Are you Inner Focused or Outer Focused?

Written by on January 22, 2014 in On Relationships

iStock_000010445241MediumAfter having an interesting conversation with my son about the similarities and differences between himself and his siblings I noticed that people in general tend to be either inner focused or outer focused, with of course some folks falling right on the median line between the two. After thinking it through and talking to other people about their experiences I have created a short personality test to determine which way you lean.

First of all, I would like to say that the test is not meant to label people or put individuals into a box. But I do like to think about human behavior from a wide range of perspectives and if I can learn something about myself or how I relate to those around me then it is worth the exploration. This test is for fun and gives the reader an opportunity to look at their behavior through a different lens. I like to think of it as similar to shopping for clothes. Sometimes when you try on different styles or colors you see yourself in a different way than before.

The test uses the word always and often quite a bit. Don’t take them too literally. So please, before doing the test, consider the reason you are taking this test and what you hope to learn about yourself by doing so. All answers must be yes or no. This test does not take into consideration the work you have done on yourself. It only determines what your tendencies and predispositions are, so please keep that in mind when answering. Also, be willing to sit with the questions for awhile and really consider them before answering.

Disclaimer: This is not a test that determines introversion and extroversion. As far as I could tell, many introverts are outer focused as well as inner focused with extroversion in both types as well. I used the terms inner and outer because it sounded better than saying me focused and them focused but that is exactly what the two terms mean.

Instructions: Simply write down the number on a paper when the answer is yes. Ignore the numbers if the answer is no. The test results are found at the bottom of the questionnaire, so to keep it real, no peeking!

 1. Have you always considered yourself to be independent?

2. Do you prefer others to make the final decisions?

3. Have you always known who you are? (Or at least thought you did)

4. Are you hyper-aware of others reactions, even when they don’t involve you?

5. Do you feel uncomfortable making decisions that you know others will disapprove of?

6. Have you always been irritated by people who worry too much about what others think of them?

7. Has saying no to others seemed like mission impossible?

8. Do you find that you always consider how a decision will affect you before you consider how it may affect those around you?

9. Are you aware of how others around you are feeling or responding to the environment?

10. Do you enjoy being the decision-maker or do you feel insulted when others do the decision-making without you?

11. Have you always been considerate of others feelings and reactions how your behavior may be affecting those around you? (Especially as a young person)

12. Are you often unaware about how others perceive you? (Such as, whether or not people like you)

13. As a child were you often accused of being selfish or self-centered?

14. Do you blame yourself first, when things go wrong?

15. When something goes wrong do you usually feel that someone else is at least partially to blame?

16. Are you opinionated? (It still counts if you choose not to state your opinions)

17. Are you a good listener? Do you find other people very interesting?

18. Are you always looking for how situations can be beneficial to you? (What’s in it for you?)

19. Has serving others or being in service been something of a challenge for you?

20. Does taking care of your own needs feel easy, effortless?

21. Do you find that you often allow others’ needs to interfere with your own?

22. Have always been conscious of what others are doing but not sure about why they are doing it?

23. Do you feel comfortable being in charge of others or delegating tasks?

24. Do you like to work on your own, to be your own boss, as opposed to working with a team or under a supervisor?

25. Has it always been important for others to have good impression of you?

26. Do you like to recharge by doing something alone or by spending time alone?

27. Are you inclined toward service, helping others and being supportive?

28. Do you often use your likeability to get what you want and need from others?

29. Are you typically aware of your motivations? In other words, do you have a clear sense of why you act the way you act?

30. Is being a good friend important enough to influence your behaviors?

31. Do you enjoy being part of team, supporting others when your support may go unnoticed?

32. Do you believe in yourself and your abilities? Even those abilities that have been untested?

33. Do you often doubt yourself and what you are capable of doing?

34. When you compare yourself to others do you tend to see yourself as superior or better than the other person?

35. When comparing yourself to others do you find that you are always falling short or feeling inferior?

36. Do you prefer to hear what others are saying rather than offering your own opinions?

37. Are you often jealous of others accomplishments?

38. Do you find that you need to be admired by others?

39. Have you noticed that you are willing to give up too easily when things become difficult?

40. When things are difficult, do you find greater strength through the challenge?

41. Have you always been interested in understanding yourself and others? (i.e human psychology etc.)

42. Are you able to handle confrontations pretty well?

43. Are you a peacemaker or at least willing to make sacrifices to avoid a confrontation?

44. Do you give in to others when under pressure?

45. Do you have a strong central compass, easily knowing what direction to take and what is best for you?

46. Do you feel genuine excitement at others’ success and accomplishments?

47. Has connecting with others always been an important motivation for many of your actions and decisions?

48. Do you feel that life is here for the taking?

How to get the results for the test:

You should have a paper with all of your YES numbers written down. Using the numbers below compare how many of the inner focused numbers you answered yes to, compared to the outer focused numbers you said yes to. Remember that all the numbers you wrote on your paper were YES numbers. Many people taking this test will find that they answered yes to about half and half. That’s okay. You are a median personality rather than an extreme personality. Go over the numbers that you answered yes to and down at the bottom of the page you will see a list of strengths and weaknesses for both types. Using your answers notice where you are weak and where you are strong. It will at least give you a chance to  work on areas that need attention.

The numbers for a positive result for the inner focused personality are: 1,3,6,8,10,12,13,15,16,18,19,20,23,24,26,29,32,34,38,40,41,42,45,48

The numbers for a positive result for the outer focused personality are: 2,4,5,7,9,11,14,17,21,22,25,27,28,30,31,33,35,36,37,39,43,44,46,47

Understanding the Two Types

Inner focused personalities are naturally more internal and are more aware of their response to external stimuli whereas outer focused types are more aware of how others respond to their behavior. Both types try to control their experiences by manipulating what they are most aware of. For example, outer focused types try to please others in an effort gain a sense of acceptance; they seek out others to tell them about themselves because they tend not to be in touch with their own inner experience. Outer focused types can also express this through rebellion and belligerence because that also causes an outer reaction. Inner focused types are much more concerned with how they see themselves, than how others see them. While all of us at times seek acceptance from others outer types NEED others to help them define who they are. Inner types already think they know who they are and are more interested in getting others to see what they believe is their personality.

Inner focused people are more self-aware but also tend to be selfish. They are usual quite aware of their selfishness, they just don’t see it as a problem. They are motivated by what they like, what they think and are usual fine dealing with others criticisms as their opinion of themselves is more important than others opinion of them. Outer focused types are very aware of others, how others are feeling and they concern themselves with others perceptions of them.

Outer types tend to be good listeners and are service oriented. They usually enjoy a big get-together, as it gives them a chance to reconnect with  many people at the same time. Inner types are not as concerned with connecting to others but are more connected to themselves. Inner types are naturally self-aware and know what motivates them and how they operate but they are not always aware of how others are feeling though and tend to be oblivious to the consequences of their actions. Inner types can seem rude to outer types who are VERY aware of how their words and actions affect others. Outer types are genuinely interested in the lives of others. The connect easily to people and are usually well liked but not necessarily admired. Inner types tend to garner admiration but are often disconnected from others.

Inner types usually take good care of themselves and outer types take good care of others. Inner types do not know how to express their compassion or caring for others and find it extremely awkward. Outer types are naturally expressive of their warmth and tenderness and would feel stifled if they could not show their compassion. Outer types have a good bedside manner and are often nurses or caregivers. They are more sensitive to others and the experiences of others affect their lives personally. Inner types make great leaders and guides. They are able to set aside their personal feelings and make decisions without being influenced by others. Outer types make better managers because they are interested in the personal lives of the people they are responsible for.

Inner types are driven and direct in their pursuits. Sometimes they end up trampling on the feet of those around them in an effort to get where they are going and to do what they are driven to do. Inner types are motivated by challenges and are not easily pushed around. Outer types are overwhelmed by too many expectations and often give in to pressures from others, because they value what others think of them more than what they think about themselves. Inner types are usually opinionated and they seem very sure of themselves. Inner types  tend to think of themselves as better than others in at least some ways. When comparing themselves to others they usually come out on top rather than on the bottom. They blame others more readily because they believe that they already know who they are and if they were to blame for anything they would have already dealt with it. Outer types, because they are less self-aware, assume they are at fault and blame themselves. They also believe it prevents problems when they shoulder all the blame rather than pointing fingers.

This is just a sample of the behaviors and tendencies of the the two types. Both types have strengths and weaknesses and becoming aware of our strengths and weaknesses can be useful. All awareness is valuable and is the beginning point for all change or improvement. We cannot change that which we are not aware of. Below is a list of the strengths and weaknesses of the two types.

Inner focused


  1. Decisive
  2. Good Boundaries
  3. Self-Aware
  4. Leader
  5. Confident
  6. Determined
  7. Independent
  8. Self-motivated
  9. Takes Care of Self
  10. Self Respect


  1. Self-centered
  2. Overconfident
  3. Arrogant
  4. Blames Others
  5. Breaks Others Boundaries
  6. Lack of Respect
  7. Ambitious
  8. Irreverent
  9. Unprincipled
  10. Callous

Outer focused


  1. Good with people
  2. Kind and compassionate
  3. Aware of others
  4. Unselfish
  5. Service-oriented,
  6. Interested,
  7. Considerate,
  8. Respectful,
  9. Good friend,
  10. Open-hearted


  1. Worried,
  2. Confused or Unsure
  3. Lack of Boundaries,
  4. Self-Abuse,
  5. Feeling Inferior
  6. Needs Others Approval
  7. Easily influenced
  8. Lack of Direction
  9. Unassertive,
  10. Unmotivated

So what’s the purpose of seeing things you probably already knew about yourself? For me, I gained two things by doing the test myself. As an inner type, I was reminded of the valuable qualities in outer types. Secondly, I saw clearly ways that I could practice learning the skills of the outer types and incorporate the things that I valued in that type. I have learned that skills gained that don’t come naturally are often worth the most to me. I will always be good at things that I am naturally good at. There isn’t much value in tooting your horn, especially when you didn’t have to work and develop the skills you are tooting. I liked seeing exactly what areas I needed to work on and it give me an opportunity to reassess myself. (That’s my inner focused nature!) As I stated before this test is just for fun and I hope you have as much fun taking it as I had making it.








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