November 17, 2013

What Is an Extravert?

First of all, before you correct me and tell me that it's spelled extrOvert, let me just say that it was Carl Jung who came up with the term and he spelled it extrAvert.

So, what is an extravert? Many people seem to think that an extravert is a person who is energized by being around other people - and that's totally true for one fourth of the types of extraverts in the world. But the other three fourths are energized by things that may or may not have anything to do with people.

I've met several people who are pretty clearly extraverts, but when we talk about what they are, they call themselves ambiverts or even introverts simply because they don't fit the popular (albiet incomplete) definition of extraverts as people who are energized by lots and lots of other people.

Introverts don't tend to like all being lumped into one category of shy or socially inept because, despite the fact that some introverts are that way, most are not. Likewise, extraverts shouldn't all be lumped into a people-loving group when some extraverts love accomplishment or excitement or possibilities even more.

So here's an extravert chart to help you better understand the extraverts in your life. And if you're an introvert but one of these descriptions seems to capture your personality a bit, that's because every introvert has an extraverted side (and every extravert has an introverted side). Your extraverted side isn't as strong as your introverted side, but given that extraverting means dealing with the outside world, and all of us have to deal with the outside world if we want to live, then most introverts have a fairly well developed extraverted side. This isn't quite as true of extraverts who aren't forced to live in their inner world in the same way introverts are forced to live in the outer world. But extraverts do have an introverted side that is usually subordinate to (that means it works for the betterment of) their extraverted side. So if you're an extravert and you want a better sense of what your introverted side is, check out my previous post on the various types of introverts.


  1. Yeah, I think Fe is what I normally think of when I think of extraverts. Now I've read this, I'm going to be on the lookout for examples of the other three.

    That bit about preferring collaboration over intense debate or discussion - that's the bit in Fe types that drives me up the wall :)

  2. I have an Fe friend that simply doesn't know how to deal with discord. You would think that as an Fe she'd be well equipped to step in and help people work through a problem while being considerate of each other's feelings. But instead she doesn't want anyone to be upset with her so she doesn't say anything at all. It's like she has blinders on or puts a wall up. She has a hard time even acknowledging that discord exists. She just wants everyone to be lovey dovey despite their differences. There's no sense of working through stuff to get to a point of agreement.

    1. That's a tendency I find super annoying. (There's a lot of that in England - personality types aren't the only factor, cultural norms come into it too, and avoidance of conflict is a huge thing here, at least in the south.) (Or maybe countries or regions have some kind of equivalent of a personality type?)

      But I'm thinking of someone I know who I'm pretty sure is an Fe, she is the type who thrives on social interaction, likes to be surrounded by people, the more the merrier, and is very chatty. I wouldn't say she likes everyone to be lovey dovey all the time, I don't associate her with the "anything for peace and harmony" brigade at all, she speaks her mind and when I disagree with her she doesn't seem like it's a problem to her, it's just that she doesn't seem interested in actually discussing the ins and outs of the issue, it's like she only wants conversation to be happening for the sake of the sound of conversation, a bit like you might enjoy listening to birds twitter, but nothing too demanding. (Reminds me of some comments I see on G+ sometimes where people say things like "this is a social network, we come here for fun, this isn't the place for debates". (I'm sure I had a point, initially...)

  3. I'm getting around to reading some of these blog posts.. because well, I didn't know you had a blog. I'm guessing Rob is a Se? When I envision someone waving their arms in the air, that person is usually Rob. My extrAverted side is Te, but I think we knew that from all the moving and shaking I do.

  4. Yes, Rob is an extraverted sensor and an introverted thinker. Se - primary, Ti - secondary.


Leave me a note!