We all have heard this at least once- there are two types of people in this world, Introverts, and Extroverts. The concepts of “being” an introvert or extrovert aren’t just used to describe oneself. They can be used to study personalities. Extraversion Personality Traits is a part of The Big Five Personality Traits Model and other traits – Openness, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Extraversion deals with how you react to the presence of others around you.
Do you love a big gathering, or do you prefer a quiet evening with yourself?
Let’s get to know about this trait in detail.
What is Extraversion?
Psychology defines extraversion as the general tendency to experience positive emotions and sociable, lively, and active traits.
Extraversion personality trait covers a spectrum that ranges from being an introvert to being an extrovert.
Who is an Extrovert?
Imagine the energetic colleague who takes part in every group activity. That person is an extrovert.
Extroverts are people who enjoy social interactions, thrive when working in groups, and taking the lead. They feed on the energy of being the center of attention, not to be mistaken for desperation but a genuine fascination for socialising.
Who is an Introvert?
Simply put, an introvert is the exact opposite of an extrovert. The colleague who is a little shy rarely ever comes to the limelight. He/she might even have problems addressing a gathering or talking freely. That person, probably, is an introvert.
Most people believe that you can either be an introvert or an extrovert. However, that is not the case.
It’s hard to define where introversion ends and extroversion begins. Think of a 0-100 scale of Extraversion. A score of less than 50 indicates you show more characteristics of an introvert. Having a score of 51-100 would mean that you show more characteristics of an extrovert.
Where Did Extraversion Come From?
Carl Jung introduced the world to introverts and extroverts in his 1921 book, Psychological Types. The definition that he gave for introverts and extroverts isn’t the same one that we use in modern psychology or our daily conversations.
According to him, ‘introversion is one’s focus on the inner world, while extroversion focuses on the outside world.’ He described in his book how extroverts engage with external stimuli, directing energy towards other beings. They derive their energy from interactions with others. Introverts, on the other hand, engage with internal stimuli. They gravitate more towards solitary experiences and activities.
Many personality models have been developed based on the research conducted on the topic. Some examples are- The Myers Briggs Model, the Eysenck Theory, The Big Five/OCEAN Model, etc.
Why Are We The Way We Are – Introverts or Extroverts?
This question is important because it helps us understand why extroverts and introverts behave a certain way.
Research has shown that introverts have higher dopamine levels. Dopamine is the feel-good hormone. However, situations that trigger the excess release of this hormone make introverts feel anxious or stressed. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which helps transfer impulses. Excess of dopamine leads to more impulses which make people feel anxious, just like a system overload that happens to computers.
Extroverts get stimulated more from social interactions, as they have fewer amounts of dopamine. Release of dopamine makes them feel happy and excited. That’s why they get energized when interacting with others!
I-spy-you, How to Spot an Extrovert?
Generalizations get tricky while talking about humans and their behaviour. However, an extrovert will show many of the traits listed below. (Introverts can show these traits too, but not as much as an extrovert)
- They love communicating.
- Feel energized by socializing.
- Welcoming and warm personality.
- Enjoy being the centre of attention.
- Rather assertive, often mistaken as bossy/arrogant.
- Impulsive actions.
- Inability to stay alone for long.
- Gleaming positivity.
Introverts vs Extroverts: A Comparison
Extroverts direct their energy more outwards than inwards. They find pleasure in socializing with others. Interacting with other humans is of paramount importance to them.
Introverts direct more energy inwards than outwards. They are in touch with their inner-selves. They can reflect on their actions and notice what they did right/wrong.
The above is a comparison between the characteristics of an introvert and an extrovert.
How many could you relate to?
Many people relate to some characteristics of introverts and others of extroverts. What does this mean?
Ambiverts: A Myth?
The terms extroversion and introversion were born with the theory that an individual falls on a single continuum. They were never to be considered mutually exclusive.
Over time people started perceiving the concept of extrovert /introvert as an either/or scenario.
This led to the creation of a new term: Ambivert.
When you look at the common models, be it Carl Jung’s model, or The big 5 model or the Brigg Myers Personality Test, each of those say that every individual has different levels of introversion or extroversion.
So, if you are an extrovert, you wouldn’t be outside your houses 24*7 looking for people to talk to. It simply means that you lie on the higher end of the extraversion spectrum. You could still like and find solace in internalising and seeking the quiet.
That’s why many people identify as ambiverts, a mixture of an introvert and an extrovert. No individual is an absolute introvert and extrovert.
The term ambivert came about because of the same misconception of considering extroversion and introversion as extremes. It is very commonly used for people who stand in the middle of the spectrum. These people have a balance of both these qualities.
Take the same scale that defined a score of 1-50 as an introverted personality and 51-100 as an extroverted personality, and modify it.
It could be now divided as 0 to 35 for introverts, 35 to 65 for ambiverts and 65 to 100 for extroverts.
The term ambivert doesn’t exist in psychology. But, it has become a part of our day-to-day life and hence, is widely used.
Sub-Traits of Extraversion
Sub-Traits help categorise and classify the different levels of extraversion. You could be a friendly person, but at the same time, you might not be very assertive.
The sub-traits of Extraversion are:
1. Friendliness – Do you Find it Easy to Make Friends?
Highly extroverted people have a genuine appreciation for people and interest in getting to know them. They can build conversations and easily make contacts.
On the other hand, Introverts take their time to open up to people and make new friends. Only after getting comfortable, they start communicating better.
2. Gregariousness – Are you a Social Animal?
Extroverts find company pleasantly stimulating and rewarding. They enjoy crowds!
Introverts like being alone. They might choose to spend an evening reading a book or cooking rather than going out to party.
3. Assertiveness – Are you Optimistic Much?
People who lie high on the extraversion scale tend to be assertive. They are natural leaders and take charge readily.
4. Activity level/Excitement-seeking – Do you get bored easily?
Extroverts enjoy having a fast-paced life with busy, packed schedules, always looking for something to do. They cannot sit and think for long. They do not even think too much before making decisions.
Introverts tend to thrive most in a slow-paced environment where they get a chance to replenish their energy. They try to think things through before concluding.
5. Cheerful – How Lively are you?
People face various situations in their lives. Some good and some bad. How they react makes a difference. Extroverts tend to be more optimistic about many things. They are generally positive and full of energy.
Their thoughts might be like, “So, what if I get fired? I can apply for a job somewhere else.”
Introverts are more realistic than idealists. They consider each possibility and tend to be more careful. This might seem as them being pessimists. However, this habit can prevent a lot of hasty decisions.
All decisions, major or minor, reflect the personality of an individual. We can find peculiarities in all the decisions of each personality type, be it fashion choices, interiors or their choice of music.
Even something as small as choosing an open or closed office space reflects your personality.
Just like no two people have the same fingerprint, no two people will have matching personalities. Suffice to say, not all introverts/extroverts will behave in the same way.
Careers for Extroverts and Introverts
You might have already figured this- extroverts perform tremendously well in jobs that require a lot of interaction and leadership qualities.
Jobs like public relations, teaching, marketing, sales, politics, performing arts(acting, dancing, singing), etc. might be the right fit for them.
Introverts do well in jobs that require less interaction with others. Some jobs with minimum interaction are a Researcher, Accountant, Editor, Software Engineer, etc.
These are just general indicators. Based on an analysis of personalities and some other factors. No one should limit themselves to the professions listed under their personality type. After all, hard work, dedication and grit go a long way in deciding what you can be.
Some extroverts have been instrumental in shaping our history. Here are some extroverts you might have heard of:
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Muhammad Ali
- Steve Jobs
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
The jobs most suitable for introverts are the ones that
- prioritize independent work over large group sessions
- offer quiet spaces for working alone rather than noisy, open workspaces
- are best performed by people with excellent active listening skills
- allow you to focus your attention on one task or project at a time
- require more one-on-one interaction than public speaking.
If you haven’t been able to connect with these qualities yet.
If you have and still need assurance or written proof,
Some tests assess your personality and tell you precisely which category you fall under. Here is a list of tests that have come around with time. Each to test your personality and give you measurements on each aspect.
Some of these tests are direct while some ask you to rate on a scale how you tend to act/feel in a situation.
1. The Myers-Briggs Personality Test
This test has put people into 16 broad categories based on permutations of 4 binary aspects. The test was developed by the mother-daughter duo Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers and tended to be very precise and long.
2. Emotional Intelligence Tests
Emotional quotient plays a great role in your personal as well as professional life. It is, hence, emphasized a great deal by employers. Emotional Intelligence is your ability to process and manage your own emotions, as well as understand and influence the emotions of others. It is considered as important, if not more, as your IQ.
3. The Big Five Personality Test
Big five Personality test tests you on five dimensions, namely Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. It is also called the OCEAN test. To read more, you can refer to our detailed article on Big 5 Personality types.
4. Eysenck Personality Inventory
Eysenck’s theory takes into consideration two dimensions: extraversion and neuroticism and scores each individual based on the two independent dimensions. Based on these scores, individuals are placed under one of the categories: Choleric, Melancholic, sanguine and Phlegmatic. The EPI test asks 57 yes/no questions and gives out scores on three verticals: Extraversion, Neuroticism and a Lie Scale.
5. Carl Jung’s Model
Carl Jung was the psychologist who coined the term extraversion and introversion in the first place. Jung primarily divided people into two categories viz. Extroverts and introverts. He also said that people could have different conscious and subconscious personalities. So you can take one of the tests based on his model as well.
Extroversion is a great characteristic for situations involving public interactions. Introversion is a great characteristic when wanting to learn from oneself and acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses.
Both extroverts, as well as introverts, are amazing in their ways. Just accept how nature has created you. You are awesome. No matter what!
If you have any questions, let us know in the comments.