Different introvert types

Signs of an Introvert Personality: Types, Traits & Characteristics

Written by Rachel Reiff Ellis

In this Article

  • What Is an Introvert?
  • Signs You Might Be an Introvert
  • Causes of Introversion
  • Types of Introverts
  • Introversion Versus Shyness
  • Myths About Introverts

What Is an Introvert?

An introvert is a person with qualities of a personality type known as introversion, which means that they feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what’s happening externally. They enjoy spending time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds.

When you hear the word introvert, you might think of someone who's shy or quiet and prefers to be alone. While that may be true for some introverts, there's much more to this personality type. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert all depends on how you process the world around you.

A psychologist named Carl Jung began using the terms introvert and extrovert (sometimes spelled extravert) in the 1920s. These two personality types sort people into how they get or spend their energy. Introverts, Jung said, turn to their own minds to recharge, while extroverts seek out other people for their energy needs.

Signs You Might Be an Introvert

Around one-third to one-half of all people in the U.S. are introverts. Though it looks different in everyone, introverts have many of the same patterns of behavior. In general, introverts:

  • Need quiet to concentrate
  • Are reflective
  • Are self-aware
  • Take time making decisions
  • Feel comfortable being alone
  • Don't like group work
  • Prefer to write rather than talk
  • Feel tired after being in a crowd
  • Have few friendships, but are very close with these friends
  • Daydream or use their imaginations to work out a problem
  • Retreat into their own mind to rest

One way to find out if you're an introvert is to take a test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the SAPA project.

Causes of Introversion

Scientists don't know for sure if there's a cause for introversion or extroversion. What they do know is the brains of the two personality types work a little differently from each other. Researchers have found that introverts have a higher blood flow to their frontal lobe than extroverts do. This part of the brain helps you remember things, solve problems, and plan ahead.

Introvert brains also react differently to dopamine than extrovert brains do. That's a chemical that turns on the reward- and pleasure-seeking part of your brain. Introverts and extroverts have the same amount of the chemical, but extrovert brains get an excited buzz from their reward center. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to just feel run-down by it.

Types of Introverts

Being an introvert isn't an all-or-nothing stamp on your personality. Psychologists think of introverts as falling somewhere on a scale. Some people are more introverted than others. Other people fall right in the middle of the scale. They're called ambiverts.

Introverts usually have a few extroverted traits mixed in with their introverted ones, and vice versa. There are a wide range of ways to be an introvert.

One study shows that introverts tend to fall into one of four subtypes:

Social introverts. This is the "classic" type of introvert. Social introverts like small groups and quiet settings over crowds.

Thinking introverts. People in this group are daydreamers. They spend a lot of time in their thoughts and tend to have creative imaginations.

Anxious introverts. They seek out alone time not just because they like it, but also because they often feel awkward or shy around people.

Restrained/inhibited introverts. These introverts think before they act. They aren't likely to make a decision on a whim. Typically they take longer to take action.

Your introverted ways may change over time, and in different settings, too. You're not likely to swing from introvert to extrovert. But it's possible you could become more or less introverted, depending on what's going on in your life.

Introversion Versus Shyness

Many people think of introverts as shy, but the two aren’t linked. Introversion is a personality type, while shyness is an emotion.

People who are shy tend to feel awkward or uncomfortable when they’re in social situations, especially when they’re around strangers. They may feel so nervous, they become sweaty. Their heart may beat quicker, and they may get a stomachache. They may be inclined to skip social events because they don’t like the negative feelings that take over their thoughts and bodies when they have to go to parties or other activities.

People who are introverted also prefer to skip social events, but it’s because they feel more energized or comfortable doing things on their own or with one or two other people. Introverts don’t choose to skip social events because they have strong negative reactions to larger gatherings the way that shy people do; they just prefer being alone or in very small groups.

Myths About Introverts

One common myth about introverts is that they’re shy. Some introverts may be shy, but this is not the case for all introverts. Other myths include:

  • Introverts are unfriendly. Being an introvert doesn’t affect how friendly you may be. Some people may think that introverts are unfriendly because they don’t tend to have large groups of friends, and they may reflect on situations quietly rather than joining in on conversations at gatherings.
  • Introverts can’t be leaders. Although people may think of an extroverted personality when they imagine a leader, introverts have the skills to be bosses and leaders, too. Some of their qualities make them effective leaders: They listen to their employees’ ideas, they can stay focused on long-term goals, and they may seem less threatening, so people may accept them in their roles.
  • It’s hard to get to know introverts. Introverts prefer to have deep friendships with only a handful of people. They may not open up to everyone who wants to small-talk, but the people they’re close with know them very well and develop real friendships with them.

What Is An Introvert? The 4 Types, Commons Signs & More

Psychiatrist Carl Jung developed the concepts of introversion and extroversion in the early 1900s.

According to him, one of the easiest ways to spot an introvert is by the way they recharge their social battery.

Introverts, he said, prefer to be in minimally stimulating environments and tend to go inward to recharge, while extroverts are re-energized from interacting with others.

Introverts also tend to have a low social desire and often withdraw from social activity.

Many researchers have since tried to clarify the definition of introversion.

In 2011, research by psychologists Jennifer Grimes, Jonathan Cheek, and Julie Norem broke introversion into four main types: social introvert, thinking introvert, anxious introvert, and restrained introvert.


An introvert is an individual who prefers to be in less stimulating environments and needs to be alone to recharge.


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.


Social introvert

Social introverts value solitude more than most people. They like being alone but aren't opposed to the occasional gathering of close friends and family.

"Social introverts are less interested in large gatherings or parties," Anthony Freire, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, a licensed psychotherapist and the clinical director of The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling in New York, tells mbg.

He also notes that it's easy to confuse a social introvert with someone who's dealing with social anxiety, but it's not the same thing: "A social introvert doesn't avoid crowds because of anxiety but rather [because of] their preference. Where they feel the most comfortable and happy is either in complete solitude or in small groups in more subdued places. "


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Common signs of a social introvert:

  • Prefer tiny intimate gatherings
  • Will happily go on a solo date or vacation
  • Require alone time to recharge, especially in a relationship
  • Will accept social invitations with no intention to show up

Dating as a social introvert

When it comes to dating, social introverts will do well with both online dating and in-person dating. And because they do well in small groups, they can even try speed dating.

"Because introverts are very analytical, a social introvert should follow their intuition when they meet someone. They should focus on going to places they enjoy and skip the small talk," therapist Ibinye Osibodu-Onyali, LMFT, tells mbg.

RELATED: 5 Telltale Introvert Characteristics & Traits, From Psychology Experts


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.


Thinking introvert

"The thinking introvert is very cognitive by nature. Often intellectual, this type of introvert is often at peace when studying, reading, learning, researching, and investigating," clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., explained.

The thinking introvert will often pause to cogitate before offering a response to a question. "Let me think about that" can be a very common response for the thinking-type introvert. 

Manly says introverts of this type are prone to getting lost in their thoughts and may actually mentally "disappear" from conversations due to a retreat into the mental world.

Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Introvert Power, also notes that thinking introverts are sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they're such good listeners: "People may mistake the receptive attitude of these introverts as an invitation to talk more, when their silence may, in fact, be a pause to think," she says.

Common signs of a thinking introvert:

  • More introspective than the average introvert
  • Will lean toward activities that provide a "mental haven" for thinking: studying, reading, researching, musical pursuits, or other creative activities
  • Generally not reactive and will often pause to think before offering a response to a question
  • Super self-aware

This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Dating as a thinking introvert

When it comes to close relationships, Helgoe says, "It can be helpful for thinking introverts to 'narrate their introversion' by asking for time to think in response to a question, for example, or by being upfront about requiring alone time to refuel. Without making this known, others (especially extroverts) may misinterpret their silence or take it personally when the introvert takes time out from socializing."


Anxious introvert

The anxious introvert is often quiet and may appear on edge or nervous, says Manly.

This type of introvert shrinks away from people and settings that may further stimulate anxiety.

The "anxious" introvert can be highly avoidant and even seem rude, yet the "turning inward" behavior is simply a protective, sheltering defense mechanism at work.

You'll likely find anxious introverts at home because of nervousness or fear, usually catastrophizing events before they happen, which ultimately prevents them from stepping out of their comfort zones.

Common signs of an anxious introvert:

  • Typically appear at least mildly nervous in most situations
  • May appear highly avoidant and rude
  • Will avoid social interactions at all costs

Dating as an anxious introvert

When it comes to dating, anxious introverts probably won't do well with speed dating and other social dating events, Osibodu-Onyali says.

But dating as an anxious introvert isn't impossible: They tend to do well-being introduced by close friends or even with dating a close friend. 

"When it's time to go out on dates, they should stick to what makes them comfortable," she recommends. "Pick dates that focus on you and your partner, make it enjoyable, and don't push yourself too far outside of your comfort zone."


Restrained introvert

The restrained introvert, also called the inhibited introvert, tends to be more reserved and can have their guards up around others until they get to know them.

But rather than seeming shy or avoidant, they simply come off as thoughtful and grounded. 

"The restrained introvert tends to be reflective and even plodding in nature. Often unemotional, this type of introvert is often very controlled and may have very grounded energy," Manly says. "This type of introvert is often steadfast and very rock-like in nature. The restrained-type introvert is often the quiet, dutiful person that others tend to rely on. "

Common signs of a restrained introvert:

  • Move at a slower, more methodical pace in all things
  • Tend to enjoy predictable activities
  • Often unemotional

Dating as a restrained introvert

When it comes to relationships, a restrained introvert will be on the more reserved side while getting to know a potential love interest.

Manly says the restrained introvert will likely keep personal information close to their chest until they're more comfortable in the relationship, which may take longer than usual because of the sluggish approach.

"The restrained introvert is likely to thrive in the realms of stability, thoughtfulness, and self-reflection," she says. "Although it may sound as if a person with this nature is boring, a restrained introvert can be extremely fun-loving and passionate."

If you find yourself wondering whether you’re an introvert or you have social anxiety, you’ve come to the right place. 

Introverts prefer to be in minimally stimulating environments and recharge best on their own or in select company.  

Social anxiety is a fear of social situations because we believe we aren't competent enough and that everyone is evaluating all the minutiae of our performance.

So we avoid these situations, leading us to feel more helpless about our social skills.

Mental Health America states that introversion is related to social energy, while social anxiety is a mental health condition related to fear of social interactions.


Introversion is related to social energy, while social anxiety is a mental health condition related to fear of social interactions.

If you're wondering what kind of introvert you are, take a moment to see how many of the above bulleted points apply to you.

The type with the most bullet points you resonate with is likely the type that you are. 

If you find yourself always needing to step away from the group chat to think about (or overthink) your next response, you could be a thinking introvert.

Is your most relaxed state filled with lingering anxiety and nervous energy? You could be more of an anxious introvert.  


If you're wondering what kind of introvert you are, take a moment to see how many of the above-bulleted points apply to you.

Thoughtful, anxious, reserved: what kind of introvert are you? Carl Gustav Jung believed. In his opinion, introverts and extroverts simply use different ways of adapting to their environment. But Jung's conclusions did not immediately lead psychologists to the idea of ​​the equivalence of both.

For a long time, introversion was considered a disorder or even a defect in personality development. Now we know that introversion is manifested not only in behavior, but also in the features of the brain 1 . And not all introverts behave the same way.

At the level of everyday communication, we are often guided by stereotypical ideas. “Ask a random person on the street what an introvert is. Most (if they know anything about introverts at all) will name thoughtfulness or a tendency to introspection as defining qualities, ”says Jonathan Cheek, professor of psychology at Wellesley College (USA). It seems to some that an introvert is a sort of beech who avoids the company of others and seeks to spend time alone. He smiles a little, does not like to be in the company of others, he is annoyed by cheerful companies. Others imagine a shy neurotic who demands careful treatment. Neither view captures the full picture.

Jonathan Cheek and his colleagues came to the conclusion that there is no single type of introvert 2 . Rather, we can talk about four shades that differ significantly from each other: social, pensive, anxious and reserved. They are united by a trait noted by Jung - a tendency to conserve energy, more attention to the inner world than to the outer one. But each of them needs its own approach. “Of course, like any classification, this model is very conditional,” emphasizes the psychologist. You can be part social and part anxious introvert. But, knowing what features are characteristic of both, we can better predict our own and other people's reactions and, ultimately, live in harmony with our nature.


This type of introvert can be sociable, uninhibited and even chatty - within their small group. They carefully select their surroundings and truly reveal themselves only in the environment where they feel comfortable. They prefer to work alone, because the presence of others prevents them from concentrating and takes away energy. They may well do without communication for quite a long time, but they feel the need to be among people, to watch them, to feel their involvement in them.


Thoughtful introverts pay much attention to their own thoughts, their inner world, introspection. “They are said to live in the world of their dreams and fantasies,” says Jonathan Cheek. But that's not a sign of neuroticism. For them, it is rather a way of perceiving the world, a source of creative energy.” They have a well-developed intuition, they evaluate the world through the prism of their own experiences. Work that requires actions according to instructions is given to them poorly. They approach the matter creatively, put a part of themselves into everything they do. Their "handwriting" can always be recognized.


Unlike social introverts, anxious seek loneliness, because they are uncomfortable and even unpleasant to be surrounded by other people. In communicating with people, they often encounter misunderstanding, get into awkward situations, and become the cause of misunderstandings. Comfortable for them can be called a situation where communication is clearly regulated (for example, when there is generally accepted etiquette that prescribes how to behave in different situations). They expect others to be predictable and benevolent, and they themselves are always extremely considerate.


Reserved introverts may come across as slow. They prefer to first think things over carefully, and then start acting or talking. They always need a little time to recover - for example, after waking up. “They are like a car that needs to warm up before driving,” explains Jonathan Cheek. At the same time, such people often put forward the most reasonable and balanced proposals, their thoughts are distinguished by depth and thoroughness. This quality often becomes an excellent counterbalance to the violent activity of bright extroverts.

You can take the test in English and find out what type of introversion you are on the Scientific American website.

M. Laney "Advantages of introverts"

In the modern world, extravertive qualities are in demand - openness, quick reaction and decision-making, sociability. Which causes introverts to have an understandable reaction “something is wrong with me”. How, without giving your nature, to adapt to the requirements of life?

1 S. Kane “Introverts. How to use the features of your character” (Mann, Ivanov and Ferber, 2014).

2 The results of the study are presented at the annual conference of the Society for Personal and Social Psychology (SPSP).

Text: Anton Soldatov

New on the site

“Nothing will work”: 5 steps to change the future — try it right now

“If I stay with my beloved, my husband will take the child away. If I choose my son, I will lose my love"

“My parents are going to marry me off to a womanizer. What to do?"

Psychologists have figured out what makes men flirt in the workplace

Dependent personality disorder: 10 signs - how to recognize the problem

Why a man does not accept gifts: 5 main reasons : how Mark Wahlberg keeps himself in shape

“I regret my unproductiveness every day - but I can’t change anything”

Introverts were divided into 4 groups, and this explains a lot / AdMe

In the middle of the last century, Carl Gustav Jung divided people into introverts and extroverts. Today, Jonathan Cheek and his fellow psychologists are confident that this model is far from complete. Indeed, among introverts there are both those who feel comfortable in the company of close friends, and those who consciously avoid any communication. Based on this, scientists have proposed to divide introverts into 4 types , and this classification is able to provide answers to many questions.

We at Bright Side got acquainted with the latest research to get to know ourselves better.

1st type. Social Introverts

Social Introverts can be outgoing, laid-back and even chatty . Surrounded by close friends, you can hear jokes and bursting laughter from them. Such introverts carefully choose their social circle and really open up only with those they truly trust.

Based on this, scientists concluded that social introversion is not shyness . It seems to such a person that communication with a large number of people drains energy from him. Therefore, he avoids noisy companies, and to restore strength he chooses loneliness or the company of his closest ones.

You can be classified as a social introvert if you:

  • prefer the company of a few close friends to noisy parties;
  • are sure that a person cannot have many friends;
  • try to find time to be with yourself;
  • choose unpopular places and routes for holidays;
  • feel like a squeezed lemon after talking to a lot of people;
  • you can go without communication for a long time;
  • prefer to work alone - other people only distract you from work.

Type 2 "Thinking" introverts

"Thinking" introverts are hard to confuse with a large crowd of people at a noisy party. They just don't notice anyone around. Such introverts s can remain immersed in their own thoughts for hours, s evaluating and analyzing their inner world.

For "thinking" introverts, fantasies are no reason to escape from reality. They perceive the world around them through the prism of personal experiences. Empathy and developed intuition are the key features of "thinking" introverts, their author's handwriting is visible in any business. It's just that they don't always work according to the instructions.

You have all the signs of a "thinking" introvert if you:

  • are often busy analyzing their own experiences;
  • try on the characters of your favorite movie or book;
  • real events have always meant less to you than your inner reaction to them;
  • you have a complex and rich inner life;
  • seriously working on your personal growth;
  • evaluate yourself from the outside;
  • fantasize about different situations with your participation.

Type 3 Anxious Introverts

Anxious introverts are people who seek loneliness with all their might , because the company of other people frightens them and unbalances them. They often face misunderstanding from others, find themselves in awkward situations and do not immediately understand what they want from them.

Often, even when alone, anxious introverts may experience anxiety and worry about events that happened to them in the past. However, they are not against communication, but avoid contacts due to insecurity and low self-esteem.

You may find yourself in anxious introversion if you:

  • when you enter a room where there are already people, you feel the appraising glances of others;
  • do not consider social skills to be your forte;
  • feel anxious for no apparent reason;
  • often remember some unpleasant event that happened many years ago;
  • get very upset at any failure;
  • you are stressed and cannot find yourself in an unfamiliar environment for a long time;
  • even in the circle of close friends you may feel uncomfortable and alienated.

Type 4 Reserved introverts

Reserved introverts are not alone. It's just in their style to weigh everything and think it over carefully, and then start working or communicating. They can be compared to a motor that needs time to warm up. In the morning they do not jump out of bed, but lie and stretch for a long time, thinking about the coming day.

They do not see anything frightening in communicating with a large number of people, but by all means they will try to postpone this communication until the evening. It is important that events do not develop too quickly. Then they will have time to get involved and feel comfortable.

You can be classified as a reserved introvert if you: