Is there more extroverts than introverts

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.

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.


About Me

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.

Extroverts, introverts, ambiverts: who they are and how to work with them

The company's team consists of a large number of people with different characters. In order for an HR specialist to effectively interact with employees, understand their motivation, know which work is comfortable for them and which is not, you need to be able to determine the personality type of specialists. There are three types of personality types: extroverts, introverts and ambiverts.

In our new article, you will learn what these types of people are and how to interact with them for productive work.

Extrovert: Distinctive Characteristics and Secrets of Interaction

Extroverts are the “lighters” of the company that are open to the world and directed towards people. They are very sociable and easily get along with people. As a rule, extroverts quickly get used to the new team and can carry on any conversations.

Extroverts are filled with energy if there are a lot of people around them. The book Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience states that there are two types of extroverts:

  • Active. Their key characteristics are assertiveness, success leadership, perseverance. Active extroverts like to be the center of attention and very often occupy leadership positions.
  • Affiliates. Friendly, open and sincere guys. They easily find contact with new people and value their loved ones very much, because relationships mean a lot to them.

The main characteristics of extroverts:

  • love to be the center of attention;
  • do not like routine and monotony, they prefer variety;
  • know a lot of people and make contact with strangers easily;
  • they are driven by interesting work tasks, they are happy to take on a variety of complex tasks, but only if they are interested;
  • first they speak, then they think;
  • prefer to talk and talk about themselves than to listen to the interlocutor and try to understand his problem.

How to work with extroverts and set them tasks: 4 tips from the Hurma team

1. When setting tasks, it is very important to give them time and the opportunity to reason and ask interesting questions. Ask the extrovert for feedback on the task, let him tell you how he understood it, say deadlines and expected results.

2. Extrovert employees should be assigned to projects where they can learn something new for themselves. In addition, it is important to create a “competitive” environment for them, since it is these conditions that motivate them the most.

3. Give them the opportunity to be in the spotlight, be a mentor to someone, lead a discussion in which they can take the initiative and take action.

4. As a rule, extroverts have adequate self-esteem and are self-confident. But despite this, it is important to praise them and celebrate their achievements.

Introvert: distinctive characteristics and secrets of interaction

An introvert is the exact opposite of an extrovert. Such people focus more on their inner world than on the outside. Introverts are not very sociable, but at the same time, very pleasant interlocutors, if you talk with them on topics that interest them. In addition, if you find an approach to them and make friends, you can learn a lot of interesting things, since these are people with a rich inner world.

They place the main emphasis on their own knowledge and experience, and not on the views of other people. An introvert likes to read, plan things, work more productively in a calm environment. You can recognize an introvert by the expressions: "I need to think", "I need to analyze", etc.

  • only those people with whom they have developed close, trusting relationships are considered friends;
  • calm and balanced;
  • first they think and only then they speak;
  • do not like multitasking and work overload.
  • How to work with introverts and set them tasks: tips from the Hurma team

    1. Introverts think a lot and that is why they cannot always answer the question quickly. Give them time to think things over, formulate an answer, study more information. If introverts do not know something, they study the issue, delving into the details.

    2. Be prepared to answer a large number of questions, because it is important for introverts to understand the manager's analytics, why the task needs to be done in this way, on what grounds this or that decision was made.

    3. Introverts have one feature similar to extroverts - they also need praise and recognition of their merits. And in principle, praise is important to everyone, do not spare praise, well, really 🙂

    4. When working with an introvert and setting a task, accurately calculate the time frame, explain step by step how and what needs to be done.

    5. These are not the kind of people who need to be constantly monitored. If you want to work with an introvert, give him more freedom of action.

    6. If you do not have time to communicate with them personally, use e-mail or corporate messengers.

    Ambivert: distinctive characteristics and secrets of interaction

    Ambivert is the golden mean between a calm introvert and a hyperactive extrovert. Depending on the specific situation, they can behave both as introverts and as extroverts. If they are uncomfortable, they immerse themselves in themselves; if they like the surrounding conditions, ambiverts actively communicate with everyone.

    These people value both social interaction and solitude, when they can be alone and think. Barry Smith, director of the Human Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Maryland, claims that 68% of people are ambiverts.

    The main signs of ambiverts:

    • quickly join a new team and do not experience discomfort when communicating with strangers;
    • have empathy, understand and listen to the emotions of other people;
    • they have a wider social circle than introverts;
    • they connect with people more deeply than extroverts.

    How to work with ambiverts and set them tasks: tips from the Hurma team

    1. Ambiverts can work with both routine and interesting tasks. Therefore, if there is monotonous work in the list of tasks, they will do it.

    2. If you have difficult tasks, you can entrust their implementation to ambiverts. They are easy-going and not afraid to take risks.

    3. Ambiverts are not afraid of public speaking at events, make many contacts and quickly win over. So they are the first who want to participate in various activities.

    4. While working with them, remember that they, like introverts, think a lot, try to analyze all moments and aspects in order to make an informed decision.

    Flexibility is key

    It is important for HR managers and leaders to consider the personality types of employees in order to entrust them with projects in which they will perform at their best, and not vice versa. For example, if you want an extrovert to do a great job, don't give them a task that requires a lot of attention to detail.

    Encourage introverts to be active when they are active, make sure that there are not too many extroverts and they do not annoy their colleagues.

    But, most importantly, remember that there are very few people who are of the extraverted or introverted type. So put in the forefront not what type you or your colleagues are, but flexibility and mutual respect.

      5 surprising facts about introverts and extroverts

      I am in the world, the world is in me

      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.

      Kane S.

      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.

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      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      ☆ 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.

      Learn more