Some say introverts and extroverts are opposites. However, there are subtle similarities between the two personality types as well. So what’s the lowdown? How similar are introverts and extroverts really? Are they literal opposites, or are they more similar than you thought?
Find out in this ultimate comparison of introverts vs extroverts – in which we’ll take a look at how they act in different settings, ranging from parties to work to when they’re depressed. This guide will help you understand the two personality types – and how to get along with them.
Introvert vs extrovert: At home
Introverts are usually happy as a clam at home. They like being alone, and you’ll find them relaxing and spending time on their hobby – which is usually something quiet, like reading, gardening, planning, cleaning…you get the drift. They recharge by spending time alone, so after a tiring day at work or after an exhausting party they’ll look forward to being alone at home. Spending time by themselves helps them recoup their energy – although spending time with others doesn’t necessarily tire them.
Extroverts may feel unhappy when alone at home. You would likely find them on their phone or computer, busily chatting with friends and making plans. They are active on social media sites – tweeting, sharing status updates, commenting, etc. When free, they spend time thinking of fun things to share – funny anecdotes, conversation starters, jokes. Extroverts often invite friends over, and you’ll see signs of that in their home. Introverts, on the other hand, like to be informed in advance if someone is going to come over for a visit. They may feel unprepared to ‘entertain’ guests if not informed beforehand.
Introvert vs extrovert: At work
Introverts often find it easier to focus for longer periods of time. Coupled with the fact that they tend to be quieter individuals in general, you’ll probably not find them around the cooler often. In meetings and during group discussions, introverts may not speak or share their ideas unless specifically asked to. They find it hard to join an ongoing conversation, and may feel like they’re ‘barging in’ unless they’re asked for their input.
Extroverts will often be the life of the workplace. Full of energy, ideas and news. If they need to share anything with the boss or pass on a message to someone else, they’ll do it promptly. Meetings are better with extroverts on board, although a downside may be that they talk too much and (sometimes) derail conversations.
Introvert vs extrovert: At a party
An introvert may feel shy and out of place at a party. They prefer one-on-one discussions and like to be surrounded by small groups of people they know well, so a party would make them feel awkward and uncomfortable. They may have trouble approaching or talking to new people, even after being introduced. They may not make great conversationalists, although this can change if they’re drunk. Once drunk, introverts tend to lose some of their shyness and awkwardness – often to the amusement of their friends. Some like getting drunk because of this, while some others avoid it because of the embarrassment.
Extroverts are right at home at a party. Loud music, fun, drinks, people – it’s a combination of everything they like. You’ll find them having the time of their lives. They’ll usually know most people, but they won’t have any trouble walking up to strangers and introducing themselves. They dance like no-one’s watching. Extroverts when drunk are a sight to behold.
Introvert vs extrovert: Outdoors
When it comes to outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, fishing, swimming etc., introverts are generally considered ‘low energy’. Fishing may be an exception because it ticks most boxes regarding what introverts like, but adventure sports and activities don’t often interest them. If the introverted person is interested in the activities, they would go about them in a quiet way, without engaging much with their group.
Extroverts usually enjoy outdoor activities. The more the people involved, the happier they are. So races, swimming, adventure sports and group sports are their idea of a great time – provided their health permits it. They enjoy meeting new people, and they’ll be the ones taking selfies while climbing a cliff or sitting on top of a large rock. They’re aces when it comes to group selfies. They’re also open to trying new things – so if an activity they aren’t familiar with is suggested, they’ll usually jump at the chance to try it out. If you’re with an extroverted friend who shouldn’t engage in strenuous activity, look out for them – because they’ll totally try!
Introvert vs extrovert: As friends
Introverts find it hard to make friends. When introduced, they may struggle to find things to talk about. They often have trouble demonstrating enthusiasm, which makes people think they aren’t happy to meet them. However, once you get an introvert started, there’s no stopping them! It’s like a dam bursting. Often, introverts find themselves drawn to extroverts, with many preferring to have only extroverts as friends. In some cases, the personalities clash and things don’t go well, but usually the two personalities complement each other perfectly.
Extroverts have no trouble making friends, and so tend to have a large group of buddies. When making friends with an introvert they may feel like the introvert isn’t making any attempt at conversation. They may find it difficult to find things to talk about, which results in them asking questions about the second person – this can sometimes be misconstrued as prying. Extroverts and introverts can become good friends, but it takes time and mutual adjustment.
Introvert vs extrovert: In a relationship
Introverts love the idea of ‘comfortable silences’, and feel perfectly happy sitting quietly near their partner. They’re content with doing housework, reading or catching up on work in their partner’s presence. They may find it difficult to bring up issues, and tend to bottle things up until they’re past their toleration limit – which makes a relationship with an introvert a little tricky.
Extroverts will be the ones dragging their partner to parties and introducing them to new people. They can sometimes be over-friendly and find it hard to establish boundaries, which can cause problems if they have many friends of the opposite gender. Extroverts will tell their partner about their day, about what they did, the conversations they had at work, et cetera.
Introvert vs extrovert: When depressed
Introverts, sadly, are more prone to depression. This is because of societal pressure (society expects extroversion), overthinking, uncomfortable social situations, social isolation, and other reasons. Introverts find social situations uncomfortable, but as humans (i.e., social animals), they still need social interaction and close personal relationships. They may feel isolated from society due to their introversion, which would be aggravated by the fact that they don’t have many people to talk to in order to relieve their agony. An introvert’s depression can go unspotted for a long time.
Extroverts can also be depressed, and it results in awful turmoil because they feel the need to put on a façade of happiness since people have always known them to be that way. They fear that if they behave sad their friends may reject them. So they have to put on a sunny face while they’re actually unhappy. Normally social interactions recharge them, but since they’re acting all the time with company, social interactions can start to feel exhausting. Letting down the façade and talking about personal issues is both difficult and painful, so they start to avoid people. This creates a vicious cycle.
Depression is a terrible thing. If you think someone you know may be suffering from it, please ask them to get help before it’s too late.
Introvert vs extrovert: Hobbies and interests
Introverts have quiet hobbies – often ones involving slight physical activity, so they are free to think as they practice their hobby. Their interests include dancing, gardening, painting, cleaning – slightly physical activities that don’t involve much mental work. However, because they spend a lot of time thinking they may overthink, so they balance that out with hobbies that engage the mind – for example solving puzzles, reading, writing, or planning. They like to plan the future well in advance.
Extroverts like active, sporty, social hobbies. Anything high-energy or involving people would be right down their alley. So public speaking, event management, activities like hiking, trekking, running. They like to go out often – whether it’s for entertainment, eating, or shopping. Their phone will have apps like Skype, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp – because they like to stay connected and in-the-know. You’ll find them very active on social media platforms, and if a new platform is gaining traction they’ll usually be interested in checking it out.
So this was our guide for introverts vs extroverts. Remember, however, that in matters like these (concerning the mind and body) nothing is black-and-white. Things are very fluid. So for example, if you’re generally introverted but like high-energy sports, it doesn’t mean you’re weird or broken, it simply means you’re an introvert with an interest that’s slightly atypical.
And then of course, there are ambiverts, and people who are half-introverts and half-extroverts. That is, perhaps, a topic for another day!