Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?

October 5, 2016 • Feel Good / Mindfulness

Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?

You’re about to be VERY surprised.

Turns out, you can’t actually tell if someone is an introvert or extrovert just by looking at them them. Despite what we’ve been told, being shy and quiet or loud and boisterous isn’t the actual determiner of whether you’re introverted or extroverted. For example, funny girl Amy Schumer, who we would have guessed was an extrovert, identifies as an introvert. Surprised? We were, too. To help us break it all down, we cracked open Susan Cain’s New York Times bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Cain explains that introverts are the people who recharge their energy by being alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, get their energy by interacting with other people. But keep in mind these traits are not black and white: You may find yourself switching between them depending on the circumstance, like comedian Schumer when she has to get up on stage. You’ll have different struggles and skills depending on which personality side you lean towards. So welcome to both the introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between. Still confused as to where you stand? Determine your personality type, and then use these tricks to harness your superpowers and different (yet equally awesome) strengths—because everyone deserves to shine.


How to Tell If You’re an Introvert or an Extrovert

First, determine when you feel the most energetic by answering these questions.

  • Do you feel drained (like you need a nap) after being around a big crowd or spending time with friends?

  • Do you seek out solitude (i.e. go out for a walk alone) to uplift your mood?

  • Do you work best in a secluded environment (like at home or in your own office)?

If you answered yes, then you may be introverted. Introverts gain their energy from finding solitude. They could even appear to be loud and talkative, yet they secretly go home and recharge from all that socializing.  

Did those questions not ring true? Ask yourself this:

  • Do you actively try to meet new people?

  • Do you enjoy being the center of attention?

  • Do you get excited when performing on stage?

If you answered yes, you may be extroverted. Extroverts gain their energy from interacting with people. Being alone drains energy for an extrovert, so they constantly seek out interaction with others.

You could also be a mix of both: These personality traits are on a spectrum, so you may land in the middle or lean more towards one type or the other on the scale. Some psychologists theorize that whether you’re extroverted or introverted changes with the situation, so you experience both sides of the coin. Still confused? It’s a complicated subject. Take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test for a more concrete answer.

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The Natural Strengths of Extroverts

According to Cain, these are traits and strengths common to extroverts.

  • Enjoys meeting new people

  • Often the life of the party

  • Has natural leadership skills

  • Communicates easily

  • Excels at selling themselves

  • Can effortlessly deliver presentations


The Extrovert’s Guide to Life

Use alone time for self care

A night alone doesn’t have to be boring. Use the downtime to do things for yourself that you’ve been putting off: work on a personal project, draw yourself a warm bath, and discover the magic of a night in with wine, cheese, and Netflix. Or be brave, and venture out alone! Try an activity that you’re friends aren’t keen on, but that you’ve secretly been dying to try.


Don’t stress about stepping out of the spotlight

It’s easy to worry about constantly having to be ‘on’, but don’t let this stress you out. It’s your life and your rules, so taking a moment (or five) to be a quiet observer instead of the life of the party is more than acceptable. If you’re feeling a bit anxious (or even jealous) when someone else has the center stage, take a deep breath. You love to entertain, so your next chance in the spotlight will come soon enough.


Accept that there’s nothing wrong with being alone

For a long time, it was bad to be quiet, introverted, and alone. At one point, introversion was almost considered a psychological disorder. So it’s no surprise that most people have a stigma about seeking solitude. If you’re an extrovert with an introverted significant other, give your partner space when they need it. There’s nothing anti-social about giving your partner room to recharge. Same thing goes for yourself: forget about FOMO! Rejecting the pressure to constantly be social means you’ll feel more comfortable when you do find yourself alone.

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The Natural Strengths of Introverts

According to Cain, these are traits and strengths common to introverts.

  • Good listening skills

  • Can process large amounts of information at once

  • Spends time thinking about the world

  • Often great thinkers and creatives

  • Easily form intimate friendships

  • Prepares well for big challenges


The Introvert’s Guide to Life

Prepare for social events

If you’re headed to a party and feeling nervous, prep beforehand with a few non-controversial conversation starters from the news or keep a couple of funny stories in your backpocket to break out when things are quiet. Or if you’re leading a big presentation, practice your speech alone or in front of a few friends to become comfortable with your talking points.


Find a private work space

It’s no secret that introverts often prefer to work solo. If you find yourself in a open office looking for a secluded place to work, invest in noise-cancelling headphones, excuse yourself to a quiet nook in the office, or work from home for a day. Frame your request to your boss as needing the best work environment to be productive.


Immerse yourself in passion projects

In Quiet, Cain describes a popular college professor, who was known for giving animated lectures. No one would believe that he was actually an introvert, who loved his reclusive space after class was over. The professor explained that his passion for his subject and students made it easier for him to want to connect with others and share his interest. As an introvert, it’s easier to enjoy interacting with others if you’re sharing a passion. Find out what you love to do and how to share that with the world: You might just find yourself walking in an extrovert’s shoes.


But most importantly…

Take personality traits and similar quizzes with a grain of salt. There’s no right or wrong personality to have, so whatever you maybe, embrace it wholeheartedly.


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