Introverts vs. Extroverts - What Makes Them Different? | WOC Therapy

Introverts vs. Extroverts – What Makes Them Different?

Mental Health

Tamika Lewis January 19, 2022

You’ve likely heard the terms introversion and extroversion many times in your life, but do you know what they actually mean? What do these concepts represent, and what does being one of them say about you? Let’s untangle the never-ending confusion on introverts vs. extroverts and understand more about this psychological theory.

Introversion and extroversion are the two terms used to describe personality. They were introduced by Carl Gustav Jung in his 1921 book Psychological Types and soon became well-known in popular psychology. They are often used to understand one’s social interactions and tendencies better. Introverts and extroverts are viewed as opposites, and usually, people identify as one of the two.

Introverts vs. Extroverts – What Do These Famous Psychological Terms Represent and What’s the Difference Between Them?

What do extroversion and introversion mean? The ways people respond to social situations and outside stimuli can determine whether they’re an introvert or an extrovert. Extroverted people are more open to the outside world and tend to lean into social interactions naturally – they find interaction with people stimulating and lean on it as a source of their energy.

On the other hand, introverted individuals are more closed and enjoy less outside stimuli – too much interaction or sensory stimulation can feel overwhelming to them and make them experience anxiety symptoms or burnout.

Are There More Introverts or Extroverts?

According to research, there are approximately three times more extroverted individuals than introverted ones. When you think about it – it’s expected. After all, nowadays, it seems like most people prefer extroversion over introversion, and that’s why it can look like the world is made for an extrovert to enjoy and an introvert to look for new ways to fit it. Still, it’s just an impact of social media and in no way means there is the “right” personality type.

Who Are Better – Introverts or Extroverts?

No one can say that we should prefer one over the other. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and we all experience them differently. Each personality is unique, and these types are simply used to help understand people’s motivations and actions. We all have weaknesses, and the key to improvement is understanding them and being ready to work through them (which is something that’s best done in therapy sessions).

How You Experience the Outside World Can Tell if You’re an Introvert or an Extrovert

Imagine the situation – it’s Friday night, and you’ve had an exhausting week. What do you want to do to relax and recharge your batteries? If your first thought was calling a bunch of friends to go out and party or talk about everything over drinks, the chances are you’re extroverted. If you tend to lean more towards a calmer night and are thinking about getting pizza and binging your favorite show alone or with one close friend or significant other, you are probably introverted. What you choose to relax and rest says a lot about you – introverted and extroverted people prefer different activities to gain new energy and enjoy themselves.

What activities do you prefer for relaxing? This can tell which of the two types you are

What It Means to Be an Introvert?

One of the most common sayings about introverted individuals is that they are shy and antisocial. Of course, this isn’t entirely true. Sure, there are awkward ones, but this isn’t the main description of introversion. The point is in leaning onto yourself for recharging – individuals like this need alone time to restore their balance and keep mental health in check. Me-time is a form of self-care, and without it, they tend to become overwhelmed with the outside world. There are four types of introverted individuals:

  • Social – they enjoy socializing with close friends and family, but in moderation. Alone time is still essential for their well-being.
  • Thinking – a very cognitive person who thrives in intellectual activities. They tend to think about a subject before giving their opinion.
  • Anxious – often quiet individual who avoids gatherings at any cost. They prefer being alone and feel anxiety symptoms when socializing or experiencing new things.
  • Restrained – a reserved person who takes a bit of time to open up. They keep themselves in control and overthink before speaking but don’t seem nervous.

Why Does an Introvert Feel Overwhelmed When Socializing Too Much?

Why does this happen? Introversion means that you are overly sensitive to the stimulation from the outside world. The scientific explanation lies in the function of the brain. When interacting with the world and reaching so-called rewards like social interaction, money, or relationships of any kind, we get a rush of dopamine.

However, the difference is how we perceive it – an introvert doesn’t enjoy the overflow of dopamine like an extrovert does. They simply need less of it, and too much outside stimulation will feel overwhelming and trigger disbalance – that’s when they want to isolate and deal with stress on their own.

This personality trait means that you tend to use alone time as a way to gain energy

What It Means to Be an Extrovert?

When we say extroversion, the first thing that comes to mind is usually an individual who loves parties and meeting new friends. It’s the kind of person that rarely feels awkward or anxious around others and thrives in group settings. They are the pros at being the center of attention and work well with people – it’s what makes them great leaders and team members.

They are outgoing, lively, and confident to say what’s on their minds, forming ideas as they speak – they have no problem expressing themselves. When the change in life comes, an extroverted person can accept it and adapt effortlessly.

What Helps an Extroverted Person Recharge?

Considering that extroverted individuals look outward for energy and personal satisfaction, it’s understandable that being surrounded by groups and interacting with others makes them happy and helps them maintain good mental health. If they spend too much time alone, it affects them badly – they feel mentally drained and crave human interaction.

Naturally, it’s effortless for an extroverted person to find friends, and they usually have large social circles – talking with a stranger and befriending them is effortless for them. So, any kind of communication and being in groups is beneficial for this personality.

An outgoing person who communicates easily with everybody is likely extroverted

What iIf Your Personality Doesn’t Fall Under Introversion nor Extroversion?

If you don’t think you fit with neither of the above, don’t worry. These two personality types make a spectrum, and many of us fall somewhere in between – the middle ground is called ambiversion. So, if you have the traits and energy of both an introverted and an extroverted person, you are probably an ambivert.

This means that you can balance well between socializing and spending time alone – you can do both and find it easy. You communicate well and love being in a group, but sometimes just need to isolate and gather your thoughts. Your characteristics can vary throughout life, meaning you can adapt to circumstances better.

If you don't see yourself as either end of the spectrum, you are an ambivert

Why Is It Important to Understand These Concepts?

When we understand each other’s differences, we can communicate better and meet each other’s needs, whether at work, in friendships, in relationships, or in life generally. An introvert and an extrovert can work together perfectly – all it takes is a bit of understanding. So, learning more about psychology and our inner motives can drastically change how we view those around us and help avoid misunderstandings.

We can be different and still understand each other

Can You Change Your Personality Type?

Usually, introverted individuals are those who wish to change – as we’ve said, our world seems to be more suitable for an extroverted person. If you want to change your type and are thinking of booking your first therapy appointment, be ready to answer one question to your therapist – why do you think you have to change anything about yourself?

Is it because you want to fit better into the world? If so, there might be a deeper reason that you’ll have to work on with your therapist. Although change can happen throughout life, forcing it to fit the norm is never a good idea. Having great emotional support and learning to accept ourselves and our individuality through self-care is undoubtedly a better way to reach our goals – it’s certainly healthier. So, why not book a therapy session and start the journey?

WOC Reflections features weekly interviews and wellness tips delivered to your inbox. 

© 2021 Designed by Woctherapy | All rights reserved.