What is extroversion and why is considered one of the character traits everyone should integrate? Is extroversion better than introversion, and what are the consequences of being one-sided?
These questions are important to answer because your level of extroversion determines how you experience life. It can also have an impact on your physical and mental health.
If you’ve ever taken a personality test, it probably included an extroversion score. This yardstick determines how confident you are in social settings and how you process energy. Extroverts are energised through interaction with others.
Introverted counterparts, on the other hand, prefer intimate settings in a small group. They internalise energy and can feel drained after spending time around a mass of people.
It seems that the extroverted personality is considered to be a favoured trait in Western culture. There are important benefits, of course, but there are also aspects of extroversion you ought to know about.
The term extroversion was introduced by psychologist Carl Jung in his 1921 Psychological Types. He used it to describe people who tend to direct their energy outward, engaging primarily with things outside of themselves.
“The whole nature of the extrovert appears more mobile, more full of life and activity than that of the introvert. Because this quality depends upon the phase which the individual temporarily occupies vis-a-vis the outer world.” 
~ Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types
Today, behavioural psychologists have expanded the characteristics of extroversion to include specific behaviours and personality traits. Extroverts are typically outgoing, social, assertive, and expressive.
This personality type enjoys interacting with others and feels energised by social interactions. They find it easy to meet new people, enjoy being the centre of attention, speak openly and are assertive enough to establish themselves towards the top end of the social hierarchy.
Whilst these character traits can make extroverts appealing, exciting and fun to be around, your thirst for external stimulation can make you selfish, and ignorant and rarely have an independent thought or feel inspired by inner wisdom that you can claim as your own.
Extraverts are attention seekers, drama queens, manipulators and social butterflies who struggle to develop meaningful relationships. They are superficial, agitated and need constant stimulation.
This is the personality type that Western culture promotes!
These types of people are also restless, bored easily and have a chaotic lifestyle that makes them unreliable, unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
Good luck with that!
Individuals who are one-sidedly extroverted are neurotic, narcissists or sociopaths who have become detached from their inner world. Their focus is entirely on the external world and their True Nature is repressed, inhibited and forgotten.
“Ego-consciousness is inclined to swallow the unconscious, and if this should not prove feasible try to suppress it. But if we understand anything of the unconscious, we know that it cannot be swallowed. We also know that it is dangerous to suppress it, because the unconscious is life and this life turns against us if suppressed, as happens in neurosis.” 
~ Carl Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
Extroversion typically leads to addictions, impulsive behaviour, fatigue, stress, burnout and superficial relationships. Consequently, you do not nurture your emotional well-being and are more likely to feel lonely and needy. 
Jung also noted that the one-sided extraverted personality is more likely to experience conflict and challenges created by the inner world — the archetypes that appear as complexes, neuroses, obsessions, and quirks.
“The extraverted type…is in reality more influenced by passion than the man who takes for the conscious guidance of his life those desires which are orientated to objects. The latter, namely the extravert, attempts to make this principle all inclusive but he has nonetheless to experience the fact that it is his subjective thoughts and feelings which everywhere harass him on his way. 
~ Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types
We can’t explore extroversion without talking about its opposite — introversion. Especially since researchers agree that extroversion and introversion are on a continuum, with most people having characteristics of both.
In contrast to extroverts, introverts direct their energy inward. They tend to focus more on their inner world of thoughts and ideas, spending time in introspection, rather than focusing on things outside themselves.
Introverted types do not feel compelled to seek pleasure when they are restless nor does their need for stimulation change from hour to hour or day to day.
The inward-looking personality is also able to see what others can do better than themselves and learn from it. They recognise that their course of action can be improved, and do not delude themselves that other people can perform the task better.
On the flip side, people with an introverted nature are prone to hesitation and can often miss out on opportunities, and they very rarely become leaders because they are not supremely confident, assertive or outspoken.
However, it should be noted that introversion is not the same as shyness. Shyness indicates feeling discomfort and awkwardness with social interactions or worry about being judged or criticised.
While introverts usually have a lower need for social interactions, they don’t necessarily feel anxious in social situations. Likewise, introverts are not necessarily anti-social. They recognise the health value of social connection and support but can feel drained after attending social events, especially when there are a lot of people.
Introverts prefer to connect individually or in small groups and need more downtime to recharge afterwards. After a large social gathering, they may feel drained, while an extrovert feels energised.
It is thought that most of us tend toward one end or the other, but few people are exclusively extroverted or introverted. You may also have come across the term “ambivert” to describe someone who falls pretty much right in the middle.
The middle path is the optimal route.
Here are some questions that help determine your level of extroversion and introversion.
Indicators of extroversion:
Indicators of introversion:
Given that it’s included in the ‘Big Five’ personality traits, extroversion bias is the preferred way to behave in our society. This is especially true in Western culture, where extrovert traits like outgoingness, charisma, and assertiveness are highly valued 
Consequently, an overly extroverted society can leave many introverts struggling to adapt or fit in. Some introverted people may even try to change their personalities. But very few extroverts try to become introverted.
Extroversion bias can be seen in highly influential places such as schools, universities and certain working environments. For example, college courses often require participation in each class and even make it a big chunk of your grade.
Weighting towards a particular personality type can clearly have a detrimental effect on behaviour, mental and physical health and how successful you are in life.
The current paradigm obviously favours extroverts who have a much easier time speaking up in class and don’t feel drained by being around a large group of people.
Let’s take a closer look at how society is skewed towards extroversion — one of the “Big Five” personality traits — and then we’ll take a look at why this biased approach is suffocating people.
At the workplace, one study found that extroverts are more likely to get hired by elite companies.  This is because people hiring positions tend to favour candidates that are “culturally similar” to themselves.
These cultural similarities include hobbies, experiences, and self-presentation styles. Since most managers and supervisors are extroverted, they are attracted (maybe subconsciously) to candidates who are like themselves.
This is especially the case during interviews, where personality and self-presentation styles are more apparent. When deciding who to hire, managers even gave more weight to cultural similarity than qualifications or productiveness. They’re looking for someone who will “fit in”.
Many studies show a connection between extroversion and happiness.  But why?
The correlation between extroversion and happiness may be due to other factors that are connected to extroversion such as social support. 
Researchers have found that having strong social relationships is the most important factor contributing to happiness.  So since extroverts engage in more social behaviours, this may contribute to higher levels of happiness. Even small things like striking up a casual conversation with the grocery store clerk have been shown to increase feelings of well-being. 
Another reason extroverts report higher levels of well-being might be our culture’s preference for extroverted personality traits. Because of this cultural preference, extroverts feel like they “fit” better and are more accepted, which leads to higher levels of positive emotions).
Introverts may feel pressure to change, to behave more like extroverts. However, a study showed that introverts who accept themselves and don’t feel the need to change reported feeling content, demonstrating the importance of self-acceptance.
With the cultural bias weighted heavily toward extroverts, it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a connection between high self-esteem, happiness and extroversion. 
People with higher self-esteem report higher levels of emotional well-being which is good for your physical and mental health, the stability of your relationships and your general day-to-day mood.
It is likely that well-being is the key contributor to happiness more so than the extroversion itself. There is a self-fuelling cycle at play here. People who are naturally more extroverted have more social interactions which leads to higher self-esteem and emotional well-being which leads to more extroverted behaviour.
A self-fuelling cycle is also true for one-sided introversion. When the attitude is mainly introverted, the individual falls under the spell of the unconscious which prevents the expression of the personality because you prefer the safety and peace of your inner world.
Here there is a tendency to keep to yourself, avoid social interactions and stay indoors. If your introversion is one-sided, you’re more likely to develop social anxiety and development and use introversion as an excuse for not engaging with life.
In other words, you deny yourself the opportunity to experience more in life and thus, neglect to develop the ego. This means you are less capable and competent in coping with your environment because the ego doesn’t have the skills, knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence etc to deal with life effectively.
Neglecting to develop the ego puts you at greater risk of developing anxiety and depression because you develop fragile self-esteem.
Extroverted types feel energised in social environments and by being active. This personality type can often feel agitated or “bored” unless their mind is distracted by something. There is an underlying anxiety here.
Whilst research indicates that extroversion helps to provide fuel for self-esteem, it could be a misguided sense of self-confidence. Self-esteem is defined by how you see yourself.
However, when one-sided, extroverted individuals have an over-inflated ego. Arrogance makes you blind to how you actually appear to others. Whilst you may appear to be the life and soul of the party, your lack of depth makes you superficial, flaky and unreliable.
This type of attitude also makes you self-centred and selfish. You become a bully, manipulative and inconsiderate. You don’t care about anybody else’s feelings or well-being other than your own.
Extroverts also don’t put a great deal of thought and planning into what they do or the things they say. This can leave one-sided extroverted types making poor decisions and appearing superficial.
Jung felt we reach decisions through judgment or reasoning. Judgement is an extroverted way of thinking whereby the observer is objective and bases his decision on an outward-looking perspective that has been learned from past experiences. 
There is little internal processing or consideration for the other person in judgemental thinking. The extraverts way is the only way. You often find this attitude surfacing in people who are arrogant and egotistical and don’t listen to what the other person is saying.
Judgement and criticism is an unhealthy attribute of the wounded Sage archetype which has a tendency to repress aspects of your True Nature — the Self. Repression is shown to lead to negative mental and physical health outcomes.
Repressing energy in the unconscious also causes unexpressed energy to develop a life of its own which the conscious mind is not fully aware of. Complexes, which Jung called archetypes rise up and take possession of the ego.
If the ego associates with the complex — when it provides comfort, a reprieve or reconciliation — this energy becomes part of the personality and rises up as an emotion, behaviour or thought, which subsequently prompts an emotion and corresponding behaviour.
Complexes are unconscious drives that push you towards destructive habits; aggression, addictions, jealousy, bitterness, resentment, moods, obsessions, cynicism, sharp-tongued, petty, suspicious etc.
The purpose of a complex is to bring missing aspects of the personality to the conscious mind.
“It is in the exchange between the ego and the various characters that rise up from the unconscious and appear in my imagination that I begin to bind the fragmented pieces of myself into a unity. I begin to know, and learn from, the parts of myself I have never known before.”
~ Robert Johnson, Inner Work
Jung postulated that this type of extroversion represses thinking because “thinking is the function most liable to disturb feeling.”
Extraverts that favour thinking over feeling, on the other hand, exclude feeling. Thus intuition is ignored over the intellect. The problem with this is that intellect is predominantly influenced by external sources which are filled with half-truths, propaganda or complete bullshit.
Thinking and feeling, therefore, have to be counterbalanced with introversion strategies. Introverts often engage in deep thinking and introspection. They may enjoy pondering complex ideas, and they often have rich inner worlds.
Introverts also have emotional depth which allows them to process experiences on a profound level. This way of processing is more attuned to nurturing emotional well-being than superficial experiences associated with extroversion.
Introversion also makes you more empathetic and attuned to the emotions of others. This enables you to build and maintain meaningful relationships that are stable and fulfilling. You are also capable of spending time on your own without feeling lonely.
Jung also noted that reasoning is an introverted attitude. This is a trait of the healthy Sage — your inner wisdom that serves as your guide when you are connected and attuned to your intuition.
When you can reason, the thinking function and the feeling function are compatible and bring you to a place of harmony. The balance between heart and mind, therefore, enables you to make better decisions. 
The Stoic Marcus Aurelius makes reference to the need to reason over the needs of the body.
“Whatsoever I am, is either flesh, or life, or that which we commonly call the mistress and overruling to part of man; reason. Away with thy books, suffer not thy mind any more to be distracted, and carried to and fro; for it will not be; but as even now ready to die, think little of thy flesh: blood, bones, and a skin.” 
~ The Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius
Jung concluded that the highest function in humans is found in the extraverted sensation type. This personality type is able to relate to the external environment in a concrete way.
And because sensation is the means by which mankind experiences the fullness of life, you experience more joy.
However, when the sensation function is too excessive, which can be the case with extroverts, you don’t make the best use of your experiences. In the absence of internal processing and rational thinking, which are introverted traits, compulsive behaviours rising from the unconscious can overcome extraverted types.
Jung noted that when sensation predominates, rational judgement is non-existent and the more unsatisfied and chaotic the life of the extravert becomes.
“Either he develops into a crude pleasure-seeker or he becomes an unscrupulous, designing sybarite (self-indulgent, fondness for luxury.” 
~ Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types
The measure of extraverted tendencies in the conscious personality often reveals itself in the degree of infantilism surfacing from the unconscious as a complex (an archetype).
The extent of an individual’s behaviours and attitudes is determined by their most dominant archetypes. This can vary from an addictive nature, arrogance, manipulation or outright wickedness.
How unconscious content surfaces in the conscious personality is dependent on the parts of the personality that are repressed, suppressed or ignored.
Repressed content still holds a store of energy. The more often the same energy is repressed the more strength is accrued by the instincts, and will eventually rise up and take possession of the ego.
Sigmund Freud noted that repression creates resistance between the conscious ego and the unconscious (Self). Georg Groddeck put it best when he noted that we are “lived” by unknown and uncontrollable forces.
“…these trends which have been shut out stand in opposition to the ego and the analysis is faced with the task of removing the resistances which the ego displays against concerning itself with the repressed. 
~ Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id
It is by observing patterns of “lived” forces in correlation to incidents that trigger a specific behaviour that you identify the subconscious libido that is opposed to the ego.
Extraverted individuals who are cut off from the Self because they neglect the inner world are more prone to addictions and complexes. Complexes become neuroses, and then diseases.
“….the claims of the unconscious force themselves categorically upon consciousness, thus creating a calamitous cleavage which generally reveals itself into ways: either the subject no longer knows what he really wants and nothing any longer interest him, or he wants too much at once and has to keen on interest – but in impossible things. The suppression of infantile and primitive claims, which is often necessary on “civilised” grounds, easily leads to neurosis or to the misuse of narcotics such as alcohol, morphine, cocaine, etc. In more extreme cases the cleavage ends in suicide.” 
~ Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types
For the purpose of balance, it’s worth pointing out that one-sided introverts are not immune to illness. However, the type of illness that emerges from excessive introversion tends to be a disintegration of mental processes; dementia, psychosis and sociopathy.
Either way, whenever there is an imbalance in favour of one side or the other, unconscious content comes to light which can be seen in archetypal patterns.
In the extraverted personality, the intellect stands again in opposition to the instinct and attempts further repression. Jung noted that the outcome of this is usually a collapse of the conscious attitude which is replaced by a neurosis. 
Repressed consciousness reaches the surface in the form of eruptions, often as an obsessive nature, a depreciation of character, negative thinking, infantile prejudice and projecting onto others — often the people you love the most; partner, children. 
Hysteria, in Jung’s view, was the most common neurosis associated with the extroverted type. Making a drama out of inconsequential things is out of sync with acceptable behaviours and attitudes associated with rational and internally organised individuals.
Jung also noted that:
“…the hysterical character is an exaggeration of the normal attitude; it is then complicated by compensatory reactions from the side of the unconscious, which manifests its opposition to the extravagant extroversion in the form of physical disorders, whereupon an introversion of psychic energy becomes unavoidable. 
~ Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types
Mainstream psychology shows us quite clearly that extroversion offers numerous benefits to your self-esteem, self-confidence and happiness. Without extroverted tendencies, you deny yourself opportunities in life and neglect to develop your ego which can dent your confidence and self-esteem.
However, as we have shown above, there is more than one side of the story to extroversion. And that side of the story is rarely told through mainstream sources. Western culture, in particularly, wants to push the idea that extroversion is the best personality type.
And that is clearly a half-truth. The best personality type is the ambivert, a balanced combination of extroversion and introversion. There are no statistics on this, but empirical evidence would suggest that introverted individuals are more likely to develop extroverted tendencies than extroverted individuals are likely to adopt introversion — perhaps until disaster strikes.
The goal of Self-Development is literally to develop the Self — or what Jung described as the “inner man” — the atman of the Hindus. When the Self-ego axis is developed and the opposing forces are in harmony with one another, you have access to inner and outer reality and are able to coordinate the two effectively.
This is also how you develop concrete self-esteem (as opposed to the external-facing self-esteem associated with arrogance and narcissism), self-confidence, and meaningful relationships etc.
“Through the fusion of the Self with the relations to the object there proceeds the identity of the Self (Atman) with the essence of the world (i.e. with the relations of the subject to the object,) so that the identity of the inner with the outer Atman becomes recognized.” 
~ Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types
Connecting with the Self makes you less needy and lonely. You come to recognise that the inner peace and innate love radiating from within is all you need to feel content and satisfied.
One-sided extroverts rarely feel a sense of satisfaction that has any true meaning or value. When you’re unable to control the “liking system” in your neural circuitry, you constantly search for instant gratification.
Like Tantalus, a self-serving character in Greek mythology, the inability to give in to temptation is why you never truly feel satisfied.
To overcome restlessness and constant cravings, Master Mind Content recommend our extroverted (and addictive) clients practice gratitude. This helps you to focus on recognising that what you have is enough and curbs your enthusiasm for excessively seeking pleasure in the moment.
Instead, you refocus your attention towards long-term goals and take actions that align with your ambition. You will have to make small sacrifices that may feel like a big deal at first, but you soon come to realise, that the superficial gratification you craved isn’t actually what you need to feel fulfilled.
Obsessive behaviour is an opposing force to the feeling of gratitude. Frontier sciences show that gratitude is a character trait that calms the nervous system and changes your biology. 
Gratitude helps you to experience contentment and satisfaction. Obsessive behaviour keeps you trapped in a vicious cycle of need, restlessness and pleasure-seeking.
When you have an imbalanced tendency towards extroversion, your constant need for stimulation binds you to objects, jealous fantasies and anxiety states. More acute cases develop every sort of phobia, and unconscious content emerges. 
The potential downsides of extroversion are, of course, not inherent flaws but challenges that can be managed with self-awareness and self-development.
Extroverts can learn to find the right balance between social engagement and personal time, practice mindfulness to avoid overstimulation, take time to engage in contemplation and reasoning, and look at life from the perspective of the person they are talking to. This helps you to develop empathy and compassion and forge meaningful relationships.
“Endowed with the ability to be self-reflective, the self-conscious mind is extremely powerful. It can observe any programmed behaviour we are engaged in, evaluate the behaviour, and consciously decide to change the program. We can actively choose how to respond to most environmental signals and whether we even want to respond at all. The conscious mind’s capacity to override the subconscious mind’s preprogrammed behaviours is the foundation of free will.” 
~ Bruce Lipton, Biology of Belief
While studies and mass media highlight the benefits of extroversion, these advantages may be at least partially due to other related factors; specifically, self-esteem and meaningful relationships.
It’s important to recognise there are positive and negative aspects to both extroversion and introversion. The keys are self-acceptance, gratitude and internalising your thoughts and feelings.
Once you ignore the idiocy of extroversion bias and recognise the value of adopting ambivert behaviours, you will establish genuine self-esteem and forge deep meaningful relationships that give you more joy, satisfaction and harmony.
Master Mind Content offers an essential self-development program. Whether you want to overcome anxiety and depression, cure addiction or transform your life in whatever ways you can imagine, our personalised self-development program shows you how to expand conscious awareness, cultivate inner peace and improve your quality of life.
 Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types, p.186, (1923)
 Carl Jung, CW9 Part 1, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, para 521, 2nd ed (1968)
 Why Extroverts Are So Needy, S. Dembling (2013)
 Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types, p.188 (1923)
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 Vaughan-Johnston, T. I., MacGregor, K. E., Fabrigar, L. R., Evraire, L. E., & Wasylkiw, L. (2020). Extraversion as a moderator of the efficacy of self-esteem maintenance strategies. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47(1), 131–145. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167220921713
 Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types, p.453 (1923)
 [Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types, p.45 (1923)
 The Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius, p.10 para 16 c. 170AD
 Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types, p.460 (1923)
 Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id, p.7 Kindle Loc 93 (1923)
 Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types, p.425, (1923)
 Ibid, p.424
 Ibid, p.425
 Ibid p.421
 Ibid p.149
 Kyeong S, Kim J, Kim DJ, Kim HE, Kim JJ. Effects of gratitude meditation on neural network functional connectivity and brain-heart coupling. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 11;7(1):5058. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05520-9. PMID: 28698643; PMCID: PMC5506019.
 Carl Jung, CW6, Psychological Types, p.460, (1923)
 Bruce Lipton, Biology of Belief, Kindle Loc 2281 (2005)