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« 13. Extraverts and Introverts: Is talk cheap or charming? »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. MBTI coach with over 25 years MBTI experience, and author of the new book: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."

One of the biggest misunderstandings in communication appears between people who tend to talk their thoughts out loud (Extraverts) and those who think things through in their heads (Introverts).

Not only do they behave differently and therefore clash, but they also place different values and interpretations on communication. Unless these differences are understood or accommodated, hostility at work or home can occur and conflicts between companions, colleagues and clients can become destructive. So here are some tips to identify and get around the differences ...

Are you an Extravert or an Introvert? Some signs to look for ...

I am using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) here, as a basis for these descriptions. However, these are generalisations, as there are 8 different types of Extraverts and 8 different types of Introverts.


  • Get energy from and recharge their batteries by events outside themselves, e.g. conversations, social functions, activities ...
  • Tend to talk their thoughts out loud, i.e. speak first, think later.
  • Tend to be sociable with a large group of friends or acquaintances.
  • Like to be doing things and may have many interests.
  • Get restless if left alone for too long.


  • Get energy from and recharge their batteries by going inside themselves, reflecting on things, thinking things through, generating ideas, or concepts inside their head.
  • Tend to think things through and may not tell you what they've thought - think first and may speak later.
  • Tend to be initially reserved on meeting new people and have a small group of close friends.
  • Like to focus on one task without interruption and may have 1 or 2 interests which they are involved with deeply.
  • Get drained by being around people too long.

There are plenty more features but these may help you get an idea of your preference.

Here are some differences between Extraverts and Introverts and how to get around them.

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

Difference 1. Extraverts and Introverts place different importance on the amount of talking.

Introverts may make statements such as, "talk is cheap" and when an Extravert, verbalises their thinking out loud, Introverts may condemn this as being unimportant or time wasting.

Extraverts, on the other hand, become suspicious of people who don't explain what's going on inside their heads. They may consider Introverts to be secretive and deliberately withholding information from them.


Introverts: When you're talking to an Extravert explain more of your thinking process - not just the end point.

Extraverts: Pause when talking to an Introvert and invite the Introvert to join in rather than expecting them to interrupt on their own.


Difference 2. Extraverts think out loud so their initial comments may not be their final decision.

Extraverts may speak their thoughts out loud to hear what they sound like so they can clarify what they are thinking. Introverts may mistakenly (sometimes with negative consequences) presume the ideas presented are a definite decision or opinion on the part of the Extravert.

I've had Introverts who've followed what they thought was an Extravert's 'instruction' at work only to find after following it that it wasn't what the Extravert wanted at all.


Extraverts: Remind Introverts of your process, e.g. "Don't hold me to this I'm just going to talk out loud to clarify my thinking."

Introverts: Check to see if a comment by an Extrovert is a decision or not, e.g. "Is that your final decision or are you just thinking out loud?"

Difference 3. Extraverts often like interruptions at work.

Extraverts may 'barge' in on an Introvert when they see them, 'just sitting at their desk doing nothing'. At this time Introverts may be working - it's all going on inside and interrupting them can actually paralyse their processing.

Some Introverts find it difficult to work in noise and say something along the lines of, "I can't hear myself think in this noise."


Extraverts: When you see an Introvert 'doing nothing', leave them to it - they're probably working.

Introverts: When you hear an Extravert 'talking nonstop' let them do it - they're working and not necessarily, 'wasting time'. However, feel able to interrupt - the interruption may be welcome.

These are just a few of the many aspects of Extravert and Introvert communication.

Understanding these aspects is VITAL for successful communication at work and home, whether with your partner, friends or children, or your boss, staff or clients.

Final Tip

Be tolerant. Don't put someone else down just because they're different. If you can work and live well with your opposite type you have the maximum chance to benefit from the strengths of both types. All types have many, many, strengths.

Enjoy spotting the differences!

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

EQ at work, INFJ: Get to know your type, increase communication effectiveness and lower conflict

There is so much that you or your team can learn so that you develop greater understanding of, and skills with, your communication, personality and relationships at work and home. The EI Institute has a number of options to help you:

  1. You may find this book helpful to deepen your understanding of the communication differences between the types. It includes a whole section on bridging the differences, eg. between iNtuitives and Sensates, between Feelers and Thinkers; and it has a discussion on the differences between Judging and Perceiving types such as an INFP and an INFJ, and INFJ and an INTJ: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."
  2. If you are in Western Australia, a high energy, MBTI interactive team-building workshop can be organised for you: "Getting on: MBTI Team building".
  3. Meditation appeals to many introverts and we have a very popular audio-download on meditation called: "Happy Not Hassled". A perfect way to introvert and stay healthy.
  4. There is superior 1-1 coaching; and the MBTI is included as part of our smart leadership coaching package. You can find out your MBTI type and develop the skills you need, with Rachel Green.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.