What Is An Introverted Extrovert?

When it comes to personality, many know the dichotomy of extroversion and introversion as described by personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Extroverts and introverts are opposites on this scale. However, they are not the only personalities an individual can have. Most individuals are somewhere in the middle. 

An introverted extrovert is someone whose personality does not correlate to either of the extroversion-introversion extremes.

Instead, an introverted extrovert falls closer to the extroversion spectrum, holding many of the same characteristics and traits as extroverts. The quality that makes them unique is introverted extroverts’ ability to show introverted traits.

For example, an introverted extrovert might feel energized around large groups, highlighting their extroversion. However, they may also feel their energy run out if they are social for too long, resembling more introverted characteristics.

Like introverts, who value their alone time, an introverted extrovert might crave solitude after being around friends so they can recharge.

a woman stood alone on a beach, peaceful

What are the signs of an introverted extrovert? 

A Balance of Alone Time and Social Situations

An introverted extrovert will find that they behave in more traditionally extroverted ways in social situations. Their default demeanor is very outgoing.

An introverted extrovert will use an event to energize, socialize, and connect with others. However, introverted extroverts also value their time to recharge. This regard for alone time means they often need to find a balance between their social time and rest in solitude.

The context of the situation they find themselves in will contribute to how they may react.

Additionally, their personal feelings and experiences at a particular moment in time may determine the feeling of wanting to be more interactive or solitary. 

Gaining Energy From Certain People

Like extroverts, introverted extroverts will find themselves open to making connections with various individuals.

Introverted extroverts may have many people they consider friends. However, introverted extroverts will also choose to maintain a small group of close loved ones. Those part of their inner circle are valued members of an introverted extrovert’s life.

In this way, an introverted extrovert will display more introverted tendencies. Their connections and discussions with this inner group are much more intimate and meaningful. The deeper bonds established with close friends operate as a support system for introverted extroverts.

Consequently, an introverted extrovert will gain energy from these special friends, contrasting extroverts who are energized by people in general.

Energy in Conversations

Energy levels in a conversation can be challenging for an introverted extrovert. On one side, an introverted extrovert might be ready to engage in all social activities and speak easily.

They enjoy engaging in stimulating conversations with interesting subject matter and pleasant individuals. Introverted extroverts are energized when this occurs. 

However, they might also be more cautious about having discussions with others if there is a factor about the conversation they are not fond of.

For example, introverted extroverts might only speak on a handful of topics they value, keeping them from sharing their thoughts if the subject changes. Alternatively, they might avoid certain people, understanding that others’ energies might tire them out. 

In this way, an introverted extrovert’s conservational energy level will be low. Still, the way that conversations energize an introverted extrovert is circumstantial and widely depends on the individual’s comfort level. 

Enjoying Social Events but Not Attention

Introverted extroverts will still engage in social events but find that they do not need to be the center of attention to enjoy their time with others. Some introverted extroverts might even shy away from any spotlight.

For example, an introverted extrovert might be a great leader or speaker at an event. Here they put all of their extroverted qualities on display. However, when it comes to praise or attention for introverted extroverts, they will immediately downplay their involvement.

A dislike of being in the limelight is likely due to an introverted extrovert feeling the extra attention pushes them out of their comfort zone. They will become more introverted in response to feeling awkward in their situation. 

Mistaken for an extrovert

Since introverted extroverts are closer to the extroverted personality spectrum at their baseline, they are often mistaken for sole extroverts. Introverted extroverts may portray more extroversion in their behaviors, meaning they may come across as outgoing, impulsive, and optimistic with others.

They may be the life of the party with the general population. However, they may not always show introspective and reflective qualities outside of their close groups.

As a result, sometimes, individuals will not see the more nuanced, introverted actions that an introverted extrovert may portray. Not understanding the tendency for them to be ambiverterted might get introverted extroverts labeled as extroverts by their peers.

What is an ambivert?  

An ambivert is a personality type that exists somewhere in the middle of the extroversion-introversion spectrum. Individuals who do not see themselves as introverts or extroverts typically utilize an ambivert label to broadly define their personality. 

Ambiverts can control how much extroversion and introversion they show in their everyday life. How they choose to present their personality is dependent on their circumstances.

If a particular situation calls for a more balanced social dynamic, an ambivert can regulate their behaviors to provide stability. Their ability to manage their personality makes ambiverts flexible and highly adaptable. 

As a result of this skill, ambiverts can utilize strengths from both extroverted and introverted traits to their advantage.

For example, ambiverts might find it easy to interact with others if a social scenario calls for prolonged conversation.

An ambivert may have extroverted traits, like a friendly demeanor and effective speaking skills, that can help them excel at the task.

At the same time, an ambivert might also have the insight to reflect deeply on what another person is sharing, an introverted trait.

An ambivert might use both of these skills to truly engage with their conversation partner and accomplish their objective of speaking with others.

In this scenario, the ability to be both social and pensive would make communication a strong skill for ambiverts. 

An ambivert is roughly balanced in extroversion and introversion. However, some ambiverts tend to prefer one side of the spectrum, highlighting the possibility of variation in ambiverted behavior. An introverted extrovert fits the definition of this type of ambivert.

Though introverted extroverts are ambiverts, they still lean closer to the extroverted side. It is essential to distinguish that while all introverted extroverts are ambiverts, not all ambiverts are introverted extroverts.

Introverted extrovert vs. extroverted introvert? 

An extroverted introvert is another subcategory of ambivert that exists within the personality spectrum.

Though the terms and presentation of behavior from each personality may look very similar, there is a significant difference between an introverted extrovert and an extroverted introvert.

The difference mainly arises from the individual’s inner experience of gaining energy. 

As mentioned, an introverted extrovert is an individual that is primarily extroverted but portrays introverted traits in their social settings. The exact opposite is true for an extroverted introvert.

Someone that may identify as an extroverted introvert will have a baseline personality that more closely resembles an introvert. However, they also tend to act extroverted around others. 

For example, an extroverted introvert will have a greater value for solitude and might widely prefer to be alone most of the time.

However, they can also show more extroverted characteristics. An extroverted introvert might crave interacting with others at a social gathering or act more outgoing with friends. 

Many distinctions can help you understand if you are more of an extroverted introvert than an introverted extrovert.

Here are some signs that you may be more of an introvert at heart with social tendencies. 

  • You attempt to make plans and interact with others after you have had the opportunity to rest alone 
  • In social situations, you can find people to be both fascinating and overwhelming
  • It is easier for you to express your authentic feelings in a conversation than to force small talk with others
  • You find your mood and energy are tied to how a setting may stimulate you, whether that be in a positive or negative way
  • In a new setting, you feel like you need time to “warm up” before you can begin interacting with others
  • You tend to be selective when forming relationships with others, but each one you develop is meaningful 

What are some benefits and challenges to being an introverted extrovert? 

Like all of the personalities mentioned, introverted extroverts have many strengths.

As an introverted extrovert, an individual has access to a wide variety of character traits that are beneficial in different ways.

They can rely on their flexibility to give them the most significant advantages from each side of the personality spectrum, depending on what the day calls for.

For example, they can rely on their baseline extroverted personality to give them confidence and a sense of adventure. However, they can also exercise a deep regard for their loved ones and the life around them with their introverted qualities.

Introverted extroverts may find that their position allows them to capitalize on the “best of both worlds.”

Their classification as ambiverts may give them the illusion of having no obstacles. However, introverted extroverts also have their own unique set of challenges and difficulties they encounter.

Challenges with being an introverted extrovert revolve around the complexity of their personalities.

For example, introverted extroverts may feel that they can only tolerate conversation with others up to a point.

Their motivation to be around others in social spaces can quickly dissolve if they are no longer engaged in the conversation and they find themselves retreating into introverted behaviors.

Introverted extroverts will hit their limit faster than extroverts and become socially tired. As a result, introverted extroverts can tend to come across as moody to others. 

It may also be difficult for introverted extroverts to learn how to control their emotions and responses to different settings.

As a result, introverted extroverts might have to devote more time to reflect on why they react in a particular way to certain situations.

This may be a complicated process if an introverted extrovert is unaware that they are an ambivert. With time, understanding emotional and physical feedback to their surroundings will allow introverted extroverts to learn more about themselves and their personality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) best suits an introverted extrovert?

Though there are various Myers Briggs Types that an introverted extrovert might receive, one of the best-suited is the ENFJ. The acronym describes someone who is extraverted (E), intuitive (N), feeling(F), and judging(J).

The acronym means that an ENFJ is a person who is energized by social interactions. Moreover, an ENFJ will value ideas and concepts rather than details and facts. ENFJs also tend to make decisions based on feelings but prefer to be planned and organized.

With the described attributes, there is a clear imbalance of extroverted characteristics, but introversion still shines through with the ENFJ. As a result, ENFJs are typically known to be high-energy, empathetic, and ambitious. 

Can extroverts be shy? 

Extroverts can be shy and may even have social anxiety at times. Though most people equate extroverts as being happy and introverts as being shy, it is essential to note that these are simply traits society has come to associate with each personality.

In truth, shyness differs from introversion, meaning extroverts can be shy too. The scale of extroversion-introversion itself only determines how an individual may feel energized; it has nothing to do with an individual’s anxieties over talking with others.

Instead, an extrovert’s shyness may be due to their lack of interpersonal skills or social awareness. Dr. Heather Z. Lyons shared that shy extroverts may want to be social but cannot socialize effectively or become avoidant (Estrada, 2019). 

What causes an extrovert to become introverted? 

How an individual falls on the extroversion-introversion spectrum is directly ingrained into their individual personality.

Your place on the personality spectrum is fixed, meaning no direct factors can “cause” extroversion or introversion. Instead, an extrovert needing alone time or being more introverted might be an innate part of what makes them an individual.

In fact, developing research has shown that your personality traits might be so innate that they are linked to your genetic makeup (Smeland et al., 2017). These new findings highlight that being an introverted extroverted might be a unique part of their DNA that makes them complex. 


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Saul Mcleod, PhD

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Educator, Researcher

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education.

Kayla Saucedo

Research Assistant at Harvard University

Undergraduate at Harvard University

Kayla Saucedo is a psychology undergraduate and research assistant at Harvard University.