If you ask people to define the word introversion, you’ll here things like shy, quiet, reserved. Similarly, the popular definition for extraversion is the opposite: outgoing, talkative, sociable. These symptoms are generalities that are true in most situations. But to give an extraverted label to a person who is talkative with one person or a small group of people they’re comfortable with, on a topic they’re passionate about, is going to be a misdiagnosis about fifty percent of the time. And let’s say you see two people at a party standing alone against the wall (assume this is their typical pattern of behavior). Are they both introverts? The introvert wants to be against that wall, reflecting or planning the next move. The shy person doesn’t want to be against the wall, but fear is holding her there.
Social activities aside, there is no significant difference between introverts and extraverts with regards to time spent with family members or romantic partners. In fact, both get a mood boost from the company of others. It just takes a little more energy for the introvert. It is the inner world that energizes an introvert. It is the outer world that energizes the extravert.
To help clarify, here are a few key differences between two types that are identical with respect to every dimension except their attitude type (i.e. one is introverted; one is extraverted). Both an ISFJ and ESFJ are nurturing, practical, and helpful. Both are people-focused and action-oriented. Both can become drained by taking on others’ emotional burdens to the point of neglecting their own needs. But here is where they differ:
Kurt is a writer and consultant who helps clients with marketing, IT implementations, and course design. Kurt also writes fiction and uses his unique blend of storytelling style and humor to bring nonfiction content to life.