Are there more extroverts or introverts
Are There More Introverts Than What We Think There Are?
Reports estimate that between 30-50% of the population are introverted. Whilst, the exact amount is not known, for many people who are introverted, they are made to feel like introversion is not the ideal.
Our workplaces here in the UK, the US, and many other parts of the world seem unfavourably biased towards extroversion. When we look at many workplace practices, the way they are designed make it more challenging for those who are introverted to respond as their best self. Some parts of the world, however, value introversion as a leadership strength.
Introverts typically have a preference for thinking and reflecting, before giving a response. However, if we look at the way that meetings are conducted, the way that interviews are held, the way that networking is typically done, and brainstorming, they don’t give the space for thinking and reflection that many introverts prefer.
People are expected to respond on the spot. Introverts are told to speak up more in meetings, they are misunderstood, and incorrect assumptions made that they are shy or lack confidence. Which, whilst it may be the case for some, is not the case for all.
Are there more introverts or extroverts on LinkedIn?
I recently conducted a LinkedIn poll to see what LinkedIn users identified as when it comes to introversion and extroversion. I wanted to get a feel as to whether there are actually more people who identify as extroverted, or whether it is just an assumption. In the post accompanying the poll, I put the description of introversion, extroversion and ambiversion as defined by the American Psychological Society.
The results were very surprising. There were 598 people who took the poll with 64% selecting introvert, 29% selecting ambivert, and only 8% selecting extrovert.
I wonder, does this then mean that there are more people who identify as introverted than what we think there is? A study by Daniel Feiler and Adam Kleinbaum published in Psychological Science suggests that we over perceive the number of extroverts that are out there. Extroverts gain more friends than introverts do, and the more similar two people’s levels of extroversion are, the more likely they are to become friends.
The result of this is a network extroversion bias, where our social networks have more extroverts than introverts. With people who are more extroverted having the greatest network extroversion bias than people who are more introverted. They found that social networks were systemically misrepresentative of the broader social environment.
Is there a bias in society?
It raised the question for the researchers as to whether there is a bias in society toward believing other people are more extroverted than they actually are, and whether introverts are better at being able to read social cues and respond to them appropriately.
If we are friends with people who have lots of friends, does this skew our perception and we think there are more extroverts than introverts?
Regarding the results of my poll, it could be that my LinkedIn following is biased towards introverts, given that I write a lot about introversion and the challenges introverts face as leaders. Nevertheless, I was not expecting the number of extroverts to be so low.
Why does this even matter?
You may be wondering why this even matters. In an ideal world, it shouldn’t matter whether someone is introverted or extroverted because we need both of these traits in our organisations. Having this diversity of styles makes for a richer dynamic.
However, because so many leaders who are introverted feel like they are in the minority and that there is an unfavourable bias towards them, knowing that there are more like you than what you think, can be empowering. It also means that there is strength in numbers.
Many of our workplace practices (i.e., the ones mentioned above) are outdated and need to change so that they are more inclusive. Utilise this strength in numbers to form a collective voice to bring about this change, and to change the narrative concerning introversion.
What are your thoughts? I would love to know so please let me know in the comments below.
Perfectionism is often a challenge for the leaders who I coach and when carrying out research for my book Quietly Visible, 53% of introverted women who were senior leaders that I surveyed said perfectionism was a challenge for them.
On this episode of the Quietly Visible podcast I talk about perfectionism and share tips on how to overcome it. Click on the podcast image above, and open the link in another tab to listen to what I had to say.
I am an Executive, Career and Leadership Coach specialising in introverted women who are senior leaders. I've been the featured expert in Women and Home Magazine, Good Housekeeping Magazine, the Telegraph, on BBC Radio 5 Live, named a LinkedIn Top Voice UK 4 years running, and received awards for my work developing women leaders.
Through my work I have helped 1000s of women across the globe to increase their confidence, influence and impact as leaders, and overcome imposter syndrome, increase their executive presence, improve speaking performance in meetings, get a promotion, and much more.
My vision is that ALL women achieve their full potential and become influencers of positive change in their respective fields.
If you are an introverted woman and a senior leader and want to increase your confidence, influence and impact, take my free assessment and get a report identifying areas to develop. You can take the assessment here.
My book Quietly Visible: Leading with Influence and Impact as an Introverted Woman addresses many of the challenges that introverted women face as leaders and shows you how to overcome them. It was listed as one of the 10 best self-development books written by women to read during lockdown by BeYourOwn. You can get your copy here along with a FREE recording of my How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome workshop.
The Majority of People Are Not Introverts or Extroverts
The terms "introvert" and "extrovert" were devised by Carl Jung in the 1920s. They've since adopted a prominent, if not undying, life of their own. They're the cornerstone of Myers-Briggs personality inventory and one of the Big Five traits. Most simply, Jung conceived of introverts as drawing energy from being alone, while extroverts draw it from their surroundings and relationships.
But Jung himself conceded, "There is, finally, a third group, and here it is hard to say whether the motivation comes chiefly from within or without." In Psychological Types, Jung wrote that this third group is "the most numerous and includes the less differentiated normal man." In other words, Jung believed that introverts and extroverts are minorities.
Source: Caroline Beaton
Research supports this idea, increasingly pointing to the existence of "ambiverts"—people with balanced, nuanced personalities composed of both introverted and extroverted traits.
In a Wall Street Journal interview, psychologist Adam Grant estimated that ambiverts make up between a half and two-thirds of the population. This is good news, because ambiverts win at life and business.
The research-based "ambivert advantage" explains how these individuals combine the best of both sides. In one of several such studies, ambiverts achieved higher sales productivity than introverts or extroverts—in some cases, twice as much. Because ambiverts can listen as well as assert themselves, they're ideal salespeople, co-workers, business owners, and leaders.
To be sure, diehard introverts and extroverts do exist, but they're exceptions, and they may be worse for it. In fact, such extreme leanings could be the result of what psychologist Carol Dweck calls a "fixed mindset."
Over several decades, research by Dweck and others has differentiated between a growth mindset (believing you can cultivate your qualities and personality with effort) and a fixed mindset (the conviction that you have a set amount of intelligence or talent, a fixed personality, and an immutable character).
A recent study positioned a fixed mindset as "self-as-story": You believe you're a certain way; that's just how you are. It's the story you tell yourself about you. The study explained, as an example, that "a person who conceptualizes themselves as introverted may have difficulty recognizing or remembering their own extroverted behavior, or they may avoid potentially stressful social situations and come to live in an increasingly insular world."
After taking some personality tests in college, I decided I was an introvert. But then I noticed that the more I saw myself as an introvert, the more introverted I became. At 18, I thought I was the life of the party. By 25, I had almost convinced myself that I was psychologically incapable of speaking in public.
"Self-as-story" tendencies are associated with reduced well-being, particularly if those self-conceptualizations are negative. Fixed mindsets are correlated with reduced performance, as well as lower self-esteem, creativity, resilience, and self-awareness.
Still worse is that these stories about ourselves aren't true.
The uncovering of ambiverts is part of a larger investigation suggesting that healthy personalities are situational; some experts even think personality is a myth. We're inconsistent. We change more than we think we will, depending on what happens. There may be no permanent, fixed "me" to expose, introvert or extrovert.
Research shows that we feel how we act—when we smile, we feel happier—and that we act how we believe (if we believe we're introverted, for example, we act that way). These are adaptive, evolutionary responses. The problem is when our beliefs are based on the results of one-off, multiple-choice personality quizzes, and not our everyday reality.
We don't need to understand ourselves so much as we need to understand our situations. We need to ask, "Does this meeting call for sitting back, listening, and taking notes like an introvert would, or does it require confidence, assertiveness, and charisma like an extrovert would display?" Or, "How can I combine the two approaches here effectively?"
Ambiverts recognize that identifying with one trait exclusively is exhausting. You probably do, too: Recall a situation in which you had too much of what your introverted or extroverted personality stereotypically wants. Jung quipped that anyone who was truly 100 percent extraverted or 100 percent introverted would be a "lunatic."
We need both. We are both.
Source: Andrey Arkusha/Shutterstock
Of course, people's personalities differ. We repeatedly learn this. But the ongoing introvert/extrovert debate has had a polarizing, restrictive effect on our potential to see and accommodate what a given scenario needs—or even what we need. Over time, our success shrinks to a minute sphere of what we imagine that our personality types can "handle."
If we resist the labels that others try to pin on us, why do we give them to ourselves?
Hopefully continued research on ambiversion and situational personality can shed light on what introversion and extroversion really are—self-limiting beliefs.
5 surprising facts about introverts and extroverts
How do you feel about spending more time at home? Do you dream of noisy companies, office open spaces and precious minutes of attention at parties? Or do you enjoy solitary evenings, free weekends and the opportunity to work remotely? In both cases, now is a good time to read Introverts by Susan Cain. How to use the features of your character, ”yes, you understood correctly: even if you do not consider yourself one of those. nine0003
Introverts. How to use your personality traits
The habitual practice of building a career for a modern person requires sociability, pressure and the ability to present oneself. Society encourages the manifestation of these qualities, thus contributing to a kind of "natural selection".
Public opinion puts enormous pressure on us. What to do with a person who does not meet the established standards? Susan Cain convinces us that introverts are just as capable as extroverts of coping with complex tasks. And sometimes, due to the peculiarities of their temperament, they manage to do it much better. nine0003
Here are 5 unexpected facts from this book that may surprise you:
1. Introverts and extroverts are not only people, but also representatives of the animal world.
2. There is approximately the same percentage of introverts and extroverts among people. However, introversion is more often preferred to be hidden, because today's society is set up for extroverts.
3. However, most people are able to display introvert and extrovert mode, depending on the current situation. That is, they combine those and other features. It’s just that some are more pronounced and located in the so-called human comfort zone. nine0003
4. Introversion and extraversion are formed in the first months of life or even during pregnancy. By the age of four months, a baby can most likely be assigned to one of two groups.
5. Introverts have a more active neocortex - the area of the brain that is responsible for decision-making, rational thinking and planning. Extroverts are dominated by the limbic lobe, which is responsible for instincts and emotions.
Two types of temperament were first identified a hundred years ago by the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. He noted that extroverts pay great attention to the outside world and experience discomfort with a long absence of social contacts. Introverts are more self-absorbed and need regular solitude. nine0003
However, the modern “fashion” for extroverts is an exclusively social phenomenon and, most likely, temporary. Perhaps the balance of power in favor of showing their maximum in solitude introverts is changing in the world right now. In any case, this does not mean at all that one is better than the other. The main thing to know about introverts and extroverts is that they are able to open up to their full potential in the right conditions. And the creation of such conditions is quite within the power of them.
Perhaps you also know cases when someone you know was known as an introvert for a long time, and then revealed himself as a real extrovert, becoming the soul of the company and achieving success at work. This does not mean that the person has changed. This means that he was able to choose the right occupation and built relationships with people suitable for him. In a word, he created a favorable environment that allowed him to feel supported and safe. nine0003
This is called "reciprocal correspondence between the individual and the environment." Psychologist Brian Little found that people succeed if they "deal with jobs, roles, and conditions appropriate to their personality type." Dependence also works in the opposite direction - conditions that are not suitable for our type of personality lead to burnout and the cessation of self-development.
A lot of interesting and useful information about all this and much more - in the book by Susan Cain "Introverts. How to use the features of your character. From it you will learn how to find your comfort zone and use it to the maximum. How to raise an introverted child and help him create a supportive environment. That among leaders of almost any scale there are both extroverts and introverts, it’s just that both differ in their leadership styles. And that extroverts and introverts can turn any situation to their advantage - just in different ways. nine0003
Despite the title clearly naming "target audience", this book will be useful for extroverts too. For example, from the knowledge gathered in it, we have formulated a few simple tips that will help to more easily survive isolation for those who cannot do without the attention of others for a long time. And we advise you to read it for your own conclusions. And a better understanding of yourself - as well as the world around you.
An extrovert in isolation: how to make life better
☆ Organize your workplace in the center of the room or somewhere in a conspicuous place. So that family members pay attention to you more often and do not forget to communicate with you. nine0003
☆ If possible, use video calls and conference calls instead of business emails. This will help you get the attention you need and connect with people in a way that's right for you.
☆ Record videos and post your thoughts about anything on social networks. Likes and comments are the most accessible form of social approval right now and will help extroverts feel like they're being seen.
☆ Throw a video call party. Your need to feel like the soul of the company takes on new technologies. nine0003
☆ Create chats. Friendly chat and chat with colleagues, neighbor and interest chat - a lot of parallel conversations will also benefit your thirst for communication. In this form, they even have an additional plus: at your discretion, you can take a break by turning off notifications. Yes, extroverts sometimes want silence too.
☆ Livestream and perform. Most likely, you, as a real extrovert, have long known your main talents, but if not, it's time to reveal them. If you're a musician, sing from your balcony or host online concerts. If you are an artist, conduct master classes on the Internet. If you just like to chat, open an online discussion club or discuss books you read. Now, when a lot of people are faced with the need to fill their free time with something interesting, you will definitely find your audience. nine0003
what personality types are and how they differ, who are ambiverts
Many people think that an introvert and an extrovert are just two sides of the same coin. Will you stay at home on Friday night or meet up with friends? Will you be the center of attention or away from the spotlights? In fact, a person is not white or black, there are no pure types in psychology, experts assure. There are people, for example, very tall or short, but most strive for average values. So it is with extroversion. This is just one of the five main personality traits (openness to new things, conscientiousness, pleasantness, neuroticism), so it cannot completely determine our behavior. Let's take a closer look at what introvert and extrovert mean. nine0003
Psychology of communication
The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung at the beginning of the 20th century identified types of people - extroverts and introverts. In psychology, this distinction became convenient and popular, and over time began to be used to define a person in ordinary life. Knowing who you belong to, it is easier to understand yourself and choose a circle of friends. Sometimes it seems to us that the world is ruled and dominated by extroverts. Although in reality, they can simply make themselves louder, making more noise. But is the gap really that deep between an introvert and an extrovert? Do the former really need help and support in order to develop their own talents and not remain on the margins? nine0003
Everything is not as categorical as it seems at first glance. Yes, open and closed people exist. But there are many examples when an extrovert and an introvert behave in unexpected ways, because each person throughout life demonstrates flexibility and opens up from different angles. And in these categories there is a place for the golden mean. We will talk about it and the main opposites from the point of view of psychology below.
What does introverted personality type mean? The tendency to introversion is manifested if you like to spend time alone with yourself, your thoughts and ideas. If you do not know how to determine whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, try to find the following main features in yourself. They are characteristic of those who prefer to isolate themselves from the outside world more often. nine0003
- love of being alone;
- unwillingness to be the center of attention;
- one-on-one preference;
- first think, then do;
- recovery alone;
- work in a quiet independent environment;
There is a big difference between introversion and shyness. Shy people are often also afraid of what others will think of them, while introverts do not have negative emotions and such fears. nine0003
Just because introverts don't like big groups doesn't mean they can't make friends and relationships. In this sense, they are almost no different from extroverts. In addition, they can make great careers simply by sticking to roles in which loneliness is possible: accounting, engineering, writing, driving trucks, etc.
The main difference between an introvert and an extrovert is the desire to focus more often on their own feelings and thoughts . They are characterized by a greater concentration than representatives of the opposite camp. It is unfair to call them socially isolated, selfish or unhappy people. nine0003
Introverts also desire to communicate, show feelings, and care for others. But the difference is that an introvert will do all this with more restraint, "impartiality" than an extrovert. So the talk that people who are less generous with emotions love order too much, are sensitive to negativity, or are “on their own minds” are also groundless. These are already other characteristics, from the category of neuroticism.
How an extraverted personality type manifests itself
Whom it is difficult to blame for passivity or love of solitude is an extrovert. He just needs to draw strength from external sources. To shine and find grateful listeners in the society is about them. Hence the significant differences: an extrovert knows how to present himself, and an introvert, no matter how smart and educated, is not always capable of this. nine0003
Such people direct their energy outward — to other people and the realization of their ideas. We have looked at personality types in which an introvert manifests itself, and you can compare the main traits with an extrovert.
- many acquaintances and friends;
- love of attention;
- fast decision making;
- getting energy from being among people;
- enthusiasm and positive attitude;
- work in a team or group.
Extroverts tend to get more support from other people when they find themselves in difficult situations. And in general, there is a stereotype that society loves extroverts more, so they more often become leaders and choose sales, marketing, PR and other areas where communication with people is important. nine0003
It is important to remember that this is only one of the characteristics. And there is a big difference between a pleasant introvert and a rude extrovert.
By the way, it is often about introverts that they say that they are too sensitive people, in contrast to extroverts. The latter, they say, go through life easier and are not led to mental troubles. American psychologist and researcher Elaine Eyron has carefully studied the issue of sensitivity and came to curious conclusions. In particular, the writer noticed that Jung singled out in extroverts a love of risk, the ability to enter into a conversation without a shadow of a doubt and speak their mind. In his opinion, introverts are completely incapable of these feats. nine0003
And Elaine Ayron believes that about a third of highly sensitive people can be called extroverts. She singled out the concept of "social extrovert", which differs from Jung's introvert in that the former easily make acquaintances and feel confident in crowded places. Otherwise, they are even similar.
The definition of introvert and extrovert can help leaders and managers when working with employees. In particular, when issuing orders. It will be more difficult for an extrovert to cope with a task that requires perseverance and attention to detail. And it is desirable to encourage the initiative of introverts, not allowing extroverts to become "irritants" in the team. nine0003
Despite the fact that the extrovert and introvert have significant differences, they are able to get along in the same unit of society. You probably noticed in the company a ringleader and a “quiet woman”, in a pair a more impulsive spouse and her “obedient” husband, and so on. They find compromises and interact with the whole world, and not just representatives of their "clan".
Introvert and extrovert at the same time: ambivert type
As soon as a friend refrains from a verbose conversation or wants to read a book alone on the weekend, you involuntarily begin to write him down as an introvert. Labels are always easier to attach. So there is a feeling that the person was able to “bite through”, which means it will be easier to build an appropriate relationship with him. But you should know that there are not only extrovert and introvert, but also other concepts. nine0003
Introverts and extroverts view pleasure differently. Their source for this is different. For one, this is a quiet rest, and for the other, being in the center of attention. But if after a noisy party there comes a desire to sit alone, this is the golden mean. The ambivert is the bridge between the introvert and the extrovert, containing the qualities of both. Psychologists believe that it is mixed personality types that prevail. Barry Smith, professor emeritus and director of the Laboratory of Human Psychophysiology at the University of Maryland, claims that ambiverts make up 68% of the total population. nine0003
Thanks to this view, we understand that not everything is so simple in the psychological portraits of people. Ambiver is the middle between the introvert and the extrovert, it has its features:
- Flexibility in communication
- The ability to value charms of loneliness
- desire to go out (dosed)
- ability to adapt to situation
- good listener and speaker
They took the best from two fronts, combining the character of an introvert and an extrovert. According to psychologists, ambiverts become worthy managers because they show leadership qualities and remain reasonable, able to stop and delve into issues. They are equally comfortable shining in society and secluded from prying eyes. nine0003
Director of the Indiana State University Shyness Research Institute Bernardo Carducci believes that the prevalence of introversion and extraversion is strongly influenced by genetics. The cross between an extrovert and an introvert - ambiversion - is also a hereditary tendency, not an acquired one.
How to know if you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert
Most people are in the middle of the extraversion scale. This means that an introvert and an extrovert in their absolute form are extremely rare. And this is very good. Everyone has their own temperament, which reveals our emotionality to one degree or another, reflects actions. But this is only one of the puzzles of the multifaceted nature of man. nine0003
Extroverts and introverts, whose characteristics should not be reduced to the peremptory "open soul" and "lone wolf", can actually make friends. To do this, it is enough to mark the boundaries and build a dialogue.
There are many tests to determine your type, but they are of little importance and should not determine your life as the ultimate truth. Experts believe that one cannot forcibly change one's personality by stepping on one's own throat. But with a signal to leave the comfort zone, everyone can show and develop the necessary qualities.