For a long time I had a certain idea about what makes an introvert or an extrovert. I had always thought that it works something like this:

  • Extroversion relates to how outgoing someone is
  • Introversion is the same as being shy.

That was kind of my general perception. Doing just a little bit of reading made it clear very quickly – my thinking was way off!

Recently I dug into some of the full-on research about introverts vs extroverts and I think I’m much closer to understanding what the terms introvert and extrovert actually mean. When we briefly discussed this topic internally here at Buffer, a lot of people got very excited. So I hope what I’ve learned might be helpful to you, as well.

Where it all started – and why I had it all wrong

If we go a bit further back, we find that the terms introvert and extrovert (originally spelled extravert) were popularized by Carl Jung in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, their meanings got confused between then and now, and we started thinking that everyone belongs to one camp or the other. But actually, Carl’s point was that these are the very extremes of a scale. Which means that most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum. – Carl G Jung

So really, if we looked at how most of us operated, we would never be on either spectrum of the scale. It’d be much more likely that we are somewhere in the middle like this:


There are a few theories about the differences between introverts and extroverts, and some recent research has even shown that our genetic makeup has a lot to do with which tendencies are strongest in each of us. And unlike my theory about how outgoing or shy we are, introversion and extroversion actually relate to where we get our energy from.

Or in other words, how we recharge our brains.

Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.

Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from other people. Extroverts actually find their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social.

In the 60s, psychologist Hans Eysenck proposed that the difference between introverts and extroverts was that they simply had different levels of arousal—meaning the extent to which our minds and bodies are alert and responsive to stimulation.

Hans’s theory was that extroverts have a lower basic rate of arousal. This means that extroverts need to work harder to arouse their minds and bodies to the same ‘normal’ state that introverts might reach quite easily. This leads extroverts (or extroverted people, though they might not be quite on the extreme end of the scale) to seek novelty and adventure, and to crave the company of others.


For introverts, this kind of stimulation can be overwhelming, since their rate of arousal is much higher, so they are stimulated easily. Time alone, one-on-one conversations and predictable situations are more likely to be pleasant for introverts who are more sensitive to external stimulation.

This becomes especially interesting if we look at other of the most common elements of body language and how introverts and extroverts might perceive behaviors differently.

On the same note, whilst exercising makes you happier in general, for an introvert to do a group sport, this might not lead to happiness in the same way it does for an extrovert.

How the brains of introverts and extroverts operate differently

Research has actually found that there is a difference in the brains of extroverted and introverted people in terms of how we process rewards and how our genetic makeup differs. For extroverts, their brains respond more strongly when a gamble pays off. Part of this is simply genetic, but it’s partly the difference of their dopamine systems as well.

An experiment that had people take gambles while in a brain scanner found the following:

When the gambles they took paid off, the more extroverted group showed a stronger response in two crucial brain regions: the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens.

The nucleus accumbens is part of the dopamine system, which affects how we learn, and is generally known for motivating us to search for rewards. The difference in the dopamine system in the extrovert’s brain tends to push them towards seeking out novelty, taking risks and enjoying unfamiliar or surprising situations more than others. The amygdala is responsible for processing emotional stimuli, which gives extroverts that rush of excitement when they try something highly stimulating which might overwhelm an introvert.

More research has actually shown that the difference comes from how introverts and extroverts process stimuli. That is, the stimulation coming into our brains is processed differently depending on your personality. For extroverts, the pathway is much shorter. It runs through an area where taste, touch, visual and auditory sensory processing takes place. For introverts, stimuli runs through a long, complicated pathway in areas of the brain associated with remembering, planning and solving problems.

introvert or extrovert - brain scan

What are signs that point someone closer to an introvert?

Introverts are tricky to understand, since it’s so easy for us to assume that introversion is the same as being shy, when in fact introverts are simply people who find it tiring to be around other people.

I love this explanation of an introvert’s need to be alone:

For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.

Introverted people are known for thinking things through before they speak, enjoying small, close groups of friends and one-on-one time, needing time alone to recharge and being upset by unexpected changes or last-minute surprises. Introverts are not necessarily shy, and may not even avoid social situations, but they will definitely need some time alone or just with close friends or family after spending time in a big crowd.

12 quick tips to better care for an introvert

To make it a bit easier to see which things would be most helpful to focus on when dealing with someone closer to introversion, I came across this fantastic graphic to illustrate better:

how to care


What makes someone closer to an extrovert?

On the opposite side of the coin, people who are extroverted are energized by people. They usually enjoy spending time with others, as this is how they recharge from time spent alone focusing or working hard.

I like how this extrovert explains the way they gain energy from being around other people:

When I am among people, I make eye contact, smile, maybe chat if there’s an opportunity (like being stuck in a long grocery store line). As an extrovert, that’s a small ‘ping’ of energy, a little positive moment in the day.

10 quick tips to better care for an extrovert

To give us some pointers on how to best care for someone who is an extrovert, this graphic has some great ideas I found:


Ambiverts – the in-between that most of us are probably closer to?

Since introverts and extroverts are the extremes of the scale, the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle. Many of us lean one way or the other, but there are some who are quite balanced between the two tendencies. These people are called ambiverts.

The last time I took a personality test, I was smack-bang in the middle: 49% extroverted, 51% introverted. It’s hard to get more middle ground than that! (if you’re curious, you can try this quiz to see where you fit on the scale)

So let’s look at how an ambivert compares.

Ambiverts exhibit both extroverted and introverted tendencies. This means that they generally enjoy being around people, but after a long time this will start to drain them. Similarly, they enjoy solitude and quiet, but not for too long. Ambiverts recharge their energy levels with a mixture of social interaction and alone time.

Though ambiverts seem to be the more boring personality type, being in the middle of everyone else, this balance can actually be a good thing. A study by Adam Grant, author of *Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success found that ambiverts perform better in sales than either introverts or extroverts. Ambiverts actually closed 24% more sales.

The commonly held myth that being highly extroverted is important for a salesperson is actually untrue, since extreme extroverts lack the balance of an ambivert which helps them to use varied approaches to closing a sale.

On another note, we’ve explored before that simple productivity tips might not work in the same way they do for introverts vs extroverts, knowing where you are on the scale can make a big difference to improve your daily productivity outcome.

How to get the best out of everyone: Focus on awareness for each type

It’s pretty much certain that we’re going to come in contact with a variety of personalities throughout our lives, from extreme introverts to extreme extroverts, and everyone in-between. Understanding the differences between these tendencies can help us to get along with others and get the best out of everyone.

This story about an introvert and her extroverted roommate is a great illustration of how unaware we can be of how much these differences can affect us:

The first few months of living together didn’t work well because we didn’t know how to care for each other! I would try to give her space by always knocking on her door. She got annoyed because I kept knocking, and wouldn’t let myself in, and I got annoyed when she barged in my room without warning!

Lifehacker has a great explanation of the differences between introverts and extroverts, which uses the analogy of being right- or left-handed. This is a great way of seeing the benefits of both tendencies, regardless of which one you exhibit more of:

Most of us will be one or the other, but writing with your right hand doesn’t render your left hand inert. Similarly, an extroverted person can still do things that aren’t typically associated with extroversion. Meanwhile, introverts can learn to adapt to more extroverted scenarios, even if it might not come as naturally.

This same article on Lifehacker goes on to make a really important point: “The absolute worst thing you can do with either type is use a single word to define your approach.” Understanding the tendencies of ourselves and others is just the beginning. Effective communication means we need to take into account each person’s personality as well.

If we focus on simply being extremely aware of which type we’re dealing with, noticing small behaviors that point us more in the extroverts or introverts direction, then I’ve we’ll be easily on the right track to dealing with people in the right way.

Especially in our Social Media age, if we look at some of the latest social media statistics, there is a clear trend that caring for introverts and extroverts is something we should keep focusing on.

What has your experience been in dealing with both extroverts and introverts? I’d love your thoughts on this! You can leave a comment below, email me or catch me on Twitter at @bellebethcooper.

Photocredit: Lonerwolf, Research Digest, The AC Is On, Musings on Mormonism, Falling Into Wonderland, Apartment 46

Looking for a better way to share on social media?

Schedule, publish & analyze your posts across the top social networks, all in one place.

Start a 14-Day Free Trial
Written by Belle Beth Cooper

Belle is the first Content Crafter at Buffer and co-founder of Exist. She writes about social media, startups, lifehacking and science.

  • I’m testing my personality now by seeing whether writing this message robs or boosts me.

  • Hmmm. Can’t say yet. As with most social sites, the biggest boost comes when there is a response to our message. As I am giving Belle now.

  • Nice article. Very informative.

  • Gail

    This is great! Although I tested as an ambivert, I definitely have the introvert quality of losing energy in large crowds. I love the idea of introvert/extrovert being a function of how you recharge your energy.

    • Belle

      Hi Gail, glad you enjoyed this! It’s definitely interesting to see how you react to different situations – I think that’s more valuable to understanding yourself, although a test can be a good start 🙂

  • I looked at Extroverts and Introverts for my final year thesis for my Psych degree. It was Eysenck’s theories on arousal that we started from and I wanted to see if you could demonstrate that difference through controlled performance testing. I used sound as a stimulus and recorded performance on a reaction time test. Both introverts and extroverts required some level of stimulus to reach peak performance but there was a very clear difference in the curves with extroverts requiring significantly more input to reach peak than introverts.

    As an ambivert myself, my arousal requirement reflects my mood and what I’m trying to achieve at the time – but it’ s always been useful to know that I can manipulate my environment to optimize for the task at hand. You can read more about the study here:

    • Pablo

      As an extrovert dating an introvert this article helped us so much! It was spot on. Instead of being frustrated by what the other was doing or not doing its so apparent now that its just different ways of thinking. Most articles explain introverts to the extroverted but never the other way around. Thank you!

  • I’m growing more introvert as I get older, closer to the middle and preferring a few close friends over large venues (concerts, conferences, large parties, and clubs, etc.). It’s true about the energy replenishing. That’s what it’s all about. I have introvert friends who love parties, for instance, but when they need to recharge, it’s a book or a bath for them.

  • Melanie

    My last blog post was about being an introvert and how I’ve learned to manage some situations. The whole introvert/extrovert area is fascinating and I love reading about it. Amazing what you can learn about yourself. 🙂

  • JKahnweiler

    Belle – Thank you for gathering some of the most important research and thinking on introversion. The visual impact is terrific. I think the Ambiversion idea is an interesting one but I do find people tend to self-identify on one side of the spectrum or the other.

    To me it is about knowing when those quiet strengths work for us and when we need to dip over to more extroverted behaviors. And vice-versa. This awareness and education about introverts will move us to more acceptance of all personality types. Pieces like yours do a great deal to contribute to that effort. Bravo!

    • Belle

      So glad you liked this article, thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  • bepeep

    This is what I got at the end…um, isn’t one of the ways to care for an introvert NOT telling them to be extroverted?!?!? You’re an introvert. To get better at moving others, try practicing some of the skills of an extravert. Practice your ‘ask’ in advance, so you don’t flinch from it when the moment arrives. Goofy as it might sound, make a conscious effort to smile and sit up straight. Even if it’s uncomfortable, speak up and state your point of view.

    • Melody

      It’s not about the social skills, lots of introverts are “sociable” in appearance (I am one), most of us are assigned leaders actually. But the difference is how we spend our break times, or how we “relax.” You’ll just notice that we’re nowhere to be found from time to time – on a great escapade. LOL. We just need to recharge our batteries, and will be right back with a full smile. And I guess that makes some of us appear more as a mysterious bunch.

  • Spook SEO

    “Introverts are tricky to understand, since it’s so easy for us to assume that introversion is the same as being shy, when in fact introverts are simply people who find it tiring to be around other people.”

    Couldn’t have said it better.

  • Cathy Cawood

    That was a really interesting article – thanks!

  • mermone

    well, if extroverts often offer a new world, a lots of fun to the
    introverts, so what can introverts offer to their extrovert friends? I
    have a lovely extrovert friend and I feel she get bored when only talking meanwhile I love to talk deeply. please give me an advice.

    • Gandj

      Thank you so much for asking. I don’t know the answer exactly but just the fact finally a intravert cares enough, means a lot. It appears most articles/comments are what extroverts can do. I care but it gets a bit exhausting. Extroverts mostly just want you so just give them your company and they’ll appreciate you.

  • Very good article. Stay true to who you are. I like to think before I talk. I hate small talk, but I love to discuss certain topics in more details. I understand my strengths as an introvert better and I will not be afraid to use them to my advantages in my career.

  • Probably the best article on the subject I’ve read thus far!

  • Adrian Morgan

    One thing I don’t understand is tip #10 for introverts: “enable them to find one best friend”. What does that even MEAN? You can’t “enable” people to find a friend, except, I guess, by letting them out of the dungeon occasionally.

    I also disagree with the linked test. I gave consistently introverted answers and it STILL labelled me as ambivert, presumably because I tended to say “mostly” rather than “strongly”. But that’s because I regard “strongly” as a relative term, not to be used more than a few times on any given test.

    • Belle

      Hi Adrian,

      I think enable might not be the best wording choice, there, as I understood it to be more about accepting the way introverts choose/make friends, and not pushing them into extroverted behaviors. Hope that clears it up a bit!

    • I assumed this tip was more for parents of introverted children letting them know not to try to push their kids to have more friends and be more outgoing like many parents feel is important.

      • Tazzy

        Yes, you’re right. That’s what my mother always tried to do when we went camping as a family. My brothers always went out to make friends, while I enjoyed time alone and reading a book or something. I hated her worrying about it and the pushing. She made me unhappy about the fact that I didn’t want to make friends on vacation, while I were perfectly happy with what I was doing. I always felt like you have to be axtravert, that being intravert is wrong and boring. And it feels like that in some places, like college. Now I’m am learning this is not true and I need to accept that in order to be happy.

        • I too was always in a corner reading a book, and barely had one good friend in any school… I think I was lucky that both my parents found that normal and while I did hear “don’t you want to go play?” on occasion, there was no pushing that I can remember. But many many trips to the bookstore instead 🙂

          Right now, I think I am more of an extrovert than I was before. Talking to people recharges me. Exchanging a random chat in a queue makes me smile for the day (brilliant example, that!). But at the same time, talking to too many people, or people I do not know, tires me. Maybe I need to read more about being an ambivert. (looking into the test now)

          Reading this has also helped me understand that, most likely, my partner is an introvert. This wasn’t a surprise. But I will be printing out the “how to care for” panels (and maybe re-designing them so I can post them on our wall) as a reminder.

          Understanding what makes us happy is tricky, knowing yourself, the biggest challenge (Socrates said it first!). I was always getting the introvert / extrovert thing wrong too. I’m still not sure which I am.

  • Vishal .

    Too good an article! Sharing on Twitter (via the Bufferapp) and Pinterest 🙂

    • Belle

      Awesome, thanks Vishal!

  • Kevin Loh

    I really enjoyed this article. It brought together the introversion/extroversion scale with the sensory seeking/avoiding scale during sensory processing. Sounds like extroverts are not just people seeking, but stimulus seeking in general. Very interesting. Makes sense for my family. Thank you for sharing your research and thoughts.

    • Belle

      Thanks Kevin, so glad you enjoyed it!

  • I’m an introvert and it’s true that we don’t make a lot of friends. We make a few “quality” friends

  • Steven

    So according to the descriptions of introverts and extroverts under “how we recharge our brains”, extroverts are psychic energy vampires who leech the energy from the introverts?

    • Vishal .

      Not just on introverts… they leech on the energy of extroverts too 😉

  • nitesco
  • Dr. Karin L Smithson

    WONDERFUL article, Belle! I am using your piece as research for a radio show I am doing on the subject and appreciate your thoroughness on Introversion & Extraversion. Great job!

    • Belle

      Awesome, thanks so much Karin! Glad to hear it!

  • Another Jane

    Very good article! As a self-identifying introvert (ambivert on that test), I think a big difference for myself (and several other introverts that I know) is that parties are fine once in a while, but I really prefer them not to be too big or include too many people I don’t know. The fun is being with family and friends, not with masses of strangers!

  • CPB

    Without getting into the details of the personal hardships of my brother’s life, I will tell you that he does often tell me how he is so lonely and scared of being alone and that he felt that way even as a young child. But me, I could be all alone on a deserted island and be a happy camper trying to figure out how to make a fire, watching the clouds and the waves of the ocean, just standing there listening to the wind and thinking about what I could do that would make surviving on this little island easier and fun. I really think the only loneliness I would feel would be when I missed my wife. My brother would go crazy in two weeks if he were on a deserted island all alone.
    You hit the nail on the head when you explained how the two different personalities ‘recharge their batteries’. My brother is always hanging out with people who he feels are his friends. Me, I can’t really say I have any real friends except for my wife, and that is all I feel like I really need to get through the days or even years. I don’t have any bowling or drinking buddies or friends that I ever hang out with because I would be thinking that I need to get away from this ‘madness’ and I would feel that need of a recharge by being alone. I do understand that I have to intermingle with people to a certain extent but I just want to keep it to a minimum. I suppose some people might think that I am a recluse or living in the dungeon but I don’t see it that way at all. I have my goals and get out and do things but If I am with a large group of people It sort of feels like I’m doing things on their terms and not my own.
    After reading your article I realized that I shouldn’t try to drag my brother to my side park and try to understand that his ways at looking at life are just as important to him as it is for me.

  • boolooo

    it doesn’t say anything about “teach” “reprimand” for extroverts. Fuck that shit.

  • raymond hagermann

    Strong introvert here…nearly max out the scales on most test… I’ve read much of the source material listed here. Not really a fan of strong extroverts. Usually just want to leave them in a dark room all alone, white noise generator going and mostly submerged in a tank of water at body temperature when they invade. Mean? Probably. But they do learn to give me space.

  • P

    I live with my friend and she is introverted, I haven’t seen her in two days even though we are in the same house, is that because she wants to be alone or because somethings up? I find it very strange and am not sure what I should do, I always leave my door open so she can come in and talk but she never does

    • Adam

      You won’t know unless you ask. Just leaving your door open may not be enough. Try saying hi afew times and see if she responds.. Even “I miss your company but don’t want to be clingy. Please visit when you are in the mood.” Then let her come. Also, maybe you talk too much when you are together? Try being together in quiet time…

  • Anonymous

    Lately I’ve been reading about the science behind introversion/extroversion. The notion of arousal and seeking stimulation was a new thing for me but as I read about the theory, it really clicked. It explains why my living space tends to be quiet and not terribly extravagant – I’m an introvert, and the stimulation level I have suits my needs. Probably the biggest impact it’s had is enabling me to understand my extroverted neighbors and friends. Super talkative people, or those who feel the need to yell and blare their music, mystified me for the longest time. I thought maybe they were trying to be annoying, arrogant, or for some reason “liked” loud music. Now I understand, they are extroverts! They need more external stimulus to reach their optimal level. I’m not fully sure if that means they need the stimulus to stay awake or something. But there’s something about the noise and excitement that puts them in the right frame of mind to do what they need. It’s helped me become more accepting of them.

  • Walt

    Learning about introversion has helped me understand myself better. Even as a kid I needed to spend a lot of time alone, I was even called a “loner” which is pretty negative to hear as a child, but I now realise it was actually what was the common understanding of introversion was.

  • I used to type myself during my late teen and early 20s as an introvert b/c didn’t feel comfortable around people. but i was never energized or happy doing solo work or being by myself for an extended time to the point of unbearable. slowly i realized i might be an extravert who lacked the social skills and scoping mechanism. learned about it after working in bar then traveling alot. my story, experimentation on introversion and extraversion is here

    • 42

      It’s really important to know the difference between shyness and being introvert. I’m glade you understand yourself better now.

  • Samantha Owens

    I really enjoyed this article, and the “Ways to Care for an Introvert” is probably the best one I’ve seen! It’s great to see behaviors toward me that I don’t know how to put into words clarified, and say “Yes! Please don’t do that!” 🙂 I also like the extroverted one, to care for my more extroverted friends/loved ones.

  • mario ferenac

    You’re an ambivert. That means you’re neither strongly introverted nor strongly extraverted. Recent research by Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Management has found that ambiverts make the best salespeople. Ambiverts tend to be adept at the quality of attunement. They know when to push and when to hold back, when to speak up and when to shut up. So don’t fall for the myth of the extraverted sales star. Just keep being your ambiverted self.

  • Ty

    Most people would call me extrovert but I questioned it because I don’t talk much at the club or bars, then one buddy said “just because you don’t talk a lot at clubs or bars doesn’t mean you’re introvert since you enjoy the company of others – you just hate it when there’s a pressure to prove something, and that comes from introverts surrounding you and trying to live vicariously through you.” From observation, it seems introverts talk to get somewhere or someone, extroverts talk for fun but when people take the fun out of it by making bets and turning it into a job, extroverts shrink up. Extroverts are good with small talk and are smooth. Introverted small talk is mechanical where they memorize what to say. When I went to the club/bars with an introvert friend, he kept insisting I’m introvert since I didn’t talk much. Intention is what defines introverts and extroverts. I think introverts talk with expectation, extroverts talk for fun. I don’t think introverts are more creative since their conversations are more mechanical where as extroverts wing it,usually coming out smooth. Conversation is an art form since it is expression. Honestly, I’m ridding myself from introverts who try to live vicariously through me and think they can learn by watching. When I hang out with them, they turn socializing into a job. By the end of the night, my buddy stopped teasing me about being introvert because of how smooth my one liners are. I’m saying extrovert/introvert isn’t defined by how talkative one is since so many introverts pretend to be extroverts and extroverts don’t necessarily talk a lot – they talk a lot when the conversation is for fun and nobody is turning it into a chore.

  • B. Lopes

    I think you make many great points in this article; however, I feel like the statement that “introverts find other people exhausting,” or “draining”, (while true) makes it sound like a negative. I do find certain people “exhausting” and generally large social gatherings “draining”, but I think it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that this is bad or undesirable.

    Maybe another perspective or explanation could be that introverts (or at least I) can only handle small doses of socializing or interaction with others. Or that we don’t want to stay in those situations as long or as frequently. That we need solitude and time to ourselves for reflection and quiet to balance those highly stimulating experiences.

  • Violet140

    I found this article to be detailed and insightful. Growing up, my family would say that I was antisocial. I never understood that. I had friends, few but true. I like meeting people, but I will not be the first one to talk. I will listen, but not for too long. I enjoy the company of others, but with limitations. Some friendships did not flourish because I was not constantly grooming them.
    I am loving and caring, work very hard, but I am not the life of the party. I will be the supporter. I wish I knew the proper difference before. There were a few good possibilities of friendships that I ended because they were too much for me. Now I understand. Thank you for the article. I believe that both sides are standings of how one will behave. We take things too serious sometimes. Love your introverts, Love your extroverts.

  • Thanks for this! As a personality that leans toward the introversion end of the spectrum, but who is outgoing in social situations and speaks publicly, I often find myself having to explain away a lot of confusion at my periodic need to withdraw. Many people don’t realize that one can be confident and social–even gregarious, from time to time–and still tend toward introversion. It just means I have to back off once in a while to recharge.

  • 42

    I understand that we are humans, and humans are social animals. But also solitude is a part of me. Sometimes it really gets hard to balance those two parts. Yet everyday am glade am this way. When i was a kid i always wondered why i am this way. It’s hard to explain, but i felt extremely conscious of reality and the universe. I saw beauty in things people thought was insignificant. I remember i used to spend long period of times in the attic (which was more like a small closed inside our bedroom wall). It was my safe zone, a place to be alone with my thought because i shared my bedroom with 3 siblings.
    Now i understand those strong feelings were a product of the unusual way i processed the information i observed. Which made me always curious and thriving for knowledge because it’s the only tool that enable us to see behind this physical world.
    Sometimes it gets out of control though. Last time that happened when i spent three months alone trying to make sense out of reality and time. It almost drove me into madness. Sometimes i wonder if us humans have the intelligent required to understand the fundamental nature of our existence.

  • Kamile Ko

    It seems that introverts and extroverts are very different people, my best priend is I and I am E , and we often argue, but I love spending leisure time with her, just because then we become one person. Try, maybe doing such a things- šokiai , will help you to get closer 🙂

  • Marcus Hawthorne

    During my childhood and adolescent years, I was more of an extrovert according to external feedback from those around me. Now in my late 20s, I feel as though I’m more of an introvert, and I’ve been this way for some years now. I’m somewhat confused. I’m having trouble concluding whether or not this shift in direction was a result of life experience and social interaction. I often wonder, “what happened to me? I used to be fun, spontaneous, social, outgoing, talkative, demanding of attention, etc.” So, at times, it seems negative, because I have become more withdrawn from society; some say it’s depression, and when I disagree, I’m in denial. Or was I this way simply because my personality had not yet matured? Initially, I thought I was ENFP. But I feel as though I have become INFP and slightly more INTP as I got older. Especially after gaining a much clearer and deeper perception of life, society and metaphysical elements, etc. I don’t really like being around people now. I could say I would like to be around people, but after awhile, I don’t like to be bothered.

  • dexxx

    I have a best friend who reprimands me for not “talking to people” when we’re out in groups of 8-10 students, most of which I’ve never even talked to, so a lot of the times he forces me into the conversation even when I’m not paying attention, causing some embarrassment for myself. You have no idea how much this makes us introverts (and some of us with a hint of social phobia too) WORSE. Instead of making us more social, you’re making us want to never look at the same people who saw you humiliated in the face again. This may be a fun things for extroverts who don’t care, but trust me, this is the worst thing. It’s already wrong for you to think we should change and talk to a lot of people just because you’re able to do so, so please READ and follow those instructions.

  • naturally paleo

    Conclusion: Labeling a person an introvert or an extrovert is not an accurate way of describing someone, there are too many variables involved.

  • Hooch Young

    spot on!

    i spent some time with my sister after not seeing her for years and i was stunned at her need to be with someone 24/7, while she couldn’t fathom my wanting to be alone. in fact, i had to EXPLAIN to her what alone means.

    no wonder we fought like cats and dogs as kids.

  • Gromit23

    This is a great article. Very helpful. Except for the “tips” signs. They are too “out there” for this introvert to read comfortably. Too many colours and sizes of fonts make for a very unpleasant reading experience. (I feel like I’m being assaulted and yelled at). At least they aren’t animated gifs but, they really scream at me.