Friday, January 11, 2013

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

And which is better?  This topic has come up quite a bit recently in my family because most of us are the dreaded introverts!  But what comes to mind when you hear the word introvert?  Here's what some people think:

  • Introverts are shy 
  • Introverts are self-absorbed and don't care about others
  • Introverts hate being around people
  • Introverts are nervous in social situations
  • Introverts are insecure
  • Introverts are socially awkward

How about you? Is this your impression of introverts? Would it surprise you to know that NONE of those statements are true??  Yet society has labeled us this way. Why? Because introverts make up only 1/3 of the population, and the other 2/3s who are extroverts do not understand us at all. ( by the way, my mother, my husband, and all six of my kids are introverts)

Extroverts are outgoing. They love being around people. They love talking and spending time with friends. They feel comfortable for the most part at parties and believe the more people, the merrier.  They prefer breadth rather than depth.. in other words, they enjoy a wide variety of experiences and people, rather than just a few intense ones. These are the people who have a gadzillion friends and always seem to be doing rather than thinking. Extroverts need to be social to feel energized.

Introverts focus more on inner thoughts. They like to think deeply about topics and need to ponder a situation to its fullest before making a decision. They tend to have a few, close friends, rather than a ton of acquaintances. They hate small talk and prefer discussions on important, deep topics with a small group.  Introverts need to be alone to feel energized.

One is not better than the other. They are just different. The extroverts tend to run the social part of the world. They get out and do, do, do. While the introverts tend to be the creative minds behind the scenes that help the extroverts know what exactly they should do. Of course these lines are blurred, but you'll find that many introverts are very creative.

Some famous introverts are: Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Sherlock Holmes, Steven Hawking, Jane Goodall, Issac Newton, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan.

All that to say that I'm a HUGE Introvert. As a child, I always wondered what was wrong with me. Why didn't I enjoy the social activities of my friends? Why did I feel so tired after I went to a party? Why did I hate idle chit chat but got excited when talking politics or religion? Why, when my friends called to go out, did I prefer to stay home? Why did my alone time make me feel so good?  People thought I was shy, stuck-up, rude, unsociable.. and for years I thought that must be true. Now I know I'm none of those things.

I actually love people. I enjoy going out. I like parties, but I refuse to talk about the weather. I much prefer to discuss important topics. But most of all, I enjoy being alone. It recharges me and refreshes me.  I guess that means I have the best occupation being an author cause I spend most of my time completely alone. Just me and my characters! 

So how about you? Want to take the test?

True of False  (Test taken from The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D)

  1. When I need to rest, I prefer to spend time alone or with one or two close people rather than a group
  2. When I work on projects, I like to have larger uninterrupted time periods rather than smaller chunks
  3. I sometimes rehearse things before speaking, occasionally writing notes to myself
  4. In general, I like to listen more than I like to talk
  5. People sometimes think I'm quiet, mysterious, aloof, or calm
  6. I like to share special occasions with just one person or a few close friends, rather than have big celebrations
  7. I usually need to think before I respond or speak
  8. I tend to notice details many people don't see
  9. If two people have just had a fight, I feel the tension in the air
  10. If I say I will do something, I almost always do it
  11. I feel anxious if I have a deadline or pressure to finish a project
  12. I can zone out if too much is going on
  13. I like to watch an activity for a while before I decide to join in
  14. I form lasting relationships
  15. I don't like to interrupt others; I don't like to be interrupted
  16. When I take in lots of information, it takes me awhile to sort it out
  17. I don't like overstimulating environments. I can't imagine why folks want to go to horror movies or go on roller coasters
  18. I sometimes have strong reactions to smells, tastes, foods, weather, noises, etc
  19. I am creative and /or imaginative
  20. I feel drained after social situations, even when I enjoy myself
  21. I prefer to be introduced rather than to introduce others
  22. I can become grouchy if I'm around people or activities too long
  23. I often feel uncomfortable in new surroundings
  24. I like people to come to my house, but I don't like them to stay too long
  25. I often dread returning phone calls
  26. I find my mind sometimes goes blank when I meet people or when I am asked to speak unexpectedly
  27. I talk slowly or have gaps in my words, especially if I am tired or if I am trying to speak and think at once
  28. I don't think of casual acquaintances as friends
  29. I feel as if I can't show other people my work or ideas until they are fully formulated
  30. Other people may surprise me by thinking I am smarter than I think I am

 If you answered
20-30 True  then you are a pretty strong Introvert
10-19 True  then you are somewhere in the middle
1-9     True  then you are extroverted.


  1. Fri Jan 11th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Well, that was just totally interesting !!!
    I answered "27/30" as True ! Guess I'm a 'strong introvert'.
    Way back "many, many years ago" ... I might possibly have been more extroverted, or, 'tried to act like one' at least.
    But the older I get, I can definitely see the more introverted qualities/features coming through. And, I do like "alone time" ... more and more and more. I'm a deep thinker, and I also prefer "meaty topics" as compared to "fluff".
    Very interesting, MaryLu. This list of questions was a real eye-opener.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a great weekend everyone.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda

  2. I answered 30/30. Hmmm....guess I'm a strong introvert. :-)
    There are several introverts in my family and we've been laughing over this video this week:

  3. This is such a great post, MaryLu!! Love that there's an actual test for this type of personality, I sooooo relate :) Number 22 made me laugh, that happens to me if I've been at the grocery store too long. I got 24/30 true so I'm definitely in this group :) Have a great weekend, MaryLu, blessings!

  4. Apparently I am a STRONG introvert...I would never have thought that of myself. Because of my background a coping mechanism I have when I'm in large groups is that I grow very loud, gregarious, and hyperactive. But once I'm alone, I'm very quiet. People think I'm naturally outgoing. They don't realize I've had to teach myself how to be social and enjoy people.

  5. I am an introvert as well. My sister is definitely an extrovert, but we get along so well. I guess that is just the way it is for sisters! This also explained why I disliked high school so much. I moved from Michigan to Arizona when I was 15, my sophomore year.

  6. Almost all of those were true for me. It's kind of hard for though, because almost all of my family members are extroverts (And all of the ones in my house are).

    My parents tend to get mad at me when I don't want to go places, and that I only have a handful of friends. They seem to think that I will turn into a hermit if they don't force me to big social things and talk to everyone in the room.

    It is difficult to convince them that I am happy how I am.

    p.s. #2 is a biggy.

  7. Nice post! I answered true on 22/30 ... so I am a strong introvert also!
    That is interesting. :)

  8. Wow, lots of introverts here! I scored 30 out of 30.. so I'm definitely ALL introvert. LOL. Brenda, sounds like you've always been an introvert.. but like us all, you tried to fit into an extrovert world.

    Clari, you and me should get together! I LOVED the video... sent it onto my introvert family. Thanks

    Kara, I'm often grouchy in crowds too. LOL

    Sasafras, interesting that you try to make up for your introversion by being extroverted. People think I"m outgoing too, but like you, I had to train myself in certain situations. I'm really bad at booksignings. :-)

    Emma Yea. I hated High school too!

    Bookishqueen, Yikes, I'm so sorry you are the only introvert in your home. I never had more than 1 or 2 close friends my entire life. Perhaps your family would read this fabulous book called The Introvert Advantage.. It would help them understand you.??

  9. WOW! I'm also a strong introvert. Almost all of these fit me. 29/30 was my score. It's funny, just recently I had someone ask me why I don't get out more or go to more group oriented activities. Now I can give it a name. Thanks, MaryLu, for this post.

  10. [People thought I was shy, stuck-up, rude, unsociable..] THAT IS SO TRUE OF ME WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL
    I scored 21/30, so I am just a bit into the strong side. Looks like I am in good company!

  11. I've always thought of myself as an extrovert, but as time goes by, I am becoming more of an introvert. I had 12 true answers and 18 false. You're a product of your environment as I live with an introvert!!

  12. Angi, I suspected you might be a strong introvert like me!

    Chaplain... we would have been friends in high school. :-)

    Hey sis!! You were always my extroverted sister, but, like you said, I think you're hanging around with Mom way too much these days! LOL