These six facets help explain why you may have some qualities that are not stereotypically introverted.
When it comes to introversion, it’s difficult to find a one-size-fits-all definition. Introverts come in all shapes and sizes — and there is a good reason for that.
When you think of an introvert, you may think of a person who is shy or socially anxious. But those characteristics are not directly related to being an introvert. For instance, someone may be an introvert, as well as shy or socially anxious (or not).
According to The Myers & Briggs Foundation, an introvert is defined as someone who gets energy by focusing on their inner world. Of course, each of our inner worlds are as vast and unique as the experiences we have in the outside world. One introvert may spend most of their alone time primarily focusing on their ideas and visions, while another may use the time to reflect on memories. And some introverts may consider themselves to be social “people-persons”, while others are much more reserved.
Even breaking down introverts into the eight introverted types of the Myers-Briggs system is somewhat limiting since there are multiple ways that any single introvert can show up. In this article, I’ll dive deeper into how a person’s introversion is measured — and why it matters.
The 6 Facets of Personality
Even among other introverts, how you focus and manage your energy is unique to your personality. At Truity, we help people better understand who they truly are through high-quality personality tests — and we measure an individual’s introversion and extraversion scores based on six facets:
- Placid vs. Energetic
- Reserved vs. Expressive
- Private vs. Prominent
- Calm vs. Joyful
- Aloof vs. Friendly
- Solitary vs. Engaged
By looking at introversion through the lens of these six facets, we’re able to break down introversion at an individual level — to better understand why no two introverts are exactly alike.
This also helps explain why you may have some qualities that are not stereotypically introverted — perhaps you like doing theater — but you could still very much be an introvert!
Ready to learn about the six facets of your energy style and how these can shape your introverted personality? Keep reading …
Why Your Introverted Personality Is Completely Unique
1. Your energy style: Placid vs. Energetic
People who score high in the Placid energy style tend to be calmer and have lower energy than those who score high in the Energetic energy style. Placid types are typically not ones to initiate activity and may feel like taking action requires more focus and effort.
While the Placid trait is most often associated with introversion, this is not always the case. Some introverts have much higher energy levels than others, and their overall energy can fluctuate depending on the task at hand. For example, a Feeler introvert may have more energy for tasks that involve people and emotions than a Thinking introvert, who may be able to expend more energy on tasks involving data and systems.
If you’re more or less energetic than other introverts you know, it may also have to do with your Judging and Perceiving preference. In the Myers-Briggs system, the Judging/Perceiving dimension describes how a person approaches structure. Judgers favor order and routine, whereas Perceivers are more flexible and spontaneous. In general, Perceivers tend to score higher in the Placid energy style than Judging types.
The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a great example of an Energetic introvert. Although she was a private and reserved individual, she was constantly on the go and focused on achieving her goals.
2. Your internal filter: Reserved vs. Expressive
How long does it take for an idea to travel from inside of your mind to out of your mouth? If you tend to keep most thoughts to yourself, you are likely a Reserved person. If you frequently have a case of “verbal diarrhea,” you will score as more Expressive.
Individuals who are more Reserved are more likely to think something through before communicating it with others. It’s likely no surprise that most introverts score higher on the Reserved trait than extraverts. However, both introverts and extraverts can use both styles, and which one you prefer can depend on your immediate environment.
For example, if you’re in a comfortable and familiar setting, you may be much more expressive than if you are in a group of strangers. And, if you are an Expressive introvert, that may have to do with your Thinking/Feeling preference.
Out of all the introverted types, Feeling types tend to be more Reserved than Thinking types. This is because Feelers tend to be more tactful in how they communicate and are more likely to avoid speaking up if what they have to say may be controversial.
An Expressive introvert may look like the character Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. While very much an introvert in many ways, Sheldon is never afraid to speak exactly what is on his mind. You probably know people like this, too.
3. Your attention-seeking preference: Private vs. Prominent
Are you easily embarrassed by too much attention, or simply prefer to keep things to yourself? Or, do you thrive under the spotlight and enjoy standing out?
Individuals who prefer the Private energy style are selective about how they expend their social batteries and avoid attracting too much attention. They get easily drained by big social events and prefer to focus their energy on small gatherings, or perhaps none at all. People who score higher in the Prominent energy style, however, enjoy being part of large groups, entertaining others, and getting attention.
Among this facet, introverts are usually associated with the Private trait. However, some introverts love to entertain and find themselves drawn toward careers and environments that draw attention to their skills and causes.
Princess Diana of Wales is one example of a Prominent introvert. While she possessed many introverted traits, she never seemed shy about being in the spotlight.
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4. How you experience happiness: Calm vs. Joyful
Studies show that extraversion is correlated with being more motivated by rewarding experiences in life, such as getting a promotion, making a new friend, or discovering a new interest. Some research indicates this could be due to extraverts having more dopamine receptors in the brain. Because of this, many researchers in the field of personality psychology believe that how you experience happiness could be at the core of your extravert or introvert identity.
People who score higher in the Calm trait appear more stoic and laid-back than those who score high in the Joyful energy style. Our data shows that the Calm preference is usually more associated with introversion and the Joyful preference is more common among extraverts. (It should be noted that Calm doesn’t mean sad or less happy — it’s simply another way to express positive emotions.)
And of course, someone who is reserved and private may express tremendous enthusiasm under certain circumstances. Introverts with a Joyful preference are generally more enthusiastic and outwardly expressive of positive emotions.
5. How outgoing you are: Aloof vs. Friendly
This facet is the one that is most stereotypically associated with introversion and extraversion. We think we can tell if someone is an introvert or extravert by how outgoing they are — but it’s just one component to your overall personality.
The more aloof you are, the less likely you are to initiate conversations with strangers, make small talk, or actively pursue new relationships. Friendly people, on the other hand, enjoy meeting new people and rarely shy away from striking up a conversation.
While the Aloof trait is more commonly associated with introversion, the truth is that many extraverts don’t like small talk, and some even identify as shy, too. To a lesser extent, Truity data shows that a preference for small talk is slightly higher among Sensing personality types, who tend to focus more on immediate impressions and concrete information.
6. Your tolerance for external stimuli: Solitary vs. Engaged
Introverts who have a Solitary preference are more likely to be easily overwhelmed by external stimuli, such as loud noises, bright lights, and large crowds. These introverts prefer quiet and solitary environments where they can focus and reflect.
Individuals with an Engaged preference, on the other hand, tend to enjoy busy, noisy, and otherwise stimulating environments, like concerts, big parties, or sporting events. The Engaged trait is usually associated with extraversion, although plenty of introverts enjoy being at the center of the action — at least every once in a while.
Your Solitary vs. Engaged score may also have to do with whether or not you identify as a highly sensitive person (HSP). HSPs have a lower tolerance for external stimulation and also highly value their alone time.
Knowing Your True Introvert Type Is Key to Discovering Your Best Self
While some people score on the extreme ends of each of these facets, most people will fall somewhere in the middle. Introverts need to engage with the outer world just as extraverts need to spend time focusing on their inner worlds. The more you focus on exercising your more “extraverted” traits, the more balanced you will be. And then you’ll be more likely to alternate between the styles, depending on your circumstances.
Knowing your true type, and understanding your strengths and blind spots, is key to discovering your best self. At Truity, we’ve helped more than 25 million people discover their type with our scientifically validated personality assessments. You can take our TypeFinder® Personality Test here.
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