Not that long ago, people used to think that introversion was a defect rather than a difference. Extroverts were the only socially acceptable ones, which explains why it was only a few years ago that researchers came up with a concept of four types of introverts. If you have clicked on this article, the chances are you’re introverted and want to know what archetype suits you best. We’ve got you covered – keep reading to find out.
Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung came up with the concept of introversion and extraversion in 1910, stating that they are two ends of the spectrum, rather than two separate things. The main point differentiating these personality archetypes is the way they recharge their batteries – introverts tend to go inward, while extroverts get their life energy from interacting with others. Still, introversion was often described by what extraversion wasn’t, and there was a lack of definitions for the term that could be applied in practice. From that, the theory of different types of introverts was born.
Science Says Introversion Isn’t Just One Thing – What Are the 4 Types of Introverts According to Psychology?
Not all introverted individuals are scared of parties and love to read books by the fireplace with a cup of tea by their side – that’s just a stereotype. The truth is, they can be plenty of other different things, but their common nominator is the fact that every introvert needs their time alone to get the energy for everyday functioning. In 2011, psychologists Jonathan Cheek, Jennifer Grimes, and Julie Norem divided introversion into 4 archetypes.
Introvert Archetypes – Here Are the Groups We Can Divide Introverted People in
These archetypes of introverts’ personalities differ in their ability to thrive in social situations, and they have different inner motivations. Researchers have named their discovery the STAR concept – after the first letter of every type – social, thinking, anxious, and restrained.
However, it’s important to note that not everybody can fall strictly into one category – you might find out you have characteristics of more than one archetype or even all of them. Still, this categorization can help us understand ourselves better and learn how to deal with stress on a daily level. So, let’s dive in and explain what psychology says about each type.
#1 Social Introvert – A Person Who Can Socialize, But Still Find Alone Time Essential for Their Well-Being
This archetype can often seem shy and uncomfortable in large groups, but they don’t necessarily suffer from social anxiety. They like to hang out with close friends and family – spending time with people they’re close with is perfectly fine for them. Still, occasions with many unfamiliar faces are a bit too much for these introverted individuals, even if they do their best to learn how to be social as an introvert. This means that they won’t be happy about attending a party, but brunch with best friends is something they will look forward to.
Alone Time Is Pretty Important Part of Mental Health for This Kind of People
Sometimes, we can’t escape the cliche in life – this is one of those times. An introverted personality that primarily identifies with the social archetype needs alone time in order to get enough energy for the day. Whether they had lunch with friends or they’re dealing with work stress, a lot of human interaction will drain them. This is when they like to retreat to their home and enjoy a relaxing activity such as reading a book or watching a movie – whatever it is, the point is that they can do it alone.
#2 Thinking Introvert – An Intellectual Who Always Thinks Before Speaking
This kind of personality is often described as a very intellectual, cognitive one. They enjoy activities that allow them to put their brain to work and simply think – reading, studying, researching, or analyzing are the kind of things where they thrive. The thinking archetype is creative and thoughtful, and they are excellent storytellers.
They can often seem like they’ve zoomed out or are distant. When asked a question, they will tell you they need to think about it and only answer when they have gone over the arguments in their head.
They Are Preoccupied With Their Inner Self, Which Is Why They Don’t Need a Lot Socializing
Not being open to interaction with others isn’t the way for a thinking archetype to take care of themselves – psychology says they don’t actually mind the company. It’s just that their inner world is quite rich, so they don’t pay much attention to the outside one – but not in a neurotic way. They are introspective and use their creativity. The consequence of this is that they put socializing low on the list of priorities.
Still, when they interact with someone, they tend to be excellent listeners – this sometimes makes them seem extroverted because the person they’re talking to mistakes the quiet breaks as an invite to continue the conversation. In reality, they are silent because they are in their thoughts and coming up with a reply.
#3 Anxious Introvert – An Often Quiet Individual That Avoids Gatherings
The personality of this kind is usually quiet and seems nervous when in crowds or even small groups. They can come across as shy or rude when in reality, they’re just trying to keep their anxiety symptoms under control. According to psychology, they will try to avoid socializing however they can, for the sake of their mental health – they feel awkward when surrounded by others and will isolate themselves in order to feel less anxious.
Anxious Type Can Suffer From Anxiety Disorder and Might Need a Therapist to Help Them Manage Their Symptoms
One of the common misconceptions about anxiety is the belief that all shy, introverted individuals suffer from anxiousness and that they can’t prevent hyperventilation when surrounded by others. However, we can’t say nobody who falls in this category has the disorder. It’s important to know that some have severe symptoms and require therapy sessions, which is the main reason for avoiding gatherings – it’s a simple defense mechanism.
If they must attend a certain event, they will likely engage in catastrophizing, which is one of the most common cognitive distortions (and it can be found even in healthy individuals, not just ones with mental health issues). Catastrophizing can go on even after the event – a person can overthink if they’ve made a mistake or could’ve done something differently.
#4 Restrained Introvert – An Expert on Being Grounded and Reflective
A synonym for “restrained” can, in this case, be “inhibited” or “reserved” – these individuals don’t seem shy or nervous around others but rather thoughtful and prudent. They often come across as unemotional because they don’t rush into things and are always controlled – they aren’t spontaneous in life.
A restrained person often thinks before speaking – they are the kind of quiet, reliable individual that you can always count on. Another common trait of these individuals is that they aren’t energized the minute they wake up – they require a while to get going.
One of Their Habits Is Taking a Bit Longer to Open Up to New Acquaintances
These individuals are often on guard when you first meet them. They don’t close the gates on the possibility of new friendships or relationships – they just need more time to open up to new people. However, if you are patient and wait a bit, you can be rewarded with a great friend who can bring a lot into the conversation and offer you valuable advice.
Use This Knowledge to Improve Self-Awareness and Build Up Your Strengths
Now that you have read this, you can guess what type you most associate with. Whichever it is, keep in mind that all of them have their strengths – introversion isn’t a bad thing or a weakness. It just adds to the diversity of personalities. With carefully curated tips for introverts, you can learn how to get the most out of yourself and be your best version possible.
Of course, in order to do that, you will have to devote plenty of time to self-care. If you are wondering why self-care is important, psychology tells us it’s one of the keys to improving mental health. Taking care of our minds should be a life priority. Do whatever you can to grow – maybe even consider booking your first therapy appointment with a trusted therapist.