Can an extrovert become an introvert? (A Complete Guide)

In this article, we will answer the question ‘Can an extrovert become an introvert?’. We will do that by defining extroverts, introverts, and ambiverts. We will discuss how introversion with age is a natural process. We will move on to discussing the signs of an extrovert turning into an introvert. Finally, we will answer frequently asked questions about these types of people. 

Can an extrovert become an introvert?

Yes, an extrovert can become an introvert. Usually, this change occurs due to a process called intrinsic maturation which points to the idea that our personalities start to stabilize as we age. So, extroverts start to develop more introverted tendencies. Additionally, there are signs that can help us identify an extrovert turning into an introvert. The main giveaway is that such a person starts to enjoy their alone time and reserves their socialization energy for people they truly care about instead of going out to every social event and spending time in daily chit chat like they used to do in the past. 

Extroverts

Extroverts are people who are externally oriented. This means that they gain energy by socializing, spending time with a lot of people, and engaging in different activities.  They process things by talking about them with other people.  Also, they prefer to spend their time seeking new experiences and are not hesitant when they have to take risks. Unlike, extroverts they are willing to take chances and are not inhibited or restrained by the idea of what others will think of them.  Whereas,  spending time alone at home with no new activities, depletes their energy. They are opposite to introverts.

Introverts

Introverts are people who are internally oriented. This means that they gain energy by being alone and engaging in different solitary activities.  They process things in their minds instead of talking about them. Usually, they are private people who express themself with only a few selected people  They prefer to spend their time in old activities and seek new experiences only within limits of their comfort zone.  They do not take a lot of social risks. Whereas,  spending time with a lot of people and engaging in multiple activities depletes their energy. They are opposite to extroverts.

Ambiverts

As extroversion and introversion exist on a continuum,  ambiverts are people with both extroverted and introverted tendencies exist.  They gather energy from socializing in big crowds.  However,  they also need time alone to recharge their battery. In short, these people have traits of both.

Introversion with Age

Intrinsic maturation refers to the idea that personalities are directed towards maturation and become more balanced with age. This points to the idea that even extroverts start to develop introverted tendencies as they grow older. People start to become more emotionally stable, conscientious, and agreeable with time which indicates that they start enjoying time alone and need less stimulation to be happy. 

According to the evolutionary perspective, introversion and settling down is a good sign. This is because, in youth, extroversion is required to make connections and find a mate. Around the thirties, our life starts to get stable after we find a stable relationship. This gives us time to figure out what has been in the past and how things will be ahead. Similarly, as we start a family, our priorities change and turn towards our children. This also plays a role in extroverts becoming more introverted. 

It must be mentioned though that our temperaments continue to remain the same despite the shifts in our personality traits. So, an introvert will continue to stay an introvert.  

Signs of an extrovert turning into an introvert

Since personality traits are not fixed and continue to shift with it is possible that an extrovert becomes an introvert. The possible signs that indicate that an extrovert is turning into an introvert are stated as follows:

  • The person starts to turn into someone who enjoys staying at home rather than going outside to different social events. They look forward to staying home on the weekend to wind down after the long week.
  • The person starts to get annoyed and irritated by phone calls on their mobile. This is because they feel like their train of thought is messed up or interrupted by it. Their responses to texts also start getting more delayed. At the same time, they enjoy the possibility of indirect social interaction through their phone instead of face to face. 
  • They start to miss out on social events and usually have good excuses. It’s not that they dislike going out and meeting people, they just become selective about which event to attend based on their priority. 
  • They start to see casual dating as something time-consuming, energy-draining, and more like a chore. Their preference turns to find someone who is more like them and is stable enough to start a long term commitment. They become more real and search for a real connection.
  • They start to use headphones all the time to listen to music or to listen to an audiobook. Even if they are not talking to someone, the headphones stay there as it gives them a chance to avoid interacting with other people and keep distracted from the noise outside.
  • Acquaintances start to think that if a person like this is staying home, they are not busy. However, this starts to change as such a person starts to find interesting projects to do at home that keep them busy.
  • They start enjoying deep conversations with someone instead of casual day to day conversation. Having an in-depth discussion allows them a chance to connect at a deeper level with others. 
  • They start to be more apprehensive about family gatherings instead of looking forward to them. It starts to become more like a liability to forcefully entertain people instead of by choice. In short, these gatherings become less enjoyable. 
  • They start to dislike conflict and having to be the ones to settle arguments between people. This is because doing so requires a lot of energy and they just prefer to spend their time in social harmony instead of fixing things.  
  • They start to ration their time for socialization and reserve it for people who they are close to instead of random people like before.
  • These people start feeling relieved when a social event gets canceled. 
  • They start coming up with great ideas to relax when they are alone.  
  • These people finally start to figure out their identity, what they want, and how they want things to be. They don’t get that socially pressured anymore and become more comfortable in their own skin. They like to reflect and tune into their thoughts and their feelings. Usually, they become more peaceful due to such a change. 

FAQs: Can an extrovert become an introvert?

Can you be an introvert and an extrovert?

Yes. A person can have both extroverted and introverted tendencies as these are not black and white categories. Rather, extroversion and introversion exist on a spectrum. So a person can be both an extrovert and an introvert. Such people are usually called ambiverts. 

What do extroverts think of introverts?

Extroverts think introverts are a mystery. This is because extroverts want to know what others think and what their problems are. Since introverts dislike sharing their thoughts and problems and usually keep to themself, extroverts find that very mysterious. 

Can a person change from an introvert to an extrovert?

Yes.  An introvert can become more extroverted but with active effort.  Usually, this is done to get by in public and professional settings.  However, it is not easy and can be uncomfortable and draining for the introvert.

Can an extrovert be shy?

Yes.  An extrovert can be shy.  This can be explained by the fact that human traits exist on a spectrum.  So extroverts and introverts are not black and white categories.  Instead,  extraversion and introversion exist on a continuum.  So, a person can be an extrovert with introvert tendencies i.e an ambivert. Such a person can enjoy being surrounded by lots of people but may not like to be the center of attention.  They would also need time alone to recharge. So, shy extroverts have the social skills to socialize but they may avoid social situations to recharge as they can also get overwhelmed by constant social stimulation. 

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question ‘Can an extrovert become an introvert?’. We found that an extrovert can become an introvert. Usually, this change occurs due to a process called intrinsic maturation which points to the idea that our personalities start to stabilize as we age. So, extroverts start to develop more introverted tendencies. Additionally, there are signs that can help us identify an extrovert turning into an introvert. The main giveaway is that such a person starts to enjoy their alone time and reserves their socialization energy for people they truly care about instead of going out to every social event and spending time in daily chit chat like they used to do in the past. 

I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-an-extrovert#Extroversion-is-a-spectrum

https://www.puckermob.com/relationships/8-signs-youre-turning-from-an-extrovert-into-an-introvert/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-secret-lives-introverts/201809/its-true-we-become-more-introverted-age

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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