engaging people. In fact, many introverts spend a lot of time deep in thought and are very insightful.

8 signs you’re an extrovert

Extroverts direct their energy outwards. People of this type are energized by focusing on the outer world. They are generally outgoing and talkative individuals who spend a lot of time interacting with others. They are drawn to taking action and engaging in activities.

Extroverts often enjoy being in the spotlight and desire stimulation from the outer world. In fact, they can often feel bored or restless when they’re alone. That doesn’t mean that extroverts don’t like nights in and spending time by themselves. It’s just that they need to spend more time interacting with the world than introverts do in order to feel happy and fulfilled.

Here are eight signs that you’re an extrovert.

1. You feel energized when you are around people.

Extroverts enjoy being around people they like, at least for a certain amount of time. They feel energized when they’re socializing and often seek opportunities to be around others. However, there still comes a point where even extroverts find socializing draining. It just happens after a longer period of time than for introverts.

2. You are comfortable in the spotlight.

Extroverts are known for being the life of the party. They’re the kind of people who can keep a conversation going, and they tend to enjoy telling stories. Additionally, they tend to feel comfortable in the spotlight and often lead the way when it comes to group activities. Seeing as they always have something going on, extroverts are often fun to be around.

3. You think out loud.

Extroverts are often talkative. They enjoy sharing their experiences with others, and they have no problem leading a conversation for long periods of time. When they’re talking, they tend to speak quickly, and their words can sometimes come out in a stream-of-consciousness style. In fact, talking can help extroverts to clarify their thoughts. As a result, they may find that they restate what they say as they’re speaking.

4. You feel uninspired after spending a lot of time alone.

Extroverts can start to feel uninspired or restless after spending too much time alone. This is because they need to interact frequently with the world in order to feel energized. Some extroverts may feel a little anxious or depressed if they spend too much time by themselves. This is partly why they often seek out activities and events.

5. You have a lot of friends.

Extroverts tend to have a lot of friends. They often thrive in situations where there are groups of people because they keep them interested and engaged. Extroverts are generally comfortable talking to strangers and people they don’t know well. As a result, they generally have large networks of all kinds of contacts.

6. You are comfortable making quick decisions.

Extroverts are often able to respond to situations quickly. They are comfortable making decisions on the fly, and they often don’t need as much time to process information as introverts do. This is because extroverts don’t feel as much of a need to ensure that their actions and words align with their inner world.

7. You are seen as friendly and open.

Extroverts are usually viewed as friendly and open by others. They are easier to get to know compared to introverts. This is because they’re more likely to initiate conversations and share information about themselves. However, extroverts can still take a while to open up about personal matters. You might think you know an extrovert and then suddenly discover more layers.

8. You are energetic.

Extroverts tend to have an energetic and enthusiastic disposition. When communicating, they often use broad gestures and speak in a louder voice. Additionally, they usually make eye contact more frequently and for longer periods of time compared to introverts. This is because they are more focused on the outer world and what’s going on around them.

5 myths about extroversion

There are a number of myths about extroverts that simply aren’t true, and if you’re trying to work out if you’re an introvert vs extrovert you should be aware of them. Here are some of the most common ones:

Myth 1: Extroverts are confident.

This is one of the most common myths about extroverts. While it’s true that many extroverts appear confident from the outside, they aren’t always confident deep down. In fact, many introverts are just as confident as extroverts.

Myth 2: Extroverts are afraid to spend time alone.

While it’s true that many extroverts enjoy being around others, they aren’t necessarily afraid to spend time alone. In fact, all extroverts need alone time to some extent, but they require less of it than introverts. Extroverts can feel uncomfortable with too much alone time, but this is very different from being afraid of spending any time alone.

Myth 3: Extroverts are bad listeners.

This is another common myth about extroverts. While it’s true that they tend to be more focused on talking than listening, this doesn’t mean that they’re bad listeners. In fact, many extroverts are actually quite good at listening, especially when they’re interested in the topic.

Myth 4: Extroverts are always happy.

This is one of the most misleading myths about extroverts. While it’s true that extroverts tend to be more outwardly positive and upbeat than introverts, they aren’t always happy. All humans experience a range of emotions, regardless of their personality type, and extroverts are no different.

Myth 5: Extroverts are superficial.

This is a damaging myth about extroverts.  While it’s true that extroverts are more able to engage in surface-level interactions for a longer period of time, this doesn’t mean that they’re shallow.  In fact, a lot of extroverts are deep and insightful. They just tend to explore these depths in different ways than introverts.

The science behind introverts vs extroverts

There is science behind introversion and extroversion. Studies show that introverts are more sensitive to dopamine, a chemical released in the brain that makes people feel good. It motivates us to seek external rewards, such as getting a promotion, finding a partner, or buying a new car. It helps us to work out whether a goal is worth the effort.

Introverts and extroverts actually have the same amount of dopamine in their brains, but the dopamine reward system is more active in extroverts’ brains than introverts’ brains. On one hand, introverts are more sensitive to dopamine and can become overstimulated by too much action. On the other hand, extroverts are less sensitive to dopamine, so they need more of it to feel happy.

Introverts prefer to use a different neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is linked to pleasure as well. However, there is a major difference. Acetylcholine makes us feel good when we turn inward.  As a result, it encourages us to introspect and think deeply. This ties in with introverts liking calm, quiet environments with few distractions. It’s easier to focus on your inner world when there is less external stimulation.

Can your introvert vs extrovert preference change?

As we progress in life, our personalities clearly change. However, our default core preferences don’t change. It’s just that we develop different aspects of ourselves.

For example, introverts might spend the best part of their teen years as relatively solitary people, but in their late teens or 20s, they may appear to become more extroverted. It’s not that their default preference for introversion vs extroversion has changed. They are still introverts; it’s just that they have become more rounded people through personal growth and life experiences.

The same goes for extroverts who are highly social in their teens and then become more introverted in their late teens or 20s. This happens at different points for different people.

Do ambiverts exist?

Ambiverts don’t exist. Everyone has a stronger preference for either introversion vs extroversion, and everyone has both introverted and extroverted tendencies. Indeed, some people sit more toward the middle of the introvert vs extrovert spectrum. However, everyone has a stronger preference for either introversion or extroversion.

One of the reasons why some people think that ambiverts exist is that they have mistakenly equated introversion and extroversion with shyness and confidence. While it’s true that some introverts are shy and some extroverts are confident, these are two separate traits. Another reason some people think they are ambiverts is that they are people-oriented introverts or extroverts who sometimes need alone time.

This is completely normal. All introverts need human connection, and all extroverts need alone time. It’s just that they need them in different quantities.

Are introverts at a disadvantage?

In most societies, extroversion is rewarded more than introversion. In Western cultures, being outgoing and assertive is often seen as the ideal. As a result, introverts can sometimes feel like they are at a disadvantage.

This is especially true in the business world, where networking is often seen as the key to success.  However, there are many successful introverts in business, and there are many introverts who are skilled at networking. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and J.K. Rowling are all introverts.

There are many advantages to being an introvert. Introverts are often very good at focusing, and they can be very productive when they are working on something they are passionate about. They are also usually very good at listening, which can be a huge advantage.

As discussed, both introversion and extroversion have their strengths and weaknesses, and truly, neither is better than the other.

Introverts vs extroverts in a nutshell

At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. Both introverts and extroverts bring something valuable to the table.

Introverts bring a more thoughtful and introspective perspective, while extroverts bring enthusiasm and energy. We need a balance between introverts vs. extroverts for societies to function.

The key is also to find a balance between the two approaches within yourself. As we explored, no one is purely an introvert or an extrovert. We all sit somewhere along the introvert vs extrovert spectrum. However, some people consider themselves ‘extroverted introverts’ and ‘introverted extroverts.’

To some extent, we naturally develop our introversion and extroversion as we get older. For example, introverts often further develop their extroverted side in their late teens or 20s, and the opposite occurs for extroverts. You can further work on different aspects of your personality through personal development.

Ultimately, understanding whether you are an introvert vs. extrovert can help you gain insights into your strengths and weaknesses. It can also help you understand why other people may make decisions based on different criteria than you. So whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, embrace your unique perspective and use it to your advantage.

Last but not least, if you enjoyed this blog post, you might also like to discover more about World Introvert Day.

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