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Are You An Introvert or an Extrovert?

A long time ago, when I was planning my wedding, I was reading Weddingbee a lot and there was a post where the person who runs Weddingbee said she has “a completely unfounded theory that most bloggers are introverts.” So I’m here to find out! Are most bloggers introverts or extroverts?

You can see what Wikipedia says about extroverts and introverts, but here’s the definition of extroverts and introverts from about.com:

Extrovert: An extrovert is a person who is energized by being around other people. Extroverts tend to “fade” when alone and can easily become bored without other people around. When given the chance, an extrovert will talk with someone else rather than sit alone and think. In fact, extroverts tend to think as they speak, unlike introverts who are far more likely to think before they speak. Extroverts often think better when they are talking. Concepts just don’t s eem real to them unless they can talk about them; reflecting on them isn’t enough. Extroverts enjoy social situations and even seek them out since they enjoy being around people.

Introvert: Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness.  An introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.”

I’ll tell you about myself.

I’m mostly an introvert. Given the chance to hang out with other people or stay at home, I’d rather stay at home. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being around other people, I just prefer my hobbies, such as reading, knitting, or watching the occasional show on TV. Being around people for any length of time definitely drains me, and I eventually need to be alone to recharge.

If I do hang out with other people, I much prefer a smaller group. I have no comprehension of going to a party where the music is so loud you can’t have a conversation. How can you possibly connect with someone else? You can’t. It’s those situations that I avoid the most. Hanging out with one or two friends is much more up my alley.

Lest you think I’m socially inept, people are often amazed at how easy it is for me to socialize and make small talk with people I’ve only just met. I’ve been told by many people, “It’s so easy for you!” and if they only knew how much I have to push myself to be social, they’d never make that statement.

I’m an introvert who tries to be an extrovert.

But I love blogging. I love responding to comments. What is so different? Why do I feel so comfortable on the Internet as opposed to real life? I think what’s different is that 1) I’m mostly talking to people who have similar interests. I would talk about books and blogs ALL THE TIME with my real life friends if they’d let me. 2) I can turn it off, so to speak, whenever I want. I can hang out for 10 minutes or two hours, but as soon as I’m done, I’m done. There’s no waiting to go home, there’s no awkward goodbyes (I hate saying goodbye), there’s none of that. I just…slip away. And come back when I’m ready. I think the key, though, is that in cyberspace, I’m always hanging out with people who obsess over the same things I obsess over. I can talk about books and blogs all the time with you people!

So that’s what I’ve come up with. And I think that *most* people who blog are introverts. Blogging allows us to interact with others on our own terms.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

[polldaddy poll=1293286]

Edited to add: Melanie from lit*chick (she’s always had one of my favorite titles for a blog) pointed us to this article entitled Caring for Your Introvert. WOW. It’s like this guy was reading my mind. “Hell is other people at breakfast.” That sums up my sentiments exactly.

| Tags: , , 47 comments »

47 Responses to “Are You An Introvert or an Extrovert?”

  1. Marny

    I think you are my twin *laughs* I could copy and past your post and only had to change one thing: that I’m not so good at small talk. Apart from that, yes to everything you said.

    [Reply]

  2. Nymeth

    I am definitely an introvert. I’ve been told by a friend who reads my blog that I sound like a social butterfly there, but I’m so not one. I just find it much easier to communicate through blogging/comments. Plus I make a conscious effort to overcome mt shyness and actually interact with people in this community more.

    I like what you said about needing to be alone to recharge. That’s how it is for me too. It’s what Marny said, actually. Other than the small talk thing, I agree with everything you said.

    [Reply]

  3. Marg

    Another introvert here! I can be the life of the party and be the person who is energised by other people, but I tell you that it feels like hard work!

    Another bonus about blogging is that it really doesn’t matter what you look like. It’s about your thoughts, and opinions about whatever you choose to blog about.

    [Reply]

  4. Chris@bookarama

    Yep, introvert here. I find large gatherings exhausting. Maybe it’s having to be ‘on’ the whole time. I like doing things on my own too.

    Now if I’m with people I’m totally comfortable with, I let loose. My best friend and I can talk for hours about nothing.

    [Reply]

  5. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog

    I think I’m about half and half. My job requires me to be “on” a lot of the time, talking with clients and hosting events, so I do like to unplug when I go home and just curl up on the couch with a good book or a nice TV show. Like you, I prefer smaller gatherings, but if it’s a large event with a lot of people I know, I feel comfortable and will be very outgoing….dinner parties with 6-8 good friends are my favorites, though, because you don’t really have to work at them, you just enjoy chatting with people you already know really well, and there’s no pressure.

    My introverted side definitely requires lots of quiet time to get recharged. People around other people is fun, but it does not energize me. I need the “stay in my jammies all day” Sundays for that. If you invite me somewhere on a Sunday, it better be free and amazing to convince me to get off my couch and go be social.

    [Reply]

  6. Heather Johnson

    Wow, now this is interesting. Had you simply asked “are you an introvert or extrovert?” I’d have immediately said Extrovert. HOWEVER, after reading the definitions you posted, I am completely reevaluating my answer! I always understood Introvert to mean quiet, shy, socially awkward, and Extrovert to mean comfortable in crowds, outgoing, gets along well with others. But that’s not quite right according to your definition.

    So, looking at myself honestly, I’d have to say that I am an outgoing, talkative person, and I do enjoy being around people, but at the same time I can only take so much of people before I need peace and quiet. And in general I prefer small groups of people I know to large groups of people I know. Crowds don’t bother me – it’s just the number of people I’m expected to interact with on a personal level that gets to me.

    Trish you have totally blown my mind here. I am an introvert … who knew?!

    [Reply]

  7. Vasilly

    I’m definitely an introvert. I rather dive into my hobbies than to be hanging out with a large group of people. It’s nice to have an adventure every now and then, but I rather be at home.

    [Reply]

  8. Andi

    By definition I’m definitely an introvert. However, as I’ve gotten older, I definitely have my extrovert tendencies. As a teacher I get a charge out of talking to and working with my students, and if I’m stuck in the house too long I start getting antsy. However, after a long day of teaching or being social, I’m ready to drop. It sucks the life out of me and I go back to my hermitude. 🙂

    [Reply]

  9. Christine

    Total introvert. I’m terrified of small talk and I don’t like crowds (“crowd” being defined as more than, say, eight people). Parties often reduce me to gibbers.

    I like blogging because I can interact with text and forget that there are humans on the other end.

    [Reply]

  10. Meg @ Literary Menagerie

    Hmm… looks like that theory may have been more well-founded than originally thought–of course that’s only one introvert’s opinion.

    [Reply]

  11. S. Krishna

    I am 100% an introvert. I do talk a lot, and am not uncomfortable around people I don’t know, but given the choice I’d much rather be by myself than around other people!

    [Reply]

  12. The Social Frog

    Hello Trish 🙂
    To be honest I am kind of a little bit of both of them mixed together but more so an introvert if I had to choose.

    [Reply]

  13. avisannschild

    Count me in for the introvert side as well. I definitely suck at small talk and much prefer small groups (or even one on one) to parties. I must say I’m surprised you’re an introvert, Trish! You come across as very extroverted on your blog.

    Love the word “hermitude”!

    [Reply]

  14. Alyce

    I’m an introvert too. I love my friends and family, but being around a lot of people is draining for me. I agree though that the blog world works well for introverts. It’s nice to be able to socialize on my own terms.

    [Reply]

  15. Lu

    I don’t just think I’m an introvert, it has been proven by professionals! We took this insane battery of personality tests for a philosophy class I was required to take in high school. I’m still not sure what the point of them was, but the answers I got were mostly along the lines of, ALERT, INTROVERT. Not that I was surprised. One thing I’ve noticed about myself though, is that while talking in social situations will get me all bent out of shape, giving a speech or speaking to someone in a professional situation does not have the same effect at all. I’m perfectly comfortable in the latter.

    Looks like your poll thus far is proving your theory! Great idea 🙂

    – Lu

    [Reply]

  16. Joanne

    I’m a natural introvert, I am happier by myself and find being in large social groups makes me feel brain-dead the next day. When I hear people saying they love having people around because they are bored otherwise I can’t help but think how sad it must be to be unable to enjoy one’s own company.

    But the description doesn’t really match because while I’m not very shy in person, I am extremely shy online. At school, work, gatherings I come off as the social butterfly but honestly I think I’m just anti-social.

    [Reply]

  17. Sandra

    I don’t know what the experts would say about it but I was an extrovert well into my thirties and I’m very much an introvert now. I’m 59 and somehow about 20 years ago or more I changed. Serious health problems maybe? I don’t know, but it’s an interesting theory you brought up.

    [Reply]

  18. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    Of course I’m an introvert, and yes, I think most bloggers are introverts as well. In fact, reading the comments made me chuckle because I asked this question awhile back and Heather answered extrovert saying she wasn’t shy! I”m glad you cleared things up for her. 😉

    The problem, of course, is that most people have Heather’s perception of what an introvert is. While I do feel uncomfortable around certain types of people, my job actually requires a high level of enthusiasm and making other people feel comfortable. I can even give speeches with relative ease. But I also really enjoy my own company.

    And I think you’re right about how blogging is a form of communication we enjoy because we can contribute when we have something to say. 😉

    Blogging is like introverts unleased to take over the world. 😉

    [Reply]

  19. Heather

    I am a TOTAL introvert. I love my friends, and would hang out with them all the time, but I don’t really feel comfortable in huge groups of people, and no matter what I’m doing I’m usually happy when it’s time to go home, curl up on the couch, and read or watch TV or whatever else. Large social gatherings just generally exhaust me. I suck at meeting new people and making small talk – I never know what to say and I have a bit of social anxiety that always makes me worried that other people will think I’m stupid or a weirdo or something… so yeah, introvert.

    On the other hand, my job requires me to talk to people ALL DAY LONG and be super outgoing and sales-y/customer service-y all the time. So I am able to “fake it” if need be, I’m not a total awkward socially inept person. And the funny thing is, I have a pretty big family and have NO problem being loud and outgoing with a big group of them… but I just overall would prefer to be alone, with my husband, or with one or two close family members or friends rather than in a large group or with people I don’t know very well.

    You always pose SUCH interesting questions on your blog, Trish… I don’t know how you do it! 🙂

    And upon reading the first line of this post, I TOTALLY thought you were going to say that you’re an extrovert. You definitely had me fooled. 😉

    [Reply]

  20. Meghan

    I’m completely an introvert. I need my alone time, and I definitely think blogging and chatting online are different than real life doings because I can always turn it off and back away if I’m uncomfortable or tired of people. I’m also very shy, but get over that easily in groups of three people or less or when in a teaching environment. More than that at a social event and I fade in the background. I am not a social butterfly in any sense and I actively avoid parties and large groups of people.

    I think your theory is proving itself!

    [Reply]

  21. Kimmy

    Introvert, definitely.

    I like your explanation about why you are more comfortable on the internet as opposed to real life. I agree 100% with everything you said!

    [Reply]

  22. sagustocox

    I have a bit of both in me…depends on my mood really, though I think the pendulum leans toward introvert in many cases.

    [Reply]

  23. Jena

    I walk the line between the two. Out of necessity, I’ve been more introverted lately. I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to break into any groups here in town since I moved here a year ago. The women my age are mostly mothers who I wouldn’t likely meet except (maybe) at the gym or unless I had kids of my own. Next month, though, I’m giving a book group a try. I’ve never been part of a book group, but I’m hoping it’ll be a fun and stimulating experience.

    [Reply]

  24. melanie

    I am an introvert too. I’m pretty private (blogging aside, but as you said controlled environment). And I get nervous in big crowds. I am energized through solitude. Even though I like people, I don’t have a need to be surrounded by them. And it is exhausting! A friend just sent me an old article about this very subject:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

    [Reply]

  25. avisannschild

    Love love love that article! Thanks, Melanie!

    [Reply]

  26. nikki

    Definitely half and half. Although I do not like large crowds, I love being a part of a small crowd as long as I know most of them. However, I love being alone as well. I don’t get much alone time these days…I have a two year old and I work, so that keeps me super-busy!

    [Reply]

  27. Florinda

    An introvert, without a doubt – and a shy introvert at that, unless I’m with people I know well. I find it much easier to be outgoing – which still doesn’t make me an extrovert :-), since we’re talking about behavior as opposed to a personality orientation – when the communication is in writing and I can hide behind my blog.

    And based on the sampling here, you may be right about most bloggers being introverts – book bloggers, anyway :-). Great discussion, Trish?

    [Reply]

  28. Eva

    Yeah, I have no social ineptitude either, being constantly called a “people person,” but I definitely recharge my internal battery in solitude and I process problems internally (No, I don’t “need to talk.”).

    The Caring for Your Introvert-article is great – I’ve forwarded it to a lot of people… 🙂

    [Reply]

  29. Jen Forbus

    I’m definitely and undeniably an introvert. I don’t do well with small talk either. I like that on my blog I can think out what I have to say before anyone hears it. I don’t have to think “on the spot” and spew.

    I don’t mind small gathering-type events as long as they aren’t for long periods of time. The thought of a large, very crowded ordeal makes me shudder…as a matter of fact, I felt bad for President and Mrs. Obama when they had to attend 10 balls after the inauguration! Oh, those poor people!

    I definitely fit wholely and squarely in the introvert category!

    [Reply]

  30. Matthew

    Introvert. I have friends who go hang out with people they don’t like, and I think, “Why?” I just don’t get that they’d rather spend time with people they can’t stand than be alone.

    As for the blogging, I’ve discovered through painful trial and error that I just have uncommon interests, and I don’t generally talk to people about them because I know that there’s a very good chance no one will care. When I blog, I can write about whatever I want, and the people who are interested in what I have to say can read it, and the people who aren’t interested can just go somewhere else.

    [Reply]

  31. Bookfool, aka Nancy

    I did a personality test, once, and it said I lean toward extrovert, but barely. In reality, I’m a total wallflower. I like to eat my breakfast alone and exercise alone. I recharge by going off to a quiet corner with a book. But, I get a little wacky when I don’t get some people time. Small groups or one-on-one are my preference. Big groups and parties . . . ugh.

    [Reply]

  32. Kim L

    Great topic, and although I don’t think all bloggers are probably introverts, I think it is an attractive social outlet for those of us who need our quiet time, because it is a way to socialize where we are in total control, and can stop after ten minutes or two hours.

    I myself am more of an introvert, and there is pretty much nothing that will ever change that, although I pretend to be extroverted when I have to be. It will never come naturally to me, though.

    [Reply]

  33. Kristi

    Yep. Same here. I am an introvert. Now, if you asked the people I’m around, they would never tell you that. I like to go to (small, intimate) parties and they equate that with extrovert. I don’t mind small talk and I’m good at it = extrovert. Presentation to a big audience (or a small one, for that matter), no problem = extrovert, in most people’s opinion.

    What they don’t know is that if my DH didn’t arrange for us to go to small, intimate parties, I never would. Not because I’m uncomfortable, but because I’d prefer to be doing something else (reading, maybe?). And it’s not that I don’t love my family and friends. I do. But as the article says…”Introverts are people who find other people tiring.” I’ll go to one of my writer’s group’s meetings…and it’s fun to see everyone…and it’s great to learn…and I need to come home and take a serious nap!

    Interesting discussion. Thanks for the article…I’m done now ;o).

    [Reply]

  34. Melody

    I guess I’m more of an introvert. I may find it a little intimidating if you ask me to approach a stranger just to have a chat but once the other party start talking, I’ll follow the flow! LOL. Now blogging is a different thing… we can say anything because like Kim said, we are in total control.

    [Reply]

  35. Jeanne

    Another thing I like about blogging as an introvert that no one has mentioned yet is that when I say something wrong (as in put my foot in my mouth) I can usually catch it before I publish. It’s easier for me to say what I mean in writing than in conversation. (And once it’s written, it’s like what Indiana Jones’ father says “I don’t have to remember it. I wrote it down.”)

    [Reply]

  36. Amy(The Sleepy Reader)

    I am a definitely an introvert. I like people in small groups but I have no problem being alone. Plus, part of the allure with blogging IMO, is that I can compose my thoughts much easier in writing than I can verbally.

    [Reply]

  37. Jessica

    Ha. So I sent this article to my husband like I said you know- and he came home and said “I got that article you sent me. You really think Tommy is an introvert?!”

    He totally missed it!

    THanks how much he takes care of his introvert! He didn’t even know I sent it to him for ME?!

    Geesh.

    [Reply]

  38. softdrink

    That article is brilliant.

    [Reply]

  39. Michael

    Hi Trish, first time caller, first time listener.

    For some it depends on role and environment. As a first class sales pro I was super extroverted with a ton of contact 50 plus hours a week. As a deposed first class sales pro turned unemployed blogger with awesome cartoons I am more introverted with considerably less face time. Often we adapt to our the demands of our circumstance.

    So those are my two cents on the subject.

    [Reply]

  40. bermudaonion

    I’m somewhere in between. I love being with other people, but I’m also happy by myself.

    [Reply]

  41. Devourer of Books » Blog Archive » Saturday Link Roundup

    […] ‘Most Chatty’ during Book Blogger Appreciation Week last year with her great post on Introverts v. Extroverts.  I was very surprised to learn that she considers herself to be an introvert.  Tons of comments […]

  42. callista83

    Well 50 of 62 for introverts so looks like weddingbee is right. Or at least for book bloggers anyways. I’m an introvert too!

    [Reply]

  43. Kimberly

    I’m late jumping on the bandwagon, but I too am a total introvert. Shoot I get exhausted and drained just listening to my extrovert cube-buddy at work! At the end of a long day, I just want to go home and chill and be alone. Huge parties, ick, not my thing – I’d MUCH rather go to coffee with a few girlfriends 😉

    [Reply]

  44. Lenore

    Again, very late to the party, but yeah, I guess I’m an introvert. And my husband is an extrovert. I think I go out and socailize a lot. He thinks I’m a hermit!

    I’m not shy. I can strike up a conversation with anyone. I can enjoy myself at parties and I like people. But it does wear me out. I NEED my “me time” and a lot of it.

    [Reply]

  45. Robin of My Two Blessings

    I’m late to the party too, just discovered this post. I am very much an introvert. I was just blogging about this myself in a post answering interview questions from My Friend Amy. I found a wonderful book that really helped – The Introvert Advantage: How to thrive in an Extrovert World.

    I definitely recharge being by myself rather than with a group of people. Work days wear me out because interacting with people all day long. Fortunately only have to work two days a week and can recoup the other days.

    Great post – thank you.

    Robin

    [Reply]

  46. Let’s Meet at BEA! | Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?

    […] who’ve RSVP’d, so I *probably* won’t get to everyone. And I was not kidding when I said I’m introverted, but I will be donning my extroverted hat and having a good time! A drink in hand won’t […]

  47. elle

    I am a shy introvert. Any claim to social skills that I currently possess I learned from reading books and forced socialization through extroverted significant others. It’s interesting to note that I had never heard of introversion until I became a netizen almost 10 years ago now. I always assumed that once I became less shy that I would automatically be more comfortable at parties, enjoy small talk, and seek out more social interaction. Well, I did become more comfortable at parties and fairly skilled at small talk, but I don’t seek out these experiences.

    I would rather watch a movie, play scrabble, or read if given the choice. Even at work, I don’t gadfly about or go out of my way to socialize with people. And I hate the discomfort of getting to know some stranger. Small talk is like pulling teeth, and I feel all squirmy and bored. It’s rare that I meet someone who likes to nerd out on funny movies or wants to discuss abnormal psychology. Small talk by its very nature is light, neutral fare which translates into insipid gobbledygook to me most of the time.

    My extroverted boyfriend is offended by my feelings on the subject, and insists to me that small talk is valuable. I understand its purpose; I’ve told him a hundred times, I just don’t enjoy it. Going to a party in which everyone standing up with a drink in their hand doing the speed small talk dance around the room asking each new conversational partner the same get-to-know-you questions over and over (and being asked the same questions over and over) makes me want to burst out of the door and run down the street screaming like a mad woman. It just seems like a lot of effort for little reward. That’s how I know I’m an introvert. An extrovert is rewarded by the talking to new people alone.

    I’ve also noticed that solitary pursuits are distractions to a lot of extroverts and not the main thing, if that makes any sense? In other words, watching a movie is an experience I’m choosing because I really enjoy it and not just something to do until I can be at the next party or because I’m bored and there’s nothing else to do. Many activities seem to be an excuse for extroverts to get together with people so they can talk. Try going to a concert with some extroverts. They will be talking through the music. I find that infuriating.

    Typically when I do socialize I prefer a small group. Larger groups are okay for me and enjoyable when talking is not the focus. For instance if a bunch of people get together to participate in an activity like a trivia contest, scrabble or other board game, or even a dance party because I love to dance! Still, after a while, I hit a wall and my eyes glaze over.

    [Reply]

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