Chances are you’ve heard yourself or others described as introvert or extrovert, but what exactly is the difference between introvert and extrovert?
Through the Myers-Briggs personality test, many people find their personality type and begin studying what it all means.
The Myers Briggs divides personalities into 16 different types represented by four-letter acronyms.
The first letter describes where you focus your attention and is either an “I” or an “E,” representing introvert and extrovert, respectively.
Let’s dive in and learn more about these personality types.
- What Are the 8 Types of Introverts?
- What Are the 8 Types of Extroverts?
- Is It Better to Be an Introvert or Extrovert?
- What Is the Difference Between an Introvert and Extrovert: 8 Key Differences You Should Know
What Are the 8 Types of Introverts?
Introverts in television, books, and movies are often depicted as antisocial loners who often have their heads stuck in a book or deeply engaged in a hobby or project.
While this is an exaggeration, the image does draw from some tell-tale introverted characteristics. Introverted people need alone time to recharge themselves. They also tend to be very creative and have many hobbies and passion projects.
Social interactions often drain their “social battery” and leave them feeling depleted and ready for some solitude. The 16 Myers Briggs personalities are divided into two by the first letter depicted as either an “I” for introverts or “E” for extroverts.
There are eight different types of introverts described as follows:
- INTJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging.
- INTP: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving.
- INFJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging.
- INFP: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving.
- ISTJ: Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging.
- ISTP: Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving.
- ISFP: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving.
- ISFJ: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging.
What Are the 8 Types of Extroverts?
While introverts tend to value their solitude deeply, extroverts are the complete opposite. They need social interaction to recharge their batteries and pull inspiration for big ideas.
Extended amounts of alone time for extroverts leave them feeling down and unmotivated. As discussed earlier, the first letter of each Myers Briggs personality type describes where we focus our attention.
Introverts focus their attention inwardly, and extroverts focus it outwardly. It is easy to tell the difference between extrovert and introvert personality types in social situations based on how actively they interact with those around them. Extroverts love people, and it shows.
Here are the eight types of extroverts according to Myers Briggs:
- ENTJ: Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging.
- ENTP: Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving.
- ENFJ: Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging.
- ENFP: Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving.
- ESTJ: Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging.
- ESTP: Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving.
- ESFP: Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving.
- ESFJ: Extroverted Sensing, Feeling, Judging.
Is It Better to Be an Introvert or Extrovert?
Before we address this question, we’d like to emphasize how being an extrovert does not automatically make you a good person, and neither does being an introvert. They are two sides of the same coin.
Each type hosts benefits and drawbacks. The definition of introvert and extrovert is based on where our energy and attention get focused. Neither is necessarily better or worse.
However, extroverts tend to get more attention in our society due to their tendency to outwardly direct their energy and focus and the reward they feel from gaining attention.
Introverts put their energy inwards, making them seem more reserved and tend to self-isolation.
Many iconic artists and thinkers are more introverted than extroverted. Their introverted qualities allowed them to dive in, dedicate themselves to their ideas, and pursue them in solitude to achieve truly amazing things.
This intensity is one of the significant benefits of introversion. Since extroverts often have a hard time spending long periods alone, their chances of accomplishing what an introvert may do on their own are significantly less.
The center of attention in any social gathering is likely an extrovert. They are social butterflies who thrive in large groups and conversations. Their outgoing personalities make them memorable and attractive to all different people.
There is growing evidence to show that extroverts actively seek out attention because it feels rewarding. Research has shown a correlation between extrovert personalities and perceiving attention as a reward. While neither personality type is better, it seems extroverts have an advantage in attracting attention in our society.
What Is the Difference Between an Introvert and Extrovert: 8 Key Differences You Should Know
Introverts and extroverts are two personality-type descriptions that reveal how we interact with the world.
We might pigeonhole the two personality types as shy and outgoing, but there is a bit more to it than that. Let’s dive into the eight key differences between an introvert and an extrovert.
1. How They Recharge
Introverts recharge their social batteries by taking time to be alone with themselves and their thoughts. This time is precious and allows them to show up energized in social situations.
They’ll often need some time after social gatherings, especially large ones, before showing their face again to allow time for them to restore themselves.
On the other hand, extroverts rely on social interaction to fill their cup. Many extroverts have trouble concentrating and focusing if they’ve spent too much time alone and will actively go out and socialize to recharge and get their thoughts and ideas churning again.
2. How They Are Perceived
It is pretty easy to pick out introverts and extroverts in a crowd most of the time.
Those who lean towards the quiet side and observation are often introverted personalities, while those actively engaging with multiple people and buzzing around are more likely extroverts.
You’ll likely perceive an introvert as quiet or shy and extroverts as outgoing and conversational.
3. Where They Focus Attention
One of the most defining aspects of each personality type relates to where they focus their attention.
Introverts focus their attention inwardly. More often than not, they are content to explore and dive into their thoughts and ideas independently. A perfect day for an introvert involves being deep in their head.
Being alone with their thoughts feels like home to an introvert.
Extroverts, on the other hand, focus their attention outwardly. They tend to pull their big ideas and inspirations from exterior sources. Sitting at home alone will likely bring their creativity and ideas to a screeching halt. They need to get out and experience things to get their juices flowing.
4. How They Communicate
Extroverts love to express and talk about their thoughts and feelings outwardly. Communication is a life force for them. Since they tend to enjoy the attention and feel rewarded, they talk a lot to many different people.
Many extroverted personality types tend to work through their thoughts and feelings by outwardly speaking about them.
Introverts tend to communicate less prolifically and to significantly fewer people. It tends to be more difficult for introverts to open up, especially new people. It is rare to find them in a talkative mood unless they speak with someone they know very well.
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5. The Size Of Their Social Circle
Another significant difference between introvert and extrovert personalities is the size of their social circles.
You may have guessed that introverts tend to have small circles while extroverts have very large ones.
Because introverts tend to only open up to a chosen few, their social circle stays small and tends to remain much the same over time. Extroverts, however, seem to add new people to their social circle every time they go out. Opening up to new people comes naturally, allowing them to grow their social circle continuously.
6. How They Concentrate On Tasks
While concentration also depends on other personality traits, there is a correlation between increased focus and introversion. Introverts love to be alone with their thoughts without interruption, contributing to their increased ability to focus.
Since extroverts tend to get their ideas and creativity from outside sources, they tend to have a more challenging time concentrating for longer periods.
Many extroverts say they need to recharge by going out and interacting with people to keep their motivation following. Often this requires frequent breaks from specific tasks and impedes overall concentration.
7. How They Spend Their Time
If you or someone you know is introverted, you’re likely aware of how much time introverts spend on their own. Solitude feels safe and comfortable for introverts, while social interactions feel exhausting after a while.
Most introverts spend a lot of time alone working on various hobbies and interests. As you may imagine, extroverts spend most of their time around friends and families.
Their social calendar is usually full of events involving lots of people. They feed off social interaction and work to get as much as they can whenever they can.
8. How They Listen
Extroverts tend to work through their thoughts, ideas, and feelings by talking them out with other people. While this is a great way to process things, extroverts tend to talk more than listen.
Introverts tend to sway to the opposite side of the pendulum. In social interactions and conversations, introverts are more likely to listen and observe than contribute by speaking.
This ability makes introverts excellent listeners. Extroverts can also be great listeners, but it does not tend to come as naturally as it does for those on the introverted side of the spectrum.
Personality types are an intriguing way to get to know ourselves through analyzing our behavioral patterns. While extroverts and introverts tend to be different in many ways, neither is necessarily better or preferred.
It’s also important to note that many extroverted and introverted personality types tend to become great friends despite their differences.
It’s true that in many ways, opposites attract. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s valuable to see the balance between extroverted and introverted personalities.