You May Be an Introvert If…
Not sure if you are an introvert or just shy? The two can go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. Many introverted people aren’t shy – they just enjoy people in smaller doses than extroverts. See how many of these fit your personality. If most of them do, you are probably an introvert.
- Introverts revel in time alone – they need lots of time to think and dream. They enjoy creative and solitary pursuits.
- Introverts are social – but don’t need to be around people a lot. While other personality types crave the excitement of a party, introverts would rather be talking one-on-one with someone who has interesting ideas.
- Introverts tend to listen more than they talk – until someone brings up their favorite topic. Then they will ask questions and excitedly discuss the intricacies of the issue. Until then, they are happy to quietly listen and learn about those around them.
- Introverts are keen observers – since they are often quietly listening, they observe a great deal about the people and environment around them. They enjoy this. While their friend is shopping in the mall, they will be people-watching… that is if their friend can drag them to the mall.
- Introverts are often very perceptive or intuitive – it may partially be all the observing they do, but they tend to be insightful and good judges of character. They may seem to know the deeper motivations behind other people’s actions or words than others may be comfortable with.
- Introverts are excited by ideas – this is why they perk up at the mention of a new interest of theirs. They want to dig deep into the inner workings of everything that fascinates them.
- Introverts have rich inner lives – with all the thinking going on, this isn’t surprising. They are more than content to ponder how and why something works, just for the mental stimulation.
- Introverts need their own quiet space – yeah, like a man cave. They need a place they can call their own where they can just be and think. They are most contented in that space.
- Introverts have a couple of close friends – rather than a lot of acquaintances. They are looking for deep, enriching relationships with people they trust, rather than good-time friends.
- Introverts can get cranky if they spend too much time with people – so if their friend does get them to go to the mall, they shouldn’t expect it to be an all-day adventure. Being around people, especially a lot of people for an extended period is draining for introverts.
Ways Introverts Interact With Their Environment
Introverts interact with people and their environments differently than extroverts do. Because their brains are hardwired differently, they don’t feel the same way about people and events, and their behavior demonstrates that. Here’s a list of ways that introverts interact differently with their environment than extroverts do.
Don’t get “high” on their environment – Extroverts experience a release of dopamine, a feel-good hormone when they are in a crowd. They take on the energy that surrounds them and live it up. In other words, they get a “high” from it. Introverts, on the other hand, shut down and hide in a crowded environment.
Think before they speak – Introverts mull things over before deciding on a logical conclusion. While extroverts often think aloud, introverts engage in an internal dialogue before opening their mouths to speak. This fact has encouraged the belief that introverts are shy or antisocial because they don’t just jump right into a conversation as extroverts do.
Live near the exit – When they are in a crowd of people, introverts subconsciously head near the exit to stand. They always want to have a way out if the environment becomes too overstimulating. By standing near an exit, they can escape and take in some solitary time, if needed. This has earned them a reputation for being snobby or standoffish.
Screen calls – Highly focused introverts are more likely to let their voicemail deal with an unexpected call than to answer it. They dislike being interrupted when they are focused on a task, so even if the call coming in is from a friend or family member, they will often call them back rather than risk breaking their concentration.
Prefer texting or emailing – Introverts love some of the newer technology available to them because it gives them a socially-acceptable way to avoid small talk. They much prefer to text or email others because the informal chit-chat is considered unnecessary when communicating in those ways. They can get straight to the point without coming off as rude.
Drawn to solitary, creative work – Understandably, introverts lean towards careers that allow them to focus on detail-oriented tasks that are creative and can be easily done alone. Their mono-focus gives them the ability to perform detailed work and, being able to skip all the office chit-chat, reserves their energy so they can complete highly creative tasks.
Make excellent public speakers – This may seem counter-intuitive based on what you know about introverts, but think about it. If they are on stage, you don’t have to mingle. Mingling means energy drain and small talk to the introvert, but when they are informing people of a topic they are interested in, they are enthusiastic and energetic.
The Reason You’re an Introvert is in Your Brain
Most of us believe our personality is the reason for our introversion. And part of it may be. However, a recent study proves that the brain of an introvert works differently from an extrovert’s. This means no matter who our parents were or what our environment was like growing up, we were born hard-wired as an introvert. Let’s look at the details of the study to learn more.
The study included many different people from all ages, cultures, and walks of life. They were shown images of objects and people’s faces as their brain waves were monitored by an EEG. Scientists found that introvert’s and extrovert’s brains reacted differently to the two different types of pictures.
Specifically, what the scientists were looking for in the brain was the P300 wave, which is caused when we experience a sudden modification in our environment. The researchers discovered that extroverts started P300 brain activity when they saw a picture of a person’s face, while introverts showed this brain activity when they say pictures of objects.
Now, this study does not give extroverts more ammunition to say introverts don’t like people or are snobs. But what it does tell us is that introverts give more emphasis to objects than they do to people. On the other hand, extroverts give more attention to people than to objects. And this makes sense if you think about what drives each of these two different types of people. Introverts are energized by spending time in solitary pursuits, figuring things out, but extroverts are energized by being around people.
Introverts, of course, care deeply about their loved ones, but they don’t need to have a steady stream of stimulation by people or events like extroverts do. And introverts can also enjoy being around people, especially around a small group of intimates. However, they don’t need this interaction as frequently as extroverts do. We are all social creatures – introverts just do socialize differently than extroverts.
How does knowing about this study help you? Well, if you are like most introverts, you have at least one extrovert in your life who is always pressuring you to get out of your shell and out of the house. They may tease you about being a shy homebody and incessantly invite you to join the fun at social events. Now you can explain that your brain simply works differently than theirs and that you don’t enjoy the constant stimulation of other people’s company as they do.
Surprising Facts about Introverts
Super creative – According to scientific tests, the percentage of introverts who are creative is much higher than with extroverts. One speculation for this is that it’s due to the inordinate amount of alone time introverts set aside, much of it for thinking of new ideas. Typically, one needs quiet time to encourage creative ideas to be formed.
Rarely get lonely or bored – With all the alone time introvert schedule for brainstorming, they rarely find themselves bored. There’s always a new thing to try, a new plan to implement or a challenge to overcome. Their worlds are in their minds, so wherever they go, they rarely are lonely or bored.
Reserve trust – Introverts prefer to observe other people’s behavior, body language and words before determining whether or not they are worthy of their trust. Rather than share deeply with others, they reserve their trust for those they are intimate with, and there are usually only a handful of those people.
Prefer writing – When given a choice between communicating in writing or verbally, the introvert will usually take the written route. Writing out their ideas gives them time to fully think through what they want to say and how they want to say it. When communicating verbally, introverts have to think on their feet, which they find uncomfortable.
Quality producer – Introverts are extremely productive people – when left to their own devices. When they can work in a way they like – alone, without distraction, they mono-focus to produce great results. In fact, some find it astounding how many brilliant ideas an introvert can brainstorm, plan and implement. They are not just thinkers – they execute their unique ideas.
Easily distracted – On the other side, introverts can be easily distracted. This occurs typically when they are overstimulated or have too many ideas to implement. When there’s too much to do, or their ideas are coming faster than they can put them to use, they can falter deciding what to tackle first.
Mysterious – Extroverts find introverted individuals mysterious. Think about it – they stand off to the side and observe everyone’s comings and goings without revealing much of anything about themselves. Extroverts often claim introverts are hard to get a real sense of, which can be either alluring or disheartening.
On a continuum – Introversion is not a one size fits all. We are all unique and run along the lines of a continuum, as with all things in life. You may recognize yourself in some of the above characteristics and not so much with others. Or, you may be more social than other introverts, enjoying a party, as long as you know about it ahead of time.
Communication Struggles That Only Introverts Have
Some of the issues that introverts have when communicating with others are due to the very definition of being an introvert. Extroverts may not understand these things about you because they don’t experience them. By understanding why you should struggle with these types of communication, you can better explain them to those extroverts in your life.
Your conversation must be brilliant – Due to perfectionistic tendencies, introverts frequently don’t speak up, even when they have something to say because they fear it won’t be insightful enough or it will come out all wrong.
Neglect phone calls – You much prefer to text or email because you can skip the small talk and it’s socially acceptable with those forms of communication. But phone calls… shudder! You find yourself procrastinating making important phone calls or returning calls, even to those you love. You have to feel energized enough to be an enthusiastic participant in the conversation, which can cause you to put off making calls, even if they are vital.
Difficulty thinking in groups – Because you need to think before you speak and because you need to have silence while you ponder, you find it challenging to participate in the conversation when there are comments and ideas flying everywhere. You may feel like you can’t gather your thoughts well enough to contribute to the conversation.
Big groups exhaust you – When you have to be around a lot of people, especially if you don’t know them, you feel exhausted fast. One reason for this is because it involves a lot of small-talk, which doesn’t come naturally to introverts. Putting out that much effort wears you out.
Dislike working in groups – Working in groups can be even worse for an introvert than small-talk. When you must rely on others to communicate in ways that aren’t comfortable or understandable to you, it’s a real challenge to complete the project. There’s also the issue of your perfectionism too. Because of your practice of thinking through every possible issue and solution, you are committed to only turning out perfection… but others in the group don’t often care as much about this as completion, or they have a very different perception of what “perfection” is.
Feel lonely surrounded by people – Introverts often feel left out of a rapid conversation, whether it’s at a party or a work conference. This often occurs because, by the time you determine what you want to say and the best way to say it, the group has moved onto a new topic. You can easily feel left out and lonely during these discussions – more so than if you were actually alone.