The Four Types Of Extroverts Explained

So you've had a long week, and you're feeling pretty wrung out. How do you refill the empty gas tank that once housed all your energy and motivation? If your instinct is to get out of the house and interact with people, it sounds like you could be an extrovert. But what does that mean, exactly?

If your understanding of extroversion comes purely from movies and TV, you could be excused from assuming that being extroverted just boils down to being a social butterfly. Extroverts are often portrayed as friendly, confident, and relentlessly chatty. Although extroverts can certainly have these qualities, that archetype isn't always accurate.

Pioneered by psychologist Carl Jung, the theory behind extroversion and its opposite, introversion, isn't as cut and dry as pop culture might have you believe. Among these designations, there are different nuances and personality types. For instance, it's commonly accepted that there are four types of introversion. Similarly, the umbrella term of "extrovert" can also be broken up into four specific categories: sensors, feelers, intuitives, and thinkers. These subtypes — sometimes referred to as cognitive functions, as they affect the way we think and interact — can put a different spin on extroversion and determine the relationship dynamic between you and the world.

These cognitive functions even serve as the core of the popular Myers-Briggs personality test, which built on Jung's original theory. But you don't have to wade through a full Myers-Briggs report to start understanding the various ways extroversion can manifest. Sometimes, it's better to start with the basics. With that in mind, here's everything you really need to know about the four types of extroverts.

Extroverts vs. introverts

First off, it's important to understand the real difference between extroversion and introversion. Contrary to popular belief, these facets aren't about how you present yourself. Being outgoing doesn't necessarily mean you're an extrovert, and being more restrained doesn't mean you're an introvert. Rather, it's all about how you internally process social interaction.

Typically, extroverts feel like their energy reserves are refilled by spending time with other people. When an extrovert is feeling low or tired, their first instinct might be to gather some friends for brunch or a movie night. On the job, they probably enjoy group work and collaboration (per WebMD). Introverts, on the other hand, feel drained by social situations. It's not that they don't like people, but they require a certain amount of alone time to top up their energy. As such, introverts may prefer working on independent projects. And when they're feeling worn out, introverts would rather relax at home than join a pub crawl.

Because extroversion and introversion are two ends of a spectrum, it's also possible that you could fall somewhere in the middle. This is known as being an ambivert. Ambiverts can refill their energy tanks in various ways, depending on their moods (per MasterClass). Some days, they might prefer a quiet night with Netflix, while on other days, they need quality time with friends to rest and recharge.

In any event, whether you're a pure extrovert or an ambivert with extroverted tendencies, extroversion isn't a one-size-fits-all designation. So if you want to understand how your social battery operates, it can help to narrow down which type of extrovert you are.

Extroverted sensors

One thing that distinguishes the four types of extroverts is how socializing boosts their moods and energy levels. For extroverted sensors, it's all tied to interacting with the world around them. Driven by novelty and new experiences, extroverted sensors thrive on stimulation — whether that means going somewhere unfamiliar, trying exotic foods for the first time, or making new acquaintances (per Psychology Junkie). They are likely to enjoy activities that trigger a visceral reaction and engage their five senses, like sports, concerts, or roller coasters. And when hanging out with friends, they'd rather share an active, memorable experience than simply bond over drinks.

Because extroverted sensors are so attuned to their environment, these individuals tend to live in the moment. On the one hand, they're likely to appreciate the little details in their surroundings, like the particular light cast by a sunset or the scent of salt when they're hanging out near the beach. But that doesn't mean that extroverted sensors are slow-paced. Because they are very grounded in the present rather than the past or future, extroverted sensors can be prone to spontaneous decision-making (via Introverted Growth). Not held back by future consequences or past mistakes, sensors feel free to seize the moment and enjoy life to its fullest.

Extroverted feelers

Of all four types of extroverts, extroverted feelers probably come the closest to our stereotypical idea of extroversion. Their energy levels are connected to emotion, and they love to soak in waves of happiness from everyone around them. While extroverted sensors need new places or faces to keep them engaged, extroverted feelers just need the presence of people they enjoy (per Thought Catalog). As such, you'll likely find extroverted feelers drawn to outings where the main event is conversation, such as a party or dinner with friends.

Outgoing people sometimes get a bad rap for being pushy or oblivious, but extroverted feelers are actually very aware of social cues. As So Syncd notes, these extroverts are extremely empathetic, naturally molding their behavior to fit the emotions and even the perceived hierarchy of people nearby. Because they are attuned to the vibe of the entire crowd around them, extroverted feelers are quintessential hosts and mediators. They spend their time making sure everyone is having fun and getting along, using compassion and perception to keep things flowing smoothly.

Since they are people pleasers, extroverted feelers also love to be helpful. Think of that one friend you would call if you needed an emergency loan or help moving a sofa. However, there can be a downside to this generosity. Extroverted feelers may notice if they give out a lot of favors without getting any in return, and this can quickly turn into a grudge over a perceived lack of appreciation (via Personality Growth). When in doubt, treat an extroverted feeler like the acts of service love language is the way to their heart.

Extroverted intuitives

Powered by the excitement of pure ideas, extroverted intuition bridges the gap between the external and internal world. Whereas sensors love experiences and feelers crave human connection, extroverted intuitives draw their energy from possibility (per Truity). These are the wild planners in any friend group — the person who is constantly brainstorming fake band names, "Would You Rather" prompts, or plots for hypothetical movies.

Extroverted intuitives have one eye planted firmly on the future, often preoccupied with speculation. While this very thought-driven personality might sound like it edges on introvert territory, extroverted intuitives need people around them to serve as collaborators and sounding boards. Intuitives love group projects or a good debate, even if the argument has no greater purpose than exploring a topic from every angle. Hyper-curious, they may also ask a lot of personal questions (per MyPersonality). But they don't mean to step on any toes — these extroverts simply appreciate the chance to spend time chatting, learning, and tossing out blue-sky ideas as entertainment.

On the positive side, intuitives' passion for possibilities tends to make them very open-minded. However, it can also make these extroverts very indecisive, restless, and prone to short attention spans as they hop from one idea to the next (via Personality Junkie). If you're friends with an extroverted intuitive, good luck keeping them on-task and committed to a single course of action.

Extroverted thinkers

Last but not least, extroverted thinkers get their energy from progress and social standing. These goal-oriented movers and shakers need to be around other people as a gauge of their own status. Natural leaders and decision-makers, extroverted thinkers like crossing tasks off their list and rallying the troops to get things done (via Discover Yourself).

While this personality type can sometimes come across as pushy or aggressive, it can be extremely helpful to have an extroverted thinker in your camp. The focus and drive of an extroverted thinker can help keep an entire group moving forward, especially if there are a few intuitives that need help narrowing down options. If your pals can never decide which restaurant to visit on a Friday night, you're probably lacking an extroverted thinker. Let's put it this way: It's no wonder that Myers-Briggs tests divide this type of extrovert into variants known as "The Administrator" and "The General."

All of this may sound cold and domineering, but it's important to remember that extroverted thinkers are still social individuals. While they may crave external validation, this doesn't always mean they are selfish or self-absorbed. These extroverts can just as easily take pleasure from group accomplishments and the satisfaction of a team that runs like a well-oiled machine. As Thought Catalog points out, just because they aren't the warmest and fuzziest type of extrovert, thinkers can genuinely enjoy the company of others — though they may still act like they're at a networking event.