I used to be ashamed of being an introvert. I wanted to be someone else. You see, sometimes it’s hard to explain to other people how it actually feels to be an introvert. It’s even harder to accept that it’s a part of who you are and especially difficult to communicate this to someone who is not an introvert.

Questions like, “Why don’t you want to go to this party?” or “Why do you look so unhappy around big groups of people?” are sometimes difficult to answer.

After all, it’s not like we don’t enjoy having fun, acting silly, or being around other people. We just want to do it around the right people and more importantly, we need the time to be quiet.

If you’re an extrovert, don’t take it personally when we don’t jump at the chance to be in large groups of people and remember these 20 things if you truly love an introvert.

1.  They enjoy quietly being alone

Yes, we actually enjoy spending time alone. In fact, we thrive off of it. It gives us a chance to gather our thoughts and recharge. It gives us time to do more things that we really like to do such as read, write, or reflect on our day. Extroverts may enjoy alone time too, but our time typically needs to be in a quiet place and for longer periods of time.

2.  They can be overwhelmed by large crowds

We don’t typically enjoy spending long periods of time in large crowds. While we may endure it for a concert, parade, or special event, we don’t look forward to being around masses of people. After a while, it can be really overwhelming and although we may not cover our ears, scream and freak out in large crowds, we secretly wish we could.

3.  They really do like other people

Introverts aren’t necessarily anti-social. We just don’t get energized by people and sometimes it just takes us a little longer to warm up to someone. Be patient with us. Often, we want to get to know you better before we actually show you that we enjoy your company. We do like you, even if we don’t show it!

4.  They are highly introspective

We seek to find the deeper meaning in life, sometimes to a fault. We tend to analyze situations that really don’t need to be analyzed. If it takes us longer to understand something, it’s not because we don’t get it, it’s because we are thinking about the deeper meaning. In general, we seek to understand the deeper meaning of life.

5.  They prefer to get know fewer people on a deeper level

Many introverts are perfectly happy with a close, small group of friends. It can be overwhelming to keep up with a lot of friends because introverts feel like they need to really know all of them. So, they may prefer to have a select group of really close friends they can get to know on a deeper level.

6.  They are great listeners

In fact, we love to listen. It gives us a chance to really get to know someone and understand them better. Introverts are typically highly engaged with someone they want to get to know. They are easily distracted by outside stimuli that may interfere with listening, because they want to devote all of their attention to the other person.

7.  They have a lot of fun!

Introverts are not boring people. They just like to save their best stuff for the right people in the right situation. They can act silly, crazy, be loud, and even sing karaoke! However, even reading a book can be considered fun for an introvert. Reading a book in a crowded room full of people? Not so fun.

8. They sometimes wish they were extroverts

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to walk into a large group of people and to instantly become energized by the people around me. I always thought it has to be cool to have that infectious energy that draws people to you. As a guy, I used to think this was the only way to get the ladies (it’s not). I love myself as an introvert, but sometimes I wish I could live it up as an extrovert.

9.  They enjoy a quiet night in

I actually prefer to stay home on a Friday night. I may go out with friends, a party, or out to dinner, but I actually prefer to stay in and avoid the large crowds. I live in a city so it’s difficult to truly get away and spend time alone. The best place I can do this at is sitting in my living room watching a movie or reading a book.

10.  They don’t enjoy being the center of attention

Most introverts don’t like all eyes to be on them. It can be difficult to speak up at a work meeting, deliver a speech, or answer a question in front of other people. We typically like to listen to other people’s perspective and hear what they have to say. It doesn’t mean we don’t have an opinion, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate what we’re thinking.

11.  They don’t necessarily have fun at parties

Even if everyone is having a great time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an introvert will. A party with a lot of people just isn’t always fun. We know it’s supposed to be fun bu, large numbers of people in small spaces actually make us feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean we aren’t fun people or don’t enjoy people, it’s just hard to be ourselves in large groups.

12.  They don’t like to talk about themselves

Introverts typically don’t like to brag about themselves. They are more interested in getting to know the other person first. They often have a lot to offer to a conversation but sometimes wonder if they add any value to a conversation. Also, they just don’t want to come across as a too much of a know-it-all. In other words, we might not say out loud how “stoked” we are about something.

13.  They want to really get to know you

We like to build honest, authentic, “real” relationships. Sometimes it doesn’t come across that way initially because we can be guarded. However, we are interested in you and what you have to say. It just takes us a little more time to open up. We secretly revel in the excitement of getting to know someone better.

14.  They work better in small groups

Employers should know that we prefer to work in small groups because it’s just easier for us to do it and we actually perform better. It’s also easier to speak up with fewer eyes watching you. We also like to get to know each individual in these small groups, because it’s less overwhelming when we don’t feel as if we have to know everyone in a large group.

15.  They notice things other people might miss

Introverts are valued assets in the workplace because they often notice details that others might miss. Because they are deeply introspective, introverts might be able to come up with a potential solution to a problem that may have been overlooked. They may not speak up about it but doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking about it. In fact, studies confirm that introverts can be great leaders, too.

16.  They easily see other people’s point of view

They are typically empathetic to other people and what they have to say  Even if they don’t agree with the other person, they make a good effort to see things from their perspective. They strive to get to know other people in all situations before judging or making the other person feel inadequate.

17.  They aren’t necessarily shy

Shyness and introversion get lumped together because many of the traits between the two overlap. Sometimes an introvert isn’t afraid to meet other people, but they just prefer to do it in their own way. In fact, extroverts can be shy! A well-known Stanford researcher points out that many public figures are both extroverted and shy.

18.  They are drained by high energy people

High energy people can be exhausting for introverts. They often feel like they have to match that level of intensity and may feel uncomfortable when they don’t. Introverts may need breaks from these high energy situations because unlike extroverts, they don’t become energized by these people. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

19.  They like to take things slow

Sometimes it just takes us introverts a little longer to move forward. We like to weigh all of our options and look at all possible outcomes before making a final decision. This can also be detrimental to us because we tend to analyze things too much. So, don’t take it personally if we just aren’t quite ready to take that next step.

20.  They are not just introverts

Being labeled as an introvert can immediately put someone in a category. Although it is a useful term that people can relate to, it doesn’t define who they are. There are many types of introverts and many variations within those types. More than anything, introverts are people first. Being an introvert is just one aspect of who a person is. Many people fall into a continuum of traits and exhibit extroverted traits AND introverted traits.

One definition certainly doesn’t define who I am, yet it’s helpful to understand that I am not the only one who experiences these personality traits. We aren’t crazy, we aren’t boring, and we aren’t anti-social. We may be some of these at times, but who isn’t?!

In general, introverts are just people who prefer to slow it down a little and re-energize themselves from a quiet place of peace and tranquility.

Featured photo credit: Marco Bond via flickr.com

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