6 Illustrations That Show What It’s Like in an Introvert’s Head

Dear Extroverts,

We love your energy and your excitement. But as introverts, we sometimes feel misunderstood. We wish you could visualize what’s going on inside our brains—you might be surprised! Here are six illustrations of what it’s like to be in our heads.



  1. According to The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, introverts have a longer neural pathway for processing stimuli. Information runs through a pathway that is associated with long term memory and planning. In other words, it’s more complicated for introverts to process interactions and events. As they process information, introverts are carefully attending to their internal thoughts and feelings at the same time.


  1. According to studies by psychologist Hans Eysenck, introverts require less stimulation from the world in order to be awake and alert than extroverts do. This means introverts are more easily over-stimulated.Illustration of introvert process
  2. The flip side of introverts’ sensitivity to dopamine is that they need less of it to feel happy. Extroverts’ brains run on an energy-spending nervous system, whereas introverts’ brains run on an energy-conserving nervous system. This is why introverts feel content and energized when reading a book, thinking deeply, or diving into their rich inner world of ideas.3
  3. Introverts’ brains aren’t as strongly rewarded for gambling or taking risks as extroverts’ brains are. The brain’s reward and pleasure system is activated by dopamine neurotransmitters. Scientists found that extroverts’ brains responded with more pleasure to positive gambling results. In other words, introverts feel less excitement from surprise or risk.introvert process
  4. The introvert’s brain treats interactions with people at the same intensity level that it treats encounters with inanimate objects. Introverts process everything in their surroundings and pay attention to all the sensory details in the environment, not just the people.Illustration of introvert process
  5. As introverts are thinking, they reach back into long-term memory to locate information. An introvert will often compare old and new experiences when making a decision, which slows the processing down but leads to carefully thought-out decisions. This means that introverts have an active dialogue with themselves and usually walk around with many thoughts in their minds.Illustration of introvert process


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    I am amused at the number of extrOverts who spelled the word wrong (extrAvert) but all of the introverts spelled it right.

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    These simple sketches were wonderfully illuminating to me about aspects of my introverted mind I already knew, but couldn’t quite articulate. Thank you for this awesome article! This is one I will revisit. 🙂

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    Could it be possible for one to be a mix of the two? I feel at times I am the sum of both. Overall, I do feel over the years I’ve become more introverted due to certain experiences in life. Inwardly, I feel the excitement of life has been taken from me, which has directed me towards a life that is less social than what I truly desire. I think about everything, which can be beneficial but at the same time overwhelming. I feel sometimes we just have to take that leap of faith or is it a leap of destruction? Well, there is only one way to find out. I hope everyone finds their balance in life they desire. Let that balance be just, moral, upright, and undeniably goooood. One love.

  • Dwyer Michael

    It was a dark and stormy night…PLATYPUS! Oh No. Sorry, Sorry.

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  • Karen Loftin Elias

    I’m an introvert . I don’t really like journaling. I like thinking. If I feel the need to talk about something, I use the recorder on my phone, and talk while driving alone. Then I play it back and listen to it , so I can better understand what ever it is I wanted to talk about. I stopped talking to girlfriends about stuff, because I’m not really looking for their opinion. And I don’t want whatever I told them to become material for gossip. I’m not a total loner , I have children, grandchildren, and a long term boyfriend. My boyfriend is an extrovert.He gets energy from people, whereas I get completely drained. I’m not afraid of the public, I’m not shy. Just love being alone.

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  • QewBahtiar

    Quiet environment is good for introverts, like more energy absorbed. In their mind kept self talking, I’m an introvert. I realise this happen after my mother passed away. Before i speak must think what after that could happen. An introverts hates is their loss energy, their may quickly quite and alone at home to recharge energies.

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    That explained why I’m different from other. I’m 70-80% introvert

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  • 6 is the truthest of the true. My dad asks me all the time why I’m being quiet. I think, “But, I’m talking a lot in my head.”

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    Being an introvert, I can confirm that this is true.

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  • Irene Laca Imanil Jafar

    This is rather quite lengthy statement of yours about the notion behind the characteristics and features of introverts that could starkly and widely varies in opinion from one person to the other depending who your droves of audience are, or who are listening to your message of criticisms about introverts. We live in a beautiful world of loving, kind hearted, gift giving, talented people, but at the same time we also learn to dislike, argue, and even hate one another that is acceptably and understandably found from people co-existing together in an ecological niche of different sets of belief system, standards, ethics, personalities, and ever increasingly changing dynamics that disturb equilibrium. Thus, it behooves to consider the various elements of the latter that somewhat strongly divides us more than unite us, cause humans to become angry with each other, to mudsling those who thought they are someone, yet doesn’t really have what it takes–like the one with only an Associate in Music–why her refusal to take the helm of responsibility to lead and refusal to listen to the voice of my concern that I have repeatedly brought forward–in an effort to make the world a better, safer, and more peaceful place to live. I would be very interested to find out what are these divisive, intolerant factors in order to address them, and provide solution. Oftentimes, we tend to aggregate and connect with people who listen to us, who do not take advantage of our being alone and introvert in its strict literal sense, who share our values, and celebrate our successes, who can learn from our mistakes and failures, who despite our personal differences, beliefs, and lifestyle still manage to iron and smooth things out as oppose to taking the time and effort to plan and render retribution using various means and network, which is rather unjust, and cruel in a civilized and advanced society. On the contrary, we tend to form a hedge of protection against those who attempt every possible way to harm us, do predatory practices on us. Clearly, it is a human inclination to fight back against the wrongs done to us., especially if and when we have not done anything wrong against them in an effort to effectively counter act the wrong doings and bad actions of others. It is even more disturbing when we consider the grim reality of inhuman treatment of others against their fellow citizens, and I am sure you can only agree that failure to enforce existing laws meant to protect the fragile, the loner, the weak, the vulnerable against any acts of predatory practices, heinous acts of crimes and violence can certainly serve as strong catalysts to develop feeling of empathy and sympathy from others who meant only good will for us, and failure to be fair and square to everyone is a sign of threat against the very framework of sound and successful governance. Therefore, there is an urgent necessity to thwart the plotted activities and actions of people involved in the organizations of crimes who thought that in order to advance their causes they have to do wrongs to others, but that only plague the very existing of humanity, and only widens the deepening divides amongst us, and to some extent the cause of terrorism for absence and failure to provide economic opportunity. Thankfully, my being introvert, lack of connection precludes me from being a suspected terrorist. However, hopefully soon, I’ll be picked up by a group of well intended, inclusive, understandable, and caring people of good heart.

    As far as who am I? I have the DNA fingerprint that no one can steal, which will soon be bioinformatically, genomically and proteonomically characterized. And believe my early educational innovation of TUTOR TIME “Partner in Academic Success” has been intentionally infringed, all my earlier personal e-mail Hotmail, yahoo, and business e-mail have been deliberately hacked by people who might have thought they could also steal my identity.

    I hope I said enough. Thank you for your time reading.

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    Very informative. I am definately an introvert, and am completey content being alone and self contained. I find these explanations very enlightening.

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    I’m glad that much has been written about introverts lately. I now know what I am and that I’m not the only one. Thank you.

  • cindy

    I am both intro and extro, and can see both sides of the story. Perhaps because I am ‘extro’ when in public, therefore I need my ‘intro quiet’ time to recharge. As for processing — yes, I have a very large bag that I dig into and prefer both long term and short term planning. Can snap and make decision very quickly and also seems slow in other occassions.

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  • fern1212

    If an experience is negative, as an introvert, I have to mull it over for several days, until I figure out all the details, and why it happened as it did. But I often blurt out or write out what my immediate thoughts are even though I haven’t processed things. Once they are processed I find that the immediate thoughts were not wrong, but things were much more involved than at first, and I want to set the record straight. It is frustrating then to have my say as the perps don’t want to go there any more. If I can get my thoughts on paper I feel like I’ve had my say. I’m very comfortable by myself, for days or hours, but sometimes I need conversation with someone I know and trust. Then I have a lot to say. Lol.

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  • Mark Cool

    So I’m a introvert

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  • Andromeda

    All I know is, that as an introvert, just walking into a room full of people is all I need to feel “socialized” even if I don’t interact at all. Walk in, look around, observe, leave. Go home and be alone. Its how I am.

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  • John Newson

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  • Warren Damien Fergusson

    As an introvert, I can say I like having at least 2 other friends with me at a time but anymore than that I shut down and process what is being said and pick out key points then it takes some thought into it, but that’s a great thing is I.Roberts are great problem solvers and ready creative people when on our own.
    In my case I have doubted myself all my life but found along the way I am an amazing person that people just can’t get enough of. But sadly I also suffer adhd As Well but I have a higher understanding of everything and have things put in place to help me with social anxiety As Well due to the depression I had.

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  • Buffy (not that one)

    Liz, Mollie and all the commentators here. This has been a great article to read and thread to ‘listen to’. ‘Hearing’ you all comment about how you think and why helps me think more about what drives me. Long ago, I did an MBTI test. At the time, I knew little about it but it started me on the road to self-understanding. Over the years I’ve learned that sometimes I may rely too much on that test, though it does help. When I took it, it was in written form and scored manually – not like today when you take them on-line of in some computer format and a certain result is found. When I took that test long ago, I scored right about the middle between E/I. The 2nd part at the time was Sensing/Intuition where again I scored about in the middle but more toward the Intuition side. The last 2 parts I scored definitely at one end of the scale – the Thinking/Feeling I came out on the Thinking end and the Judging/Perceiving I was definitely at the Judging end of the scale.

    Since then, there have been many other types of tests I’ve taken and now it’s gotten to just be fun. There’s the Square/Circle/Triangle/Squiggle test (in which I was one of two in the group that came out a Squiggle). Each one makes things make a little more sense.

    These all indicate something but we try to boil it down to very simple labels – and the concepts aren’t so simple but they help us work toward an understanding. For me, when I learned these things, I learned why stepping into an elevator with people I didn’t know was so horribly frightening to me – and I learned why I absolutely would not meet someone at a place unless they meet me in a conspicuous place outside (like at the front door) – it seemed that I was afraid of people – not knowing what to say or looking like a fool. I get tired easily being in noisy places with lots of people to a point. If I’m having fun with a group of people I know, I’ll sometimes enjoy hanging out until all hours of the night, but a place without anyone I have anything in common with or a group of people whom I know no one is exhausting.

    This information teaches me where I need to focus on growth. I no longer fear getting on an elevator nearly as much nor going into a restaurant looking for someone. Whether it’s growth or simply old age and I care less about what people think, I don’t know – but I do feel the knowledge has helped me grow my weaknesses.

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  • Quiet Revolution

    Hi Kim, glad you found this article helpful. As long as you properly cite/give credit to the authors and Quiet Revolution, please feel free to use this to educate people about introversion-extroversion continuum. Thank you!

    • Kim Langley

      bless your heart! I am very conscious of giving credit, and I would put the attribution with book title and author etc. Even better, I will be taking it to the workshop and passing it around any time I would use the quiz….Does that work for you? I could add the website too if you wish. Kim

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  • Com Eng

    This article is interesting in that it seems to imply that extroverts are less thoughtful. I wonder how an extrovert would have written it.

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  • Lydia Erves

    This describes me to a T!!!!!!! OMG! All of the examples are me!

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  • Chris Mundwiler

    I’m not sure that I would call myself an introvert, I just don’t like people!

  • Uhmorphous

    I just read this entire thread. What I find is thoughtful communication, clear articulation, civil discourse, and an absence of defensive posturing. I need to take a moment to reflect on just how rare that is these days. So, to Liz, Mollie, Susan, and everyone who participates in these discussions, thank you. This dialogue reads more like a transcript from an actual face-to-face get-together. imagine that!

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    Mel, it occured to me after reading this post that you are describing someone who is kind and thoughtful but has little confidence in your interactions with people. I think many people feel this way but when mixed with general anxiety disorder, these interactions and the need to go over them in your mind become overwhelmimg. Add in your strong creative tendencies and your mind never gets a rest. For me, personally, a med to calm the anxiety has made a welcome difference in my second to second, minute to minute thinking. As long as I’m being kind and thoughtful, I no longer worry so much about how others react. i feel more content and have more attention control. My brain was never intended to have to fight this anxiety and attention problem, it just needed a little tweeking of a neurotransmitter to right itself. This was nothing I could learn to control or change altho, learning to “turn off “my brain at night helped with falling asleep. Educate yourself about General Anxiety Disorder then ask your doctor about Venlafaxine. I had to try several meds before this one. This one is recommended for both GAD plus attention deficit. If you are someone who brags about never having to take medicines thats not a bad thing……..unless one can be life changing in a positive way. Think about it, then learn about it then ask your doctor. You can still be funny.but when you choose to be.

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    one acts without thinking and the other thinks before acting.

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  • Enkit Singh

    People called me egoistic , arrogant , rude … But i m just quiet and i and smply i m jst doing my own…. Soo is it bad to be an introvert

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    This is exactly what I feel and think, no better way to describe it.

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  • Mel Black

    Oh hang on, I got it all twisted! After writing all that, had my late dinner, got back my to my mac and reread you comment, I got it the other way round! Now, I just don’t even know what I am. Because obviously, I now realise I may have just read to relate, imagine to recall, scramble to think, think to feel, feel to ramble as my heart passionately speaks. Hah! Oh well…

    • Mary Grace

      Mel Black, what you wrote is poetry! I love it!

      • Mel Black

        Ahaha.. i dont even know what I was thinking when I wrote that. Oh well.. thanks anyway

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  • Bryan dwyer

    Wow reading this article explains a lot to me,I am 55 years old ,this has told me so much ,now I know why I am the way I am ,and why certain things have happened to me .I wish I could have read this year’s ago

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  • The silent one

    Whether we are introvert or extrovert, We are beautiful anyway. I’m a Extrovert SJW not a social justice warrior 😉 but a protector. I think through things by talking them out. As a former bible theology student, I catch myself constantly talking my thoughts out about biblical issues. I find myself starting with an issue, then I talk out the possibilities from different angles and then settle on what the answer is.

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  • Mollie Harris

    So I came across this article and read it to get a better understanding of my child. I am an extrovert raising an introvert; thank you for the information. Once I got to the end of the article, I was thrilled to have run across another Mollie as well.

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  • M4NTIS

    So, in #6, it seems the introvert is highly dependent upon the past to produce an expected future result.

    What if an introvert’s past experience does not adequately represent current information?

  • compguy83

    Oh look, another Introvert Manifesto that essentially labels extroverts as simple-minded and thus worthy of condescension.

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  • Erik Schmitz

    I think you have a great point, talking is thinking, but as an introvert, most of my discussions usually never catch onto even a whisper of a breath.

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  • Robert Johnson

    This article was very informative & made me realize why, on those rare occasions when my family celebrates MY birthday, & sings Happy Birthday to me, instead of feeling happy & glow in the attention showered on me, I want to melt & flow into a puddle under the table until they’re through. Now, singing that song to anyone else on the planet, I’m cool with that. Also, I loath redundancy… have you ruminated on those lyrics?

  • Charlie Sutton

    As an introvert, I certainly identified with this – and found it useful to understanding why I can’t answer my wife’s questions as soon as she would like.

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  • Sydney Beauregard

    It must be exhausting to be an introvert! My husband is one. Now I know why it takes so long for him to verbalize a thought! I just jibber jabber. He says he does not mind. There’s no way he could process my thoughts that quickly, so maybe he’s tuning me out..lol

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  • cymruchris

    The cat cartoonist doesn’t understand cats. That jack-in-a-box would be shredded to pieces in microseconds by any cat I have ever known. The dog would just bark at it.

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  • PsychotiK

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  • Bob

    Like most everything else in life, this is not necessarily a binary condition. I think each person falls somewhere on a continuum between introversion and extroversion, so there is a lot of variability. Personally, I certainly find myself more on the introvert side of of the line when it comes to how I process and recharge by internal batteries, however, when they are fully charged, I do enjoy interacting with people more than people that I know that are far more introverted. I hope parents share this kind of information with their children so that they know it is ok to be one of the “indoor kids” 🙂

    • Yes, extraversion is considered a spectrum within many approaches to personality theory. The Big Five personality model asserts that there are five broad personality factors (which umbrella many traits) that are spectral. Those are openness (to experiences), conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. They spell OCEAN!

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  • terraton

    Didn’t Jung theorize that people can be introverted or extroverted about different things–it isn’t that one is all one or the other.

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    Is it bad to be introvert?

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  • Zach Baja

    Why isn’t their hand against their chest in any of the pictures?

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  • RRR

    OH….well this is helpful including comments. I am such an extrovert….my brain resembles a three ring circus with me only seeing two rings at a time and it switches around and YES, I have to talk things out. I draw introverted men……blahahahaha, almost exclusively. One fella I am currently interested in is an extreme introvert. I really have to curb myself, I know. Oddly, I’m not at all drawn to extroverted men.

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  • Brad Schierer

    Thank you for this. Now I can explain my introversion to my frien….Oh wait.

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  • Anam

    Before visiting this site, I often felt stigma. I thought that I am alone in this world and thete is none like me. I have a whole universe in my mind.

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  • keithkaple

    Fantastic breakdown and illustration of us…love the graphics!! My (extrovert) wife is a myers-briggs consultant and we discuss this all the time. You could add a graphic to illustrate when an extrovert experiences great news like winning a car, it becomes real when they tell others about it. When an introvert experiences the same news, they may be wondering about the details of obtaining the car to “make it real.

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  • Daryl Tranter

    A great article and very much to the point for me. The 6 illustrations sum up the general distinctions very clearly, however one needs to stress that being an introvert is not something we should hide or try and pretend that we are extroverts. Being a deep thinker and being more comfortable to get some “me time” is a positive in life and I for one think extroverts would benefit from taking time to reflect and plan their thought processes occasionally. I am over saying or thinking I am simply “misunderstood” and/or denying that I am arrogant or even apologising for my natural behaviour. Some of the comments clearly demonstrate why Quiet (Susan Cain’s book) and the Quit Rev is building its natural success storey as they highlight the need to educate a vast mass of people who clearly misunderstand the concepts associated with a world made up of extroverts and introverts ….and I am not referring to introverts by saying that.

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  • Jenny

    Number 6 is my life. 🙂

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  • Melissa Yuan-Innes

    I found a few differences with selling books to introverts vs. extroverts at a fair. These introverts were genuinely interested in books and could be good conversationalists one-on-one, although at least 30 percent hurried away if I so much as made eye contact or waved at them.
    However, many introverts didn’t like crowds (would walk away if one or more people were already at the booth) and couldn’t sign up for a mailing list and talk at the same time, so I learned to *be quiet* and let them concentrate on one task at a time. A good lesson in how to connect with different kinds of people!

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  • Quiet Revolution

    Hi Jessica, hope this illustrated article helped you better understand your introverted child. If you’re interested, we have a parenting course and quiz that may give you more guidance on how you can support introverted children: http://www.quietrev.com/quiet-revolutions-newest-chapter-quiet-parenting/

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  • Diane Lingenfelter

    I am an extrovert – but I can’t help myself here – do all ‘extroverts’ spell it ‘extraverts’? As always, I do think of conversation openers to lighten the intro, make the ‘other’ feel comfortable, in the context of a question ; )
    Discuss, party on!

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  • Jamin Len Lester

    Hey, want to talk about this from my perspective, I’m an introvert who has suffered a brain tumor (specifically, a neurocytoma), and this is how it is; before I was hit with the tumor, I was a fast-thinking, slow-talking individual, not really needing to try in school, and making good grades, I excelled, and made it into a good school; halfway through college, I found out I had the tumor, and took care of it; afterwards, I couldn’t think straight, everything felt like it was going by at 1000 miles per hour, and I was stuck in the slow lane, however, I felt a need to open up that I have never felt before in my life; I became an extrovert. While not attending to my feelings (never took me long to do that anyway), I’m still energized by parties and get-togethers, love risk, and trying new and different things (like an extrovert), but I also pay attention to everything in my environment and have an active inner monologue, with which I discuss things with myself (like an introvert) . . . and this ends up manifesting like really bad ADHD, but when I’m on my Adderal, I’m as cogent and productive as anyone could ever be. Just my two cents on the subject.

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  • Melanie Goyeau

    I totally get number 6. I have conversations with myself in my head all day long.

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  • Kelly

    Good evening, I hope you are all having a great night! I am new to this site and hoping for some guidance as I am very new to this subject I am not introverted or extroverted according to the very short test I just took I am in the middle. However i just started dating a very nice man who stated he was introverted having said this prompted me to read up on the subject I am hoping some of you can tell me if there is anything I should or should not do or say for that matter to promote a healthy relationship? Please I would not want to say or do something if it can be avoided I have read all the comments very interesting at that but I would like to hear more in depth regarding relationships I do want to understand it better if you would. Greatly appreciated

    • Quiet Revolution

      Welcome to our site and community, Kelly. The fact that you’re going out of your way to learn about introversion sounds like you’re a very understanding partner. We highly recommend reading our articles on dating/relationships here: http://www.quietrev.com/tag/dating/ and http://www.quietrev.com/tag/relationships. Hope this helps, and looking forward to what others in this comment thread have to say.

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  • john shirley

    Those philosophers were wrong. There are actually schools that teach how to have “a quiet mind”~ IOW, not to have change all thoughts into internal dialog in your head. Words take time, and people can actually respond much quicker and function at a higher level to rapid events if they do not have to change everything into mental speech.

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  • Porphyry

    This might explain some things.

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  • Stephanie Kirathe

    The one of the dialogue with themselves is very true for me, sometimes I talk to myself audibly- unknowingly when I’m processing one of many ideas, concepts or just daydreaming…..lol..so I thought I was crazy

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  • Elegacy Sky

    This is so true. I am an introvert. It best describes me, my emotion and pathway in life. It was a good read.

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  • IsaDesOsiers

    Very interesting article and illustrations!

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  • Deuishinki

    I find a comfort in writing. When I have a big moment in my life or having through a hard thing I write and make up my mind by doing it. Totally an introvert. I rarely speak about it with my friends/family and if I happen to do it I talk about it in different way than how I wrote it before.

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  • ohhellsnawh

    I am an introvert and i like it.

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  • Joseph Scully

    I know for me, decisions can take much longer to make, than for others. I do have a hard time concentrating in conversations, and I’m quiet quite a lot and I don’t really want to be. One thing God gave me a tip on was simply, “Speak what on your mind.” I find that’s what I need to work on, instead of thinking it, just saying it, cause I’ll just sit there and think it, sorry people, I don’t want that, but I can do better, and I have.

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  • I know I’m not the only introvert to say this, but THANK YOU for honestly and genuinely expressing what the introvert mind is truly like (P.S. it’s beautiful) 🙂

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  • GonzoG

    And we get blamed for it all. 🙁

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  • moonglow48

    I have to think about this article…;)

  • Rosemary

    “Often people will try to hold you to the first thing that came out of your mouth, and feel angry if you don’t actually think that later.”

    As an introvert, this would drive me craaaazy 🙂 My instinct is to very carefully think things out before I share ideas/thoughts, which is clearly the exact opposite of your process. How will I know when your words are your final decision on something??

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  • NickG

    Way over-simplified.

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  • coradugan

    THIS IS SO TRUE!!!!!

    I am married to one of 21 years and we are raising twins…one is an introvert and one is an extrovert! LOVE this article!!! Thank you!!!

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  • Giuseppe

    Great article! Describing a lot of things that happens to me , and I never considered them as correlated (like fatigue at parties or aversion to gambling)

  • Giuseppe

    Great article! Describing a lot of things that happens to me , and I never considered them correlated (like fatigue at parties or adversion to gambling)

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  • Blue

    This is so nice 🙂
    Me, haha.

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  • Radu Popescu

    Are athletes more likely to be extroverts?
    I’m an introvert but I’ve done some sport in my life and I’ve gotten into “the zone” before. You have to be able to react almost instantly to stimuli when you’re in “the zone” but that instantaneous reaction does (at least for myself) require a certain amount of analysis and thought. But when an extrovert is in “the zone” do they simply react first and then process what happened after the act, as in the first image? Or do they have a similar experience to mine?

  • Christine Carlin

    I am so glad to be introverted.. Not quite loud and proud. More like quietly appreciative

  • Abhinav Thakur

    Does that mean that a deer running from a tiger did not think they should run? If it were just irrational fear, why do they take the rational route of running away from the predator rather than towards it? Something about the fear made the deer decide to run away. That decision is a thought, although the deer could probably never articulate it.

  • Lara

    I’m a solid introvert, but don’t agree with all these drawings, particularly the one with the birds and trees symbolizing action in the background. That kind of “background noise” is just fine. It’s the human-made blaring and light and constant that is like having a hammer beating me upside the head.

  • Chad Ly

    I disagree. Thought is a combination of 5th and 6th chakra frequencies (head region). 5th chakra (throat) is sound and word frequency. 6th chakra (third eye) is light and imagery. We can think in pictures as well. Of course it does relate the full experiences , bringing in all the senses and feelings (torso region).

    Part of the distortion of language is how to describe an image in words, which takes time to convert. One day we will be able to transfer images or full experiences instead of just rudimentary words.

    So, did they just forget about imagery?

    • Harry van der Velde

      A new and interesting statement foe mw: ´Thought is a combination of 5th and 6th chakra frequencies´
      Could you share sources?

    • anqele

      Believe that day comes, form of communication referred to above is described in Near Death Experiences.

    • Tamms Blyth

      interesting, i like that one

    • P .

      I think in pictures or in movies…

  • JackM

    Congratulations, you have discovered the true definition of Philosophy Professor. Closed minded bullshit artist. If you don’t see the world thru their myopic eyeballs your an idiot. These are people living in the Fifth thru the first century BC. As far as they are concerned modern concepts have no value. At least the ones I’ve had to deal with.

  • Victorious Ria

    This is just so helpful! Pls have an article about those who are not so introverted nor extroverted. The ones who are in the middle. Thanks!

  • John Smith

    doesnt it depend who you’re talking to? Im extroverted with some people and at certain parties while intro with others. It all comes down to commonality

  • Jack

    No, we can be just as much of a perfectionist, but again, we talk it through instead of processing it inwardly.

  • Vanesa Jerez

    I did for the first time a personality test last week. They said I am an INFJ. I thought I was extrovert… Now here I can confirm I am introvert 🙂 All these things happen to me daily. Number 5 is always giving me a weird look, as I usually interrupt a conversation with a remark about the environment… Thank you for the post.

  • Andie

    Right on. What is the name of that branch in philosophy, or who are it’s philosophers?

    • The only one I remember was Wittgenstein (particularly with Philosophical Investigations).

  • paaljoachim

    Thanks for sharing the article!
    I recognize the introvert images above! It seems my brain notices so much going on around me that it often times surprises me that many others just do not notice for instance the chocolate wrapper on the ground, the person in red across the street, the garbage truck down the street, the person whistling 20 meters away. My focus jumps around to take in the surroundings.

    Often times at parties it does not take too long before I step away from the group. Find myself in the kitchen doing something, or in another room looking at the books in the bookshelf. There are so many dynamics in a group going on. I can focus on each person picking up various signals from each most likely do not know that they send out. In a sense it is as I have somekind of psychic perception on what is going on around me. But I just think that I am highly sensitive to energy and what goes on.
    For me it is a rich inner life that does not show as strongly on the outside. I can be outgoing but most of the times I am one of the quiet ones sitting and listening. Feeling in noticing when I want to contribute a thought or share an idea into the group. It really depends on how comfortable I feel relating to the people I am around.

  • Rob Powys-Smith

    Big TQ to Simon Mayo [a Radio 5 Live legend] for alerting me to this absolutely fantastic website, which is both fascinating and intriguing in turns. I am an extremely self-contained person, but am only a midline introvert (i.e. not in preference). My wife (an extravert) is full on and tells it like it is (calls a spade a spade), irrespective of the emotional collateral damage caused (by her insensitivity, at times). Yet, I could not contemplate living with an introvert, because I will weigh-up each word precisely in the order I want it to come out of my mouth, quite often holding entirely fantastical conversations in my head based on a couple of pre-prepared sentences I wanted to deliver (that I deem would have maximum effect). By that token, I remain a ‘really quiet’ person, but actually inside my brain there is a shower of entirely virtual/illusory conversations, most of which I find interesting and reasonably entertaining. And, yes, I process every stimuli around me because I consider each one a vital contributory factor in describing why a person I am with might be behaving in the way they are (yes, I am probably somewhere on the Autistic spectrum, Aspergers syndrome? who knows?).
    I laughed out loud at the brilliant illustration of an extravert and introvert at a party. There comes a moment, when I’ve given my all, grown unbelievably weary of superficial small talk, where I’m bored, I want out and actually, dare I say it, find my own company potentially more entertaining. I am sociable, but can be painfully solitary. Do I give a monkeys? Do I fight it any more (age: 43yrs)? Nope – it’s just the way I’m wired.

  • Nilesh

    Nice article like always, I am not so sure about the point 1, but sure I so agree with point 3 and 4, if given a choice I would rather spend time a book than a meeting more people. I so like the cartoon for point 2, I myself feels drained out after a big social gathering. Thank you again for sharing.

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  • Bre

    It feels so nice to be understood. As a graduating college senior I have interviews where I am forced to act extroverted and group projects, classes that grade participation, and a part time job. I am on campus from 9-9. I used to think I was a mistake or just being a whiner for needing to get home and unwind. But Im not weird!

  • Da Hu

    What great visuals! I showed my extraverted wife and she cracked up. I know opposites attract as we did 33 years ago, but time can take its toll on an introvert (like me) married to an extraverted southern lady. Has taken lots of work over the years for both of us but articles like these are written for extraverts to understand us and dashed with humor! Thanks for bringing smiles and laughter to both of us : )

  • I really enjoyed this article. Packed with great resources, short and clear explanations, and creative doodles. An awesome article and very well written. 🙂

  • leggomyeggo

    I feel that many experiences I have tend to be too rich to convey in words, at least right away. Many times when in a conversation, I’m trying to sort out what doesn’t describe it best for me, which can come across as indifference or some inability to to converse in general. Really, it’s just a long process of elimination going on.

  • CSHB

    Long term memory has always been strong with me. I never really understood why but as an introvert I’m figuring out more and more about myself all the time. I’m 50 now and it was only in the last 5 years I understood what an introvert(me) is. A coworker tossed it out one day. I had no idea and started researching and it was like BAM! I went 45 years thinking there was something wrong with me. Loved being alone. Never had many friends but if I did/do they are VERY close. My mom even took me to a child psych when I was 12 🙁 . Anyway I LOVE my long term memory. It gives me such an advantage over a lot of people. Love it!

  • Nakul

    this is nice to read. especially the last one. happens with me all the time

  • Eileen

    6 pictures . . . . 6,000 words? Marvelous depictions and heartwarmingly humorous too! Thanks

  • Linda M Au

    Susan Cain’s book was a complete epiphany for me (in my early 50s!). After taking the little Q&A at the beginning of her book, I realized I am more than 85% introverted. I’d never thought of this before, and SO many things fell into place that I started to weep with relief.

    THANK you to Ms. Cain for changing my life.

  • Teto85

    Thank you very much. Just what I needed today.

  • doroteaf

    not really joining the conversation here, just had to say… wow, to Liz and Mollie
    what an amazing article this is
    how can a writer depict a theme with so few words, and still totally get it?
    as for the drawings, I think they’re genius!
    not to mention how nice it feels to know there’s more people like me in the world
    take care you all

  • Scrubbysue

    I love this. You hit the nail on the head. I’ve printed this out to share with co-workers so they can understand me better.

  • Debby Derrick

    How can I stop all this internal dialog?

    • Andie

      Meditating won’t “stop” it, but may free things up somewhat.

  • Ronan

    Happened upon this yesterday and have reopened and reread it over 10 times. This explanation has been a revelation to me. It normalises my weirdness and makes me feel better about being me. While not fitting into society will never be easy at least I now know there’s nothing wrong with me. Thank you Liz Fosslien and Mollie West.

  • Gauri Maini

    I’d love to understand the basis for these conclusions. I am an INFP (unclear F/T) and my Saville Holdsworth personality type reveals a high need for change, low need for detail and low ambition, so I find myself taking risks without thinking things through, jumping with excitement about possibilities knowing that I will figure things out as we go along and then going “oh no!” when I uncover the details I had not thought through, knowing that we will work out things…. so not sure that it is as simple as just a preference for introversion / extroversion as a source of energy. If it were, we would have all understood ourselves perfectly just after doing a MBTI!

    • Sarah Flood

      I’m an INFP and I do have some impulsivity issues. I think that’s actually stemming from my tendency to overthink. I know I overthink, so I sort of short-circuit myself and force myself to be impulsive. Introverts can definitely be impulsive. I think the difference may be that we generally won’t drag others along with us.

      • sy212

        You are not overthinking, you are severely under thinking. Go back to school

  • Andy Anon

    What’s your opinion on the possibility of someone being both introverted and extroverted?

    And what do you believe causes/influences someone to be introverted of extroverted?

    • Sarah Flood

      Look up “ambivert”.

  • Lynn Sollitto

    I’m an introvert and process things best by reading them or writing them down (versus being told them or talking about them, at least initially). The note about introverts processing everything in their environment explains a lot; I can’t concentrate as well with noise in the background, I get easily overwhelmed with a lot of noise (three kids was probably two too many – haha). Interesting article.

  • Wonloong

    While the points in this entry does raise important things, let’s not be dismissive of the extroverts and plunk them down as “simple-minded” and “straight-forward” people. I think everyone exhibit these characteristics at one point in time or another, if not, most the time!

    I think sharing of others of what it means to be an introvert in a less condescending manner ought to be the way if we want to be effective in our communication. We want to win hearts while winning minds!

  • james davis

    If it takes introverts longer to process information why are they usually extremely sharp and witty?

  • Donald Shannon

    So, can one be both depending on the day and how one is feeling? Or is that schizoid?

    • Quiet Revolution

      Hi Donald, it’s best to think of extroversion and introversion as a spectrum and not a binary. If you’re curious, our personality test tells you where you are in the introvert-extrovert spectrum: http://www.quietrev.com/the-introvert-test. People who are both introverted and extroverted are also called ambiverts.

  • Bob Thompson

    Well, I would qualify “act like an introvert for five minutes” as the “give-and-take” that you mentioned. The author of the now-deleted comment posted his visceral response to the post when he clearly hadn’t read and absorbed the content. The author seemed to be loathsome of anyone remotely introverted, and I was merely pointing out that this was an example of when engaging with his introverted side — however small it is — would have served him well.

  • Ben Hankinson

    No. 6 is so true. I actually verbalize these conversations out loud, sometimes without realizing it. My boss used to come into the station I was working at to ask who I was talking to, then look around and swear he’d heard three voices.

  • This is such a clarifying piece — the cartoons in particular. Thanks for writing it! (And drawing it.)

    In my own writing about introverts, I’ve noted many times that what energizes me as an introvert tends to drain the typical extravert, and vice versa. Nos. 2 and 3 in this article help to illustrate why. The “Time Spent at Party” cartoon is dead-on perfect. Generally, there is way too much going on at parties and too little depth in the interactions and/or conversations. Not a bad thing or a good thing. Just a reality, which makes me lose my energy and enthusiasm. Fast.

    What I’d like to add, though, is that I truly enjoy being with other people. I like people, a lot. But the way I want to interact with people — one-on-one, generally, in a quiet atmosphere like a coffee shop, and having a meaningful conversation — just doesn’t lend itself well to the typical party. THAT’S why I don’t like parties, in other words. It’s not that I don’t like people, or parties per se; it’s that I like interacting with people in a way and in a setting that is almost the total opposite of what you get in a party situation.

    Thanks again for the article!

    • Momo

      A party doesn’t offer meaningful interaction. One on one is much more satisfying and you actually can pay attention to and learn about the other person. A party is just random talking about nothing and is chaotic.

  • Gadfly156

    I don’t think I’m either one, actually.

  • Heidi

    Five and Six fit me perfectly. Even in the middle of a conversation, thoughts are running through my head….fragments of something I read or did before that fit. Maybe that’s the reason why I’m always coming up with songs to match bits of conversation hahahaha….

    and of course, the party one. shudder.

  • Nick

    This piece is quite offensive towards extraverts, comparing us to dogs?

    I’m not going to waste more time commenting on what is obviously a bullshit fluff piece meant to cause controversy.

    • Tom

      Dogs aren’t better or worse than cats, they’re just different! You shouldn’t be insulted about being compared to a dog.

      And contrary to common belief, dogs are the smarter of the two.

  • Stephanie

    Yep, this sounds about right. That last illustration is me to a T. My inner monologue just won’t shut up.

  • Ramirez Akodenzi

    This article just describes me perfectly. Esp on the pleasure I get from internalizing.. I only have problems letting people know I just don’t like attention and the know-it-alls… I love logic anyways so I like dancing in styles no one around me will understand.. 😎

  • Vix

    Great article – Thank you ?

  • Andrea

    Love this. Well done!

  • M2

    Wonderfully explained and great drawings to complement the piece. Thank you for this validating article!!

  • malsum

    As an introvert, I kinda agree on all of the points. Except that I don’t like the way it is described. It’s like it is an introvert view, described in an dxtrovert persons vocabulary and viewpoint.

  • Bethany

    Most introverts routinely experience pressure to be something they aren’t, either from family and friends who don’t understand or out of a personal desire to be more extroverted. Do extroverts ever feel pressure to be more introverted? Or, based on one of the comments below, is it a larger problem for them to feel like some would say extroverts are inferior to introverts? I’m an INTJ and I know I have to be careful not to sound condescending or to be frustrated when people don’t meet expectations I have that, honestly, I don’t even meet! I guess, in the end, we all have insecurities that we face and sometimes a desire to be our version of “perfect.”

    • Nick

      ENFP. I personally am quite offended by the contents of this piece.

      And no, I don’t feel the need to be more introverted at all, I am who I am and you either take it or leave it.

      I have learned to restrain myself around introverted people, I’m a pretty hands-on sociable guy and have no trouble stepping up to total strangers and striking up a conversation, but over time I have learned that not everybody is as comfortable doing this as me.

      So whenever I notice someone gets a bit flustered by my engaging them I’ll back off and give them their space.

      I don’t feel inferior to anyone, I get things done, I tell everyone exactly what is bothering me and I expect the same from the people that interact with me.

    • MK2

      Well no, the American culture is an extroverted ideal. We’re starting to bring awareness to introverts, but there’s clearly no pressure for extroverts to be introverted as there is the other way around.

      • RLS

        Extroversion is definitely the ideal I think especially if one is a teen / adolescent in the US.

    • Larry Earnhart


      I find resonance with your post. I’m an INTJ as well. I’m happy with my inner world except when it intersects with the extroverted society we live in. I’ve found I often have to masquerade as an extrovert to make my way and that I have to be very careful to mask my intellectual side or come across as condescending or a braggart. I also have high inner expectations of myself and it spills over into the expectations I have of others – usually to the detriment of our relationships.

    • Mary Lyons

      No.. Honestly, no. As an extrovert I never feel pressure to be more introverted. I think we’re more likely to feel rejected and. shut down by introverts in our expressions of personality, overtures of relationship, or our verbal processing of the world. If our sense of self and identity are not well developed I think this is more likely to happen. As I’ve grown more confident in who I am over the last 15 years that has also led me to be more aware of and sensitive to the needs of introverts and not to feel shut down but understand that I am taking energy when I expect them to be able to listen or engage as I always prefer to do and that energy is a limited resource for them.. I think as we all grow in who we are we can allow freedom of expression for the “other” and to give room for it .

      • Momo

        So you have to constantly talk about everything in order to experience it but no one ever tells you you talk too much or should be more quiet and thoughtful?

        Also quiet people are seen as more suspicious because they’re not constantly blathering about every little thing. People seem scared of that. It’s the quiet ones, they say. Like there’s something wrong with thinking instead of talking.

      • Bethany

        I love this discussion! I tend to gravitate toward friends who are introverts, so I haven’t really had an extrovert tell me what it’s like to be friends with an introvert. We all need to be understanding of each other’s needs and differences.

    • Rebecca H.

      As a fellow INTJ:
      For me, one thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve become more confident with approaching people and public interactions in recent years, to the point where some people are surprised to find out that I’m an introvert. However, I think this is probably just a matter of forcing myself to live up to the same expectations that I place on everyone else when it comes to competent social interaction and communication! If I would hate to be on the receiving end of an awkward or dull conversation, I sure as hell don’t want to be the facilitator of such!

      • Bethany

        Same thing here. I enjoy teaching and leading groups, so people are shocked when I tell them I’m an introvert. I’m very friendly, so once I’ve had the opportunity to talk with someone (that first conversation is painful sometimes), I’m good to go. But, put me in a group of people who are engrossed in small talk and I just want to run for the hills.

        • RLS

          This is so accurate. I teach college and must have positive interactions, appear warm, make eye contact, initiate conversations. But networking events, receptions, mixers, etc. UGH I literally stand there and have no clue how to proceed esp. if I am rolling solo. Small talk is the worst.

    • E J

      The two most rare types are INTJ females and INFJ males, at about 0.5% of the population each. INTJs as a whole are often faulted for appearing condescending and holding others (as well as themselves) to an extremely high standard. So add being a woman to that, and often having to deal with a default judgement of being “bossy” or “b*&*^y” anyway, just for having an opinion. It’s no wonder we have to be careful, especially with the ESFs! But I’d say those specific couple things are more of issue with INTJs, rather than a general introvert issue.

      • Kaylah W

        I’m a 19 yr old INTJ female and I offend almost everyone with no intention of doing so. I think we intimidate people but that’s not much of an issue for me, just less bs I have to deal with from others.

      • Rio Shayne

        I am also an INTJ female and am often misunderstood, especially by ESF’s (many of which are family members) which makes it difficult. I have lost friends due to them taking something I said the wrong way. Growing up was difficult with two extrovert parents, pressuring me to be more social and smile more. I often felt like a freak because I chose to stay in my room and read. Learning about personality types and the difference between introverts and extroverts has helped me understand myself better.

      • artisanr

        I’m an INTJ female, and, honestly we don’t even have to say a word to offend people, I’ve had people be afraid of the way I look when I’m thinking!!

        • compguy83

          No one is “afraid” of INTJs. INTJs just never seem to be able to articulate themselves in a way that isn’t extremely off-putting. As though social etiquette is something they decided was beneath them so they never learned it.

    • Indyhere

      @Bethany: “Do extroverts ever feel pressure to be more introverted?”
      You better believe it. I’m an ENFP with a 100% on the E scale (I’m not quite sure how I managed that). But I’m also a computer programmer. I can’t tell you how many weeks on end I get stuffed into a cubicle to collect dust and write code. Luckily I love writing code and I’m good at it, but I have to anthropomorphize my computer in order to make it through a day. I’m overjoyous when I get invited to meetings but those are rare. Luckily when I get out of work, I can close the door behind me and let my extroverted flag fly. 🙂 But even then, my introverted friends quip at me to “Stop being so energetic”. Luckily I’m also fairly oblivious to that (which probably also annoys them). But hey… life is good! 🙂

      • Bethany

        Regardless of our “letters,” we all need to be happy with who we are, find ways to “survive” if our life is less than accommodating, not letting others pressure us to be something we’re not, and do the same for those around us. I know a few 100% E people – I envy their energy! But … then I’m happy to go find a corner to sit and enjoy my own company. Isn’t good that we’re all different? If we weren’t then we would only need one of us!!

      • Flyontheshelf

        Thanks for sharing Indyhere. As one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, I would absolutely love your job! I started studying computer programming but didn’t finish and now I live miserably in an “outie’s world” that you would love, lol.

        • Indyhere

          @FlyOnTheShelf: Oh my… “miserably”… that *is* sad.
          I have friends that love being miserable and prefer to embrace their misery. (Which is fine if that works for them.) But for those who are miserable and just don’t know how to mitigate it, it can become very burdensome. I know I could go down the rabbit hole of being miserable at being isolated in my job… but I choose not to. I find ways to perk myself up and enjoy my job… even if it doesn’t suit my Extroverted preferences. And the same can be done for introverts stuck in an “outie’s world”. The key is to not “fight” against the outies energy, but to deflect it. You will find many outies can be deflected away by “tactically redirecting” them. You can equate it to telling a golden retriever to “go fetch”. It’ll buy you a few moments of solitude until they come bounding back. Once you perfect the technique, you can gain multiple instances of “alone time” to recharge your batteries before having to dive back in again. Making it into a game can reduce the “misery” of it all and if you have the right mindset (and get enough “breaks”) it can even become fun. Best wishes for the path you choose. 🙂

      • ltd_sleeper

        Absolutely, I am an extrovert and I feel like I talk too much. I often say out loud what everyone is thinking and then feel bad for saying the the thing. I feel like I always need to hobble my mouth or it will run away.

    • bagpipe_mouse

      I’m an ENFJ. wouldn’t say I feel pressured to be more introverted, but I definitely get irritated at the occasionally arrogant or superior tone the “introvert manifestos” sometimes take. It’s ironic that some introverts don’t like being called shy, awkward, or misanthropic, but some have no compunction about calling extroverts vampires, shallow, or self-promoting. And there’s also a strain that says introverts understand extroverts because our actions are so visible. To me, that’s like saying you’re qualified to be a race car designer or pit crew chief because you’ve watched NASCAR on TV. Just because you see the outward actions doesn’t mean you understand how they came to be.

      My hubby is an INTJ, and I’m an ENFJ. We’ve gotten a lot out of reading the Myers-Briggs descriptions of our own and the other’s personality type. One illustration I’ve given him about what it’s like being an extrovert is that we’re bats or dolphins. We echolocate. We send things out into the world, and form a picture by what bounces back to us. I’ve had to understand that he needs to process info internally. So, he helps me by listening to my thoughts and confirming what he’s heard. Then he’ll often say, “let me digest that, and I’ll get back to you with some ideas.” And I give him that time. He’s also had to learn that I don’t read minds. If he’s had an overstimulating day, he’ll come home and withdraw into himself. He’ll get snappish from interactions with me. I’ve had to ask him if I did something wrong. And he’s had to learn that just because he’s overstimulated and needs time alone, that doesn’t absolve him from basic courtesy. Now, when he needs to “cave up” he tells me, and I give him that space, but he makes the effort to be positive when he does interact with me.

    • Nope. They’re the howler monkey mobs who pressure and bully introverts.

  • Bill Wright

    And as a follow-on to Rachel’s comment, we do all that stuff even better with a cup of very strong black coffee, a fountain pen and a journal pad to draw illegible pictures of our ideas on the subject…

  • Christian Baker

    Dear Introverts,

    We don’t care, we’re having fun and enjoying other people’s company while you’re making guides to make yourself feel smarter or more thoughtful than extroverts. If you don’t like large gatherings, avoid them, don’t attend only to be uncomfortable and make fun of those that are capable of having fun in such a setting. Also, it’s simply not up to extroverts to change their behavior to accommodate you, any more than you should have to change your behavior to accommodate us. If you feel a guide is necessary, than make one for introverts to use when they venture into public gatherings, extroverts already know how to handle these situations, we don’t need a guide on how to enjoy ourselves. If you want to join the fun, maybe you get a guide book.

    • sthildawasafeminist

      Public spaces are for everyone. Schools and universities and workplaces are for everyone. We can’t not attend and it’s not unreasonable that schools and colleges and workplaces should think about our needs.

    • Katy

      Hi Christian,

      If you’ve actually read the post, you’ll see that it shows both the extrovert and the introvert point of view and has nothing to do with an expectation that one group of people make any special accommodations for the other.

      For a little contextual and situational awareness: The Quiet Revolution, where this is posted, is a website specifically geared toward introverts, or non-introverts wanting to have a better understanding of people who see the world a little differently than themselves.

      Therefore, if articles that discuss the differences of introverts and extroverts frustrate you, you may be looking in the wrong place.

      The good news for you is you don’t have to read these articles or visit the Quiet Rev. site if you don’t care. They aren’t for you anyways. 🙂

      • Bob Thompson

        It’s incredible how eager some extroverts are to dismiss introverts’ points-of-view and lecture us with the same nonsense we’ve heard 1,000 times.

        • Katy

          I do believe the ultimate goal of the introvert/extrovert conversation is not to divide, but rather to unite as we learn, understand, and accept our differences.

          Unfortunately, we’ve been groomed to believe that “different than me” is equal to “threat to self”, so we tend to turn things such as our differences into competition or feel a need to become defensive rather than introspective.

          The beauty is our differences can balance each other out if we allow them to, and then we all have the potential to complement each other with our differences rather than needing to knock each other down with them.

          But we (introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between) have to be willing to a) accept ourselves for who we are and b) be willing to step outside of ourselves and try to see things from the perspectives of our peers so we can accept, understand, and empathize with each other.

        • Nick

          It’s incredible how some introverts seem to think that just because we actually speak up about things extraverts automatically dismiss their point of view.

        • Momo

          They are incredibly eager, one would even think compelled to literally silence everyone by dominating with their own thoughts and pronouncements which just goes against their assertion that they want us to talk more. No, they don’t. THEY want to talk more and they want us to make them feel good about their own talking. They want a mirror, that’s all.

      • Nick

        No, this piece is heavily lobsided towards introverts.

        The fact that you had the audacity to depict extraverts as mindless dogs with no inner monologue, that never read books or are submersed in their own thoughts just goes to show this.

        It’s quite sad really.

    • Anti-Idiot

      I think you miss the point, the boat or w/e analogy you prefer. If an introvert is out with friends and those friends are extroverts then inevitably the question of “why are you so quiet?” “why do you want to leave ALREADY??” etc etc come up.

      These are because people like to live in their own bubbles, not a bad thing. As introverts generally KNOW how extroverts are and to be friends with them make concessions with the intent of not over committing (ie accepting coming to a friends party but intending on not staying overly long). But they find that their extrovert friends do not have the same understanding of how the introverts operate, hence things like this get created.

    • Bob Thompson

      No, obviously you do care, or you wouldn’t have taken such offense and bothered to come here and post. Nowhere in the post does it say or imply that “extroverts [need] to charge their behavior to accommodate you.” The post is merely presenting an opportunity for extroverts to learn how introverts tick. Given that introverts are 50 percent of the population, you need to learn how to deal with them and are only hurting yourself by dismissing the opportunity.

      Perhaps instead of constructing a straw man to argue with, you’d be better served by acting like an introvert for five minutes and reflecting on what the post actually says.

    • Mildred

      People who don’t care don’t comment. You obviously care. Sorry you felt personally attacked. Hope you feel better soon.

  • Rachel Meyer

    But actually, for the extravert, it’s more like stimulus goes in, then we give a quick reaction, then we talk about it, then it’s processed by the brain. It can’t really be processed until we talk about it or respond to it.

    • Ethan Tarr

      How do you talk about something BEFORE it’s processed by your brain?

      • bondsbw

        I don’t know, but this perfectly describes my mother-in-law.

      • Sheri

        It’s not that it’s talked about befoer being completely processed, it’s that it must be talked about to BE processed. It’s a crucial part of processing and understanding an experience.
        For an example of the difference, when my kids and I see a sunrise (or eat ice cream, or anything else, really) my daughter must talk about it to process and enjoy it – to be in the moment. My son and I need quiet to be able to process and enjoy it. It is frustrating. So either we ask her to stop talking, thus inhibiting her experience, or else she talks her way through it and we don’t get to experience it. Can’t tell you how many meals or ice cream flavors I could not even taste because my daughter was talking through them. Luckily, I have a husband who is not extreme extro or intro who intercedes when he can and diverts the talker so she can exuberantly share and thus experience, while my son and I get to take a breath and process and take in the experience.

        • Mary Lyons

          Yes, exactly! To process information IS to dialogue about it. My husband and I are both extroverts and I so love that we never run out of things to “process”!!

      • i think what she means is most of us suffer from “speak before we think”. which i didn’t realize made sense, but it makes sense. and possibly why people think we’re insensitive xD

        • pgobrien

          It’s not really speaking before you think. There’s a LOT of thinking going on in the background. But it is PROCESSING out loud — verbalizing and refining the thoughts as they’re spoken (or written). Actually, when talking to other thinking people, it can be a very dynamic way to come to better conclusions about things.

      • Ralph Belton

        That’s exactly what extroverts tend to do. There is a reaction and then they process. It baffles me as an introvert. I can’t do it. I make huge mistakes when I try to do that.

      • Steve GeeWhizz

        Politicians do it all the time.

      • DocsWife

        LOL! Thank you for your comment! -Natural born introvert

      • K.T.-Lee

        It’s weighing up the pros, cons and what-ifs first!

      • an introvert will never understand

      • ladyglandon

        Exactly — that is a major difference — Extroverts process “out” — Introverts “in”

        • Abhinav Thakur

          Everyone processes in. If speaking something helps you, what is happening is you are taking longer to actually process it. You are waiting to hear yourself say it, and then based on hearing these thoughts, you process it within. An introvert usually does not need to speak out loudly to hear their own thoughts. That’s the difference I guess.

      • Benny Russell

        Perfect example of mindless dribble

      • Ever watch Donald Trump?

      • KathleenWagner

        I know people who do that all the time. In fact, a lot of what I hear outside my family has clearly never made it through any neural analysis at all.

    • Robin Salario

      Depends also if your an N or an S. I am ISFP, and ambivert.

    • Heidi

      I had a friend who was this way. but it can be a weakness, as it was with her. She would get going on some topic at the dinner table, so that her whole family knew everything, in detail, that was bothering her…more than once, her son would know things that I REALLY didn’t want anyone else to know…with his own opinions of this or that which I considered kind of personal. It was bothersome to me, that she did this. It felt like gossip and I didn’t like it.

      But that’s exactly what she told me when I called her on it. “Well, I can’t decide on things without talking about them, It’s just how I think things through” whew…

    • Deana Weibel-Swanson

      One analogy that works for how I think (mild extravert, but definitely an extravert) is that processing a thought is like trying to guess what’s inside a bag. Introverts can feel the object through the bag – they keep their idea in their head and can identify it while it’s still “hidden”. I have to take it out of the bag and see it before I even know what it is. I frequently don’t know what I think about something until I articulate it. Talking about it IS thinking about it.

      • aperrigo

        Had an English prof who told us that if you couldn’t articulate a thought, you didn’t HAVE that thought. She was no doubt an introvert!

        • Ylva Lindberg

          But then, what is all these things going around in my brain that I can not articulate?

          • Mark S

            Well said!

          • Andie

            Not thoughts. Perhaps sensations or emotions.

          • Ylva Lindberg

            I feel this is very much a semantic question.

        • Mark S

          Wow. What a thought (no pun intended). I, for one, would have to disagree with that English professor. Just because something is not evident or articulated to others does not mean that it does not exist. The existence of thought does not depend on it being perceived outside of the one who thinks. If that were the case then what is the meaning of choice? To choose is to deliberate (think a thought) in one’s mind between two or more paths. If, according to this English professor, a thought does not exist unless articulated, then the other thoughts competing with the one chosen did not exist. That leaves only one path of true existence, and consequently, no choice at all. (Thanks to others for their ‘articulated’ thoughts. : )

          • Andie

            But maybe it only has to be “articulated” internally, or articulated to ones self eg in the medium of thought-as-language.

          • Abhinav Thakur

            In fairness to the professor, she is only talking about being able to articulate the thought, not necessarily doing it. Hence according to the Professor, you do not have to articulate every thought, but you have thought a thought, you should be able to articulate it if need be. I don’t agree with the Prof personally, but what she said seems deeper than what you seem to have perceived.

          • andrea

            The professor never said it doesn’t exist, he said if you can’t articulate it, it doesn’t exist. Now it might take a week to put the thought into words, because you articulate poorly.
            i.e. being on the lake ……….majestic, tranquil, how do I describe this, what are the feelings, I am at a loss to describe, overwhelming peace??? (oops I am articulating)

        • Abhinav Thakur

          Your English Professor seems to have been wrong on many levels. People can have vague thoughts that are difficult to articulate. When one is in the middle of a peaceful lake, for example, one does not have to say to oneself that the scenery is majestic, nonetheless the thought of the majesty has already occurred. Sometimes thoughts can be difficult to articulate due to limitations of language and vocabulary.
          In non-dual philosophies however, thought need not occur at all, there need only be an experience. This is because there is no concrete thinker of thoughts. There is only a field of consciousness which can exist independently devoid of thoughts.

          • They can have such “vague thoughts”, but they’re proles.

          • Paul Kirker

            For myself sometimes it’s the the old I know what I want to say but not sure how I want to say it.

          • Jody Murch

            And part of planning how to say it, involves imagining how the other oerson (s) in the conversation might feel about what you have to say. After all, they have feelings, too. . .

          • nimrod funk


        • Harry van der Velde

          This to me is an interesting thread about the definition of the word ´thought´.
          I would say that we have all kind of preverbal thoughts, as others have already mentioned. But in order to consciously communicate – with ourselves or with others – and process the thought, it firstly needs a name, label, location, adress or boundary of some sort… Then language is a great way to grasp it. (Also less obvious ones such as music or visuals, as this article nicely illustrates.)
          That said, I still do not know excatly what consitutues a thought….

        • Or, maybe, just not the kind of drooling zombie that is targeted by most political campaigns.

        • gordon smith

          she was probably trying to teach you to write

        • Cygnifier

          Very likely the English prof was trying to get students to get their ideas down explicitly on paper not, as some of the folks here assume, establishing a philosophy of ideas. I say something similar to students: “I assume that what you write down represents your understanding of the material. If I don’t see it, I have to assume you aren’t thinking it.” This is a very practical approach to the reality of grading essay exams and papers where the ideas have to be out there to be seen or, for the purposes of the assignment, they don’t exist. One goal of the writing process then is to help the students get those ideas out there and in a fuller way than their personality preferences might direct them. Extraverts will get them out there in a different way than the introverts, but for writing-based classes (and professions), the ideas have to get out there and on paper. (Note I am most definitely an introvert, so there tends to be far more ideas than time.)

        • BigGaySteve

          I once tried to use a billiards analogy that an 8yo relative could understand to explain to a black with a high school diploma that broke the HIPAA law telling people a week old x-ray “proved cops be lying”, that bullets move around the body, in that someone shot with an entrance wound in the shoulder could have the bullet end up in his leg. Was my inability to articulate the thought proof I didn’t have it?

        • Kris

          I disagree both with the English Prof and the Philosophers mentioned here. Language is merely one of many methods for interpretation of thoughts. To suggest you need to put it into words is to deny agency to anyone who thinks differently or experiences life in ways other than through language. Do these philosophers seriously think a deaf person is devoid of thought until they learn to read? Do these philosophers wish to deny a deaf and blind person agency and ‘thoughts’ just because they were too limited to consider dimensions beyond their own? I think in images, sounds, music, words, colours,events played out, stories without words – like silent moving images… these are all thoughts. They are ponderings. They are not vague (at least, no more vague than words). They are not urges or impulses. They are not feelings. They are concrete thoughts that can be articulated in many ways, including: words, painting, dance, music, touch, cooking, playing, mathematics… goodness, the means are unlimited, so too are thoughts.

      • pgobrien


      • This is really interesting. I’m very much an introvert, and I do sometimes need to articulate what I’m thinking to really get a handle on it, too, but I can’t do that by talking – I do it by writing. But I guess it’s still more of an inward-focused process? I rarely share that writing with anyone. I wonder if that’s something different than other introverts and if there’s a name for it?

        I guess I can sometimes talk things out with like that is my husband (also an introvert), but he’s the only one, and those conversations often take weeks as we mull over our previous discussions, think of new insights or perspectives, and then bounce them off each other.

        • Charmaine Kruger

          that’s exactly what I do too – if I write stuff down that’s worrying me I can get it out of my head, i write down pros and cons in order to make difficult decisions. the rest of the time I discuss things with myself inside my head

          • lee pat

            A true copy of me hahaah

        • Madelyn

          I’m very much an introvert, too. However, I’m learning to take the risks of processing thoughts with people other than close friends.

          • yukari yuzuki


        • XILA

          I’m extremely introverted and I’ve tried writing things down like you do but the ideas always moved to fast. I’d get through the first paragraph and I’d (my inner dialog would) already be at the result. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, I’m more able to write ideas down to explain the thought process to someone else.

          • you can try recording yourself. I also have a really fast thought process. I have found that it feels as if i am talking to myself, and the first time will feel weird, but the ideas start flowing naturally after a while 🙂

          • redwildorchid

            Yes! Lol I didn’t know anyone else did this. I call it a video diary. It’s helpful for me in practicing my communication skills. As long as I keep the inner critic quiet, watching the recording is surprisingly benificial for discovering areas for improvement, like projecting, not mumbling, posture etc, along with helping clarify my ideas the way journaling does. 🙂

          • disqus_3XFXDBlyhV

            I can’t write as fast as my thoughts so I type instead, as I type faster than I write and can therefore keep up with my thoughts.

        • Mark H. Rosengarten

          I work through my thoughts by talking them out, but to myself.

          • Doug Lais

            I pace the house, talking ideas out subvocally, but talking as if explaining something to someone else. I ask myself questions, and try to provide answers. Unfortunately, I’m the only judge of what’s right or wrong, but I trust myself to be right most of the time. Sometimes I then check my thoughts with my wife, or I try my line of reasoning out on facebook. Almost every time I do that, I am surprised by somrthing I never thought of. Working in groups is like opening up a door into a much larger world.

        • William West

          I’m extremely introverted and can totally relate to your need to write to articulate ideas.

        • Jaden Wilson

          YES. I feel as if writing clears my cognitive pathways from all my extra thoughts and really helps me to break down what I’m attempting to understand. But a lot of the time, my mind works much faster than my hands haha. That is when I switch to typing (even though I find much joy in writing in my handwriting).

        • Little Black bear

          The word your looking for is introspection

        • Truth.
          Same happens to me …
          I am also introspective, but I consider introspection a blessing …
          Much of me comes from this trait.

        • Yağmur Aydın

          I do the same, I enjoy writing… By writing, I clear my mind more… I can perfectly understand what you mean. We need to think about some issues, and we need time to think about them, mostly. I also refrain from talking if I think that talking with someone will make me feel sad, so sometimes prefer to write -for communication, but mostly I write by myself to decide on something.

        • J Smith

          “I guess I can sometimes talk things out with like that is my husband (also an introvert), but he’s the only one, and those conversations often take weeks as we mull over our previous discussions, think of new insights or perspectives, and then bounce them off each other.”

          That sounds wonderful.

        • lee pat

          This happens to me in most cases i put down my thoughts on paper and feel an inward satisfaction when interacting with myself than someone else

        • Keri Black

          I’m an introvert. And I often think aloud. Unfortunately other people think the conversation is with THEM. It is with myself and I am usually just mulling things over, holding ideas up to the light. So when I go ahead and do exactly as I decide at the end, it’s often a surprise to other people if they haven’t been privy to my conclusions or decisions. Usually it’s “no, I don’t want to go out.” LOL

      • Patherick

        Interesting. For me, thinking and talking are not only different, they are mutually incompatible. When I am trying to think, someone speaking to me so that I have to respond is like shattering glass with a hammer. I will need to rebuild the train of thought after the interruption. And also, for me, thinking is nothing like language. I do not have an “inner voice”, and indeed I find the idea very unintuitive: it feels to me like having an inner crossword puzzle. But I also think I am reasonably extrovert, so…?

        • andrea

          If someone is speaking and you are trying to think, then you aren’t 100% devoted to listening. Listen, mull it over, think, then respond. If more people did this communication would improve. Mindfulness

          • Heather Myers

            I don’t think that’s what he meant. I think he means when he’s already thinking and then someone interrupts with speaking.

      • PghMike4

        I’m definitely an introvert; I can easily get distracted by random thoughts given almost any stimulus. I find parties, or almost any group interaction, emotionally exhausting.

        That being said, when I have a difficult problem to solve, I can’t do it unless I verbalize my thoughts. I usually do this by taking walks in relatively deserted areas, where I won’t appear crazy, or on a bicycle, where no one will be close enough to notice that I’m talking to myself.

        About 20 years ago, I had a coworker into whose office I would wander, explain my problem, solve it, and then leave; eventually I noticed that he didn’t have to say *anything* for this to help me, and he noticed too, since he stopped even listening to what I was saying. If you’re reading this, yes, I mean you, Ted 🙂

        But I definitely agree with Deana — talking about it *is* thinking about it.

      • Lyn Rosenthal

        I’m definitely an extrovert, even though I can sometimes be relieved by cancelled plans, there’s no denying the fact that I am energized by being around people. That being said, I completely agree with you. Often times I can’t even plan out my day with simple tasks until I’ve talked myself through it out loud. If there’s a conflict between someone and myself, I have to talk it over with someone (Or aloud to myself) before I can process it and figure out how to react. Speaking out loud is how we process information. Sometimes I can’t articulate what I feel or observe until I’ve mulled it over out loud. To the outside observer it would appear that I speak to myself and mumble a lot!

        • Mel Black

          Which somehow makes you sound rather cute just from the way you explain yourself here. Me Likey!

      • skyfish

        THIS is very much the crux of it… it has do with sensing vs. feeling, or intuition vs. fact based observation.

        introverts often can glean the meaning from a situation or an encounter without much ‘evidence’ to go on… where extroverts are more grounded in the facts that can be shown and ordering them up to form a conclusion.

        its just different paths to the same thing, but we have evolved with both in play (or at odds) because that is the most robust form for the species to take.

    • Lynn Sollitto

      I call an extrovert friend of mine an external processor, which is exactly what you’re talking about.

    • Daniel Powell

      Absolutely! I work with a supervisor who is exactly like this. More than once a day, he will ask, “Can you help me with something?” I roll over on my office chair and spend the next ten minutes just sitting there, nodding, affirming his statements and really doing nothing useful, at least nothing useful as far as I feel. But I do so anyway, because he is often stuck until he can bounce his statements off of me.

      • PCH

        Wow, this is the first time I’ve heard this articulated in this way, and it explains away SO MUCH workplace frustration where some extraverts will waste my time in agenda-less meetings, babbling on about ideas they haven’t fully formulated, and I have nothing to add because I haven’t thought through their ideas before the meeting and am terrible at brainstorming/responding on the fly. So maybe it’s ok that they need to talk indiscriminately, and also OK that I end up replying via long email several hours later. THANK YOU for this insight!!

      • andrea

        Happens all the time at work. I let people bounce their ideas and occassionally ask a question (prompting more brainstroming)
        I on the other hand, write it down, mull it over, use diagrams, research, check and recheck then produce a (usually workable)solution- That is my preferred method…..let me get back to you.
        However it does not man I cannot bounce ideas quickly outloud, analyze, critique and run what if scenarios

    • Runtua

      you say “we”, introvert likes to do itself first

    • damn it!

      i guess they forgot one major part though.. im a goddamn introvert…
      … the introvertism leaves you feeling like Naruto when he was a kid:/ either we see others talking and yet we are in that corner…

  • Spot on!

  • Flor D.

    SO accurate! Thanks both of you!