This week we focus on the Introvert/Extravert scale. When I asked Dr. Nadine Kelly, the guest expert from last week’s podcast, “Are you an Introvert or an Extravert?”, she said, “I think a good solid mix of both. I used to think I wasn’t extraverted but I don’t think you can be a podcaster and not be extraverted to a certain extent.” (For the record, I agree…)

As always, you can skim this email or click on the many links to dig deeper and learn more.

Let’s do this!


Unsplash @ chuttersnap
(Image Unsplash | @ chuttersnap)

There are hundreds ofpersonality tests out there.  One of the big ones is aptly calledThe Big 5, which measures our personalities across 5 dimensions:

  1. Openness
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Agreeableness
  4. Neuroticism 

When many of us think about the Introvert/Extravert dimension or construct, we think of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the MBTI, which is another personality test.  The MBTI is the most common personality test in the world, with millions of people taking the test every year!

The MBTI was developed in the early 1940s by the mother-daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, based on the work of famous psychologist Carl Jung

Based on a survey that you can find online (e.g. here), the MBTI measures your personality across four dimensions:

  1. EXTRAVERSION / INTROVERSION – How we prefer to focus our attention and get our energy – from the outer world or our inner world?
  2. SENSING / INTUITION – How we perceive or take in information – do we focus on the basic information or do we interpret and add meaning?
  3. THINKING / FEELING – How we like to make decisions – with logic and consistency or specific people and circumstances?
  4. JUDGEMENT / PERCEPTION – How we consider complexity and orient ourselves to the external world

Given these four dimensions, there are 16 personality types

I’m an ESTJ.  You?

COMPARING Introverts vs. Extraverts

Let’s drill down on the EXTRAVERSION / INTROVERSION scale, since this dimension of personality is most closely associated with our communication style and preferences. 

“Introversion and extroversion
are all about energy
and how we recharge and refuel.”

Psychologist Dr. Michael Alcee


(photo: Unsplash | @ thkelley)

Many people think that introverts are shy and extraverts are outgoing. However it’s not that simple! In fact, that may be wrong (see “myths” below). Research shows that extraverts and introverts vary in the following ways:

So, are YOU an Introvert or an Extravert?

3 MYTHS About Introverts vs Extraverts

I love ❤️asking, “Are you an Introvert or an Extravert?” as one of the 5 Rapid Fire Qs at the end of my podcast interviews.  This Q is highly relevant to communication – and people have so much to say!
But much of what we think about the INTROVERSION / EXTRAVERSION scale is wrong.  Here are 3 prevalent myths:

1.) The Introvert / Extravert scale is BINARY
“No it’s not!”

OK, OK.  I ask the Q this way to be provocative(Now you know!) The truth is that it is a continuous scale, and most of us are in-between being an extreme introvert or an extreme extravert.

(photo: Unsplash | @ anniespratt)

There’s even a name for being in the middle: An AMBIVERT is someone who needs a balance of both social interaction and solitude.  Sound like you?  Well, most of us are, in fact, ambiverts!

2.) Introverts are SHY.
“Not all of them!”

So what’s the difference between introversion and shyness?

(Unsplash | @ dcmr_e)

Research shows that introverts can choose to be “social” by working on their social skills.  They just know that socializing drains their energy. Shy folks, on the other hand, feel highly anxious about socializing. 

Consider a cocktail party  For an introvert, it’s draining. But do-able if they plan for it.  For a shy person, it creates anxiety. 

(Unsplash | @ jjjordan)

3.) Extroversion is preferred vs. Introversion
“No it’s not!”

First of all, there are so many famous and successful introverts (Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, JK Rowling, Meryl Streep, Warren Buffet, I could go on…)

Introverts also benefit from their depth of knowledge and their substantial interactions.

(photo: Unsplash | @ bethlaird)

Even the Myers-Briggs folks say that all types are equal: The goal of knowing about personality type is to understand and appreciate differences between people. Of the 16 personality-types, there is no “best type”!

All hail the Introverts!


Q: Have you read “Quiet”? Quiet is a book by Canadian psychologist Susan Cain that chronicles the research and stories of introverts. 
If you’re an introvert,
it’s a must-read.
It you’re an extravert,
it’s an even more necessary must-read.
This book will open your eyes to understanding how introverts and extraverts see the world differently and how and why they should respect each other…

(photo: Unsplash | @ fesonnevld)

Did you listen to last week’s POSTURE & BREATHING podcast episode ?yet? Did you try the “alternate nostril breathing“? Isn’t Dr. Nadine Kelly, YogiMD such a wise and generous woman?

Dr. Nadine Kelly, YogiMD
Dr. Nadine Kelly

(I have to say that meeting and becoming friends with amazing humans such as Nadine is probably the best perk of this podcasting gig!) 

That’s it for this week!  I hope you learned something about the Introvert / Extravert scale!  Please let me know what you think!

Email me anytime with topic suggestions, feedback, or just to talk!

Please also join us in the Talk About Talk private Facebook group, where this month we are focused on INTERVIEWING – as in conducting an interview and being interviewed.  There’s LOTS to talk about!

Have a great week! 

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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