Are You an Extrovert or an Introvert?

5 min
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Figuring out whether you are an extrovert, introvert, or a bit of both (an ambivert), is a great way to learn more about yourself. Personality refers to distinctive characteristics that influence how people think, feel, and behave. While different personalities each have their own unique traits, psychologists view extraversion and introversion as key traits that can influence our personality. 

Read on for an outline of the key differences between extraversion and introversion, and to help you better understand yourself through discovering more about your personality.

What is an Extrovert?

Are you an Extrovert?

Has anyone ever told you that you are “sociable,” “talkative,” and “outgoing”? If you answered yes to this question, chances are you might be an extrovert!

Extraversion (also spelled as extroversion) is a personality trait with a preference to engage with people. An extrovert is someone who tends to gain energy through social interaction. As a result, extroverts may not feel comfortable being alone. Generally speaking, extroverts become energized in social situations, such as going to parties, or working within a team environment. 

Common signs of an extrovert:

  • Enjoys group work
  • Sociable and outgoing
  • Tends to be very action-orientated and assertive
  • Can feel isolated by too much alone time
  • Has numerous interests and hobbies
  • Is energetic and talkative around others
  • Prefers verbal rather than written communication
  • Enjoys talking about thoughts and feelings with others
  • Looks to others for inspiration  

What is an Introvert?

Are you an Introvert?

Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a tendency to gain energy from inner thoughts and feelings. Unlike extroverts, introverts prefer to spend more time alone. They also tend to explore their internal thoughts and feelings more. That’s why introverts usually restore their power from “me time.”

Introversion can make someone a great listener 一 yet introverts can become fatigued when attending social events. It is for this reason that introverts generally prefer more inward hobbies, such as painting, reading, and gardening. 

Common signs of an introvert:

  • Needs quiet to concentrate
  • Can sometimes come across as serious or shy
  • Reflective and quiet
  • High self-awareness
  • Takes time to make decisions
  • Feels comfortable being alone
  • Prefers working alone over group work
  • Prefers written rather than verbal communication
  • Feels tired and drained after being in a crowd

What is an Ambivert?

Extraversion and introversion are derived from a well-established personality theory: The Big Five theory, also known as the “OCEAN” theory. The Big Five theory submits that we have five key personality traits: agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and extraversion. 

The Big Five theory suggests that extraversion and introversion exist along a personality spectrum, instead of a fixed label. As a result, people who show higher levels of extraversion are extroverts. Those with lower levels are introverts. It is also common for people to score in the middle of the spectrum. These people are considered to be "ambiverts" or "extroverted introverts."

Common signs of an ambivert

  • Good communicator and listener
  • Able to control their own behavior
  • Comfortable in social situations, but also value alone time
  • Knows when to keep quiet and when to talk in a conversation
Are You an Extrovert or Introvert - Graph

Extroverts vs. Introverts and careers 

Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, this trait can have such a great effect on how we interact with others that it can be crucial to look for jobs that match your personality. Psychologists have examined the association between different personalities and job satisfaction. Extroverts who work in people-oriented jobs tend to be more satisfied with their job. These jobs include roles as social workers and counselors, for instance. Introverts showed higher job satisfaction when they worked in less people-oriented careers. These could be jobs such as researchers, video editors, and writers.

In addition to highlighting such differences between extroverts and introverts, psychologists have also explained that extroverts tend to become more energized in social settings. As a result, jobs in teaching, public relations, and sales may be more well-suited to extroverts. Conversely, less people-oriented careers ー such as those in accounting, archiving, or data entry, for instance ー may suit introverts more.

Extroverts and Introverts in relationships 

Personality can be an essential contributor to one’s ability to maintain successful relationships. According to psychologists, introverts and extroverts behave quite differently in relationships. In general, extroverts express their feelings by talking, while introverts tend to reflect more. Psychologists have further suggested that extroverts tend to be more enthusiastic in relationships than introverts. As such, for extroverts, enthusiasm is a key factor for higher relationship satisfaction. For example, extroverts prefer spending time with their partner rather than alone. 

Introverts can also make great partners, as they usually show more empathy to others. This is especially true when introverts are around people they feel comfortable with. Besides their heightened empathy, introverts are very observant and thoughtful. These qualities are essential characteristics for maintaining and building long-lasting relationships. With both personalities maintaining relationships in different ways, knowing which one you - or your partner - is can help to improve the relationship.

Extroverts and Introverts in Different Cultures 

Research suggests that our surrounding environment can influence our personality. One cross-cultural study aimed to compare extraversion in different cultures by inviting 12,156 students from 51 countries to take a survey. In it, the researchers asked them to rate a person in that country they are familiar with, which could be anyone they personally know with the same cultural background, such as parents, friends, or classmates. 

The results showed that people from Western cultures (e.g. Europeans and Americans) typically scored higher in extraversion. Meanwhile, people from Asian cultures tended to score lower in extraversion. The findings suggested that cultural background can indeed influence whether we are more extroverted or introverted. 

Extraversion and introversion usually exist as a spectrum, rather than a hard-set label. The two personality types play a significant role in our everyday lives, and this effect on  personality can influence our work preferences and interpersonal relationships. Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, we must remember that no personality is better than another. Understanding different personalities can simply be an excellent way to learn more about yourself. Everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way, and you should always accept yourself for who you are!

Join our Mastering Social Interactions course to explore how your personality can affect the way you interact with others.

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All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals that influenced this article: Rethinking the Association Between Extraversion and Job Satisfaction: The Role of Interpersonal Job Context, Relationship Between Extraversion and Relationship Satisfaction, Personality Profiles of Cultures: Aggregate Personality Traits

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