What is the first thought that crosses your mind while hearing the word ‘Introvert’? Do you immediately picture a person who is shy and avoids social interaction? Or, someone who is always in their world?
Well, you are not alone if you thought along those lines. However, there is more to introversion than just being shy. Or being a daydreamer. It is important to understand that introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts ( a mix of introvert and extrovert traits) are personality types that you may identify with if you possess certain traits.
Though one-third of the world’s population is identified as introverts. There are certain misconceptions associated with this personality type. So, today to clear these misconceptions I’ll walk you through 10 interesting signs of introverts that psychologists have identified over decades of research.
However, before jumping on to the signs of introverts it would be better to understand what the term ‘Introverts/ introversion’ really means and then proceed with the types associated with it. Finally, we will move on to the signs of being an introvert for you to know whether you fall within this category or not.
So, let’s get into it without further ado!
What does ‘introvert’ mean?
The terms Introverts and extroverts were first used by psychologist Carl Jung in the early 1900s. Both these personality types differ in how people spend their time to gain energy. While extroverts tend to gain their energy by socializing or in simpler terms from other people. Introverts on the other hand tend to turn to themselves for recharging their battery.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an introvert personality is characterized by introversion i.e. looking within oneself. These people are generally referred to as reserved or quiet individuals who prefer spending time alone.
However, this preference does not come from a place of social anxiety or shyness. Rather, it is what they feel comfortable in. Introverts are most likely to feel drained after a social gathering. Requiring more time to spend in solitude to revive the energy they spent socializing.
Although generally introverts are considered to be shy. Yet there are numerous pieces of evidence to prove that introverts make the best leaders and executives. A Research Gate publication proves that introverts possess traits that contribute to their success in leadership roles.
Another research proves that almost 70% of the world’s executives have an introverted personality type. Bill Gates, the most renowned of them, although quite not affected by other people’s opinions of him. In short, if you prefer reading a book on your sofa compared to hanging out with your friends then you are not shy rather you are an introvert who loves spending time alone.
With the meaning of introvert being sorted, you would be better able to understand the difference between introversion and shyness now.
Types of introverts
According to psychologists Jennifer Grimes, Jonathan Cheek, and Julie Norem introverts can be classified into four main types i.e. social introverts, thinking introverts, anxious introverts, and restrained introverts. Each of these types is characterized by traits and signs specific to it.
a- Social Introverts
Social here does mean they are social butterflies. Rather, social introverts are quite the opposite. These people prefer alone time or small gatherings if they really have to be somewhere. This want of sending time in solitude is not because of any anxiety. But, because of their preference. These types of introverts don’t feel comfortable in large gatherings. And therefore, they prefer staying home or being with a few close friends instead.
b- Anxious Introverts
Anxious introverts are quite dissimilar to social introverts. While social introverts can do well in gatherings, although they prefer being alone, anxious introverts avoid socializing at all costs. They get nervous in gatherings which one can easily spot due to their extremely rude behavior or avoidance of people. In the case of anxious introverts, the idea of introversion is simply a defense mechanism against the anxiety they feel in crowds.
c- Thinking introverts
Thinking introverts as the name suggest love dreaming, thinking, and imagining things. They have a world of their own and often zone out from a conversation. Their mental muscle is very strong due to their frequent exercise of it. Thinking introverts usually prefer activities that stimulate their mind like reading, writing, studying, researching, etc. They are not at all reactive and take time to think before giving any response.
d- Restrained Introverts
Restrained introverts as you might have guessed come off as extremely reserved individuals. They are reluctant in sharing the details of their life until they get comfortable with someone. These individuals have a sluggish approach to relationships and may even take longer in forming relationships than other types of introverts. Due to their extremely reserved nature, they might even come off as unemotional or indifferent individuals although they are fun-loving and passionate once you get to know them.
10 Unusual signs of Introverts
Introverts make up about 20% to 40% of the world’s population. Although every introvert might be different from the other yet certain common traits are present in every introvert. Among the various signs of introverts the most common are the following;
1- Introverts Feel Comfortable Being Alone
If you are an introvert then you probably would look forward to spending time alone. This is one of the most explicit signs of introverts. For you spending a Saturday afternoon in the solitude of your home while having a cup of coffee is way better than being out socializing.
Introverts look forward to the time when they can be alone just being themselves. They can go for hours without talking to anyone because they are just so immersed in their thoughts. Though they might agree to a meet-up at first they would politely turn it down when the day arrives.
Although this may make you think that introverts are anti-social yet the fact is that they also like spending time with their loved ones. Though after socializing they would generally want to sit in a quiet place to reflect and recharge.
In short, introverts prefer being alone. They are not quite comfortable in the company of many people and might even feel lonelier than when alone. It is just what they feel comfortable in, just as extroverts like being around people and socializing.
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2- Introverts don’t usually like social gatherings
Introverts never like social gatherings. If it were up to them they would just ban all the meet-ups and gatherings in the world. What they do like actually is being in a small group of people, but that too for a short time. The idea of camping in the mountains with a group of twenty people is so not them.
Another reason for disliking gatherings and large crowds is the inability to connect on a deeper level with others. Introverts are all for deeper connections and intimate relationships which unfortunately can’t be fostered in a large group of people. They would prefer being around two or three close friends than being around twenty people who they barely know and won’t even get a chance to know either.
Yet another reason can be their inability to connect with their inner voice in large crowds. Introverts as you know are all in their heads. There is never a time when their inner voice sleeps but in large crowds their inability to connect with themselves makes them avoid socializing much.
3- Introverts are very self-aware
Introverts are highly self-aware individuals. Their constant thoughts, opinions, and reflections of themselves make them highly aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Introversion, as the name suggests, is the ability of inward-turning i.e. these individuals turn to themselves for anything and everything in their lives.
Their examination of themselves makes them aware of their feelings and keeps in check their emotions. They are very well aware of their intentions behind any motive and just won’t do anything for the sake of doing it. Introverts are highly disciplined individuals and each of their moves is characterized by deep internal examination.
Introverts also like knowing about themselves and are in a constant state of exploration. They prefer reading books or watching movies that make them connect with themselves on a deeper level. Not only does this deeper understanding of themselves makes them aware of themselves but they are also quite apt at understanding other humans’ psyche.
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4- Introverts take time making decisions
As introverts like thinking and reflecting, they usually don’t decide anything in the spur of the moment. The reason for taking time while making decisions is not because they are risk-aversive, but because they can’t do something which might compromise their alone time.
They would think for days weighing the pros and cons of any decision before deciding anything. Their constant cycle of thoughts makes them highly prudent individuals who generally have an answer to every problem. Therefore, they like taking their time before jumping to conclusions.
Introverts would generally reply with ‘I’ll think about that and let you know then agree to anything just for the sake of doing it. Because they know that anything they agree to would require their energy and they might even have to scale back on the time they spend alone. Thus, they take longer to take any action because everything has a cost attached which they are well aware of.
5- Introverts feel exhausted after a meet-up
Do you feel your head banging after a day spent socializing with your friends? Do you want to sit in a quiet corner, all alone by yourself? Or, do you also feel your energy draining just because you spent some time around people who you barely know? Well, you an introvert if you felt this way and you are not alone in it!
Research suggests that introverts and extroverts both feel drained after socializing, but introverts are the most badly affected. The fact that introverts have to exert themselves to appear friendly in a social gathering consumes much of their energy. While extroverts look forward to meeting people. They rather gain energy from other people, but introverts have to expend their energy.
This, however, doesn’t mean that introverts don’t like meeting new people. But, introverts prefer hanging out with their close friends. Meeting new people, attending a party, or camping with a group of twenty people is not their cup of tea. Instead, they might even experience an ‘Introvert Hangover’ which makes them feel extremely fatigued or physically unwell.
6- Introverts have a small circle of very close friends
One major sign of being an introvert is that you don’t have a big circle of friends. You prefer keeping your circle of friends small. This is just because of the limited amount of energy they could spend socializing. While large circles require much energy that introverts can’t afford, a smaller group of friends gives them the chance to socialize while not overstimulating themselves.
This also debunks the common misconception that introverts dislike people. Introverts don’t dislike but rather can’t afford too much socialization. Their preference of just having a few close friends mainly one, two, or at the most three is due to the limited amount of energy that they can afford to spend.
This preference is also because they want to establish deep and meaningful connections. They prefer interacting in a one-on-one setup which gets impossible in a large group of people.
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7- Introverts prefer texting/writing to talk/speaking out their emotions
One of the biggest signs of being an introvert is your dislike for calls or expressing your thoughts to a group of people. When you ask an introvert, ‘text, or call?’ They would almost always reply with ‘text all the way.
This is just because of the reason that texting doesn’t require as much energy as attending a call does. Another reason can be that writing something down gives one ample time to edit and redraft our thoughts.
Moreover, while writing something down you only focus on one particular subject but conversing the same thoughts gives rise to plenty of new subjects to discuss. Given the limited amount of energy that introverts have at their disposal talking can never be their forte. Thus, they like texting their emotions and then talking them out.
In an office setup, they would usually prefer correspondence over email than through calls. Their dislike for calls is also due to their unreadiness. Introverts need to make up their mind first for an interaction. They might not attend calls of even their closest of friends because they are not ready to spend that energy. This is why a ringing phone is the most dreadful moment in the life of an introvert. If you happen to disconnect your friends’ calls frequently till the time you are ready to call them back then you would most likely relate to this sign of introverts.
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8- Introverts don’t like being the center of attention
Would you rather speak in front of a room full of people? Or like to have a one-on-one conversation with every member of the group? Well, if you were an introvert then you would have most probably chosen the second option.
Introverts can never afford to be the center of attention. They don’t like socializing with large groups of people let alone addressing them in their entirety. The fact that introverts prefer being alone also translates here.
They don’t like being bothered. They never would want everyone in a room to stare at them no matter what the circumstances. This is why introverts are the ones who if they have to go to a party will be standing in a corner just enjoying themselves.
They are the ones who would prefer conveying their ideas to their boss in a one-on-one setup than addressing a room full of people.
9- Introverts are always in their head
If you are an introvert you must have heard the phrase ‘get out of your imagination or ‘open your eyes to reality. Well, that’s what I have heard at least, but still going strong with the imagination game day by day! Nonetheless, this is one of the surest signs of being an introvert.
However, introverts can’t help but get lost in their imaginative world. They always have something going on in their mind which makes them lose focus of what’s happening around them. They often zone out in the middle of a conversation even, because they have a constant voice inside their head. Introverts have to connect with their inner voice from time to time or else they feel incomplete.
Introverts daydream a lot which is why they enjoy spending time alone as well. Alone time for introverts is not only an opportunity to indulge in their favorite hobbies but also a chance to daydream and validate their inner voice.
10- Introverts are excellent observers
Among the various signs of introverts one particularly noteworthy is that they are great observers. They can observe even the slightest change in someone’s tone or a subtle change in the surroundings.
They would often be the first ones to remind you of the dress that they saw a random person wearing at a wedding months ago. Things that others don’t even consider meaningful to consider can’t go unnoticed in the eyes of an introvert’.
You might have wondered what introverts do with all the time they spend sitting in a quiet corner at a party. Well, now you know that this is what they do ‘Observe everything around.
They are so good at observing people and understanding their body language that introverts are proven to be better psychologists. As they are busy observing human nature rather than interacting with them like extroverts.
11- You prefer independence
The fact that introverts never like working in groups makes them choose jobs offering independence is yet another sign of an introverted person. They prefer doing jobs in which they don’t have to interact with others often. They would generally prefer jobs in which they can be themselves without any compulsion to change.
Therefore, they prefer choosing jobs such as writing, graphic designing, computer programming, filmmaking, etc. Introverts have a creative personality and their vivid imaginations urge them to choose jobs in which they can best translate these ideas.
This world is full of different types of people. Some are introverts, others tend to be extroverts while still others are ambiverts (A mix of introversion and extroversion). However, none of these personality types makes you better than the other individual. Every personality type has its strengths and weaknesses and so does an introvert personality as well. What matters is that you should know how to use these strengths and weaknesses according to the circumstances.
You should try balancing your traits to keep up with the world. If you feel that socializing is driving you insane then try finding a quiet corner to ease your mind a bit. After all, you cannot just sit in your room and avoid interaction with people. But, you should be accommodating enough to realize when to be social and when to get in your zone.