4 introvert types

Everywhere you look there are articles and stories about introverts and extroverts, but did you know that if you look into each personality aspect, there are different types within? I’m an introvert and the topic of introversion has always interested me, resulting in the reading of countless articles and studies in this area.

Researcher Jonathan Cheek told Science of Us that there are four different types of introverts: social, thinking, anxious and restrained and that every introvert has varying degrees of these traits, which makes sense considering introvert is a huge term that has various meanings and traits within itself.

So, let’s look at these introvert types in turn to help you decide which one you fit into:

1. Social Introversion

A social introvert is the cliché type of introvert, if you will. It’s the type of introvert who likes to be alone and prefers not to socialise or if they have to, they prefer to keep their group fairly small and close-knit. Social introverts get their energy from being alone – one of the biggest traits of introversion – and being around people drains them emotionally, mentally and sometimes even physically. This type of introversion is often the type that gets mistaken for shyness – being socially introverted doesn’t necessarily make you shy or having anxiety about social situations, it simply means the individual prefers solitude over time spent with lots of other people.

2. Thinking Introversion

A thinking introvert is somebody who likes to think, about anything and everything. The perfect word to sum up a thinking introvert is pensive. Being self-reflective and analysing situations, conversations and memories is one of the traits of being a thinking introvert. Cheek claims thinking introverts are “capable of getting lost in an internal fantasy world. But it’s not in a neurotic way; it’s in an imaginative and creative way.

3. Anxious Introversion

A self-explanatory title for this introvert: an individual who gets anxious in social situations. The anxious introvert might not stay away from the party because they enjoy solitude, but because they experience a high state of anxiety, self-consciousness and/or awkwardness when in, or even thinking about, social situations.  This kind of introversion ties in with worrying about previous social interactions and why things are the way they are. This type, however, can be manipulated should you define yourself as an anxious introvert. Therapy and counselling can be a very useful tool in finding coping strategies for anxiety, building your social confidence and moving you out of the anxious introvert box.

4. Restrained Introversion

Perhaps the least-known type of introversion there is, restrained introverts are people who take a while to “warm up.” They may enjoy being around people, but only after they become used to the situation and the people. Another word for this type of introversion is reserved and preferring to observe and then think before speaking or acting.

Whilst there are no doubt countless other types of introverts, Cheek’s starter model is definitely interesting to read. I, personally, can see parts of myself in all of these types and instead of pigeonholing myself to one or another, I’m somewhere on a spectrum embodying slight parts of each of the four traits.

If you’d like to see which type(s) you fit most into, Science of Us created a quiz based on Cheek’s model to help you decide.

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I'm a psychology student with a passion for books, good food and movies. I can often be found reading self-help articles snuggled up in bed with a cup of coffee or writing about anything and everything in a quiet cafe somewhere.