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Thread: How Does One Tell Introverts From Extraverts?

  1. #21


    Quote Originally Posted by bluebell View Post
    So two ENTPs saying there is no such thing as introvert/extravert? Maybe it's because you're just seeing the world through your eyes. If you don't know what an inner world is, don't assume it doesn't exist. I have a very vivid inner world. At times, it is way more real to me than the external world. I sometimes resent the intrusion of the external world and try to tune out what's around me so I can think.

    I think maybe it's a false dichotomy that you're arguing against. It's not that all introverts want to spend all of their time alone or that all extraverts want to spend all their time with people. Introverts do find large chunks of time with other people quite draining.
    Don't assume that I'm assuming something. And I'm not assuming that you were, because I assume nothing. I have far too much respect for myself to do that.

    Yes, I believe in inner worlds. I have one myself. Let's think about your very vivid inner world, though. Wouldn't you agree that it wouldn't be possible for your inner world to exist in the way that it does without the external world? How could you speak English if you hadn't learned it from somewhere outside of yourself? How could you read books if they were not written by someone else? If there wasn't an outer world, what would you think about when you escaped from it, your heart beat? How could you contemplate who you are if you had nothing to compare it to?

    I don't understand your last paragraph because I completely agree with what you said, and I don't think I said anything to suggest that I do not. I also never said that I don't think inner worlds don't exist. If anything, inner worlds are all that exist. And yes, introverts do feel drained from too much socialization. I never said they didn't, mostly because it has nothing to do with what I was talking about.

    I only have one reality, and it's internal. I think it would be very inopportune for me to cut my reality in half and then favor one half over the other.

    But I assume nothing. I just like thinking and figuring things out. If I am an extravert, it certainly does not define the way that I see the world. I am a human being, and I'm really not that different from other human beings on the most fundamental levels. The only difference between me and most people is that I don't believe that I am limited by anything. I believe that I can be anything that I want to be and that I can experience anything that I want to experience.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #22


    I don't feel like I'm an extravert or an introvert, so I really don't understand what it's like for either of them. Because of this, I find this thread very interesting. I'm not trying to prove anything here. I'm only trying to look at this concept in new ways to see if I can find some insight somewhere.

    The whole concept of energy is a confusing one to me. Where do I spend it and where do I get it from? I don't know. I think I just have energy when I decide to have energy. I enjoy being alone and I enjoy being with other people. When I'm alone, I feel like I'm with other people sometimes and when I'm with other people, I feel like I'm alone sometimes. There's no separation at all to me. As I stated earlier, to me it's all part of the same reality. The entire world is part of my brain. My inner world is part of the outer world and the outer world is part of my inner world. It doesn't matter to me if I'm sitting there alone having fun with my own thoughts or if I'm talking to someone else and having fun with their thoughts, because it feels like the exact same thing to me.

    I can't even imagine what it's like to need other people for energy - or, to feel quickly drained by them. So, by examing how I work, hopefully I'll be able to figure something out, since I'm close to being in the middle. Is anybody else like this? How did I get to be like this? Is it because other aspects of my personality have conditioned me to be this way? I am the kind of person who likes to break limits and conquer fear. I like to experiment. I like to look at things in new ways. I like to find weaknesses and turn them into strengths. I like to maintain a positive and beneficial outlook, and I like to have harmony in all aspects of who I am. (Anybody with a desire to can achieve those traits within themselves, regardless of whether they are introvert or extravert.) Maybe I couldn't have the beliefs that I do if I had been born an extreme introvert or extravert... or could I? I believe that a person can fix any part of their indentity that does not serve them well while keeping the parts they love fully intact. You don't have to lose one thing to make another thing better. I kind of go through life believing that I can achieve the best of everything, and I believe it about everybody else, too, but they are often annoyed by this.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. #23
    Senior Member Array alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Nov 2007


    One Tell Introverts From Extraverts?

    I would say observing people for some time.
    Example: at work. Who sits mostly in the coffee table talking to many people? That's usually strong E. They enjoy coffee table conversations because they can talk to lots of people and are energized by it.

    Who sits at his/hers desk and does not come to the coffee table most of times. That's usually strong I. T

  4. #24
    Senior Member Array "?"'s Avatar
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    May 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    You might find it more to your liking to take a raw function test instead.
    One of the reasons people have such a hard time answering this question is because very few people rely heavily only Introverted or Extravertedd functions.

    Extraverted functions are focused on external circumstance, while Introverted functions are focused on mentally internal constructs.
    This is wht Fi is about being true to your ideals while Fe is about empathy.
    This is why Si is about records of familar experiences while Se is about reacting to present events.

    I repeat that the problem in identifying Introverts and Extraverts is that people use these functions rather diversely. People can't really be such things. Only the functions can actually be E or I.
    We call people E or I based on which functions they use more often on average.
    As usual, the voice of reason Magic. In laymans terms, you can't distinguish E/I,S/N..... by simple dichotomies. Se, Ti does not necessarily equate to EST in the oversimplification of dichotomy usage. I know very few ETPs that truly enjoy conversing with people, but have high energy on working on projects they find of interest. ESTPs generally are project oriented and can work autonomously or as part of a team. The key is it must be of interest similar to ENTPs. The energy is focused on something outside of themselves. I think one tell-tale sign that someone prefers a dominant introverted or extraverted function is that extraverts will drain their energy in their pursuits, whereas introverts use their energy marginally. This is usually pronounced in those preferring an extraverted function having too many irons in the fire with a constant life of multi-tasking and those preferring introverted functions working one project to as near a conclusion before starting another.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Array ZiL's Avatar
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    Nov 2007


    I'm very curious about the introvert/extrovert question myself. Up until recently I've thought of myself as a strong introvert, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm a failed extrovert of sorts. When I was a child I was extremely talkative and enjoyed entertaining people and juggling all sorts of projects at once. I'd be learning about meteorology, writing up a plan to teach my 5-year-old cousin English grammar (I was 7 at this time, btw), painting and cutting up a cardboard box to make it into a nightstand, and trying to learn the Hebrew alphabet all at one time. As an only child, I got good at entertaining myself when there was nobody around. But throughout my elementary and middle school years, I began to find myself becoming increasingly withdrawn because I didn't feel I could relate to other kids. This didn't improve throughout high school thanks to the fact that I'd gotten stuck with this "quiet" reputation that I didn't know how to drop thanks to pretty bad social anxiety.

    I also found myself, and still do find myself drained by people, but only certain types of people and in certain situations. For example, if I'm in a group of folks that engages in detailed conversations about work, what they ate yesterday or gossip, I find myself getting bored. My mind wanders off and it becomes an effort to focus on what they're saying, and in effect I get drained. (I wonder if this isn't more of an N/S-divide thing rather than an E/I. I mean, would intuitives, even if they are extroverts, really enjoy these kinds of conversations for long either? It's hard to imagine they would.)

    But in other sorts of groups, where conversation strays to more abstract topics, or if I feel confident enough to lead conversation, I become extremely talkative and extremely excited about sharing ideas with others. I'll practically become the conversation leader/moderator, and I'll find myself going to extra lengths to make sure everyone is included. In these situations I don't find myself getting tired...rather I find get energized.

    I also have begun to realize lately, that it's very important to me that I'm able to share my ideas with people. It's almost like, if I'm unable to share them, I become depressed and feel like most activities are pointless. When I was younger I was able to get myself started on so many projects, but over time, I've begun to feel less and less inspired, because I start to think, "what's the point of doing all this if no one is going to see it, or if I'm unable to discuss it with anyone who will appreciate it?" This has greatly affected my love for arts and crafts, my attempts to write poetry, etc, etc...It's like, if I can't externalize it, I can't thoroughly enjoy it. I've become very unmotivated and withdrawn.

    Basically, I have seen myself for a long time as one who doesn't need much social interaction, who can energize themself through an inner world and who gets tired easily by social situations. But now I'm starting to wonder if I've only come to see myself this way thanks to my social anxiety and difficulties in finding people I can relate to. I've gotten so used to being by myself and entertaining myself that I've come to assume that's how I naturally operate, when maybe that's not the case. I have not been particularly happy or energized living this way, and I'm starting to feel more suffocated than ever by my lack of social contact/options (I have friends, btw, I just rarely work hard to make new ones or take the initiative in getting in contact with the ones I have).

    Disclaimer: I realize it doesn't really matter whether I label myself introverted or extroverted, since the concepts are not black-and-white, however, for years I have seen myself in one particular light and I'm starting to wonder if I'm mistaken; maybe I should start trying out some new strategies to get myself on the personal growth train....

    Any ideas?

  6. #26
    ⒺⓉⒷ Array Eric B's Avatar
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    In the temperament theory I use, "extroversion" and "introversion" a person can either "express" as, or "respond" as. To express as would be the familar understanding of E and I, as either gregarious and talkative, or shy and withdrawn. But to "respond" as E or I deals with what the person actually wants. A person can be energized by socialization, but lack the confidence to express to them. And a person can express to others, but it will be for some goal, and they are otherwise not really interested in people for their own worth. Another name for the dichotomies of this scale is "people vs task-orientation".

    Since I an quiet and not really quick to approach others, I expevted to come out as an I type, but seem to lean towards ENFP, because I do like people (though I do not fit the "salesman" image I usually see in ENFP profiles). This "respoisive" scale would somewhat match the "Directing/Informing" scale of Berens' Interaction Styles.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Array nemo's Avatar
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    Jan 2008


    Bleh, this thread has thrown me into existential self-doubt.

    ^ OK, maybe that's a bit dramatic, haha.

    I was under the impression extroversion was defined as a dominant orientation towards expending energy, and introversion was about sustaining energy.

    I've noticed (or thought I've noticed) that E's tend to think *time* is finite, and they need to get the shit they want to do in life done before they collapse dead; and introverts think their *energy* is finite, and they seem to want to choose what activities will maximize their their limited store of energy.

    I have a complicated internal fantasy world, too, and on an every day basis I go about 16-20+ hours/day without being around people, which doesn't bother me at all. I'm also pretty damn distant most of the time, and I only engage people if I think they're worth it and will reciprocate some of my energy. The one, maybe two times a week I go out at all, I'm usually pretty reserved because no one will play with me on my "level." But I must always be *doing* something with my time. Reading 4+ books at once, listening to new music, planning summer get-aways, doing homework, working on my own projects, reading 3-5 forums at once, I have 3 wikipedia articles open right now too -- this goes on all day, all at pretty much the same time.

    Is it as simple as the cortical energy thing?

    I mean, if you threw me in the middle of a rave or something right now, I'd be a little confused but I don't think I'd be "over stimulated." On the other hand, one of Chopin's Preludes would provide *vastly* more intellectual energy. And my recuperation time is pretty minimal.

    What gives? There seems to be a few different definitions running through this thread.
    You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. - Jack London

  8. #28
    Procrastinating Array
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    Feb 2008


    Found Energizing:

    Inner world (focused on)
    Concealing feelings/thoughts (not comfortable sharing)
    Depth (sees)

    Outer world (focused on)
    Exposing feelings/thoughts (comfortable sharing)
    Breadth (sees)

    *does not imply like or dislike of people.. only where attention is focused

    Simply put, one or the other is dominant (by degrees) and depending on that degree... trying to function as the "other" will be energy draining to a greater or lesser degree. Keep in mind "X" or close to it.. those right on the line.... may switch from one to the other in phases more or less frequently.

  9. #29
    Member Array skip's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Being stimulated isn't the same as being energized. I can be stimulated by interesting discussions and get excited and animated during them but they do not energize me - I need down time alone for that.

  10. #30
    Resident Snot-Nose Array GZA's Avatar
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    Aug 2007


    I think its probably nearly impossible to tell if someone is dominantly introverted or extraverted unless they drop serious clues right from their mouth. As others have said, everyone does both, at different times, and mood changes it, so its difficult to really tell. Also, just the amount of speaking one does and how comfortable they are speaking is misleading, because I don't think the amount of socializing is neccesarily related to extraversion, but moreso probably more one's attitudes towards socialization and how they prefer to do it (the classic example is that extraverts love parties, introverts love smaller, closer groups).

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