Navigating the Labyrinth of Introverted and Extraverted Temperaments

Embark on a journey through the enthralling tapestry of personalities. Discover the intricate variations within the Blue, Gold, Green, and Orange temperaments, and learn the art of gracefully shifting between introversion and extraversion to foster meaningful connections.

Disclaimer: In this article as well as others written by my fellow personalitologists on the Internet, if we flip back and forth between the words extrAversion and extrOversion, please keep in mind that this little fifth character vowel movement is of no consequence. Both words are commonly used in today’s vernacular to describe the same phenomenon, although our Latin linguists would likely favor extraversion because of its ancient roots.

Ever been at a party and wondered why some folks are lighting up the room like human disco balls while others seem to be having deep soulful chats in the corner? Welcome to the age-old dance between introverts and extraverts. These charming differences are what makes our world so beautifully diverse. Today, we are going on a journey to uncover the mysteries and untangle the quirks of these two unique types. I’ll explain the qualities of extraversion and introversion in detail, and then look at each of the four temperaments and explore what their introverted and extraverted variants look like. But first, let me lead off with a brief, semi-boring history lesson. If you don’t like history, or don’t care, feel free to skip ahead.

A Brief History of Personality Types

Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, was instrumental in laying the foundation for the understanding of psychological or personality types, as well as being the father of analytical psychology. In the early 20th century, Jung identified eight aspects to someone’s personality: perceiving (P), judging (J), thinking (T), feeling (F), sensing (S), intuition (N), introversion (I), and extraversion (E). Some of these were more core or primary functions, others were auxiliary or secondary functions, and some are simply general attitudes.

When someone is strong in both perceiving and sensing, we could call them an SP or an Orange. If they are largely judging and sensing, they would be an SJ or a Gold. Blues are intuitive feelers (NF), and Greens are intuitive thinkers (NT). These are the four dominant temperaments or archetypes, as Jung might call them. By the same token, if we were to combine some of the remaining functions and attitudes, we could derive different temperaments, such as sensing feelers (SF), sensing thinkers (ST), intuitive judgers (NJ), or intuitive perceivers (NP), as well as introverted or extraverted variants of all these, making sixteen possible combinations in all.

This is precisely what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator does, with its 16 personality types: INTJ, INTP, ENTJ, ENTP, ISTJ, ESTJ, ISTP, ESTP, INFP, ENFP, INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, ENFP. The MBTI posits you on a continuum between four dichotomies: sensing vs. perceiving, thinking vs. feeling, judging vs. feeling, and introversion vs. extraversion. But in the MBTI framework it is impossible to be both intuitive feeling and intuitive thinking (Blue and Green), or sensory perceivers and sensory judgers (Orange and Gold), prohibiting overlapping or simultaneous preferences. Nor does it allow you to be 100% one aspect, or equally tied between two more more, or any other possible combinations. A few decades ago they came up with the notion of using an X to represent someone who is in the middle of those dichotomies, but this seems to complicate the theory and its application.

Which is why later researchers, such as David Keirsey, came up with the notion of focusing on the four dominant and most easily observed temperaments (SJ, SP, NF, NT). Furthermore, those four correlated nicely with other modern and ancient personality theories, so it held historical precedence. Others starting attributing metaphors, such as elements, body fluids, animals, mythical gods, forces of nature, compass directions, and colors (to name just a few) to the original four temperaments, as well as the other four temperaments (SF, ST, NJ, NP).

As a young student of psychology, believing that theoretically you could be a combination of one or more of these temperaments, and not necessarily all of them, I really enjoyed the metaphor of colors because it allows one to possess a unique color spectrum that represents all possible combinations, including those who tie on one or more aspects. Thus we each are very unique because even those who share the same first, second, third, and fourth colors can have different amounts of those colors in their own spectrum. Thus, everyone is as unique as a fingerprint, which both experience and logic bear witness to, rather than being pigeon-holed into four or 16 personality types.

And this led to the development of the Insight Personality Instrument, my first personality test that compares each temperament against every other temperament in a systematic way, where you compare each as it appears in a particular category. In my case, I chose ten categories: values, motivation, communication, work, supervision, recreation, childhood, youth, education, and love. But they could have been almost any other category where each temperament is fundamentally different from the others.

But if you’ve been paying attention to my combinatorial history of personality types, you may have noticed the absence of two of Jung’s eight aspects of personality: that of introversion and extraversion. Jung defined these as general attitudes or approaches to life. As we will discuss next, there are extraverted and introverted variations of each color in your spectrum, as well as the possibility of being an ambivert, which is someone smack dab in in the middle of both of those qualities.

“Extroverts sparkle, introverts glow. Extroverts are fireworks, introverts are a fire in the hearth.”

Defining Extraversion

According to Jung, extraverts are individuals who derive their energy from the external world. They feel invigorated among people, actively engaging in conversations and indulging in experiences. They are attuned to external stimuli and are animated by events around them. They are also gregarious and sociable, and have an innate capacity to adapt to social situations. They thrive in groups and often assume the role of leaders. For extraverts, reality is defined by external circumstances. They have a penchant for practicality and are less absorbed by inner thoughts. Their decisions and actions are often influenced by their environment.

Extraverts also display high levels of assertiveness and enthusiasm. They are more likely to take charge, voice opinions, and infuse energy into their surroundings. They are more open to taking risks and seek rewards. This attribute makes them excellent entrepreneurs. They are not averse to venturing into the unknown. On the other hand, if you have too much extraversion, you might be prone to excessive attention-seeking and impulsive behaviors.

The following chart explores 25 of the positive and negative attributes of extraverts.

Positive Strengths

  1. Sociable
  2. Energetic
  3. Assertive
  4. Outgoing
  5. Adaptable
  6. Spontaneous
  7. Enthusiastic
  8. Charismatic
  9. Engaging
  10. Expressive
  11. Action-oriented
  12. Motivating
  13. Vibrant
  14. Welcoming
  15. Risk-taker
  16. Broad network of acquaintances
  17. Stimulating
  18. Confident in unfamiliar settings
  19. Skilled at building rapport
  20. Optimistic
  21. Generous with praise
  22. Effective in large group communication
  23. Quick in decision making
  24. Inspires others through energy
  25. Thrives in collaborative environments

Negative Liabilities

  1. Can be overwhelming
  2. Sometimes talks too much
  3. May not listen carefully
  4. Acts without thinking
  5. Shares too much information
  6. Dominates conversations
  7. Makes impulsive decisions
  8. May not respect personal boundaries
  9. May struggle to spend time alone
  10. May jump from topic to topic
  11. Gets bored easily
  12. Too reliant on others for energy
  13. Can be seen as attention-seeking
  14. May neglect planning
  15. Forms relationships that lack depth
  16. May ask for too much help
  17. May overlook critical feedback
  18. May spread themselves too thin socially
  19. May lack routine
  20. Can be too outgoing for some
  21. May be too assertive
  22. Takes unnecessary risks
  23. May inadvertently monopolize group discussions
  24. May come across as superficial
  25. Can become too focused on external stimulation

“In an extroverted society, the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is that an introvert is often unconsciously deemed guilty until proven innocent.” ​

Defining Introversion

Introversion is a psychological trait that is often misunderstood and sometimes romanticized. According to Jung, introversion as a focus on one’s inner mental life. Introverts are people who tend to be preoccupied with their thoughts, emotions, and experiences rather than seeking out external stimuli. For introverts, energy comes from within. They tend to recharge by spending time alone and can find excessive social interactions draining. Jung believed that introverts often prefer depth in their thinking and relationships. They are likely to have a close circle of friends with whom they share meaningful connections.

While the distribution of the general population between extraverts and introverts is nearly balanced, it appears that society is generally biased toward extraverted traits (probably because they are more vocal), and this often leaves introverts feeling inadequate or pressured to conform. However, what would the world be like without the introverted qualities such as thoughtfulness and sensitivity? Many introverts are highly creative individuals and have a propensity for deep thought which can result in innovation and the ability to solve complex problems. Introverts are often capable of forming deep, meaningful connections, which can be incredibly fulfilling and beneficial for mental well-being.

The following chart explores 25 of the positive and negative attributes of introverts.

Positive Strengths

  1. Reflective
  2. Deep thinker
  3. Good listener
  4. Observant
  5. Self-sufficient
  6. Detail-oriented
  7. Thoughtful
  8. Focused
  9. Independent
  10. Cautious
  11. Analytical
  12. Loyal
  13. Appreciative of solitude
  14. Inquisitive
  15. Introspective
  16. Calm under pressure
  17. Cultivates deep relationships
  18. Appreciative of subtleties
  19. Values privacy
  20. Open to inner emotions
  21. Prudent
  22. Good at one-on-one communication
  23. Deliberate in decision making
  24. Sensitive to the needs of others
  25. Able to work for extended periods in concentration

Negative Liabilities

  1. May seem aloof
  2. Difficulty initiating conversations
  3. Can be too critical
  4. Overthinks
  5. Struggles to express feelings
  6. Avoids social gatherings
  7. Takes longer to make decisions
  8. Can be perceived as unfriendly
  9. Prefers isolation which can lead to loneliness
  10. Reluctant to share opinions
  11. Dislikes changes
  12. Can be too self-reliant
  13. May struggle with public speaking
  14. Tends to over-plan
  15. Struggles to form new relationships
  16. May not ask for help when needed
  17. Sensitive to criticism
  18. May neglect networking opportunities
  19. Can get stuck in routines
  20. Takes criticism personally
  21. Struggles with assertiveness
  22. Can be too cautious
  23. May not speak up in groups
  24. Can be viewed as distant or cold
  25. Can become overly absorbed in personal thoughts

“Introverts live in two worlds: We visit the world of people, but solitude and the inner world will always be our home.”

Introverted Blues
vs. Extraverted Blues

Ah, the magnificent world of Blues! Picture a calm sea, its waves gently kissing the shore. Now imagine a storm, the same sea dancing in furious, passionate waves. Both sceneries are captivating in their own way, just like our introverted and extraverted Blues. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the depths of the Blue sea of personalities.

The Gentle Whisper: Introverted Blues

  • Nurturing Solitude. Introverted Blues often find solace in their own company. Picture a kind soul, sipping a warm beverage tea by the window on a rainy day, immersed in thoughts of how to make the world a better place.
  • Deep Connections. While an introverted Blue might not be the life of the party, they excel in forming deep bonds. They’re the friend who knows your coffee order by heart, and who listens to your dreams at 3 AM.
  • Emotional Processing. They often need time to process their emotions. Like a delicate piece of art, their emotions are layered, and they take care to understand each hue.
  • Caution in Sharing. Picture them as a beautifully bound, old book. They don’t lay their pages open for everyone, but for those who take the time, the stories within are enriching.
  • Empathy. Introverted Blues are emotional sponges. They absorb the feelings of those around them and often go to great lengths to alleviate pain and bring joy.

The Roaring Wave: Extraverted Blues

  • Social Butterflies. Extraverted Blues are the human equivalent of a warm hug. They are vivacious, and their energy spreads like a sunbeam in a room.
  • Wide Circle. They love to connect with a variety of people. Imagine them at a gathering, sparking conversations, and leaving trails of laughter.
  • Expressive. They wear their hearts on their sleeves. Like an open book with vibrant illustrations, their emotions are on display for the world to see.
  • Immediate Emotional Responses. An extraverted Blue experiences emotions intensely and immediately. They’re like the wave that crashes with full force, without reservation.
  • Acts of Service. Their empathy often translates into acts of service. Whether it’s organizing fundraisers or gathering friends for a cause, they’re always at the forefront.

Painting the Canvas Together

  • Unified by Empathy. Both types share a heart for empathy. They are the healers, the nurturers, and the caretakers. While introverted Blues might send a thoughtful note, extraverted Blues will give you a bear hug.
  • Emotional Depths and Heights. Extraverted Blues show the world the height of their emotions, like the waves you can see. Introverted Blues have hidden depths, like the mysteries beneath the sea.
  • Connections. While introverted Blues excel in creating a close-knit tapestry of relationships, extraverted Blues weave a vibrant mosaic of connections.

Introverted and extraverted Blues are different, but they are bound by the same deep, loving current that runs through their souls. They are the whispers and the roars of the ocean, each vital in painting the beautiful canvas of humanity. In understanding and embracing these differences, we can appreciate the full spectrum of the beauty that the Blues bring into the world.

Introverted Golds
vs. Extraverted Golds

Imagine a sunlit meadow, bathed in golden hues. Within this landscape, two different kinds of flowers bloom — one nestled protectively among the tall grass, the other reaching eagerly toward the sun. Such is the exquisite tapestry woven by the introverted and extraverted Gold personalities.

The Steadfast Guardian: Introverted Golds

  • Reliable Anchors. Introverted Golds are akin to the sturdy oak tree that silently stands guard. They are the pillars on which others lean, often putting their own needs aside to ensure stability.
  • Quiet Dedication. Picture them working diligently behind the scenes. Whether it’s meticulously organizing an event or maintaining family traditions, they do so with unwavering commitment.
  • Thoughtful Decision Makers. Like a chess player contemplating their next move, Introverted Golds take time to analyze and make well-thought-out decisions. They consider the implications and value consistency.
  • Few, But Strong Bonds. They may not have a wide social circle, but the relationships they do maintain are as precious as heirlooms, passed through generations.
  • Guarded Emotion. Introverted Golds tend to keep their emotions under lock and key. Like a treasure chest, it’s only opened for the most trusted.

The Shining Beacon: Extraverted Golds

  • Community Builders. Extraverted Golds are the heralds who bring people together. Imagine a joyful gatherer, ringing the bell at the town square, inviting everyone for a community feast.
  • Eager Organizers. They are the first to raise their hand to lead a project, eagerly setting schedules, and ensuring everyone knows their part. They’re the conductors of an orchestra, ensuring harmony.
  • Quick Decision Makers. Decisive and action-oriented, an extraverted Gold is like the captain at the helm, steering the ship swiftly through the waves.
  • Wide Social Circle. They thrive in social settings, weaving an intricate network of relationships. They’re the hub in the wheel of connections.
  • Open Emotionality. They are open books, willing to share their joys, concerns, and hopes. Their emotions are like a hearth fire, welcoming and warm.

Threads of Gold

  • Driven by Duty. Both introverted and extraverted Golds are fueled by a sense of duty. The Introverted Gold might be the archivist, preserving history, while the extraverted Gold is the herald, proclaiming it.
  • Organizational Proclivity. Organization is second nature to both. While an Introverted Gold might meticulously organize their personal space, an extraverted Gold might organize community events.
  • Relationships and Community. Introverted Golds cultivate deep roots, while extraverted Golds spread wide branches. Together, they form the tree that shelters the community.

The introverted and extraverted Gold personalities, with their diverse attributes, create a glorious golden tapestry that binds communities and generations. Understanding and appreciating these differences is key to a richer, more harmonious world.

Introverted Greens
vs. Extraverted Greens

Imagine a mysterious, enchanted forest of ancient knowledge. Within its depths, a wise owl sits perched high, silently observing, while a lively and inquisitive monkey swings energetically through the trees. These creatures represent the intriguing diversity between introverted and extraverted Green personalities.

The Wise Owl: Introverted Greens

  • Deep Thinkers: Introverted Greens resemble the owl that retreats into the hollows of trees, engrossed in its own world. They delve into the realms of knowledge, seeking profound insights.
  • Selective Socializing. Like an owl that emerges in the silent night, introverted Greens prefer engaging with a few, chosen individuals with whom they can have meaningful conversations.
  • Independent Researchers. Imagine an alchemist toiling in solitude, unraveling the secrets of the universe. Introverted Greens often work alone, researching and analyzing to create a magnum opus.
  • Strategic Vision. Their minds are akin to a labyrinth, where strategies and long-term visions are carefully crafted.
  • Calm and Collected. Introverted Greens often have a serene exterior, like a placid lake hiding unknown depths.

The Inquisitive Monkey: Extraverted Greens

  • Eager Debaters. Picture the lively monkey, engaged in animated debates with fellow forest dwellers. Extraverted Greens enjoy intellectual sparring and sharing ideas.
  • Networkers of Knowledge. They actively seek out individuals and information, connecting the dots. Like a monkey hopping from branch to branch, they explore diverse areas of interest.
  • Collaborative Innovators. Extraverted Greens thrive on collaboration for innovation. Envision an inventor, who draws upon the expertise of different fields to create something revolutionary.
  • Adaptable Problem Solvers. They tackle challenges head-on and adapt swiftly to changing circumstances, akin to a monkey navigating through the forest canopy.
  • Expressive Enthusiasm. When an extraverted Green is passionate about something, their excitement is palpable, like a troop of monkeys chattering about a newfound treasure.

Entwined Roots

  • Quest for Knowledge. Both introverted and extraverted Greens are driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Whether through quiet study or energetic discussions, wisdom is their ultimate pursuit.
  • Innovative Minds. Creativity and innovation are at the core of Green personalities. Like intertwining vines, they grow, reach, and develop new ideas and solutions.
  • Rationality Reigns. Emotions are often filtered through a lens of logic and rationality for both. They resemble the ancient trees with deep roots of logic, swaying but seldom toppled by emotional winds.

In understanding the mysterious depth of the introverted Green and the lively expanse of the extraverted Green, we unlock the door to the enchanted forest of the Green personality. Through their innovation and wisdom, they hold the keys to boundless possibilities.

Introverted Oranges
vs. Extraverted Oranges

Picture a mesmerizing bonfire by the beach. There are those who dance wildly around it, and others who sit at a distance, tapping their feet and savoring the warmth. In this captivating scenario, we discover the essence of extraverted and introverted Orange personalities.

The Gentle Ember: Introverted Oranges

  • Subdued Spontaneity. Imagine a solitary figure, skillfully skimming stones on tranquil waters. Introverted Oranges may not dive headlong into activities, but they have a sense of spontaneity that gently dances on the surface.
  • Focused Pursuits. Much like an artist lost in the details of his painting, introverted Oranges immerse themselves in personal passions and hobbies.
  • Flexible Planners. Picture a resourceful traveler with a loose itinerary, willing to make impromptu stops. They tend to have plans but are comfortable deviating when something interesting catches their attention.
  • Quietly Confident. Like the allure of embers, there’s a quiet confidence and charm in introverted Oranges that draws people to them.
  • Selective Socializing. They are the person at a party who engages in one-on-one conversations, sharing jokes and stories with a chosen few.

The Flickering Flame: Extraverted Oranges

  • Exuberant Energy. Picture a flamenco dancer, alive with rhythm and grace. Extraverted Oranges possess an exuberant energy that spreads like wildfire.
  • Social Butterflies. Much like the life of the bonfire, extraverted Oranges are usually surrounded by people, drawing them into their whirlwind of excitement.
  • Thrill-Seekers. Imagine a daring adventurer scaling mountains and diving off cliffs. They crave new experiences and the adrenaline rush that comes with it.
  • Infectious Optimism. Their enthusiasm is infectious; they are the beaming sun that can turn a stormy day into an exciting adventure.
  • Versatile Adaptability. Like a flowing river that courses through different terrains, extraverted Oranges adapt effortlessly to varying situations and social settings.

Unified by the Fire

  • Action-Oriented. Both introverted and extraverted Oranges are characterized by their propensity for action. They’d rather leap than linger, whether in bold bounds or graceful strides.
  • Present-Focused. The flame doesn’t worry about the future; it dances in the now. Both types tend to focus on the present moment, relishing the sensations and experiences.
  • Skill Mastery. Be it a craft, a sport, or an art—Oranges tend to be skilled in what they love, often achieving a level of mastery through passion and practice.

Both the gentle ember and the flickering flame are part of the same mesmerizing bonfire. They represent the facets of Orange that make it so dynamic, lively, and unforgettably vibrant. Together, they light up the night with warmth, motion, and unadulterated zest for life.

Final Thoughts

Each of the four temperaments—Blue, Gold, Green, and Orange—don’t always receive energy from the same source, with variations ranging from introverted to extraverted. Understanding and acknowledging these variations is pivotal to fostering mutual respect and collaboration in any social setting. Recognizing that a Blue’s empathetic nature can be outwardly expressive or quietly introspective, or that an Orange’s spontaneity can manifest boisterously or in a more subdued manner, helps us to appreciate the diversity within the temperaments. Similarly, Gold’s dutiful nature and Green’s analytical mind can be articulated through both internal contemplation and external engagement.

As we become cognizant of the rich tapestry of personalities surrounding us, it is crucial to not only appreciate and validate the qualities of others but also to adapt our own behavior as situations demand. Developing a sense of situational awareness and practicing emotional intelligence can enable us to toggle between introversion and extraversion, allowing us to connect deeply with others while also sharing our insights and energy outwardly.

A good starting point for learning to shift between introversion and extraversion is by practicing mindfulness and being present in the moment. By doing so, we become attuned to the environment and the people around us, allowing us to calibrate our responses and engagement levels accordingly.

“Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it's a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk.”

Additional Reading

Bossom, I. R. L., & Zelenski, J. (2022). The impact of trait introversion-extraversion and identity on state authenticity: Debating the benefits of extraversion. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2022.104208

Gillespie, C., & Eysenck, M. (1980). Effects of introversion-extraversion on continuous recognition memory. doi: 10.3758/BF03334517

Ishibashi, M., & Doi, S. (n.d.). Effect of introversion-extraversion and mental task load on mental fatigue. doi: 10.5100/JJE.45.19

Ivantchev, N., & Stoyanova, S. (2021). Extraversion and neuroticism in relation to well-being: Do some social categories and personality traits modify the connections between them? doi: 10.37708/psyct.v14i2.550

Lei, X., Yang, T., & Wu, T. (2015). Functional neuroimaging of extraversion-introversion. doi: 10.1007/s12264-015-1565-1

Lv, M., Sun, Y., & Shi, B. (2022). Impact of introversion-extraversion personality traits on knowledge-sharing intention in online health communities: A multi-group analysis. doi: 10.3390/su15010417

Ponari, M., Trojano, L., Grossi, D., & Conson, M. (2013). Avoiding or approaching eyes: introversion/extraversion affects the gaze-cueing effect. doi: 10.1007/s10339-013-0559-z

Pratten, D. (n.d.). Retroversion, introversion, extraversion: Three aspects of african anthropology. doi: 10.4135/9781446201077.N22

Siripichitsupapol, P. (2021). The relationship between introversion, extraversion and statuses in cyberbullying among teenagers in Bangkok. doi: 10.47191/IJCSRR/V4-I5-01

Smith, J., Guimond, F.-A., Bergeron, J., St-Amand, J., Fitzpatrick, C., & Gagnon, M. (2021). Changes in students’ achievement motivation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: A function of extraversion/introversion? doi: 10.3390/EDUCSCI11010030

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