Are You an Introvert or Extrovert (And Do You Have Social Anxiety?)
Are you curious about the introvert vs extrovert dimensions? I recently took a free personality quiz found online at 16 Personalities. This quiz mirrors the types outlined by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which most of you have probably heard of.
I actually took this quiz because it was recommended as part of a course I’m taking: find out what type of personality you have so that you can determine how to excel at business.
I’ve taken more than a few psychology classes and Intro to Social/Personality was one of my favorites.
I remember listening with interest about how introverts’ brains are wired differently than extroverts.
Introverts actually need less external stimulation to feel the same thing that extroverts do. So, an introvert might get the same thrill from reading a book that an extrovert would need a roller coaster ride to get.
Yes, that’s really all that the difference is about. So I keep getting annoyed when I hear introversion get so tied up with how social a person is or how much social anxiety they have.
And when I was taking this quiz, I was surprised at some of the questions.
“How often do you randomly approach strangers and strike up conversations?”
How do you think a socially anxious extrovert would respond? What does that question really have to do with introversion?
So I may be biased when I say this, but I think that using these quizzes for categorizing yourself as an introvert/extrovert only has so much value.
Let’s go back to some basic definitions.
Shyness: A milder form of social anxiety that involves fear of negative evaluation and a tendency to avoid people.
Introversion: Tendency to become over-stimulated and the need to be alone to regain energy.
Outgoing: A tendency to approach others due to a lack of shyness.
Extroversion: A tendency to approach others due to a need for stimulation.
And just for the record…
Social Anxiety: An extreme form of shyness in which fear and avoidance are extreme and involve physical symptoms and impairment in daily life.
And this means that really there are four different “types” of introversion and extroversion if you want to get really nit-picky.
Shy introvert: Easily overstimulated person who avoids people due to fear of negative evaluation.
Shy extrovert: A person who craves the stimulation of other people but feels too afraid to approach them.
Outgoing introvert: A person who becomes easily overstimulated but who has no problem approaching other people.
Outgoing extrovert: A person who craves the stimulation of being with other people and also has no problem approaching them.
Aren’t sure which one is you? I created a quick quiz to help you figure it out.
(Prefer to take a video quiz? Try this one!)
Take the Introvert Vs Extrovert Quiz
For each of the following situations, pick the choice that sounds most like you.
When I am at a party…
A) I enjoy myself, have lots of energy, and get excited to talk with all the people.
B) I like being around all the people but feel too scared to approach anyone.
C) I have no trouble talking to people one-on-one but the crowd drains me.
D) I just want to go home most of the time because I’m tired and feel afraid to talk to anyone.
When I am at the library or a quiet place…
A) I can’t wait to get out of there and find something fun to do. I want to call a friend to make plans.
B) I’m kind of bored, but at least it’s a safe place where people don’t try to talk to me.
C) I’m excited about digging into some books and look forward to asking the librarian about her top picks for the week.
D) I love sitting and reading all day. But I’m too afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone.
When my phone rings…
A) I’m excited to see who is calling and usually answer right away. I get really energized talking on the phone
B) I’m usually excited to talk but sometimes I feel anxious about answering.
C) I hope it’s a good friend. I love to have a deep conversation but I usually let the other person do a lot of the talking. If it goes on too long, I have to have some downtime afterward.
D) I feel tired about the thought of talking to someone and also anxious about answering.
When meeting someone for the first time…
A) I usually walk right over and introduce myself first. It’s a great energy boost to meet someone new and find out all about them.
B) I usually am eager to meet new people and find it boost my energy, but I wait nervously to be introduced.
C) I prefer to find a quiet moment to introduce myself and take some time to learn a bit more about the person. I’m excited to meet new people, but I get overwhelmed if there are too many people to meet all at once.
D) I usually avoid introductions at all costs because it feels draining and also because I am anxious.
When at a work meeting…
A) Meetings are where I shine because I love to exchange ideas and get energy from being with the group.
B) I like the energy of being in a group, but you won’t catch me sharing much myself (I’m way too anxious).
C) Meetings can be draining for me. It’s not that I’m anxious to share my ideas, but I like to think them through first.
D) I call in sick to avoid meetings because they cause me anxiety and also because I’m so emotionally drained afterward I can barely get anything done.
Use the following scoring key to see where you fall:
Mostly As: Outgoing Extrovert
Mostly Bs: Shy Extrovert
Mostly Cs: Outgoing Introvert
Mostly Ds: Shy Introvert
Just for the record, the 16PF rated me as an introvert, but I was kind of close to the middle. I don’t mind crowds and can find them exciting, but I’m not the type to randomly approach strangers and strike up conversations.
What does that make me? Remember – we are people, not objects that can be neatly classified. And I totally believe that our personalities can change and evolve over time.
Where do you fit? I’m curious to hear everyone’s opinions on this topic.
Related Articles about Introversion
- The Best Gifts to Buy for Introverts
- 6 Myths About Quiet People
- Positive Self Esteem and Social Anxiety Are Not Mutually Exclusive