What are the signs you’re an introvert? It’s not just about being shy or keeping to yourself. Introversion is a personality trait that is complex and often misunderstood.
Introverts have a preference for less stimulating environments and smaller groups of people. Signs you’re an introvert include enjoying alone time, preferring to listen more than you speak, processing slowly, and thinking before you speak or act. While extroverts process information by talking it through, introverts tend to reflect more before responding, and they are often more thoughtful about their responses.
An introvert will often tell you that they feel recharged after spending time alone. Too much stimulation can leave them feeling irritated, uncomfortable or dysregulated, and an introvert might be easier to get along with after they’ve had their space.
Susan Cains’s book entitled Quiet is an intriguing read about the differences between introverts and extroverts. It looks at communication from a new perspective and is an excellent source for understanding why communication happens as it does among introverts. Introverts can be found in all social circles, from the most outgoing to the most reclusive. So, the question is, what are the signs you’re an introvert, and how would you know for sure that you are one? Below are some signs you’re an introvert that could confirm you lack the personality trait of extraversion:
Introverts enjoy solitude
One of the best ways for introverts to get a much-needed recharge is through solitude. It gives introverts a chance to turn off the stimulating outside world and gain perspective on things that matter to them. Solitude can take place in several ways, from taking just one hour to yourself after a group activity, to taking a day or more away from social activities or technology that can be draining for you.
You enjoy your own company, which is of great quality. Of course, introverts need quality time with their friends and loved ones just as much as other people. However, they also enjoy the quiet moments to themselves during which they can reflect and recharge.
Introverts tend to be thoughtful and contemplative. They enjoy spending time exploring ideas and reflecting on their thoughts. Introverts can often achieve a state of total mental focus if they’re alone, which is often why they prefer quiet environments. If you’d rather stay home and play the guitar than attend a social gathering, that could be one of the signs you’re an introvert.
Preferring one-on-one hang outs or a small group of friends
Introverts are not necessarily shy. Instead, they are people who channel their extroverted tendencies in more cerebral ways. They are not necessarily noisy or outgoing but are thoughtful, quiet, and deliberate as well as have a rich inner life and enjoy deep relationships with a few close friends rather than a large circle of acquaintances. Their social interactions often have a purpose—whether to acquire information or develop an intimate relationship—whereas extraverts seem to take pleasure in the mere act of socializing itself.
Research suggests that this difference between introverts and extroverts in the size of their social groups stems from the different functions in our brains that influence our understanding and reasoning about social situations. Introverted individuals, when in the process of sizing up a new acquaintance, tend to focus on what’s going on in the other person’s head — their thoughts, feelings and motives. You’re an introvert if you become anxious or uncomfortable in situations with too many people and prefer one-on-one interactions.
It’s often said that introverts let few people get close. There’s nothing wrong with being selective about who you form close bonds with.
People find you reclusive or even challenging to get along with
There is a general lack of understanding surrounding introverts. People often perceive you as being shy or even anti-social, or just plain rude for not being able to engage in small talk. In an article in the Atlantic, author Jonathan Rauch mentions that introverts are not shy, nor do they have anything against small talk. Introverts have incredibly active inner worlds. As an introvert, you’ll spend more time observing your thoughts and emotions than participating in the external world around you. You often don’t speak until you have something meaningful to say, or have gathered enough information to say something worthwhile.
The quiet, calm demeanour of introverts can act as clout of mystery and even cause misunderstanding from the outside. While the world may see them as shy or lacking in confidence, introverts often see themselves as perfectly comfortable with who they are.
You are self-aware
Self-awareness, or knowing yourself well, is a key trait that most people associate with introverts. You have an excellent understanding of how you work. While this is true of nearly everyone, introverts tend to reflect on their thoughts and perceptions carefully. You are also likely to be deeply curious about yourself, which is a trait that all introverts share. You take the time to understand what drives your behaviour and why you react to things in specific ways.
Researchers have found that introverts process sensory information more deeply than extroverts do. For example, if someone walks into a room full of people talking loudly, you will notice details about that person that an extrovert won’t — body language or facial expressions that show whether you are interested in joining the conversation. You are also very in tune with your inner workings – you know yourself better than almost anyone else does. But, of course, if you’re paying close attention to this, you probably already knew that was true.
You prefer writing over speaking your thoughts
You have a particular way of communicating with others. You are generally quite expressive with people they care about, but this intensity makes it difficult for you to open up to people they don’t know that well. You tend to like simpler forms of communicating like texting over the phone, exchanging voicemails instead of emails, and would rather talk in-depth with you at your house than go out.
Your strength is your ability to listen deeply and process information with thoughtful analysis. You like to explore topics fully before working up solutions or opinions, so others may consider you slow or unresponsive at first. This can be frustrating when you’re in the middle of a group brainstorming session, and no one has any ideas yet. You just want to wait until all the facts are in before contributing your thoughts.
While living in a culture that values extraversion over introversion, it can be difficult to conclude that you’re an introvert. If you’re an introvert, you’re probably already familiar with the misconceptions about your personality type. Introversion is not a handicap that prevents you from succeeding in life. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world are introverts, including Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg, and JK Rowling.
Like many other personality traits, introversion and extroversion exist along a continuum. At one end, extroverts process the world by interacting with it, while introverts prefer to retreat to the safety of their inner thoughts. It’s estimated that one-third to one-half of the US population is introverted, so you’re definitely not alone if it seems like you’re an introvert.
Sometimes, your DNA can influence how introverted or extraverted you are. For a personality profile based on your DNA, try the CircleDNA premium DNA testing kit.