The art of writing different personality types is one that every writer should strive to master. Writing extroverted characters, as well as introverted ones, can be a great way of making sure your set of characters is diverse and appealing.
Just like any other personality type, extroversion encompasses many defining characteristics. Generally, extroverts are considered spontaneous, joyful and enthusiastic.
The main aspect that makes someone an extrovert rather than an introvert is that extroverts are energized by social gatherings whereas introverts are energized by being alone.
However, it’s important to mention that extroversion is a dimensional trait and not a categorical one. Categorical traits are described as one person fitting either one personality description or the other. There is no room for variability.
A dimensional trait, on the other hand, is a spectrum where one might fall somewhere in the middle (these people are called ambiverts), towards the introverted end or the extroverted end. Hence, as mentioned by Carl Jung, the first psychologist to describe this personality type, no one is 100% introverted or extroverted.
Not many mention this, but there are actually two separate facets of extroversion: social dominance and social vitality. Social dominance is one’s ability and willingness to be assertive over others whereas social vitality is one’s willingness to seek out social interactions. Someone may be high on social dominance but low on social vitality or vice versa.
So, when writing an extroverted character, you must first determine two things: Where your character falls on the spectrum of extroversion (light extrovert, extreme extrovert or ambivert) and the facets of extroversion that fits your character (whether your character is high or low on either social dominance or social vitality).
Typically, if you are writing about an extreme extrovert, they would be both high in social dominance and social vitality whereas if you’re writing about a soft extrovert, they would be high in one facet and low in the other.
In general, extroverted characters would enjoy spending time with others, they would typically have a lot of friends and like going to social events.
Most Common Traits of Extroverted Characters
Enjoy social settings
An extroverted character will enjoy social settings. Extroverts are naturally inclined to socialize with other people, and this is most likely their defining trait. They will gladly attend the party that the neighbor is organizing or the barbecue, their coworker is hosting.
There are quite a few theories about why extroverts tend to seek out social settings more than introverts, one of the most influential ones being that extroverts are energized by them. This is the opposite of introverts who are drained by socializing and need time alone to recuperate.
Although, there are opposing views as to why extroverts are the way they are, what we do know is that they crave interaction.
Another important aspect is that when extroverts are in social scenarios, they don’t tend to experience inhibition.
Have a lot of friends
Because of their social nature, extroverts tend to have a large social group. They have this incredible ability to connect with people of all walks of life and tend to have a warm and optimistic aura that attracts people to them.
Their ability to get people to notice them, whether that be by being the loudest in the room or by cracking jokes, is what makes it so easy for them to make a lot of friends.
Like to talk things out
Extroverted characters don’t like to overthink things. When a problem arises or they need to figure some things out, they would rather talk things out than sit around and overthink little details.
They aren’t afraid to express themselves and voice their ideas or their concerns.
Extravert characters are Approachable
As mentioned previously, extroverts tend to come across as warm and optimistic people. Their open nature makes them seem much more approachable than their introverted counterparts.
When writing an extroverted character, you should convey this aspect of their personality by having other characters approach them as well as making them appear warm and empathetic.
Natural born leaders
Unsurprisingly, extroverts are natural-born leaders. Their ability to capture and hold the attention of others makes them more noticeable and their lack of social inhibition makes it easy for them to speak their mind. Additionally, Extroverts typically score high on social dominance and highly dominant people tend to be leaders.
Hence, an extroverted character will more likely be the leader of their friend group in comparison to an introverted character.
Like to share
Extroverts aren’t afraid to talk. They enjoy communication and they are not the type to keep things bottled inside. Hence, if they have something on their mind, they will say it and if they have an idea, they’ll be quick to tell others.
This proneness to say what’s on their mind sometimes causes extroverts to overshare. They will tell their friends, their neighbor, the cashier at the grocery store, and anyone else who will listen about their day.
Hence when writing extroverted characters, it would be good to include this quality in your story.
More prone to risk
Extroverted characters will be more likely to indulge in risky behavior. Their tendency towards agency means that they sometimes spend less time than introverts thinking things through. Once an extravert puts their mind to something, it’s not long before they commit to it, which means that they are more likely to take risks and get into trouble faster than their introverted counterparts.
Considering the previous point, it is not surprising that extraverted characters are spontaneous. Once again, due to their disposition towards agency, they are more likely to make rash/quick decisions and act on them without much thought.
Myths about Extroversion
Extroverts can’t be alone
Everyone needs alone time to recharge so the idea that extraverts are incapable of being alone with themselves is a myth. Contrary to their introverted counterparts, they just need less alone time.
Extroverts can’t have anxiety
Anxiety is a part of a personality characteristic called neuroticism. Someone who has a tendency to experience negative emotions such as anxiety and stress would be considered high on neuroticism whilst someone who scores low in neuroticism is viewed as calmer and emotionally stable.
There is a tendency to believe that someone who scores high on extraversion must then automatically score low on neuroticism. However, these two personality variables are unrelated. Some extroverts can and are just as neurotic and prone to anxiety as some introverts.
Confidence and extroversion
Low self-esteem and confidence issues is an aspect of high neuroticism. As mentioned previously, extraversion and neuroticism are not correlated. Hence, it is false to assume that extroverts are always confident in themselves and can’t have self-esteem issues.