Individuals identified as extroverts are naturally keen on and thrive in social settings, while introverts prefer a quiet and solitary life. Prihandito shares that for extroverts, social interactions are energizing. “They thrive in group settings and are often seen as outgoing and expressive,” he adds.
Introverts, on the other hand, find excessive social engagement may be draining. They’re in tune with their inner world and disconnect and retreat within whenever they need to refuel. Introverts prefer intimate groups and deep, meaningful conversations to small talk in large gatherings. It doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t enjoy socializing—they simply like their experiences in different shades to what extroverts like.
In 2011, one conference paper divided introversion into four main types: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained introvert. The distinction was made based on how different introverts respond to social invitations, handle interpersonal interactions, and how they recharge their batteries.
Hans Eysenck’s influential “Big Three” model shared that introverts have higher baseline brain activity, are more sensitive to stimulation, and can easily reach sensory overload in a noisy, crowded environment.
According to Carl Jung, the distinction is more about an individual’s world orientation. Extroverts, as the term suggests, are more oriented towards the external world, while introverts focus more on their internal world and use their thoughts and emotions as energy sources. The Big Five Personality Traits (OCEAN) proposed that the behavioral manifestation of these traits is due to the interplay of various factors, including genetic predispositions, environment, upbringing, and even life experiences.
The important point is that regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, you can have a rich social life as long as you socialize in a way that plays well with your individual preferences, needs, and boundaries. More importantly, as Landeros points out, it’s a spectrum, not a dichotomy, and it’s okay, even healthy, for introverts to maintain a few deep, intimate relationships over a vast social network.