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Extrovert and Introvert – what is the difference?

NLP Personality Test , find out your personality type. Cognitive Hypnotherapy Redhill and Reigate Surrey


Extroverts are people people. They are at their most energised when they have others around them. A cosy night in for them would probably involve about half a dozen friends or family as well as yourself. They love people. Some will love them with compassion and a genuine interest, others because they offer the  opportunity to have an audience.

Extroverts can be warm, funny, energetic, the life and soul of any party. They can also be very demanding, liking centre stage, and prepared to do almost anything to keep the spotlight on them. For many this is no problem because they can be charming and good company. They find it easy to establish contact with new people, the kind who walk straight into a party and start chatting to whoever is in the kitchen. By the end of the evening they’ve probably met at least three ‘really nice people’ who have been invited to dinner, but have been too busy to say more than three sentences to their partner.

Extroverts need stimulation or they become bored quite quickly. Repetitive tasks will be a turn off unless they are fun or have some kind of payoff – like attention. Their concentration span, particularly in solitary pursuits, tends to be shorter than introverts.

They are happy to share their thoughts, even if they have not been thought through fully. Bouncing around an idea is part of their thought process so sometimes they shoot from the hip – “Honey, how about us moving to Orkney?” doesn’t mean their mind is made up, only that it is an option, so often it is easier to change their minds than an introvert, who will have polished the idea to (their version) of shining perfection before they let you know it.

Extroverts tend to have a wide circle of friends, and will put a lot of energy into those friendships which are ‘current’.



Introverts love some people. Some introverts will love only a very few people, and then only in measured doses which they need to control – so the in-laws dropping in unannounced will be stressful, even if they aren’t interrupting anything.

Generally introverts don’t like attention from a crowd unless they are very familiar with everyone. They can be content in a bar with a group, but will mainly be the ones quietly listening, the ones who usually don’t say very much but when they do often deliver the killer line. Just because their participation is low does not mean they are not having a good time, or even that they are shy.

Shyness is usually the result of a fear connected to social intercourse which originated from a negative emotional event when they were young. Shyness can be found in extroverts as often as introverts, it is just that the behaviour of an introvert is often similar to someone who is shy. A shy extrovert can be the one who is silently longing to get up and sing ‘My Way’ on the karaoke but doesn’t dare, until they are very drunk or have been dragged on stage. A real introvert may not want to sing no matter how many drinks they’ve had and nothing will drag them up.

Introverts are mainly focused on their own internal world and can be quite oblivious to what is going on around them. “How can you sit down and read a book when the kids are making so much noise?” is a question an exasperated E might ask their partner. It is because they often have an astounding knack for shutting the world out, and be happy in this self imposed isolation. It is perfectly possible for an introvert to be more lonely in a crowded room, than on their own. It can be a real drain to have to pay attention to other people for any length of time, but they can concentrate on ‘things’ that interest them for ages. They tend to pursue solitary hobbies and pastimes rather than seek to be involved in groups or team games.

Because of their circumspection Introverts can be slow to develop relationships. When they do the relationship will be a strong one that often endures for the rest of their lives. They will have a small circle of close and trusted friends that they would do anything for, even if they don’t see them from one year to the next.

Introverts like to keep their ideas to themselves until they have thought them through. They can be very uncomfortable being made to speak about something they are not sure about. ‘Knocking an idea about’ is not there way of figuring something out, in fact it will distract and even confuse them.

In relationships they may not be forthcoming with their feelings, particularly verbally. Often they communicate better in letters and cards, or in gestures. I have heard on many occasions partners saying something like “He writes the loveliest things when he sends me cards, but he can’t mean them because he never says them to my face.” Oh yes he does, but on the wrong side of his face (the in-side.)

Misunderstandings between Extroverts and Introverts

Extroverts often describe introverts as boring ‘stick in the mud’s’, while they are themselves described as superficial and loud. These perceptions can have a big effect in any kind of relationship;

Here is how it often works; extroverts get lonely when they are not with people, and often need a variety of people to maintain their interest. Introverts can get lonely when they are surrounded by people- especially if they don’t know them.

It is wrong to think of introverts as being antisocial. They can be as gregarious in their way as an extrovert. It is just that their way will be different. Socialising for them will usually involve people known to them, with conversation occurring in small groups, often with the opportunity available for them to be observers rather than participants.

Extroverts in a relationship with an introvert need to realise the importance of privacy. For them keeping open house might hold the possibility of stimulating friends dropping by, for their partner it might feel like an invasion – even if they are stimulating friends.

So while the extrovert is sociable the introvert is territorial. Introverts need space; private places both in their environment and in their mind which they will defend strongly.


Introverts in a relationship with an extrovert need to realise the importance of stimulation. Their partner’s focus is on the world outside of them, and as you have read already, sameness becomes invisible. An unchanging environment to an extrovert quickly becomes boring because of its lack of stimulation. It does not mean they are bored of you, only that there is not enough going on. Some variation is needed, even some spontaneity in the social calendar.

Extroverts are much more of an open book who believe a trouble shared is a trouble halved. Introverts probably think that a trouble shared is just causing another problem. You can probably see how silence on the part of the introvert can be misinterpreted by the extrovert partner:

As with all opposites, there is the potential for each partner to balance the other and for the relationship to be mutually fulfilling. It depends on each person respecting the other and not burdening each other with labels about behaviour which only really describe your values about that behaviour, not any intrinsic goodness or badness it may have.


While extroverts will often be happy to talk about themselves – in fact try stopping them – including their problems. To extroverts an introvert will appear private, even secretive. They will not usually talk about their problems until they have had the chance to ‘work things out in their heads’. This will be the time when they appear the most withdrawn. You will often find these two types in relationships, and they often complement each other: One brings the other ‘out of their shell’ – but remember they won’t always want to come out and play – while the introvert can ‘settle them down’. But don’t restrict them too much or they will get bored. 75% of the population is extrovert, while 25% is introvert. It explains a lot about our culture, and everything about gameshows.

Anthony Hilling

Anthony Hilling

  33 Responses to “Extrovert and Introvert – what is the difference?”

  1. Dear Mr Hilling

    I have always known that I am an introvert, but have actually never read anything that soms the characteristics of an introvert. Your article is so precise, it is like it was written based on my character personally. I now understand myself beter without feeling guilty about it.
    The article also gave me (and all those who gets the chance to read it) an insight about the “pposites”, in my case the extroverts.

    Thank you

  2. Anthony Hilling

    Hi Anna

    It’s great to hear that this has helped you with your understanding of the other side! Watch this space for more personality and hypnosis developments.


  3. Couldn’t agree more with what Anna said, this is just great and it made me feel pretty good! Thanks!

  4. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought
    this post was good. I don’t know who you are but
    certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  5. Hi Anthony,

    I never had a chance to read on the internet the difference between my own behaviour and my partner’s not until I read your blog.

    I never had an assessment of myself if I am extrovert/introvert but the way you explained it I am 100% sure be an extrovert. I am a people-person and I could say that My partner is an introvert. He doesn’t talk much to my friends, I mean whenever I’m with my friends he just tend to be silent. Mostly I started throwing out a topic so that we have something to talk about. I remember telling him once that he has no sense-of-humor as it gets to the point that I’m running out of words to say.

    Your blog certainly helps me in understanding him deeply on what should I do and hope you inspire more people.


  6. Anthony Hilling

    Im glad to hear that this post has been useful for you and helped you understand your partner that little bit more.

    Most “People-persons” tend to at least lean towards being an extrovert but that does not mean that personality tests necessarily score them highly introvert/extrovert scale.

    Best wishes

    Anthony Hilling

  7. Whilst I did think this useful as it was nice, clear and simple, I feel you lacked to acknowledge or to communicate to the audience and me that there are problems in stating you are either a clear cut extrovert or introvert. This may of been improved by suggesting that you can be a mixture of both, and quite often people are. There are many of the characteristics that you mention that a person can have, and can even change in different contexts. Overall for a brief summary I would say it is a good basis.

  8. Anthony Hilling

    I agree, context can sometimes make changes to a persons personality. Extreme examples of this can be seen in many sports. (Think of a Boxer entering the ring and hearing the bell or a racing driver climbing into his car and starting the engine.) In certain situations, a persons personality can change radically but when taken out of that context he/she will return to their default position. Using the example of a Boxer, while in the ring they may be ferocious but when later interviewed or perhaps spending time with his family he will return to his ‘normal’ self. I feel that this change is due to learned behaviour that has become useful to them and that the default personality does not really change.

  9. I have read both the Introvert and Extrovert, I find myself in between the two, is that possible? I have done a personality test, it says that I am an ISTJ, in the introvert section you said that they dont like people popping in unannounced, if im in the right mood which is often i dont mind them popping in, if people come over for a meal at the last minute i dont mind that, i like to feel needed and do enjoy my friends and like to regularly associate with them, is this because of my upbringing or something else?

  10. I’m living in a country in which people abuse anything they know about your problems and your life. As an extroverted person who knows a lot of people, I have lost lots of things because of speaking about my troubles and decisions and thoughts carelessly. I’m really tired of this and I deeply need to think more before I say anything and getting familiar with any new people I meet. Could you please help me? How i can hesitate more before speaking or making new friendships?

  11. While this post has been very helpful in explaining the differences between extrovert and introvert I have found that I have multiple and many qualities from each type and don’t know what to say to that. There was no explanation of people being both and I don’t know if I need to just pick a side or what.

  12. Very interesting to read this…but I’m curious about something…Is it possible to be both an extrovert and an introvert, because I can see myself in both of these categories…I tend to fit in with crowds whether I know them or not, and myself and many others consider me a people person. However, I am just as comfortable spending alot of time by myself for sometimes extended periods of time…Am I just a person that has some kind of balance or am I a FREAK…LOL Just kidding, not a freak…But I am curious to hear your thoughts on this…Thanks

  13. The post was really interesting,thank you.as an extrovert Icant even imagine my self as an introvert.I lov to socialize.
    some people are exactly paarlized in a crowd.its hard for introverts to make cordialy relation shi p with others.but according to psycholgist you can be introvert and extrovert both.you khnow mixed of them.

  14. Dear sir,
    4rm dis explanatiöns & enlighment; I knw am an introvert. I’ve been the shy type. Just lyk u said; dat introverts are more likely 2be shy. Bt 4rm all u said. it has really impacted a lot in my life. I’ll tqy as much possible 2mke some changes in my life

  15. seriously, i now fully understand myself, thanks alot at Hilling it does helps alot.

  16. hi..thanks for the explanation/info. I’m an introvert person and all of your explanations about the characters are so me. I thought i was not the happiest person before. Now i understand myself better. This cheers me up.Good job.

  17. This has been so enlightening. Thank you for this much-needed information. You may have helped me save a very important relationship.

  18. This tells me ALOT about my current man. I’m the extrovert in the relationship, while he’s the introvert. I didn’t really understand many of the problems we were having, but this helps ALOT. Thank you.

  19. This article has really helped me to understand this concept very well. I know my position my stand now..Hahahaha..thank you very much.

  20. Ireally appreciate this facts now I know where I’m now but am happy to be an introvert. Pls sir I’ll like you to give more explanation on phlegmatic people

  21. I now have and understanding of he and I. I am an extrovert, he an introvert so now I see him clearer, now I will ajust because I know he loves me as I love him .

    Thank you

  22. Thanks for the information

  23. You have an extremely good way with words. Your article is really well written. To me it feels like you hit the nail on the head distinguishing between intro and extro,
    Personally I’m an introvert. What are you? Curious, as you could explain both sides with great detail.

    Thank you.

  24. Thanks Anthony for your explanation about intro and extro, very clear and it is exactly me. I’m an introvert, sometimes people complain me about my silence but I feel more comfortable now. I think from now on I will be ok with it and happy who I am because God makes me this way.

    Thank you very much!!

  25. i have always felt guilt of myself because of my behaviours to society,thanks for helping me understand as being an introvert.

  26. I am a introverted person & I recently taken a test to prove it through my college. Introverted person I am is to do what feels good in my world, I do love ppl from a distance but I really miss them much & when it become overwhelming I will stop in on a notice to say hello, hugs , & kisses. I love hard but a lot of times I see more hate coming my way so I need to depart the scene, security blanket. My biggest focus more than anything is to love & make good with the world around me. Love & peace. Amen

  27. Very good read. I am definitely an extrovert and my boyfriend is definitely an introvert!

  28. This is one of the best well researched articles I have read in years. Turns out I’m an introvert, I have many extrovert friends and family though. I know a few introverts like me. I couldn’t agree more with this article. Glad I read it.

  29. Its so true about my characteristics features that am an Introvert, all I have to do is let my partner read this article for her to understand me perfectly. Now I know who I am and am proud of myself…. Thanks to the author of this article……….

  30. I am writing a paper assignment on these two words. It helps me to a lots. Thank you. God bless

  31. I loved the article but I don’t know if it is possible to be between the two because I feel like I am.

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