Read, Run, Repeat

A tale of fitness, books, food, and life in between

Personality 101: Extraverts & Introverts

on February 27, 2013

I have long been fascinated by people — it’s pretty much the reason that I went into psychology (duh?) — I was one of those kids that went into college knowing exactly what I wanted to major in! Personality is so interesting to me, so much so that my senior research project was on personality and attachment! So today i give you a little post on the personality traits of “extrovert”  and it’s opposite “introvert.” Extraversion is one of the “Big Five” personality traits — the other ones are: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness and neuroticism – and many personality scales measure where on the spectrum you fall when it comes to these five traits.

  • Extraversion (outgoing vs reserved)
  • Openess (curious vs. cautions)
  • Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
  • Aggreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind)
  • Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)

So, Extraversion. Many people (and me included) would describe themselves as EITHER extraverted (outgoing) or introverted (shy) — and to some extent, that is true (more on that in a minute) — but in reality, there is really no “perfect” extrovert or introvert – we can all vary, depending on the situation, time of day, people involved, and our mood!! There are some days when I really need social interaction, and there are other times when we just really need some alone time. This is true of most people.  However, we typically do have a more dominant side.

Extraverts: Tend to be enthusiastic,  talkative, assertive, and gregarious; they enjoy human interactions. They take pleasure in activities that involve large social gatherings, such as parties, community activities, public demonstrations, and business or political groups. Extraverts enjoy time spent with people and find less reward in time spent alone. They tend to feel energized when around other people, and they are more prone to boredom when they are alone.

Introverts: the common perception of this trait is quiet and reserved, especially in social situations. They often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, using computers, art, and hiking. Introverts usually enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though he or she may enjoy interactions with close friends.They prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate, and can be easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement.  *introverted does NOT mean shy! Introverts actually prefer solitary activities – people who are shy may actually prefer social activities, but avoid due to fear or anxiety.


Random interesting facts:

  • there is a genetic component to this personality trait
  • Extraverts and Introverts arrange their office spaces differently: extraverts tend to decorate their office more, keep the door open, keep chairs nearby, and keep dishes of candy out. Introverts tend to decorate less and their office arrangement may discourage social interactions
  • There is a correlation between extraversion and happiness and self-esteem (more happiness/self-esteem = more extraverted) – however, this is not to say that introverts are NOT happy or insecure – they may be less prone to reporting these emotions (and many other reasons)
  • Introversion is associated with intellect and and giftedness – introverts tend to excel in academic areans, where extraverts may find it boring. Extraverted youths tend to display more deliquent behaviors.

Cool right? I’m telling you – personality is fascinating!! I identify myself as an introvert, and it’s taken me a long time to not pigeonhole this as a “negative trait”! I’ve had to change my way of thinking about myself, and what I need. For example, Social situations can make me anxious, uncomfortable, and awkward; once I get involved in them, and get warmed -up, I find that I really do enjoy them, and I do have a tendency to crave social interaction. However, I have found that larger social activities tend to drain my energy, and I can be irritable, cranky, and/or tired afterwards, even though I would describe them as “fun!”  I have discovered that I really feel energized and sometimes, inspired, after spending time with myself or 1-2 close friends/family. Exercising, reading, hiking, and blogging are some of my favorite activities that make me feel happy and just really good overall. I have to come to look at this particular personality trait as where I tend to feel my best and feel engergized, rather than just how I approach social situations — because I can be quite the social butterfly, if I want to!

I’m sure you already know which end of the spectrum that you fall on, but if you’re interested, here’s a little quiz I found online from! (I was introverted, if you’re interested 🙂 )

Is Extraversion or Introversion more dominant for you?  What activities do you enjoy?


3 responses to “Personality 101: Extraverts & Introverts

  1. Sherri Stone says:

    I’m introverted after taking a an online test last year. I’m 48 and I’ve struggled with it most of my life – going into middle school almost did me in as a teen, to this day I struggle with jobs, I’m very sensitive to noise and violence, etc. I’m glad that there is so much to read on this topic now but I haven’t found anything that helps me with what kind of job would work for me since I’m not going into college.

    • Brittany says:

      There is definitely plenty to read on the subject of personality – lots of research has been done!! What kinds of things do you like to do or are you interested in doing job-wise?

  2. […] usually fince once I’m there – it’s the thinking about it that gets me. I’m an introvert by nature, and recharge by doing things alone, yet, I don’t really love to be by myself, usually […]

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