Extravert vs. Introvert

Extraversion and Introversion, exploring the differences

The extravert-introvert dichotomy is all about whether we orientate and draw our energy primarily from the external world or our own internal world. Of course it is not a single cut-off point, we all have some extraverted characteristics and some introverted characteristics. As Jung himself said:

1“[The] subjective clouding of judgement is particularly common because in every pronounced type there is a special tendency to compensate the one-sidedness of that type...But everyone possesses both mechanisms, extraversion as well as introversion, and only the relative predominance of one or the other determines the type.”

So we all have a primary preference towards either the external world or the internal world and the extent of this preference will directly affect how we project and interact with people. The following will help show the main differences:

Extravert Introvert
Draws energy from people and situations Draws energy from within
Needs engagement or energy depletes Needs own space or energy depletes
Talks first then thinks later Thinks first then talks later
Neurons processed via speech Neurons processed inside their heads
Open, animated and talkative Appears reserved, quiet and thoughtful
Likes action and initiative Prefers space, concentration and quiet
Values breadth over depth Values depth over breadth
Likes the unexpected Prefers predictability

So we can see that Extraverts draw their energy from what’s going on around them, people, situations and indeed need that ‘feed.’ So if you are an Extravert you will typically do-reflect-do and will happily allow your neurons to connect outside your head in full view of everyone ie you process your thoughts and information via the spoken word. This can overwhelm introverts who need processing time. You need to draw energy from the external environment and so your energy levels actually rise as you speak with others, engage with people and the environment as this feeds your energy. Once the noise dies down you will be looking for another ‘feed’ as your energy levels will be depleting quickly the longer you spend on your own.

Introverts on the other hand tend to draw their energy from within and so if you are an Introvert you will find that in ‘crowded’ situations your energy depletes and you will have to go and have some ‘me time’ for your energy to restore. It is like a battery where the power runs down the more you have to ‘extravert’ and you will need to draw that energy from within. Typically introverts reflect-do-reflect and so you will need to think things through before speaking.

The ‘knock-about’ of group banter in an extravert world is difficult for you unless you have a purpose. We see many introverts who are performers but this is because Introverts need a purpose; general chitchat and banter depletes your energy.

How Extraverts and Introverts can experience each other

Extraverts may see Introverts as Introverts may see Extraverts as
Secretive, private and closed off A little pushy and intrusive
Impersonal, unfriendly Overly friendly and talkative
Withholding of information Too open too soon
Self-absorbed and not giving Overwhelming
Slow in response Quick and shallow
Difficult to read or understand A bit bossy
Too deliberate and lacking flexibility Too much ‘in your face’

Engaging with and managing an Introvert, if you are an Extravert

  • Give them time and space, listen carefully, don’t speak over them, show that you’re listening
  • Allow them to reflect, don’t overwhelm them, don’t expect immediate answers as an Introvert will need that processing time
  • Ask one question, let them answer, allow them to process the information, to think about it quietly before responding
  • Talk about one thing at a time, don’t bombard or jump around topics as an Introvert prefers single topics and will think deeply
  • Expect processing time, this is when they are at their best and will come up with well-thought-through answers
  • Don’t finish their sentences, try to be comfortable with the silence and space they need to process

Engaging with managing and Extravert, if you are an Introvert

  • Let them talk and think out loud, they need to speak their thoughts out as this is how they process their thoughts
  • Create space for face-to-face, they prefer conversation and interaction and they are wary of silence
  • Ask open questions, help steer them, don’t close them down initially let them wander a little
  • Include a variety of topics, as they will like to jump around and dip in and out of subjects rather than focus on one
  • Expect immediate reaction, they will not process their thoughts inside their heads but via speech and so they may seem indecisive but this is just them thinking
  • Keep the conversation moving, their energy will deplete if it becomes static and they are wary and even suspicious of silence and may need to fill the gaps