Introvert or Extrovert?

Intro or Extro?
     I know what I am, what are you?
I have always considered myself a shy person.
I will pause here to wait on those of you that know me to stop laughing their heads off.


Okay then.

     I guess shy was not the correct word to use.
As I delve deeper into research on numerous subjects, I have actually come across what I REALLY am….an Introvert.

     I hear the questions now, a WHAT?!
Please read this article in the mind frame of trying to figure other people out, especially me. It is very hard for me to explain things like this in person, but writing it down, I can get it all out.

     I recently discovered that introversion and shyness are not the same thing. I was operating under the (misguided) impression that “introvert” and “extrovert” were synonymous with “shy” and “outgoing.”
This is inaccurate.
Introversion and extroversion merely refer to where we get our energy from, or how we recharge our brains.
     Introverts recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from interacting with other people for long periods of time, particularly in stimulating, crowded environments.
     Extroverts, conversely, lose energy from spending time alone. They recharge by interacting with other people in highly social environments.
I have often wondered why I can be an outgoing person, talk to pretty much anybody, do lectures, and talk in front of huge crowds almost effortlessly, but afterward, I would be SO physically drained.

     Even though most of the time I was just standing there. I just wanted to hide in a corner, not talk to anybody else, or just sit in silence. I assumed I was shy and pushing myself well outside of my comfort zone.
     My personality skews toward introversion–but I am not shy. I find networking events and conferences draining, but not because I’m afraid of small talk or initiating conversations with strangers; I would just rather go spend some quality time with the plants in my yard to recharge after meet and greets, lectures, or even talking to customers all day.


     In the ’60s, psychologist Hans Eysenck proposed that the difference between introverts and extroverts was that they simply had different levels of arousal–meaning the extent to which our minds and bodies are alert and responsive to stimulation.
     Hans’s theory was that extroverts have a lower basic rate of arousal. This means that extroverts need to work harder to arouse their minds and bodies to the same ‘normal’ state that introverts might reach quite easily. This leads extroverts (or extroverted people, though they might not be quite on the extreme end of the scale) to seek novelty and adventure, and to crave the company of others. For introverts, this kind of stimulation can be overwhelming, since their rate of arousal is much higher, so they are stimulated easily.
     Time alone, one-on-one conversations and predictable situations are more likely to be pleasant for introverts who are more sensitive to external stimulation. Introverted people are known for thinking things through before they speak, enjoying small, close groups of friends and one-on-one time, needing time alone to recharge, and being upset by unexpected changes or last-minute surprises. Introverts are not necessarily shy and may not even avoid social situations, but they will definitely need some time alone after spending time in a big crowd.


To make it a bit easier to see which things would be most helpful to focus on when dealing with someone closer to introversion, I came across this fantastic graphic to illustrate better.


On the opposite side of the coin, people who are extroverted are energized by people. They usually enjoy spending time with others, as this is how they recharge from time spent alone focusing or working hard. To give some pointers on how to best care for someone who is an extrovert, this graphic has some great ideas.

     We all need a little space to mentally process life and recharge, so we can function at our best and enjoy time with others. It’s just that introverts may need more of it. For introverts, time alone is as essential as sleeping or eating. Not getting enough can cause frustration, resentment, and fatigue to set in. I have tried to explain this to folks, but they usually just laugh it off or ignore it. Finding the time to replenish your energy can be difficult and even guilt-inducing. Many introverts skimp on alone time for more practical reasons, worrying that taking a break from an endless to-do list will only put them more behind. I definitely fall into this category.


     I read all the time that one should NEVER use the self-checkout lane in a store. I get the argument, you don’t work there, and you are taking somebody’s job from them. The Land of Self-Checkout Lanes is a miraculous invention, which was probably dreamed up by an introvert who dreaded having small talk with salespeople. I admit it, I use these lanes when I am really feeling anti-people.

     However, you know as well I do that when you are working in an office or trying to get ahead in life, there are times you’re required to step out of your comfort zone and go the extra mile for the sake of “being social” or “seeming like a team player.”
     As an introvert sometimes, we need to rethink these social interactions. Some people see getting together as a way to unwind, introverts see it as work, but often feel guilty for doing so, Instead, introverts should embrace the fact that yes, workplace and other social gatherings are a facet of life—and an important one at that.
     “Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do in order to push forward,” says Clinical psychologist Perpetua Neo, PhD “and attending social events is great for new opportunities.” Introverts have a shorter fuse when it comes to socializing, and there is no need to push it to the limit. But that’s not an excuse for ditching things completely, either. So, if I only show up for part of the time, please don’t feel slighted. I probably felt the anxiety coming on. Trying to seem outgoing at work is undoubtedly exhausting.


     My wife actually nailed something about me that I had never realized was a telltale sign of being an Introvert. She said, put a plant or my trombone in my hand and I am a completely different person. I created The Citrus Guy to help distance the anxious introvert in me from the act of putting myself out there. “The Citrus Guy” is a lot more confident than “Darren” and has fewer hang-ups. I can embrace the necessity of networking online, being outgoing, and standing up in front of groups of people. I just channel TCG. I know, this sounds odd, but it’s a tried and true behavioral therapy trick. By me having that layer of disassociation it really does help stop feeling self-conscious about myself, to some degree.


     Here is a great explanation of the differences between introverts and extroverts, which uses the analogy of being right- or left-handed. It is a way of seeing the benefits of both tendencies, regardless of which one you exhibit more of.
     Most of us will be one or the other but writing with your right hand doesn’t render your left hand useless. Similarly, an extroverted person can still do things that aren’t typically associated with extroversion. Meanwhile, introverts can learn to adapt to more extroverted scenarios, even if it might not come as naturally.
     Put another way: well-rested introverts can (theoretically) handle large, intense social situations just fine if they've had time to recharge. Similarly, if an extrovert has had plenty of time to be around people and find that stimulation they crave, staying home alone isn't going to feel as crippling as if you ask them to do so on Friday night after they've been cooped up in an office all week.

     I sincerely hope that this makes sense to you? I have tried to explain it as easily as I can, borrowing some of my own experiences and from articles on

     Hopefully, this will explain many of the actions I take, my moods, and my personality.
Please share this with your family, friends, co-workers, and even recent acquaintances, it could very well explain why some people act the way THEY do.

Thank You for reading this!
I can be reached at or hiding behind my website

Darren Sheriff


  1. I cam to your blog looking for information about espaliering lemon trees and found this gem as well. Thanks so much. As a writer of training manuals and an introvert, I appreciate the comparison in terms of learning styles.

    1. Thank You, Britton.
      Did you find what you were looking for in the case of espaliering a lemon tree?

  2. The common assumption that introverts are inherently bad at forming social connections aids the belief that extroverts will always perform better than introverts, especially in social settings. However, both introverts and extroverts can be on top of their networking game, albeit through different means. Read more here: