Are introverts unhappier?


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Are introverts unhappier?

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feb. 2, 2009, 2:47 pm

I probably first took an MBTI assessment when I was 18 or so, and it designated me an INTJ. For a long time, I didn't really wonder about the functional analysis aspects of the Jungian types; I just thought about each letter as denoting a preference for one *something* over another.

When I finally worked up the curiosity to get a basic view of how functional analysis worked, I was sort of floored to learn that among introverts, the primary function (in our case, intuition) is introverted, meaning that it is not the function that the outside world sees when it looks at us. Instead, in introverts, the secondary function (thinking, in our case) is extroverted.

Now, my experience has always been (and there may be some disagreement on this point) that introverts tend to be unhappier than extroverts, particularly during youth. Functional analysis made me wonder if maybe, among introverts, unhappiness is more common because we detect that we are not being understood by our peers as well as extroverts are, since the primary way that we come to know the world is hidden from view, while extroverts simply are what they appear to be (or at least more so). Do you guys think this has some merit, or why not?

feb. 4, 2009, 2:42 pm

polutropon - you are doing a good job of trying to kick start these groups!

I read somewhere that NT types as a whole tend to grow up thinking they are surrounded by aliens (because they - NTs - are so few, and the others, the majority are so different).

I think maybe it is INT types that are the most likely to have unhappy childhoods.

Having said that, my childhood was quite ok - I think because I loved sport & was quite good at it. So I had a point of contact with the extraverts and the sensing types who probably tend to dominate (in many senses) school & social life in childhood.

feb. 4, 2009, 2:46 pm

On reflection, I think extraverts also have a safety valve because they can talk about their problems/issues quite freely and solicit help.

juny 13, 2009, 10:01 pm

Analytically you hit the nail on the head Polutropon, but this particular relation to others, this 'strangeness' in their eyes needn't be a reason for unhappiness. It's possible to just accept not being easily understood as a person, and even to enjoy it.

jul. 4, 2009, 1:11 pm

I recommend reading the Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney for good insight into this question. My gut feeling is that the extrovert is no happier than the introvert, although I think that happiness often comes later to the introvert. We have a harder time getting noticed and making contact with other people, which might make it harder for introverts to find a mate, find a social circle or achieve career advancement. Nevertheless, I think that the introvert's self knowledge, perception of other people, and desire to know other people well can make up for this. It is my impression that INFs struggle more with loneliness than INTs, who appear to be so self contained.

jul. 10, 2012, 12:36 am

I know the older I have gotten the happier I have become. I wonder if there are any studies to indicate that introverted older people are happier than extraverted older people.

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