Author Robert Greene writes in his book The Laws of Human Nature
that when you’re assessing a person’s character, it can help to determine whether they are an extrovert or an introvert.
That’s because “introverts and extroverts do not naturally understand each other,” and can interpret the same thing in totally different ways.
You might notice both extroverted and introverted tendencies in other people or even yourself, but as Greene points out, in general most of us trend in one direction or the other.
Here are some characteristics of each type:
Extroverts are mostly governed by external criteria, and the question that dominates them is: What do others think of me?
They tend to like what other people like, and the groups they belong to generally determine the opinions they hold. Extroverts can be open to new ideas and suggestions, but only if they are popular in the culture or are asserted by some authority they respect.
As Greene puts it, extroverts value external things: good clothes, great meals, enjoyment shared with others. They’re often in search for “novel sensations and have a nose for trends.”
If an extrovert is bold, they love physical adventure. If they’re not so bold, they love creature comforts.
Introverts are exhausted by too much outward activity, and prefer to conserve their energy, spending time alone or with one or two close friends. They like to keep a part of their life separate from others, and have secrets.
Whereas extroverts are fascinated by facts and statistics for their own sake, introverts are more interested in their own feelings and opinions. They love to theorize and come up with their own ideas: “Their opinions do not come from what others think or from any authority but from their inner criteria, or at least they like to think so.”
An introvert’s boldness will be expressed by the novel ideas they come up with and their creativity.
Greene suggests that once you understand you are dealing with someone of the other type, “you must reassess their character and not foist your own preferences on them.”