The  Blog


Myth Busters! Understanding similarities and differences between introverts and extroverts

Dec 08, 2022

The late family therapist Virginia Satir who is quoted by many famous authors and coaches is reported to have conducted research and discovered there were at least 250 different ways to wash dishes!!

If there are that many variations and approaches to a simple task as washing dishes, how many different perspectives might you think exist when it comes to understanding introvert and extrovert personality types?

Below are 10 common myths about introverts and extroverts exposed:

  • How they gain energy (filling up your cup!) – introverts have many ways they gain energy, solitude or alone time is not the only way. On the other hand, many extroverts prefer solitude when recharging
    • How one recharges is a personal preference
    • Its about what gets you in the ‘flow’ state and keeps you from burning out @ 1000 mph!
  • Introverts are far and few between – 40% or more of the population self-identify as introverts (esp. in tech and cybersecurity)
  • Introverts are more creative and intellectual because they like to spend time alone (look at Einstein!)
  • Extroverts are always attention seekers, loud and better at self-promotion – these are massive generalizations.
    • In my experience, difficulties in self-promotion and self-marketing for both corporate professionals and entrepreneurs are driven by fear of judgment by others and their own harsh self-perception
    • For many people, this goes directly against their need to be ‘liked’, praised, or approved by everyone alike
  • Introverts are worse than extroverts at public speaking – massive generalizations again!
    • Public speaking is much like a broadway show. It’s a performance that requires preparation, practice, improvisation and to a certain degree ‘acting’ skills.
    • The success of a speaking event of any size is attributed largely to the speakers’ connection with the audience and the stories that people can relate to and empathize with.
    • Stage fright or presentation jitters are mostly driven by ‘anxiety or fear’ of audience response/judgment and outcome of the talk more than it is about introversion or extroversion.
  • Extroverts are natural networkers and sellers, so they have more connections and influence – nope.
    • Intentionally refining one’s networking skills, getting sales training, and most importantly, taking action is what make people successful at networking and selling.
    • Quality vs quantity - larger networks may mean more social media connections but is of no value if you cannot get help or support when you need it
    • Both types have different kinds of fears and apprehensions against networking and selling that can be overcome by gaining the right skills, training, planning & prep
  • Extroverts have excellent people and social skills while introverts are shy & anti-social – connection with others is a visceral human need. Introverts and extroverts, both types enjoy connections and interactions.
    • It’s the preference or tolerance to varying levels of stimulation in group settings that differ.
    • Shyness is mainly due to fear of social interactions which many extroverts carry and work to eliminate.
  • Introverts and extroverts alike can be really good conversationalists
  • Introverts are better followers, extroverts are better leaders (not true)
    • Leadership effectiveness studies (e.g., Adam Grant, Gino, Hoffman) have found both types equally successful.
    • It’s the bias for extroverted personalities in business environments that causes this perception to persist. In fact, a poll conducted by Harvard Business Review in 2006 revealed that 65 percent of executives viewed introversion as a barrier to success.
    • But what Grant and his colleagues found was a simple inverse relationship: When employees are proactive, introverted managers lead them to earn higher profits. When employees are not proactive, extraverted managers lead them to higher profits.
  • Introverts can’t be loud. They lose out because the loudest voice wins – there are soft-spoken extroverts and loud, talkative introverts 
    • Checkout article about the ‘talkative introvert’
  • Once an introvert or extrovert, always the same – nope! One can adapt depending on the situation and learning