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24 Signs You’re An Introvert- Not Shy

24 Signs You’re An Introvert- Not Shy

Many people believe introversion and shyness are one and the same, but this is not true. All my life I was told that I was shy. I believed it too… until I learned that shyness is the fear of people due to insecurity or social anxiety.

When I learned this, I thought: wait a second- I’m not afraid of people, but being around too many people for too long always leaves me feeling drained. I also know that I always require alone time to recharge my energy. Moreover, I’m not a fan of interacting for the sake of interacting. I usually have a reason behind every interaction. It was then I thought to myself: nope, I’m not shy at all… what I am is an INTROVERT.

If you’ve always thought that you were shy, but you’re not afraid of being around people, check out this list of 24 signs that you are actually an introvert:

1. You Don’t Enjoy Small Talk

Introverts prefer conversations with substance over small talk. We’re thinkers, and thrive on heavier conversations about life, ideas, theories and big goals. But when small talk is inevitable, we can’t help but try to make the other person feel comfortable. We’re good listeners and are naturally in tune with how the people we interact with are feeling. More often than not, you find these casual chit-chats morph into deeper, more meaningful conversation.

2. You Have a Love-Hate Relationship With Your Phone

Introverts are not the best at talking on the phone. It’s not personal, honest; we screen calls from even our family and closest friends. At times we really hate the phone because it’s intrusive and tears our minds away from whatever we’re deeply focused on. However, those we choose to speak with can be sure that our monthly (or annual) phone conversations will be spilling over with plenty of heartfelt talk- and these calls will more than likely last for hours!

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3. You Wait to Text Back

When you’re notified that you have a text from a family member or friend, you wait until you’re ready to give it your undivided attention, to read it, and send a thoughtful response.

4. You Find Crowds Stressful

You prefer one-on-one time, where it’s more intimate. If spending time around a lot of people is inevitable, you can’t wait to go home and recharge your batteries.

5. You’re Not Anti-Social… You’re Selectively Social

As an introvert, you find it difficult to meet people you like and feel comfortable with. You don’t get energized by the people around you, and most of the time, it takes you a little while to warm up to someone. We don’t invest our energy on people we’re not completely crazy about, so we choose to get to know them better before we get too close. That said, when we do find someone we enjoy being around or have an interest in getting to know better, it’s kind of special!

6. You Enjoy Being Out With a Group of People… in Small Doses

Every once in awhile you like to go out with a group of people and have a great time. It could be a party, networking event, or a huge concert. But once that’s done and over, it may take days, weeks, or even months, to completely recharge your batteries and feel ready to do it again.

7. You Are Extremely Observant and Mindful of Your Surroundings

You enjoy getting to really know what the people around you are really about. Introverts are also very mindful of their surroundings and small details, so people enjoy having you around and quickly grow comfortable opening up to you.

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8. You Unlock Your Heart for Only the Most Special of Souls

Introverts are extremely careful in choosing who we allow to see our inner self. Sure, being left open and vulnerable is incredibly frightening for us, but it means we’ve determined the recipient of our affection and attention is worth the risk. That being said, we’re pretty quick in shutting people out when we feel threatened or hurt. We just don’t have the energy for that.

9. You are Creative

Studies show that introverts are a creative bunch! We are able to take in a lot of information and use it to create wonderful new ideas!

10. You Value Listening… Deeply

Introverts are great listeners. You listen to understand, not simply to respond. And if you’re asked for advice, the help you share has been thought out fully for that specific individual. The act of listening is our way of showing love and respect, and as such, we deeply appreciate when those we communicate with recognize that we carefully think through the messages we share… and that we love it when the same is done for us.

11. You are Highly Introspective

You tend to over analyze situations that don’t even need to be analyzed at all. It may take you a little longer to understand what’s going on, not because you don’t get it, but because you always seek to understand the deeper meanings.

12. You Think Before You Argue

Introverts need to take time to work things out in our heads first, and we choose our words with care. Once we’ve been given the chance to carefully process the issue, we’ll be able to clearly communicate exactly where we stand with those involved.

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13. You are Accused of Flirting with Everybody

Which is pretty funny, considering that it takes time for most introverts to actually warm up to anyone. This misconception is usually due to your great listening skills and your mindfulness towards those around you.

14. You Enjoy Your Time Alone

This may not sound like fun to everyone, but introverts not only like our alone time- we need it. Just doing nothing and having some ‘me-time’ is a way for us to unwind and re-energize.

15. You are Rarely Bored

While our extroverted counterparts turn to others for stimulation, we are constantly working out our lives and dreams in our heads. Introverts are deep thinkers and almost always have an inner monologue running through our minds- it keeps us highly entertained!

16. You Don’t Trust Easily

You take your time to observe and really get to know someone before inviting them into your inner circle; but once you have the right people in your life, you don’t hold back and strive to always give the best of yourself.

17. You Have a Very Small Group of Very Close Friends

While introverts usually don’t enjoy much socializing, we adore our small group of close, trusted friends. We prefer to create and maintain fewer friendships at a much deeper level, over a large group of casual connections.

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18. You Fiercely Guard Your Personal Space

You value your space and are extremely picky about what you give your attention to and who you let in because the wrong thoughts and people will leave you feeling burned-out.

19. You are More Comfortable Expressing Yourself in Writing

You prefer communicating through text and email because it gives you more time and space to clarify your thoughts before putting them into words.

20. You are Great at Getting Stuff Done

Your alone time is packed with brainstorming, outlining, creating blueprints and putting them all into action!

21. You are a Good Judge of Character

Because you keep to yourself, you are able to take time and observe the people around you and truly get to know who they are. Introverts pay close attention to nonverbal cues because we know words can only tell us so much. So, we’re usually able to see everyone for who they really are and not just what they appear to be.

22. You are Great at Making Decisions

Introverts are masters of thinking things through, allowing us to thoroughly gather all necessary data and weigh the pros and cons before making important choices.

23. You Retain an Air of Mystery

We know there really is nothing mysterious about us, but our tendency to stay just outside the crowd, simply watching and observing, while keeping our emotions and body language in check, makes us seem like we are mysterious.

24. You are A Loyal Friend

Introverts highly value the few close friends they have. If you’ve been welcomed into an introvert’s inner circle, you can almost be certain you have a loyal ally for life.

More by this author

Carmen Sakurai

Mental Declutter, Stress Management & Burnout Prevention Coach. Feeling Stuck? Overwhelmed & No Energy? Let's Talk!

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Last Updated on June 12, 2018

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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