When you are at a party or at work, do you get noticed first by other people because you feel the need to take center stage?
Do you like to approach people you don't know and make small talk or learn something about where they come from?
Or, would you rather stay out of the limelight and limit your conversations to a few meaningful ones rather than talking about the weather or sports?
If you love being the center of attention or being with groups of people, that means you are eager for contact and like to make a lot of connections with others. You might be an extrovert.
However, if you would rather stay in the background a bit, then you may prefer solitude rather than being around a large crowd of people. You are probably an introvert.
Introvert vs. Extrovert Differences at a Glance
Here is a quick overview of the differences between an introvert and an extrovert:
- Introverts recharge by being alone. Extroverts recharge by being social.
- Introverts are more reserved. Extroverts are more open.
- Introverts prefer one-on-one conversations. Extroverts enjoy group conversations.
- Introverts have closer relationships with few friends. Extroverts have more friends but not as close.
- Introverts listen more. Extroverts speak more.
- Introverts struggle with change. Extroverts find change easy.
- Introverts can focus deeply for long periods. Extroverts are more easily distracted.
- Introverts reflect before making decisions. Extroverts make quick decisions.
- Introverts don't care about attention. Extroverts love getting attention.
- Introverts share in meetings when prompted. Extroverts speak up in meetings.
- Introverts prefer working in quiet spaces. Extroverts are fine working in open spaces.
Now that you have a brief idea about these two personality traits, let's delve into the characteristics of an introvert and why you might be one.
What Is An Introvert?
The character traits of introversion and extroversion were first introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.
Extroversion is typically a trait of people who are outgoing, energetic, and talkative, while people who are introverts tend to be more reserved and cherish their alone time.
Introversion and extroversion exist on a continuum, and most people aren't fully introverted or fully extroverted.
Carl Jung believed that everyone has a mixture of both traits, with one side dominating the other.
While he believed introversion and extroversion are attitudes, people now understand that these personality traits are reflected in our behaviors.
Unfortunately for many introverts, our society tends to favor extroverted behavior. The “extrovert ideal” is the common belief that those who are sociable, outgoing and ready to be the center of attention are more successful and have an advantage.
Western culture, in particular, has come to view introversion as a weakness and a disadvantage.
People are usually drawn to others who are outgoing and gregarious and view extroverts as more confident and capable.
For this reason, introverts have been stigmatized and often have to adapt to the ideals that our culture prefers and rewards.
However, new research has started to change the perceptions of introverts.
Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, has provided great insight into the thoughts and behaviors of introverts that have allowed the world to see them in a new light.
We are becoming aware of the previously unrecognized talents and abilities introverts possess to make positive, productive, and thoughtful changes in the world.
In fact, research has shown that today's workplace environments are welcoming to people who are quieter and more reserved, making it possible for introverts to be recognized and even supported in their personality preferences.
What are the traits of an introvert?
There are many traits that introverts share, even though every introvert is not the same. Here are a few personality traits that introverts have in common:
They are self-aware.
Introverts do a lot of thinking and analyzing and often reflect on their feelings and experiences. This makes them exceptionally self-aware compared to those who tend to not be as reflective.
They are thoughtful.
Introverts are thoughtful people, likely because they recognize what they want from others. They strive to offer others the attention and kindness they desire for themselves.
They appreciate the details.
Introverts typically prefer very meaningful conversations that delve into a lot of detail rather than small talk and meaningless conversations.
They like to know the intricacies of the things they are interested in and ignore the fluff of subjects that don't excite them.
They keep their emotions to themselves.
Introverts prefer to keep their emotions inside rather than talking about them to others. Their coping mechanisms with stress is more focused on self-care than self-share.
They would rather socialize with people they know.
Introverts love to be comfortable and feel safe. They enjoy being around a tight-knit group of friends who they can trust.
Being in groups of strangers can make them feel overstimulated and stressed.
They like to observe.
Introverts would rather sit back and observe a situation so they can analyze it internally.
The 8 Introverted Personality Types
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an introspective questionnaire that differentiates psychological preferences in the way that people see the world around them and behave accordingly.
This self-reported test puts personality into sixteen distinct types based on Carl Jung‘s theories.
The purpose of knowing one's personality type is to become aware of our own characteristics and make sense of our thoughts and behaviors through a personality lens.
It also helps us better choose a career, understand and relate to other people, and accept our own preferences as completely normal.
Here are 8 different personality types that include introversion:
Introverted / Sensing / Thinking / Judging
About 16.4% of males and 6.9% of females fall into the ISTJ category. They yearn for security and peace and prefer a quiet and more serious environment.
ISTJs tend to be very responsible and dependable hard workers, and they think in a logical and practical manner.
ISTJs love the predictability of traditions and have a strong preference for order and organization at home and at work.
Introverted / Sensing / Feeling / Judging
About 8.1% of males and 19.4% of females are ISFJs.
ISFJs are quiet and kind and pay close attention to what is going on around them. They are responsible and loyal to their obligations and to other people and often stay very attentive to what other people are feeling.
They find great comfort in security and stability. Stable and practical in nature, they value security and traditions. They are often interested in serving other people in some way.
Introverted / Intuitive / Feeling / Judging
Only 1.3% of males and 1.6% of females are INFJs.
These individuals are sensitive, yet can be forceful in a quiet way. They look for meaning in the connections that they see, and they are often trying to understand the motives of other people, which teaches them great insight over time.
INFJs are attentive and committed to their values. Once they develop a vision, they are quickly decisive in how they choose to implement their vision.
Introverted / Intuitive / Thinking / Judging
INTJs make up 3.3% of males and only 0.8% of females.
They are fiercely independent and analytical. Their major strength lies in turning theories into concrete plans.
They are perceptive of patterns and are able to come up with an explanation for why things are as they are.
When INTJs become committed to something, they follow through. They maintain high standards for their performance and the performance of their colleagues and peers.
They have strong leadership skills, but they can also follow leaders that they trust.
Introverted / Sensing / Thinking / Perceiving
About 8.5% of males and 2.4% of females are ISTPs.
They are reserved people who take an interest in how things work and why things work like they do. Because of this, they have great mechanical skills and are often talented in sports.
They are tolerant and able to observe situations until there is a solution. They are interested in the principles of things to help understand the reasoning behind why things are as they seem.
ISTPs are analytical and are great at finding solutions to real-world problems.
Introverted / Sensing / Feeling / Perceiving
ISFPs make up 7.6% of males and 9.9% of females.
They are very kind people, although they are quiet, serious and sensitive. They avoid conflict and are loyal and faithful to the people they care about.
They have a special appreciation for the beauty in things. ISFPs are flexible and open-minded, which often leads them to be creative in their endeavors.
They excel when they are able to work at their own pace and in their own space. They have a strong appreciation for the present and are able to practice gratitude in the moment.
Introverted / Intuitive / Feeling / Perceiving
INFPs represent 4.1% of males and 4.6% of females. They are reflective thinkers who tend to be quiet and idealistic.
They are curious and can easily see possibilities for implementing ideas where others can't.
They have strong values and are very loyal to those they love.
INFPs are adaptable and easygoing and they jump at the opportunity to help other people fulfill their potential.
Introverted / Intuitive / Thinking / Perceiving – (4.8% of males, 1.8% of females)
About 4.8% of males and 1.8% of females are INTPs.
They think logically and are extremely competent, yet in a creative way. They are original and typically are very interested in ideas and theories.
They are able to focus intently on their areas of interest to solve problems and can be skeptical and even critical.
Like other introverts, they are quiet and reserved and can be hard for some people to get to know. They are highly individual and do not feel the need to be a follower.
Are you an introvert?
If you want to find out if you are an introvert, you can take the official Myers Briggs assessment on their website.
This assessment costs $50, however, there are very similar assessments that you can do at no charge. One of the best free assessments is the Jung Typology Test.
Introverts are clearly powerful, insightful people who can make a huge impact on the world.
Just ask Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling, Elon Musk, and Barak Obama — all who are introverts.
While they were once viewed as lacking charisma, confidence, and social skills, introverts are now being valued for their abilities to analyze situations carefully, tap into their keen imaginations, and observe subtleties others miss.
If you are an introvert, then you should certainly be proud of your unique personality traits and use them to your advantage. You don't need to pretend to be an extrovert anymore.
You can have as much success and fulfillment in life as any extrovert can enjoy — on your own terms!
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