Over the last few years, we’ve heard a lot about the critical differences between introverts and extroverts. We all heaved a collective sigh as we read personality descriptions, thinking, “that’s me!” But like many personality stereotypes, these aren’t very useful for understanding ourselves. The idea of introversion and extroversion […]
The Real Difference Between Introverts and Extroverts
There are a lot of misunderstandings about what introversion and extroversion actually mean. To many people, being an extrovert means you’re outgoing, and being an introvert means you’re shy. Or maybe you see introverts as homebodies while extroverts are out chatting it up with strangers on the street. Maybe you think introverts are sensitive while extroverts have a thick skin. None of those stereotypes are correct, so let’s set the record straight before we get further into the weeds.
Introversion and extroversion are aspects of personality coined by Carl Jung in the early 20th century. Since then, they’re often included as parts of personality scales like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Shyness and being outgoing don’t have anything to do with it; it’s more about where we get our energy from. In fact, the differences are pretty simple:
- Introverts get exhausted by social interaction and need solitude to recharge.
- Extroverts get anxious when left alone and get energy from social interaction.
That’s it. There’s nothing about shyness, being a homebody, or how adventurous you are. Both types can be social, both can creative, both can be leaders, and so on.
Is there a word for a person who is an introvert, but can fake being an extrovert for a short period of time, at the cost of being completely exhausted like they just ran a marathon over hot coals barefoot?— Daniel Feldman (@d_feldman) August 18, 2021