The Four Types Of Introverts Explained

More often than not, do social situations gradually deplete your energy, rather than refill it? Do you need some quiet time to recalibrate and replenish after a party or event? Then you might just be an introvert.

While some people may assume there are negative connotations about being an introvert, or worry about introversion's connection to mental health, it's not a bad thing. Being an introvert is simply the opposite of being an extrovert. While extroverts may be talkative, outgoing, and social butterflies, introverts tend to be more introspective and internal. Often, introverts value alone time and prefer to socialize in small, intimate groups (via WebMD). But while the idea of introverts and extroverts can certainly be a useful lens to understand human behavior, is it really that black and white, with no nuance? Is every person on the planet simply one or the other?

If you've ever been labeled "too friendly" or "too outgoing" to be an introvert, even though you feel like one on the inside, you might not be so sure about this clear-cut duality. And as it happens, some researchers agree. A 2011 study presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference suggests there may be more shades of gray involved (via Research Gate). In fact, the researchers behind this study have proposed four unique classifications of introverts: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained. Together, they are referred to as the STAR model.

The STAR model of introversion

Among the four types of introverts that make up the STAR model, social introversion is probably the closest to our stereotypical idea of this personality type. Social introverts get worn out in big gatherings of people and prefer to spend time on their own or with a very select group of friends and loved ones (via Healthline). This isn't because they dislike anyone, they just require a little time to themselves to refill their social battery.

Anxious introverts also tend to spend a lot of their time independently. The difference is that anxious introverts don't feel physically sapped by socializing, exactly — rather, they feel shy or awkward in social situations, and end up getting burned out by all their own stress and nervousness. As a result, a lot of anxious introverts end up avoiding social situations, especially unfamiliar ones.

Thinking introverts, on the other hand, aren't antisocial on purpose — they're just very preoccupied inside their own heads and take time to respond. "The thinking introvert is very cognitive by nature. Often intellectual, this type of introvert is often at peace when studying, reading, learning, researching, and investigating," clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., explains to MindBodyGreen.

Finally, restrained introverts embody caution and, you guessed it, restraint. These are the practical, methodical, and responsible overthinkers of the four introverts. While they can be perfectly friendly, they carefully consider their responses and reactions, and so may come across as guarded.

What type of introvert are you?

Even with these four classifications digging down into the nitty-gritty of introversion, you might still be wondering what kind of introvert you are. On the one hand, you get tired during social situations, but on the other, you spend a lot of time deep in thought. So would that make you a social introvert or a thinking introvert?

Actually, you could very easily be both. These four types of introverts are meant to describe patterns of behavior and motivation, not pigeonhole people into one or another. So, like a beautiful Venn diagram, you might fit into more than one category. In fact, if you feel like you resonate with each type, you might even be a shoo-in for all four (via Wellesley College).

Of course, this is the age of the internet, so if you really want extra insight about where you fit into each type of introversion, you know there's a quiz for that. In this case, the researchers behind the STAR model developed a questionnaire to help you identify which flavor of introversion fits you the most (via BuzzFeed News).