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Yes, extroverts make more money than introverts. But the personality type also has some downsides.

Daryl Austin

If you're a fan of movies, you probably admire a lot of extroverts. Many extroverted personalities are attracted to show business, but extroverts are also often drawn to many other careers. 

Such jobs include roles in business management, teaching, customer care, legal work, healthcare, social media management, consulting, sales, flight attending, public relations and politics. Careers like these often require individuals to frequently interact with others - a skill that usually pays a premium as research shows that extroverts make about $10,000 more a year than introverts. 

But being an extrovert comes with some limitations and downsides as well, and most anyone can become more extroverted if they choose to. 

What is an extrovert? 

Someone defined as an extrovert is someone whose personality type matches people-oriented characteristics such as being inviting, warm, expressive, talkative and sociable. "Extroverts are simply people who feed their soul through interactions with others and prefer to be around other people rather than being alone," says Joanne Broder, a practicing psychologist, fellow of the American Psychological Association, and the co-founding editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Psychology Popular Media. 

Broder says extroverted adults can be especially useful in certain careers and are handy to have around in social situations, "but it's a personality trait that can sometimes cross the line into obnoxious or overbearing when someone doesn't respect other people’s boundaries." Extroverts can also experience more mood swings than some introverts, along with feelings of intense sadness when others aren't around. 

Many people are clearly extroverted - "if you've ever been described as the 'life of the party,' feel comfortable in big groups, and prefer a packed social schedule, you’re likely an extrovert," says Amanda Darnley, a psychologist based in Philadelphia. But she explains that it isn't always easy to define someone as simply being extroverted or introverted. "Most of us are a mix," she says. 

Why are some people more extroverted than others?

Because extroversion is a personality trait and not a mental health condition, it isn't well studied, and its causes aren't entirely known. Generally, though, "where you fall on the introversion/extroversion continuum is a blend of nature and nurture," explains Darnley. 

This means some people might be more genetically predisposed to be especially people-oriented while other people might be shaped that way by their environment and their upbringing. "Environment can certainly influence someone’s level of sociability," says Broder.

Levels of extroversion can also change over time. "Though its traits were once thought to be lifelong," says Darnley, "personality research has shown that you can change introversion and extroversion characteristics with intentional and consistent behavioral interventions."

Broder says it's also important to remember that being an extrovert versus an introvert is not usually all or nothing. "Ambiverts are a combination of both as they need time alone as well as with other people," she says. She adds that comfort levels change depending on settings and who is present in a given situation and that "someone who is typically an introvert might find themselves being very sociable with the right crowd just as extroverts might keep to themselves when they don't have anything in common with other people present."

How do I become more extroverted? 

Behavioral adjustments to become more extroverted may include studying the way extroverts interact with others and practicing similar attitudes and behaviors yourself. It can also be beneficial to volunteer for opportunities that will put you in front of others and to practice speaking up more than you're used to.

Broder says becoming more extroverted begins with being more intentional and practicing habits such as putting down one's phone in social settings, seeking circumstances where you'll likely have things in common with other people, and, when trying to meet other people.

In such cases, Darnley says, "it's less about 'faking' extroversion and more about leaning into the inherent value you bring to the table."

It's a point Tim Carter, president of Discovery Tree Academy, echoes. "I believe regardless of a person being an extrovert or introvert that life has endless possibilities for individuals to be confident and authentically themselves," he says. "Embrace your personality type and embrace what you have to offer in each situation and interaction." 

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