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Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?

  1. Apr 19, 2006 #1
    Something I read once said the way to find this out about a person is to simply ask them: people know which they are.

    I've been trying this lately, though, and most people are saying "depends". People don't seem to think of these as personality types but more as extended moods.

    What are your criteria for calling someone an introvert or extrovert? Are these essentially personality types or can a person authentically step back and forth between them?
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  3. Apr 19, 2006 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    For me it depends entirely on the situation, so I guess it would be more a function of mood and motive.
  4. Apr 19, 2006 #3
    But what are your criteria for calling yourself, or anyone, one or the other? Without looking the words up to pin down a definition, what are the characteristics you already think of as introverted or extroverted?
  5. Apr 19, 2006 #4
    Would you say extroverted means also being concerned with others' thoughts?
  6. Apr 19, 2006 #5


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    I think i am an ambivert, although i am not sure of the ultimate definition.
    some times i enjoy company, most times i like to be on my tod. work is
    where i need to be extrovert, it keeps people of your back.
  7. Apr 19, 2006 #6


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    I'm an introvert, no question. I can be outgoing, of course, but I have much more active internal life than external. When I have some free time, my first instinct is usually to spend it by myself, not to call up my friends.

    It does depend on my mood, but there are distinct differences between my behavioral patterns and those of my more extroverted friends. I couldn't say whether or not the distribution is truly bimodal, though.
  8. Apr 19, 2006 #7


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    For me, it's also dependent on mood...or maybe more that I'm not quite either, so my mood changes my perspective on which I'd call myself. Introverted days are when I just find myself tuning out and becoming quickly tired and impatient with conversation...I just want to be left alone to get my work done or to get home and quietly relax. But, then when I'm feeling extroverted, I'll be the one stopping in to visit people and I actually feel energized by being around groups of people. The reason I'd really say I'm probably a little in between the two is that most of the time I am happiest to be doing stuff in small groups. Unless I'm just trying to focus on getting something done without any distractions, I usually thrive when there are one or two people to chat with at a time, or no more than a group of about 5 or 6 to work with as a team. If I'm completely isolated from people, I crave more interaction, but if I go to a party with a lot of people, I also start to feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the whole thing. I can go around introducing myself to people and having conversations, but it's something that requires effort and I'd rather just sit in a corner with a small group and just talk with them.

    Overall, my view is that being introverted or extroverted isn't an either/or thing, but like many other things, is more of a continuum from one extreme to another. Some people are so introverted as to feel uncomfortable with any social interaction. Others are so extraverted that they can spend a night with a large group of total strangers and know every one of them and have invitations for further social gatherings with them before the evening is out. I think most people fall somewhere in between.

    I wonder if an easy way to tell whether someone is an introvert or extrovert is what sort of parties they hold? I would think a very introverted person would not really be interested in parties, but would instead just choose to invite over one or two friends at a time, or maybe just sits around waiting for someone else to issue invitations. A very extroverted person might go around inviting huge crowds to a party...the types of parties that fill the house and spill into the backyard. And, someone in between might be more likely to have a small group over for dinner, or a more tame party with under a dozen people invited.

    So, I guess the question I'd be more likely to ask wouldn't be "Are you introverted or extroverted?" But, instead, "How introverted or extroverted are you?"
  9. Apr 19, 2006 #8
    I'm selfish, spoiled, foul-mouthed, ill-tempered, insensitive, racist, manipulative, greedy

    I guess that makes me introverted.
  10. Apr 19, 2006 #9


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    No, introverted doesn't mean self-centered. A real introvert would never be more than averge foul mouthed in public since that would take a degree of extroversion (i.e. enjoyment in seeing the reaction).

    I think the reason for zooby's observation is that people have become accustomed to these online "what kind of a... are you?" exams and that has changed their expectations about themselves. For better or worse we live in a world where Briggs-Meyer and the big five are pop mind-candy.
  11. Apr 19, 2006 #10


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    Introvert. The first thing that comes to my mind when I have free time is also to spend it alone.
  12. Apr 19, 2006 #11


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    According to Tim Bedore, up north where he now lives "the introverts stare at their shoes and the extroverts stare at your shoes". Thanks to the Bob and Tom show...
  13. Apr 19, 2006 #12
    Awkward and shy around large groups of strangers, extroverted amongst friends, although alcohol tends to bring me out of my shell.
  14. Apr 19, 2006 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    Without looking up the definitions... I tend to think of an introvert as someone who tends towards introspection and private thoughts rather than interacting with others.

    I really had to think about that. Now I can't wait to look it up. :biggrin:
  15. Apr 19, 2006 #14


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    Going by the dictionary definitions, I'm introverted. I'm an outgoing person, at ease in social surroundings and not afraid to speak my mind at work, unfortunately. :redface:
  16. Apr 19, 2006 #15
    I'd definatly have to say introvert. I tend to prefer my own company rather then that of friends. Mostly I just stick to myself,and whenever I'm in a large group of people I rarely say anything.
  17. Apr 19, 2006 #16
    I'm a misanthrope. Which I suppose makes me an introvert by default.
  18. Apr 19, 2006 #17
    hmm, so i wrote up this whole schpeil about introvert vs extrovert, and i think i've changed my mind maybe. i was saying how everyone needs social interaction, even introverts, the difference lies in who's comfortable in large crowds. but i dunno... i was trying to go through all the extroverts i know, and i came to the conclusion that they're all secretly introverted.

    i think i have a new conclusion. the test is: if a good friend introduces you to a good friend of theirs you've never met, how do you react? extroverts are the ones who give hugs or start talking a ton or otherwise act very excited and comfy. introverts can vary from just polite "how do you do"s to just silence.

    by that, i'm mostly introverted unless i'm some odd mood. which happens, but majority of the time, i'm just polite and smile and thats about it. .. oh and i think the people who hug are nuts.
  19. Apr 19, 2006 #18

    People who bring me food or coffee tend to randomly get hugs for it. one girl has lent me her espresso machine (which now resides in the Physics dpt student lounge). She's about four foot eleven, I'm six one, almost knocked her right over. Yeah, I'm nuts.
  20. Apr 19, 2006 #19
    These posts demonstrate the sort of thing I meant when I asked for people's off-the-top-of your-head criteria for deciding if a person were one or the other (although everyone only defined introverts). I'm wondering what people's general sense of these words is such that they might be able to apply them to themselves or others. So the kind of answer I'm looking for is something like "I think of an introvert as ..., and an extrovert as ..., therefore I'm an ...."
  21. Apr 19, 2006 #20
    Introverts are like fermions, and extroverts are like bosons.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2006
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