You may know that over 57% of the general population of the US identified as introverts in 2021, but did you know that there are different types of introvert personalities?
When the father of psychiatry Carl Jung developed the concepts of introverts versus extroverts in the early 1900s, he found several key traits that define an introvert:
- Prefer environments with as few stimuli as possible
- Alone time recharges them
- Socialising drains them
- More shy, contemplative, and reserved
Jung himself is known to be an extreme introvert. And for a long time, his theory that extroverts get energy from people while introverts get energy from solitude persisted.
That is, until future scientists debunked it.
Introverts are ‘differently social’
Being talkative and outgoing is often seen as an extrovert’s trait — but in a pair of studies published in the American Psychological Association’s PsycNet, researchers found both extroverts and introverts felt energised.
What they found was introverts liked alone time not because there’s nobody around, but because they’re independent and away from stimuli.
“Everybody draws energy from other people,” Susan Cain, the author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” said on the TED podcast, WorkLife.
“Introverts aren’t antisocial — just differently social!”
Introverts are different in this sense because they’re sensitive to stimuli. And when the stimuli last too long, it overloads introverts, thus draining them.
But beyond social battery and independence, there’s still so much more to introversion.
Introverts vs extroverts: Not as simple as many think
Introversion doesn’t exist in just one form, but several.
In a 2011 study, psychologists Jennifer Grimes, Jonathan Cheek and Julie Norem identified four types of introvert personalities: social, thinking, anxious and restrained.
As with any other form of self-introspection, identifying which one of the types of introvert personalities you are can help you move through life more informed.
That’s not to say, despite what the popular media likes to imply, that introverts need help or need to change who they are.
Being an introvert should not be seen as a disadvantage, in fact it is often seen as an advantage.
Despite the many stereotypes, introverts are often considered excellent leaders.
“I believe that introverted people can be excellent leaders,” says Artis Rozentals, CEO of DeskTime, on Forbes.
“And they don’t have to change their personality — it involves embracing qualities they’re naturally good at, such as analytic thinking and the ability to listen.
“These traits can contribute to a distinctive leadership style that effectively addresses the complex demands of today’s workplaces.”
Convinced? Now your next question would be: How do I know which types of introvert personalities suit me?
Types of introvert personalities: How do you know which one you are?
There are a series of quizzes for you to explore and discover more about your personality.
Start with NERIS Analytics’ Free Personality Test, which sorts you into one of 16 personalities.
This is an evolved and free variation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which many pay for because of the certification, consultation or coaching.
The 16 personalities test is perhaps one of the most rigorous and well-known which gets into the nitty-gritty of the way you think and navigate the world.
Over 933 million people have taken this test and 91.2% of the results rated as accurate or very accurate.
Be warned, this test requires investing a bit of time and thinking about your actions and feelings in a way you perhaps have never explored before.
However, if you find this too intense and would rather have a personality test that is simple and straightforward, try Buzzfeed’s Are You More Of An Introvert Or An Extrovert? quiz.
The TED Talks quiz by Adam Grant PhD — an organisational psychologist at Wharton, a number one New York Times bestselling author and the host of the TED podcast WorkLife — is another quick option.
Grant’s questions assess if you are an extrovert, introvert or ambivert (someone who is somewhere in between).
Now that you have confirmed your introvert (or ambivert) nature, its time to consider the different types of introvert personalities and where you fit.
If you need help identifying which one suits you, try these fun quizzes:
- What Kind Of Introvert Are You? by Buzzfeed News
- 4 Types of Introverts: Which One Are You? by Learning Mind
- What Kind of Introvert Are You? by Scientific American
- What Type Of Introvert Am I? by ProProfs
Like most things in life, there is spectrum that dictates types of introvert personalities. Identifying which one you fall under can help you figure out which degree choice is best for you.
5 types of introvert personalities and the best degrees for each
1. Social introvert
Social introverts are often misunderstood as shy and timid around big groups, but that’s not always true.
They find their energy and comfort in more intimate, one-on-one interactions or small group settings.
It’s not about avoiding people but rather thriving in a less bustling environment.
If you happen to be a social introvert, it just means that you prefer to only hang out with a number of people you are close to.
“This can certainly be a strength, as the well-grounded social introvert is often a quiet ‘rock’ in gatherings. And, a social introvert can be a comfort for those anxious or prefer to be in the background,” shares clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly.
According to research, about 25-40% of the population identifies as introverts.
For example, think about your friend who prefers quiet coffee shop chats over crowded parties or the coworker who shines during focused, one-on-one discussions but might feel drained after a day of back-to-back meetings.
These introverts often excel in careers that allow them to use their deep-thinking abilities. Jobs like writing or computer programming suit their preference for independent, thought-provoking tasks.
They might be the go-to problem solvers in the office or the ones that craft beautifully written reports.
If this is you, here are the best degrees you should consider pursuing:
- Computer science: These degrees can lead to careers in programming, web development, system administration, and cybersecurity. Computer-related fields often involve problem-solving, logical thinking, and working on projects independently or in small teams, making them suitable for introverts.
- Engineering: Various engineering disciplines, such as electrical, mechanical, or civil engineering, are well-suited for introverts. Engineers typically work on designing and solving technical problems and often work independently or in small groups.
- Writing or journalism: Introverts who enjoy writing can pursue degrees in these areas, leading to careers as writers, editors or content creators. Writing often involves working independently and using creativity to communicate ideas effectively.
2. Thinking introvert
If you are a thinking introvert, it’s natural for you to reflect and analyse deeply.
You’re always weighing the pros and cons before making important decisions.
If this is you, you’re not alone. Studies suggest that around one-third to one-half of the population identifies as introverts, with many falling into the thinking category.
Think about a well-known figure like Albert Einstein; his introspective thought experiments led to groundbreaking theories in physics.
Often called daydreamers, thinking introverts spend a lot of their time in their thoughts and tend to have creative imaginations. You enjoy reflecting on how you feel and often lose yourself in your dreamy imagination.
This introvert personality type is considered quiet-genius because they love hypothesising, creating, ideating and storytelling.
You often shine in fields that require attention to detail and in-depth analysis, like actuarial science where your logical thinking could lead to innovative solutions.
Don’t worry if you are a thinking introvert, there are plenty of degrees for you to choose from. Here are some examples:
- Philosophy: Philosophy studies fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, ethics, and reality. It encourages deep thinking, analysis, and contemplation, making it an ideal choice for thinking introverts.
- Actuarial science: Actuaries analyse and assess financial risks extensively using mathematical and statistical models. It’s a highly analytical field that appeals to those who enjoy rigorous thinking.
- History: History degrees involve in-depth research and analysis of past events, societies, and cultures. Introverts who enjoy deep thinking may thrive in this field.
3. Anxious introvert
As an anxious introvert, you move through life with a heightened awareness of anxiety.
If the thought of public speaking or networking events makes you want to run and hide, this is probably you.
But before you get anxious, don’t worry. This is very common among different types of introvert personalities.
In fact, anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health issues, affecting over 40 million adults in the US.
Anxious introverts isolate themselves to avoid the social spotlight. You feel awkward and painfully self-conscious around people as you may not be confident with your social skills.
On the bright side, you possess unique strengths that let you excel in environments that are structured and predictable.
Careers that allow for focused, solo work like programming, accounting or data analysis might be best suited for you.
Here are the best degrees you should consider pursuing if you are an anxious introvert:
- Psychology: Studying psychology can provide insight into anxiety disorders and effective coping strategies, which may be personally beneficial. This degree can lead to careers where you help others manage their anxiety.
- Mathematics or statistics: Math-related fields focus on logic and problem-solving, often allowing for solitary work on complex mathematical problems.
- Environmental science: Working in nature-related fields can be calming and conducive to reducing anxiety. Environmental scientists often spend time outdoors and in research settings, which may be less stressful for those who are anxious.
4. Restrained introvert
Next on the list of types of introvert personalities is the restricted introvert.
As a restricted introvert, you appreciate a structured and predictable environment, which can bring a sense of comfort and stability to your life.
You love routines, excel in tasks that require attention to detail, and prefer little disruptions.
You prefer to “think before you speak” and enjoy taking your time in the morning to warm up and gather your thoughts.
But this also means that you avoid spontaneous plans and deciding on the whim. These are not your vibe.
With people, you tend to be really guarded at first, but once someone breaks through your protective shell, you are much more comfortable and are able to put yourself out there.
“The restrained introvert often adds an element of common sense to discussions and activities. Their generally high level of reserve lends itself to balance the often-impetuous natures of true extroverts,” ” says Dr. Manly.
You do well in roles that offer a sense of order and precision. Jobs like accounting, where attention to detail is essential and are usually nine-to-five, might be an excellent fit for your restrained introverted nature.
Consider these degrees if you are a restrained introvert:
- Accounting: Accounting degrees involve working with financial data, auditing and financial analysis. It is a structured field that requires attention to detail and analytical skills, making it suitable for restrained introverts.
- Pharmacy: Pharmacy degrees prepare you for a career as a pharmacist, where you dispense medications, provide medication counselling and ensure the safe use of drugs. It’s a detail-oriented profession that involves limited social interaction.
- Library science: Library science degrees lead to careers as librarians, archivists, or information specialists. These roles involve managing and organising information resources in quiet, structured environments.