APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM – Extrovert vs Introvert Personalities


Those going out into the community to preach the Good News, as well as those met in the community are either introverts or extroverts or somewhere in between. Most dictionaries tend to define the introvert with shyness or antisocial, and this just is not the case. An extroverted person tends to be outspoken, straight, and nonstop in their speaking, as well as talking as their thoughts poor through their mind. They also tend to see the bigger picture, often relying on figures of speech and comparisons to convey what they mean. On the other hand, an introverted person tends to keep his thoughts to himself, until he is sure of what he wants to say, and how he wants to say it. He also tends to look at the particulars and fine points of the matter before making a decision.

Therefore, you may be an extrovert who has to communicate with introverts on occasion in your community. Conversely, you may be an introvert who has to communicate with extroverts on occasion in your community. This may be part of the reason as to why you feel very comfortable at times and uncomfortable at other times. Having a better understanding of introvert and extrovert personalities will lead to better communication that is far more successful.


What is the difference between an extroverted person and an introverted person?

The Extroverted Person

Extraversion is “the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self.”[1] Extroverts seem to take far greater pleasure in being around other people or let us just say they feel far more comfortable, while they seem to find less enjoyment in activities that require being alone. Therefore, you will see them going to large social gatherings, such as parties, community activities, and business or political events, where they will involve themselves in rapid-paced conversation. Then again, if they have nothing to do, or are alone (prone to boredom when involved in such activities as reading, writing, using computers, hiking, and fishing), they will seek out something that involves other people.

If you have this personality, you may not fully appreciate the introverted person, but better understanding him will lead to conversations that are more fruitful. For example, if you notice the other is taking some time to respond, do not assume that they are just shy and that you must carry the conversation. Give them a little longer to consider what they want to say, and how they want to respond to you. Of course, you do not want extremely long silent periods, so if they fail to respond, you can begin to help the conversation along, but do not abandon the tactic of giving them time.

If you and someone else are talking with a person that is slow to respond, just have one person doing almost all of the talking, which will enable the introverted person to feel less stress. Not to mention, with both people trying to witness to one person, it can get overwhelming even for the extroverted person. Additionally, if you are asking questions of an introverted person, do not make it a series; try to keep it to one question at a time, giving them time to respond. Finally, try not to speak too fast, as extroverted persons tend to be rapid-paced speakers.


What is an extroverted person like, and how might he deal with introverted people?

The Introverted Person

Introversion is “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life.”[2] The introverted person will take their time reflecting on everything, and need time to process what information (outside stimuli). While the extra overt seems to be stimulated, energized through human interaction, it is just the opposite for the introverted person, who seems to be charged by meditation and reflection, while they lose energy through human contact.

The introverted person loves activities that mean some alone time, such as reading, writing, using computers, hiking, and fishing. As a rule, persons such as artists, writers, sculptors, engineers, composers, and inventors are usually going to be introverted. They do love their alone time and do not find large crowds of people appealing, but they do generally enjoy smaller intimate groups of family and close friends. The introverted person will focus on one task at a time and will contemplate far longer than the extroverted person will. They tend to reason things out more, before sharing what is on their mind. They can be overcome by too much activity from large social gatherings and may seek out a corner to escape the pressure. An introverted person is usually misunderstood as a sad, depressed, or antisocial in nature. Rather, it should just be viewed as the introvert prefers alone time, individual activities, from which they get their energy, while the shy person (who may even be extroverted by nature), will avoid groups of people out of fear.

If you are of this personality, you may find it quite tiresome in the world of the extroverted person. You would allow this person time to get his points across, as he will likely be more than willing to share his mind. However, do not let him dominate the conversation. If you feel that he has failed to take a breath, and has gotten off course, just raise your hand and smile, because the raising of the hand means, “wait a minute.” Once he comes to a halt, interject the thoughts that are necessary to bring him back to the subject at hand. Do not view or perceive the extroverted person as being superficial because they tend to talk more than most, loving to carry the conversation, and will be very animated in doing so. Yes, they will involve themselves in other people’s conversations, even interrupt at times, or finish the sentences of the person talking, to find a way into the conversation. However, this is who they are, and if they have never researched their personality, they are likely very much unaware of what they do, as it is a norm for them.


What is an introverted person like, and how might he deal with extroverted people?

The Ambiverted Person

The ambivert is “a personality pattern that has characteristics of both introversion and extroversion.”[3] Most have not heard of this person, and have just viewed people as being either introverted or extroverted. Of course, you have people on the extreme ends of either the introverted or extroverted or everywhere in between.

APOLOGETICSPsychology identifies the Big Five personality traits, used to describe the human personality. How much stock we can put in any one of them can be debated. However, I will list the five here so you can appreciate that we all possess different personalities, and it would be overly critical to be judgmental of others, who may possess a different personality than your own, and which may grate against yours. Obviously, we all are different, Therefore, while personalities are genetic, they are learned as well. Can you imagine an introverted person growing up in a violent inner-city neighborhood, with a father that beats his mother, and a mother that physically and verbally abuses the children as a result?

Being genetically bent in one personality direction, heightened or dulled by one’s environment does not excuse a neurotic personality, someone who is prone to such feelings as anxiety, anger, envy, guilt, and depressed mood, to then be excused for outbursts of anger, saying, “It is just who he is.” It just means that he needs self-control through cognitive therapy, as well as work and application of Scripture. While our genes may have some role in our personality traits, our Christian faith, and Holy Spirit can determine where we end up.


What is an ambivert person like?

A summary of the factors of the Big Five and their constituent traits:[4]

  • Openness to experience – (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and a variety of experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has. It is also described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine. Some disagreement remains about how to interpret the openness factor, which is sometimes called “intellect” rather than openness to experience.
  • Conscientiousness – (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). A tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; planned rather than spontaneous behavior; organized, and dependable.
  • Extraversion – (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Energy, positive emotions, urgency, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.
  • Agreeableness – (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic toward others. It is also a measure of ones’ trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well tempered or not.
  • Neuroticism – (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control and is sometimes referred by its emotional stability.

Be Renewed In the Spirit of Your Mind

To be clear in your communication with others, we must be aware of how we are communicating to others. As we saw in the above, each of us has different personalities, which would mean that we also communicate differently. Because of this, misunderstandings can arise, even frustration. Certainly, some of our personality is genetically predisposed, but our socialization (learned behaviors) plays a major role. However, now that we are Christians, looking to engage in the evangelism of others, this means that we need to alter our communication skills because we are going to engage hundreds, if not thousands throughout our life as a Christian. The new Christian person that we became (Eph. 4:22-24), includes taking on a different communication style. Yes, we need to become better, more effective in our communication, if our evangelism will be successful.


Why must we be interested in altering our communication skills?

Evangelism Opportunity: While sitting on a bus, reading the Bible, the man next to you leans in and says, “I read a book that said the Bible is full of errors and contradictions.”

You ask to clarify, “Yes, many have made such statements, but do you remember any of the supposed errors or contradictions?”

He replies, “Yes If God is hardening Pharaoh’s heart in the book of Exodus, what exactly makes Pharaoh responsible for the decisions he makes?”

You respond, “…”






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[1] Merriam Webster Dictionary.

[2] Merriam Webster Dictionary.

[3] Encarta Dictionary.

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits

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