Quiz: Are You An Introvert or An Extrovert (And Why Does it Matter)?

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testtaking 210x300 Quiz: Are You An Introvert or An Extrovert (And Why Does it Matter)?

If you’re not sure where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, here is the place to assess yourself.  Answer each question True or False, choosing the answer that applies to you more often than not.

1.  I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.

2.  I often prefer to express myself in writing.

3.  I enjoy solitude.

4.  I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.

5.  I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in-depth about topics that matter to me.

6.  People tell me that I’m a good listener.

7.  I’m not a big risk-taker.

8.   I enjoy work that allows me to “dive in” with few interruptions.

9.   I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.

10.  People describe me as “soft-spoken” or “mellow.”

11.   I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it’s finished.

12.   I dislike conflict.

13.  I do my best work on my own.

14. I tend to think before I speak.

15.  I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.

16.  I often let calls go through to voice-mail.

17.  If I had to choose, I’d prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.

18.  I don’t enjoy multi-tasking.

19.  I can concentrate easily.

20.  In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.

The more often you answered True, the more introverted you probably are.  Lots of Falses suggests you’re an extrovert. If you had a roughly equal number of Trues and Falses, then you may be an “ambivert” – yes, there really is such a word.

Why does it matter where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum?  Because introversion and extroversion are at the heart of human nature — one scientist refers to them as “the north and south of temperament.” And when you make life choices that are congruent with your temperament, you unleash vast stores of energy.

Conversely, when you spend too much time battling your own nature, the opposite happens — you deplete yourself.  I’ve met too many people living lives that didn’t suit them — introverts with frenetic social schedules, extroverts with jobs that required them to sit in front of their computers for hours at a stretch. We all have to do things that don’t come naturally — some of the time.  But it shouldn’t be all the time. It shouldn’t even be most of the time.

This is particularly important for introverts, who have often spent so much of their lives conforming to extroverted norms that by the time they choose a career, or a calling, it feels perfectly normal to ignore their own preferences. You may be uncomfortable in law school or in the marketing department, but no more so than you were back in junior high or summer camp.

Soon, I’ll post three tips for finding work you love.


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28 Comments

  1. Vicki on 09.02.2011 at 21:26 (Reply)

    I _love_ multi-tasking – as long as all of the tasks are on the computer! Back and forth between projects but my hands never leave the keyboard and everything is the same type of task.

    1. Amy on 02.07.2011 at 07:04 (Reply)

      I am the same way as you are, as long as I am looking at the computer with 7 tabs open, I am fine.

  2. Chris Cunningham on 17.02.2011 at 16:06 (Reply)

    Scored “true” on 17 items, no matter how many times I try to explain, people (including my husband) don’t get how exhausting the extrovert world can be for an introvert. One of my rules for living (a la Gretchen Rubin) is that a period of solitude every day is as essential to me as food, water, and air.

    1. mabel on 02.05.2013 at 01:34 (Reply)

      give me a link who is that Dorothy Rowe sounds interesting

      1. Rory on 02.05.2013 at 23:21 (Reply)

        Dorothy Rowe can be found here: http://www.dorothyrowe.com.au/

  3. Arohanui on 19.02.2011 at 05:31 (Reply)

    This is a surprise! I’ve always considered myself an extrovert, or at the very least an ambivert, but I scored 15 true and only 5 false. Interesting.

  4. Cathy on 02.03.2011 at 12:43 (Reply)

    What a surprising blog. As an introvert or, more accurately, a listener, I am very happy to come across it. Count me in as a listener…

  5. [...] we come from counts (see this urban psychology article on the geography of temperament, and take this quiz to pinpoint how to make life choices “congruent with your temperament”) — and by [...]

  6. Danielle on 18.05.2011 at 20:09 (Reply)

    Re: Jonathan Rauch articles

    I’ve just finished reading three articles by Jonathan Rauch about being an introvert. Not only do they make for great reading material, but Mr. Rauch explains what it is like to be an introvert so the extroverts understand what we go through when we are forced to socialize for long periods of time with very talkative people.

    His articles are a God send.

  7. Dani on 08.06.2011 at 22:29 (Reply)

    I am looking forward to more information about finding work that is better suited for introverts (scored 20 out of 20). I have spent far too many years trying to conform to an extrovert world and have finally become fully depleted. I thoroughly enjoy working with computers, but the expectation of most organizations I have worked for is that everyone should be a “sunshine” person. It is very difficult to explain to a potential employer that I need a “low-key” environment, with an office and low noise levels – it comes across as if I were telling the employer I am a slacker that wants to hide in a corner all day! The fact of the matter is, my concentration is extremely strong and I am generally able to perform the work of 2-3 people (and have done so numerous times over the years). Any tips of this nature would be greatly welcomed.

    1. Susan Cain on 09.06.2011 at 09:10 (Reply)

      Hi Dani,
      I feel for you and have heard many people ask tis question…wondering whether there are any options in your field to work from home, virtually — either through telecommuting with a company, or though doing free-lance work online — consulting projects, or virtual assistant work. Also, i don’t know what kind of work you do with computers, but there’s an interesting company called 37 Signals whose founder, Jason Fried, strongly values productivity over face time. Check out his TEDx Midwest talk on the subject:

  8. Dani on 09.06.2011 at 20:48 (Reply)

    Thank you for the information. I am a Human Resources Manager, but my forte is dealing with HR/Payroll systems and any related HR systems. I am pursuing alternatives that you suggested but with the economy, it’s been a little difficult. I will check out what you mentioned – mainly I am just happy to have found your website. It is nice to chat with others like me!! I am looking forward to your new book!

  9. Virginia on 09.08.2011 at 13:34 (Reply)

    Taking the quiz reminded me of the Myers-Briggs test. Same results too. And even though I already knew I am an introvert, I was surprised at the number of yes’s – 18!

    I wonder if anyone else has thought of a diner like this one. Its called the “Introvert’s Cafe’” It’s a cafe’ that caters to people who want a gentle “being out” and about. Introverts could go there and be introvertish and extroverts can come in, hear the quiet music, see the subtle coloring and wonder at the calm and easy, relaxed people not even talking, and walk out again. Those at tables are having a simple meal or drink. They are reading, or writing, or just listening within. Off the dining room I imagine a room for soothing. It’s a room with a few good natured cats who like to be stroked. There is furniture to sit on or lie down, room to play with the cats, or just curl up with a candle and an ipod, It’s a place where introverts come when they need a quick rescue from being overwhelmed and need to reenergize.

    I have an extrovert husband and I have pondered over this tendency to start talking as soon as he opens his eyes. I confess that I love this chatterbox but I do wish he would shut-up without being told. (kindly) He has learned about introverts and understands, somewhat, that my temperament is not an anomaly. In fact, there are things he can learn from me just as I have learned from him.

    Thanks for your site, and thank you for listening.
    Blessings, Virginia Bono

    1. Susan Cain on 10.08.2011 at 09:53 (Reply)

      I absolutely love this idea, Virginia. I used to live in NYC, and there was a cafe I loved that didn’t have this name but fit the description. My husband (also an extrovert like yours) used to walk in and be amazed that it felt more like a library than a cafe, but with great music, food, and coffee. I feel like I owe my writing career to that place. I loved being there so much that I was happy to write for hours a day. Now we’ve moved away, and that’s what I miss most!

      1. Virginia on 10.08.2011 at 11:57 (Reply)

        As you described your “writing place” I could see and feel and hear all the elements around you that were helping you write. One element I left out of my cafe’ idea was that it was a place of beauty and art. Works displayed, or live music by people who know how to “do” beauty would be welcome. It must be a place where the heart opens and the soul can be satisfied, even for a little while. And there is one question I would put on display somewhere – a prompt for reflection: How much is enough?

        It is my observation that many introverts enjoy asking the ultimate questions. Also, that asking these questions reflect a certain bravery because it takes all we’ve got to interact with extreme extroverts, commonly found at baseball games.

      2. Virginia on 30.11.2011 at 21:13 (Reply)

        This is an addendum to my earlier post. Since writing last, I have had a heart attack and several bouts of defib (where heart galloped and raced to some unknown destination) and cause a great deal of pain. After doctors knew what was going on and I had a “procedure” with three stents in my heart, I was visited by a woman from Cardiac Rehab. She began explaining that I was going to go to rehab and I will learn how to live now, how to change my lifestyle and diet and all the things we read about in every magazine that comes out with “new” insights or hints. None of it is new, I knew that, and this woman wasn’t telling me anything new either. But she was extroverting all over me and I just couldn’t bare the noise. So, I, rather unkindly, told her I would do what I thought best and maybe that would disagree with the Rehab folks. She left finally.

        My family was alarmed about my response to this woman, as though I had rejected her outright and refused rehab of any sort. It wasn’t until I asked my husband what he thought I was saying. He said I sounded decidedly like I refused any efforts to try to heal my heart and that I was willing to die without working on getting better. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. How do I explain that feeling of encroachment I feel when someone wants instant responses to complex issues? So, I tried a visual image. I assured my husband that I was willing to make changes. What I was unwilling to do was to be forced or coerced into making changes. What I needed from him was a buffer, a physical space even, between what had happened and what I intended to do about it. I did not feel inclined to discuss what I was thinking privately with anyone. If I was not allowed to think through all the complex issues that must be considered with something as serious as a heart attack, then I was simply not going to talk at all. I would keep these intimate thoughts to myself because I was not about to throw out possibilities without the promise of others respecting my right to choose what I think is best.

        I find that even God respects our choices. If he didn’t, then nothing would ever happen to us to make us grown up. God doesn’t want puppets, he wants his children to not only have the right and privilege to choose, but also to experience the often negative consequences of what we’ve chosen. Choice is sacred. Others may not think so, but I believe my choices are the only control I have in this entire world! I have no control over ANY circumstance or person on this world (at least by right)and that is why I take making choices as something to be handled wisely.

        So, what will I choose? Overall, I choose life. I prefer to live in the present moment and that means I will have to chose wisely many times a day and not try to escape my choices by mindlessness. The energy of being present and thinking is not easy for me. I don’t have much energy right now. But I already know most of what “healthy eating” looks like. Because of my history of being abused because I am a person of size I promised myself long ago that I would NEVER AGAIN allow others to tell me what I will eat. So, I may find it difficult to explain to Rehab folks that I am defensive and ultra sensitive about food issues. And I’ve already lost 119 pounds and that may count for SOMETHING. I guess then what I’m saying is that I feel anxious about this whole Rehab thing. I’ll lay it down and trust God with it, but that doesn’t mean I will feel completely at ease. Advise is welcome. Anyone else had to do this kind of thing? How did it turn out? (I just realized that I was having angina pain when I wrote to you on Nov 8 because I went the next morning to the hospital and was there until Nov 17th.)

  10. lkeke35 on 30.11.2011 at 19:24 (Reply)

    I’ve always known I was an introvert but I was amazed to find a score of 18/20 on the quiz. I had been trying to explain to my family for years that I’m not anti-social, stuck-up, or shy. I just find my own company much less exhausting.

    I actually managed to find a low-key career without a lot of stress or huge amounts of what others call face-time. I lucked into it actually.
    I’m a librarian.

    I’m very much looking forward to your new book. I’ve already reserved my copy at my workplace.

    BTW: I love the Introvert Cafe idea.

  11. Peter Q Wolfe on 29.01.2012 at 04:26 (Reply)

    I’m an not the slightest surprised that I’m an intervert at all! Like someone above me posted that this test reminds me of the Myers-Brigg Test that I performed at my previous community college! However, there is only two main objections of my results in either case in my particular case. 1. I don’t listen to people for I think most people naturally homogenize to form social orders and thereby usually from my view become complacent with the status qou. In additon, people are awfully sociopathic applying what they deem right like tyrany of the majority either opressively or dictator in scope whether the elite theory or in a Philosophy King like Plato in the cave alagory sort of society fashion without adoption of universal design into the social fabric. 2. I find reasons to talk to random strangers in Greyhoud bus stations, on campus, outside my apartments, school buses, classrooms, telephone conversations, business personel, etc on anything and everything as I feel that stigmas like religion, politics, etc are all questionable and worthy of discussion from illiterate society members to the supposed informed in society. The last latter portion is mocking the notion of knowing what you think as opposed to admiting your humble side that homo sapiens are far from knowing what they claim to know. Itt appears from the 2nd that I find myself at odds in simple personality common traits with my peers like I’m in another stratification of sorts of not aas simple in a simple spectrum but above in another new yet undesigned system of what I call inversse socialization not based on geography, but rather in idealogy of steratification of crossectional analysis on development.

    Does what I said above make any sense to anybody? i’m not good at communicating ideas, yet I’m a social science student in another field not suited for me. Partially this is due to my disability of lhon lebers heredetary optical neuropathy (e.g. legal blindness that before I was a mathematical wiz and a historical junky of sorts. Now I had to retrain my life to suit a intervert political science from a deductive thinker to an inductive transition was rather hard to transition to put it mildly. It is also hard to understand interverts like I think we’re somewhat incompatable, yet I love being the INTP or Thinker in a grtoup not the group leader as it were. I feel this inate distain for social isolationist, yet I’m definitely one myself. Maybe this is crazy or something just it drives me mad. note: I think the intervert and extravert is similar to feminism vs masculinity and race as socially constructed ideals on what we as individuals emphasize as being important and our particular nitch or position in society. I’m more of a sociologist than a psychologist though to be true and feel as if am better suited to gather information independently rather than as a team member to be telling others what to do not being emmerged into a group that I might not agree with this is similar to nationalism or religious dogmatism to me.

  12. [...] on the screen, designed to determine if you are an introvert or an extrovert (she has them here in blog post format too). As she listed off the questions, I found myself saying that yes, I often prefer to express myself [...]

  13. Rory on 11.11.2012 at 04:06 (Reply)

    I like Dorothy Rowe’s interpretation of the difference between an introvert and an extravert as how the two types interact with the world, and how they perceive the threat of annihilation.

    The extravert experiences existence as the member of a group, as the relationship, the connection, between themselves and others. They see the threat of annihilation as complete isolation, being left totally, utterly and forever alone, thus withering, fading away, disappearing into nothingness.

    The introvert experiences existence as the progressive development of their individuality in terms of clarity, achievement and authenticity. They see the threat of annihilation as losing control of themselves and their life and falling apart, falling into chaos, fragmenting.

    I can see this difference between myself and my wife, and between our two girls – the older one an introvert and the younger one an extravert. It is quite clear that the younger one experiences her life in terms of interaction with others, having friends, and going out. Our older daughter though, is happy just having one close friend (or even just her sister) and begins to panic at the first signs of change, disorder, or chaos.

    Some introverts have learned to cultivate their external selves, and some extraverts have learned to develop their inner lives, and so this gives rise to the “ambivert”. As you say, “there is such a word”, but I’m guessing that under closer inspection “ambiverts” would fall into one of the two descriptions given above.

  14. al on 29.03.2013 at 04:01 (Reply)

    this isn’t an ‘are you an introvert or an extrovert?’ quiz; it is an ‘are you an introvert?’ quiz

  15. Larry on 29.03.2013 at 16:38 (Reply)

    I’ve known for a long time that I’m an off-the-charts Introvert, but I don’t get the last question of this test. What is the difference between a “lecture” and a “seminar”? And why is that a part of int vs ext ?

    Regardless of the distinction I dread it when I hear the words “Let’s break up in to small groups to discuss…” I make a quick look around to see if I can bolt out the door.

  16. Tony Sandy on 25.04.2013 at 02:09 (Reply)

    Sounds to me that employers should have questionnaires like this to ensure the correct candidate is chosen for the correct line of work. I also think that interviews favour the glib tongued because of this – the extrovert, who can talk a good game but maybe incapable of doing the actual work. If you want to know if someone can drill a hole in a wall, asking won’t ‘show’ you their capability (People lie to get what they want – look up sociopaths). If it’s a practical skill, a practical test is needed to measure it, not questions. Test, test, test…

  17. Carolyn on 03.05.2013 at 11:27 (Reply)

    I scored 16 out of 20 as true. I definitely consider myself an introvert. I was married for 17 years to an extrovert and I’ve been happily divorced for 7 years. Of finding a new relationship, I oftentimes tell my friends that I’d love to find somebody that would just leave me alone and yet love me on occasion. Does that make sense?

  18. Beverlyn Omejia on 10.05.2013 at 23:58 (Reply)

    i was surprised o find out i was a intovert. i prefer to be in secusion, and away from people/. it is easier. i prefer to be alone in my own space

  19. Sebastian Shaw on 04.07.2013 at 06:46 (Reply)

    Woah.. i’ve rang 15 false alarms… and still i think of myself as an ambiovert or whatever it is in the middle

  20. Abby Cheah on 13.11.2013 at 10:51 (Reply)

    Hi Susan,
    Could I have your permission to use your introversion questionnaire for my thesis research?
    My thesis is titled, “The effects of online game cyber bullying and personality traits on self-esteem”. If you are interested in the results of my thesis, I would be glad to share them with you.

    Regards,
    Abby

    1. Susan Cain on 13.11.2013 at 10:53 (Reply)

      Hi Abby! You’re welcome to use it, but pls know that it’s not a scientifically validated questionnaire.
      And, I would love to learn the results of your research.
      best of luck with it — Susan

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