Most people have some idea of whether they are an introvert or an extrovert, but in my experience, most people don’t really understand what it means to be either. Most people simply think of extroverts as being outgoing and introverts as being shy. Although this can be true, the real distinction is in where each gets their energy from.
If you feel energized and excited by being around lots of people then you are likely an extrovert. Introverts in comparison are likely to feel overwhelmed or taxed by such situations and they need time by themselves to recharge.
I always think of an interaction I had with a friend of mine when I make this distinction. One day she wanted to go out dancing with me and some other friends. I had just finished attending an 8 hour training on couples therapy and wanted to go home and relax. As an extrovert she was genuinely confused and thought that going out dancing would be a much better way to recharge. There’s a little more at play here than just introversion/extroversion. Maybe she likes dancing and I don’t. But I thought it was interesting because you could see that she really, genuinely held the belief that going out dancing with friends after a long work day is a good way to recharge….something that would seem really foreign to an introvert.
The following video goes deeper into some distinctions between introversion and extroversion.
In some cases, extreme extroversion or introversion can cause problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. If you or someone you love is having trouble along these lines, it might be good to consider counseling. Therapy can really help.