Teenage Introvert vs. Extrovert: Understanding Teenagers

As parents, understanding teenagers and the different personalities, feelings, and thinking they have can be a difficult task. Sometimes your teen may be very chatty, wanting to tell you everything about their day and the next day your teen may be moody and brush you off. It can be frustrating sometimes to get through to your teenager. But one point to keep in mind is whether your teenager has an extrovert or introvert personality type. Sometimes just identifying whether you have a teenage introvert or extrovert can shed light and explain personality traits and attitudes your teen has in day to day life.

There are many magazine and online quizzes your teen can take to determine what personality type he or she is, whether it be an extrovert or introvert. This can be a fun way for your teenager to learn more about themselves.  However, the meanings of introvert and extrovert can sometimes be misunderstood and overly simplified when in reality, the terms are a bit more complex.

Introvert and Extrovert Personality Types

We often hear and refer to the extreme definitions of introversion and extroversion. That introvert personality traits include being quiet, shy and introverts enjoy being alone. While extrovert personality traits include being outgoing, social butterflies. But teenage introverts don’t hate being around others, they simply rely on alone time to rest and recharge after social or stressful interactions. Likewise, teenage extroverts are not obnoxious and don’t always need to be the center of attention, but rather social interactions help them build energy and happiness that they don’t get from alone time. Further, introverts tend to spend more time critically thinking to make decisions, making them less spontaneous. Whereas extroverts tend to make quick decisions that drive immediate gratification, resulting in them being happier overall.

But teenagers aren’t just one or the other, but rather, can be a combination of the two. This is sometimes called “ambivert,” a person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features. 38% of people fall into this middle classification of ambiverts. Ambiverts are either very balanced and centered in their traits, or they shift completely between introverted and extroverted depending on the situation. For example, a teenage girl who is quiet and keeps to herself at school may be very talkative around her family and close friends. This is because she is comfortable within her own circle and can let her guard down to be her authentic self. Likewise, an outgoing, social guy may really enjoy spending a night in watching movies on the couch.

Understanding Teenagers by Their Personality Types

Determining what personality type your son or daughter has can go a long way in understanding teenagers and how they will react in certain social situations.  It helps you learn what the best way to parent your son or daughter is based on how comfortable your teenager is with themselves and with others. For those teenage introverts, their thoughtfulness and cautiousness may lead to missed opportunities due to overthinking anxiety. Extroverts on the other hand may be constantly seeking social interactions, so much so that they suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out).

Ultimately, understanding teenagers as best you can, helps you become the best parent you can be by knowing when to push them out of their comfort zone or when to rein them in. It also helps develop a strong line of communication which is key to parenting. If you are having difficulty understanding and parenting your teenager, please contact Teen Rehab and a specialist will reach out to get you the help that is right for you.


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