Extraversion and introversion are prominent personality traits, commonly used in both academic and colloquial settings to gauge a person’s preference for seeking company or enjoying their time alone. These traits aren’t mutually exclusive; people may have extraverted and introverted sides – with one dominant side – while some can be considered ambiverted.
How is an extrovert different from an introvert?
The main difference between an extrovert and an introvert can be found in various aspects of the social and behavioural preferences, including how often they seek out company, whether they are energized or drained by interacting with others, and the modes through which they express themselves, among many other things.
What is an Extrovert?
Extroverts are people that prefer socializing and having company.
They are invigorated by interacting with others, feeling at ease with expressing their ideas and emotions out loud. They are also more likely to be outgoing, or getting out of their comfort zone to try new experiences. Furthermore, extroverts don’t mind attracting attention to themselves.
Due to their sociable, people-centered behaviour, extroverts often make friends and acquaintances by getting to know the people they meet in their workplace, school, or in public. They also enjoy being involved in group projects and taking on positions of responsibility, usually as leaders.
In addition, extroverts find it easier to communicate through speaking rather than writing.
What is an Introvert?
Introverts are people that are comfortable with being alone or socializing with smaller groups of people.
Socializing with other people can feel draining to them, and they require a healthy amount of personal space and private time to recharge their social battery. They tend to keep their thoughts and feelings in their heads, and are more attuned to regular self-reflection.
Introverts prefer doing things on their own terms, and may not always be willing to go out or try new activities. They are more lively and open among smaller groups of close friends, or by themselves; they act more reserved in larger social settings.
Many introverts are accustomed to being self-sufficient, and are thus good at learning new skills through observing them.
Differences between Extroverts and Introverts
Introverts are able to unwind and concentrate better when they are alone. Having private time lets them think and de-stress in peace, and they are more productive in a solitary environment.
Extroverts are revitalized by talking and mingling with others. They can remain concentrated on a task in the presence of others, and can even feel inspired by their company. Working as a team can help put them in a productive mindset.
Extroverts will be more outspoken in making their observations or opinions known to other people. Many extraverted people are assertive; they are more likely to complain about poor service, tell staff that they have received the wrong order, or correct colleagues when they are wrong.
In contrast, introverts prefer a subtler way of resolving conflicts – if they cannot be outright avoided. They tend to air out complaints or observations through writing or one-on-one conversation, or having someone else speak on their behalf.
Preferred Size of Company
Extroverts revel in interacting with others, be it as part of large crowds – such as parties or special gatherings – or smaller, more intimate groups. Being totally alone for prolonged periods of time can unnerve them.
Introverts feel much more at ease with small groups, especially if close friends and loved ones are present. Bigger groups can be a pain to deal with, and introverts tend to feel restrained in such crowds. Public speaking may be especially stressful for them.
Interacting with Strangers
Unless they’re shopping, going out for food, or using a public service, introverts will typically not go out of their way to talk with strangers.
Extroverts, on the other hand, have no compunction with making small talk with strangers and enjoying their company. They are eager to befriend, or at least better know, the people that they meet in their daily lives.
Introverts possess a rigid and well-defined comfort zone, being far more comfortable with locations, activities and people that they are already used to. When they wish to try something new, such as a hobby or a new restaurant, they tend to do so when few or no people are in the vicinity.
Extroverts are more interested in trying new experiences, whether with other people or on their own. Compared to introverts, they are far likelier to accept spur-of-the-moment invitations to go out and travel somewhere.
Communication & Self-Expression
Extroverts like communicating with others, most commonly through speech and body language. They are also more vocal about their ideas and feelings.
Introverts tend not to communicate when it is not necessary. Many find it easier to express their thoughts and emotions through writing.
Dealing with Attention
Extroverts are no strangers to attention. They feel energized by being the focus of a group, and consider it to be a useful resource.
Introverts usually don’t enjoy being the center of attention, and can be drained by having to consider the thoughts and opinions of other people. They will try to divert attention to others or ignore it altogether.
Comparison Chart: Extroverts Vs Introverts
|Mental Energy||Recharged in the company of others.||Recharged with private time.|
|Confronting People||Outspoken; openly confronts people and problems.||Avoids or subtly resolves confrontations.|
|Preferred Size of Company||Large to small groups. Dislikes being alone for too long.||Small, intimate groups.|
|Interacting with Strangers||Enjoys befriending or making small talk with them.||Minimizes interactions with them.|
|Communication & Self-Expression||Vocal and more expressive.||Reserved. Communicates through writing.|
|Dealing with Attention||Enjoys and seeks attention.||Diverts or ignores attention.|
How are Extroverts and Introverts similar?
Despite the terms appearing like polar opposites, introverts and extroverts can still have a lot in common.
Total isolation for a long period of time can be extremely worrisome to extroverts, but most introverts would not enjoy it, either. People on both ends of the extraversion continuum still enjoy social interactions – whether with close friends or groups of people they are comfortable with.
Both types are also interested in making the most out of their mental energy. That’s why extroverts thrive on having good experiences with others, while introverts replenish and focus their energy on a few, close people and themselves.
What are the Big Five personality traits?
The “Big Five” model is a popular and widely-respected framework in psychology. It theorizes that a person’s personality is composed of five primary factors; known by the acronym OCEAN, these factors stand for Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.
Extraversion has been observed to be linked with trait openness, supporting the statement that extroverted people are more willing to go out of their comfort zone and try out a variety of novel experiences.
What is an ambivert?
While people can possess an introverted and extroverted side, with one side being the dominant trait, there exists another set of individuals who are roughly balanced in introversion and extraversion. Such individuals are known as ambiverts.
Ambiverts refer to people with dynamic social needs; they regularly go through periods where they either seek social interaction like an extrovert, or prefer time alone as an introvert would.
Common indicators of ambiversion include having both a reserved and energetic side, adapting one’s energy in a discussion to reflect the energy of the person with whom they are speaking, and requiring both social and private time.
The differences between extroverts and introverts stem from a complex mix of social and behavioural preferences.
Extroverts recharge their mental energy in the company of other people; are outspoken; are comfortable with being part of groups of any size, but are uncomfortable when alone for too long; enjoy interacting with strangers and broadening their comfort zone; and revel in attention.
Introverts prefer private time, as they use it to replenish their energy and concentrate on their work. They would rather solve confrontations indirectly, or avoid them altogether. Introverts also like smaller, closer groups; minimizing their contact with strangers; staying within their comfort zones; keeping their thoughts to themselves; and taking attention away from themselves.