Are Introverts Snobs? – On Personality Type

Introversion and extroversion are two distinct personality traits that describe how individuals interact with the world around them. If you’re an extrovert and encounter an introvert in a crowd or at a party, you might wonder if introverts are snobs.

Why else would they look so uncomfortable or seem to not want to interact with others?

Are introverts snobs?

Two tigers, one snarling in black and white and the other gentle looking in color

In short, no. Introverts are not snobs. It is simply that introverts absorb information and sensory impressions in a different way than extroverts do. As such, they generally need more downtime than extroverts.

Introverts often face misconceptions, and if you’re an extrovert, your confusion or questioning is understandable.

As an introvert and a highly sensitive person, I often wish I could interact more easily with people at a party or in other crowded places. I watch my extrovert friends going from one person to another, saying hi and jumping into easy conversation with one person after another, and sometimes wish I could be like that.

But I’m an introvert, and I’m just not like that.

So, let’s talk specifically about the question some have, whether introverts are snobs.

In this blog post, we will delve into the topic by exploring the characteristics of introverts and shedding light on the reasons behind their sometimes reticent or shy behavior.

In helping highly sensitive people and introverts find new ways to describe themselves, the author of On Being An Introvert or Highly Sensitive Person, Ilse Sand states we should use different words to describe ourselves.

If you are an extrovert, it might help you to understand that introverts have “limited energy resources” rather than assuming we are snobbish or arrogant. Sand says this:

“We [highly sensitive people] are sometimes viewed as snobbish or arrogant when we avoid contact. Often, we are just overstimulated or deeply engaged in thinking about or developing ideas. So, we do not want to be disturbed by social contact. Since our energy for sociability is limited, we have to engage in strict prioritization with respect to whom we spend time with. If we are to thrive, we need time for recharging and creative pleasures or experiences in nature.”

Ilse Sand

Understanding Introversion:

Here are a few ways that introverts differ from extroverts. This is in relation to where introverts derive their energy from, and how they socialize with others.

image of several wooden blocks representing people. Most are white and off white and one blue is in the middle

Introverts Have a Different Energy Source:

Introverts gain energy from spending time alone and internalizing their thoughts. They tend to feel drained after prolonged social interaction and require alone time to recharge. This inclination towards solitude is often misunderstood as snobbery, but it is simply a natural aspect of their personality.

How to Help: If you see an introvert (especially if they are also a highly sensitive person) by him or herself at a gathering, they could very well be overwhelmed by all the interactions going on around them. They would likely appreciate a one-on-one conversation but don’t know who to approach or how to enter an ongoing conversation between several people.

Introverts Tend to be Thoughtful and Reflective:

Introverts are known for their introspective nature. They prefer to think deeply before speaking and often process their thoughts internally. This reflective quality can sometimes be misinterpreted as snobbishness since introverts might seem reserved or hesitant to engage in casual conversation.

How to Help: If you’re in a social setting with someone you know who is an introvert, try to give them time to sort their thoughts out. Extroverts tend to find it more easy to come up with things to say “on the fly” but introverts and highly sensitive people often need a bit more time, but you might be surprised at the depth and thoughtfulness of their statement once they finally get it out there.

Introverts are More Selective in Their Socializing:

Introverts value deep and meaningful connections over superficial interactions. They prefer to spend time with a close-knit group of friends rather than engaging in large social gatherings. This selectiveness can lead others to perceive introverts as snobs, but it’s important to recognize that they prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to relationships.

How to Help: If you want to interact more with your introverted friends, think about the kind of interactions they might enjoy. Rather than going to a party with loud music and dancing, or a sports game with high levels of energy, they might prefer getting together at your (or their) home and playing a board game while eating takeout.

Reasons Behind the Misconception:

Let’s talk a little bit more about why people wonder if introverts are snobs and the reasons why this misconception might have come about.

  1. Quiet Demeanor: Introverts tend to be more reserved in social settings, choosing to listen and observe rather than dominate conversations. This quieter demeanor can give the impression of aloofness or superiority, leading others to mistakenly perceive introverts as snobs.
  2. Misinterpretation of Boundaries: Introverts often set boundaries to protect their energy levels and need for solitude. These boundaries might involve declining invitations or choosing to spend time alone instead of attending social events. Such actions can be misconstrued as snobbishness when, in reality, they are simply acts of self-care and self-preservation.
  3. Stereotyping: The snobbish introvert stereotype has been perpetuated in popular media, portraying introverts as socially awkward or disdainful of others. This depiction fails to capture the complexity and diversity within the introverted population, reinforcing the misconception.

So, Are Introverts Snobs?

In short, introverts are not snobs.

Rather, they possess unique qualities and preferences that differ from their extroverted counterparts.

Understanding and debunking the myth of introverted snobbishness requires recognizing the introvert’s need for solitude, their thoughtful nature, and their selective approach to socializing.

By dispelling these misconceptions, we can foster a more inclusive and understanding society that embraces the diversity of all personality types, introvert and extrovert alike.

Books on Introverts, Extroverts, and Personality Types

Here is a brief list of some books on understanding personality types and exploring the differences between introverts and extroverts.

Sometimes a few blog posts aren’t enough, especially if there’s someone close to you who has a different personality type and you want to understand them better.

Hopefully, these books will offer a good starting place.

The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World

Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery

My True Type: Clarifying Your Personality Type, Preferences & Functions

Introvert by Design: A Guided Journal for Living with New Confidence in Who You’re Created to Be

The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development

Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type


An Introvert in Disguise

Even though you are an introvert, you are undoubtedly capable of acting in the world in an extroverted way when you need to. But if it goes on for an extended period of time, you will probably be tired afterwards.

Ilse Sand in On Being an Introvert or Highly Sensitive Person

Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to teach elementary school?

Actually, that season lasted a lot longer than it should have because another thing introverts are good at is saying yes when they really want to say no.

(I guess another way of saying that is introverts are bad at saying no.)

So there I was, teaching third graders.

I have a theory about children below the age of 10 and that is, the more of them that you have together, their volume is increased exponentially. It’s not one plus one plus one equals three.

The energy and volume of children increase exponentially, especially when they’re involved in doing something I’m not so good at, such as crafts or art projects.

They all seem to want to talk at the same time and none of them seem to have been taught the concept of “inside voice”.

Okay, I know that’s not really the case, and those kids were each wonderful in their own way.

Some of them, I could tell, were introverted or even highly sensitive people because of the way they interacted with others. They observed rather than joining in wholeheartedly to the noise and clamor of an elementary school classroom.

It wasn’t all noise and insanity (and I’m pretty sure the kids actually did learn), but some days it felt like nothing but noise and insanity due to my highly sensitive processing.

And while I was a teacher’s aide most of the time, there was a season (due to the main teacher’s health) that I had to step in full-time.

Although I could play the “extrovert” roll, when I got home each day, I was exhausted.

I was also angry with myself for feeling so exhausted and overwhelmed, and stressed at everything else I encountered because it was just too much on top of those hours I spent teaching and feeling overwhelmed by so many children.

I got sick, actually the sickest I’d ever been, because of the stress.

And while it’s hard for me to say no because it’s been grilled in me from a young age to embrace every opportunity that comes my way, even if it’s a poor fit, I learned that I had to protect myself from pretending to be an extrovert over the long-term.

It was harming me physically and hurting my relationships with those closest to me.

Are you an introvert?

A highly sensitive person?

Are you working at a job that completely exhausts you because it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole or a round peg into a square hole?

This isn’t the type of tiredness that comes from a long day of good work, but the exhaustion of trying to fit where you really don’t.

If you find yourself more stressed and anxious on a regular basis than you know you should be, maybe it’s time to look at your lifestyle or your type of work and see if there isn’t some better approach that fits better for your personality type.

Ilse Sand, whom I quoted above, in her book On Being an Introvert or Highly Sensitive Person, mentioned working as a pastor of a parish. There were expectations for her to do things that the previous pastor (who had been an obvious extrovert) had done.

It was only after realizing and finding grace with herself for being an introvert that she was able to then find a workplace and work style that fit her far better.

Often, in this culture, we are all expected to be extroverted and put on our best face and be highly interactive and eager about all of it …

But that’s not the best fit for all of us, especially those of us who would define ourselves as introverted and highly sensitive.

I think sometimes the best thing we can do is find grace with ourselves and accept ourselves (and each other) for who we are and then find a way of living and operating that fits our personalities.