An extrovert is a person who gains energy from interacting with people. They tend to do group activities and seek new sensations, but they may find it difficult to be alone for long periods.
The concept of extroversion comes from Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung. He first wrote about extroversion and its opposite, introversion, in
Jung believed that all people lean toward either extroversion or introversion, and it is part of their personality. Personality refers to the collection of long-term traits people develop that make them who they are.
Read on to learn more about extroverts, including signs a person might be extroverted, how it differs from introversion, their strengths and challenges, and the careers that may suit extroverts.
A person could be an extrovert if they are outgoing, friendly, and do not seem to tire in the company of others. Because they thrive when interacting with others, they may also maintain a lot of relationships and have a large circle of friends.
Psychotherapist Carl Jung first published work about extroversion in
Some researchers view this as Jung’s most important contribution to the field of personality psychology.
Nobody is completely introverted or extroverted, but most people lean toward one or the other. To Jung, this trait is an innate part of who people are and remains consistent over time.
Today, almost all models of personality include extroversion and introversion. For example, one of the most widely accepted personality models, the Five Factor Model, or “Big Five,”
The Big Five measures five aspects of personality on spectrums ranging from high to low:
- openness to experiences
- agreeableness, which is the inclination to be courteous and cooperative
- conscientiousness, which is the tendency to be ethical
- neuroticism, or fearfulness
Introverts are the
Introversion is not the same as shyness or social anxiety, although people can have both. People who are introverted may have excellent social skills and no anxiety about meeting people, but they still need time alone to “recharge” afterward.
Because socializing requires them to use up their energy, introverts can also be more selective about which relationships they maintain. They may have a smaller circle of friends as a result.
A person may be able to tell whether they are an extrovert based on how they feel after being around others for a long time.
For example, after spending a whole day or night at a party, an extrovert may feel:
But after spending a long time alone, an extrovert may feel:
Similarly to introverts, extroverts have strengths and encounter challenges due to their desire for social interaction. These include:
Extroverts can spend a lot of energy building and maintaining relationships, which can mean they have strong bonds with others. This can not only benefit overall well-being but may help protect against certain mental health conditions.
For example, a 2018 study with nurses found that those with higher extroversion were less likely to experience burnout.
Because extroverts desire social interaction, they are strongly motivated to practice their social skills. This may mean they become more confident in social situations than someone who avoids interaction.
That said, not all extroverts are confident in social situations. A
This could be because they are confident in their social skills, or it could also be because people in Western cultures often view extroversion as more desirable than introversion. Extroverts may receive more praise and acceptance than their introverted peers.
Long periods spent alone can be difficult for extroverts. For example, when it was necessary to physically distance from others during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers found that extroverts reported more feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression than introverts.
A 2022 study with college students found that extroverts were more likely to report higher alcohol consumption than their peers. They were more likely to have problems with alcohol in the fourth year of their studies.
This may be because of the students’ environment. Social activities in college can involve drinking, so the more a person attends these events, the more they may drink.
However, extroverts can also be sensation-seeking, which may mean some engage in harmful behavior, like higher alcohol use, to experience new sensations.
Extroverts can thrive in careers that involve working with people. This could mean serving the public, working privately with clients, or managing a team.
Jobs that involve a lot of social interaction include:
- event planner
- healthcare professional
- jobs in catering, hospitality, and the service industry
- jobs in the performing arts, such as acting
Working alone, from home, or in a separate office from everyone else may not be the best option for an extrovert unless they can get frequent opportunities to talk with people.
An extrovert gets energy from being around others and dislikes being alone for a long time. The concept comes from
In contrast with extroverts, introverts get energy from being by themselves and dislike being around people for long periods.
How a person feels after socializing for a while can tell someone whether they might be an introvert or extrovert.