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14 Signs You’re an Introvert Who Are Misunderstood Often

14 Signs You’re an Introvert Who Are Misunderstood Often

What comes to your mind when I say the word “introvert”? A shy, timid person? Or someone who thinks they are too-cool-for-school? As an introvert myself, I’m proud to tell you introverts are not what you think they are.

Introverts are seen as quiet, reserved, and often rude and reclusive. However, the introvert definition doesn’t include being anti-social. Introverts can have great social lives and close friends, and they do enjoy spending time with others, but they feel so tired physically and mentally after a long day of socializing and mingling.

What they need is spending alone time to regain their energies. They mainly appear in places which provide silence and solace like parks, their home, and cafes. They also enjoy a good ole bus ride alone.

But why do introverts act this way?

The real science behind introverted behaviors.

Everyone possesses dopamine and acetylcholine in their brains. These are both neurotransmitters linked to pleasure. Scientists[1] discover introverts rely on acetylcholine — a chemical that makes you feel good when you turn inwards; while extroverts respond better to dopamine — a chemical that provides the motivation to seek external rewards and stimulation.

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Also, a study[2] in 2012 finds out introverts have thicker gray matter in their prefrontal cortex, which is a region of the brain linked to decision-making and abstract thoughts. This explains introverts tend to sit and ponder alone before making a decision.

In relationships, introverts may leave you feeling a little confused.

Of course, dating an introvert could be more challenging than working with one, especially if you are an extrovert, but here is why:

If introverts have a choice, they would rather stay at home and spend time together than going out for a date. Introverts enjoy spending quality time with their loved ones in a space with minimal social interactions, simply because a loud and noisy atmosphere it is more draining and boisterous. Also, introverts like to direct their attention on one person, going out just creates more distractions.

They really need a lot of alone time, but it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Often times, introverts in relationships are deemed as non-communicative and distant. Their partners (usually extroverts) may feel less attention from them. It’s not that they don’t love you, it’s only because their introverted temperament requires a silent space to absorb and process information from both outside and inside.

They let their partners shine. Introverts prefer stepping back and let others have the spotlight, it’s the same in relationships. Their introverted nature makes their more extroverted counterparts feel less threatened and competitive for attention.

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They don’t like to socialize with their partner’s friends, but they are willing to try. It all comes back to introverts not liking small talks. They can be friendly and sociable (and may be mistaken as an extrovert), but they find it mentally draining afterwards. They hate being the center of attention too. But because introverts are great listeners, they understand what their partner wants and try to accommodate their needs.

They are often a source of great advice. Because they are such deep thinkers who grapple with all the big questions of life on a daily basis, introverts are often a great source of advice. They can also be wise coaches, willing to pass on their valuable experience and insight. They are often slow to comment, but when they do offer their input, it is often useful and packed with wisdom. An introvert will usually bring an aura of calm to even the most fraught situations.

They may take a while to respond to your messages, but don’t take it personally. If you have ever sent a text or email to an introverted friend and had to wait hours for a response, don’t worry. Introverts typically take longer than extroverts to reply because they value their alone time. As a result, they are happy to let some time pass before sending a well-considered response. It doesn’t mean they don’t like or love you. When they feel like doing so, they really enjoy reconnecting with family and friends.

At work, introverts keep themselves to themselves.

They don’t boast, they just take actions. Introverts don’t crave the limelight, and they think boasting is another form of attention-seeking. They prefer working hard on their own instead of gaining popularity or likeness from others.

They don’t bother to act nice. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean introverts are stuck-up or extroverts are fake. Introverts do not prefer small talks, or even dread chitchats. They think small talks are not acts of niceness, but pointless conversations.

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They perform best when they work alone. Introverts appreciate the time and space required to process their own thoughts, and work to their own schedule. They dislike working in groups, because conversations with others tire them quickly. This doesn’t mean that they have no respect for their colleagues, merely that their performance improves when they are given free rein to govern themselves.

They can be great leaders. Introverts are not inclined to spend a lot of time with others and are hesitant to join in conversations, which can cause others to assume that they aren’t leadership material. The truth of the matter is that an introvert can be a wonderful leader, under certain conditions. Specifically, they do best when they manage people who are able to motivate themselves, and do not need to seek out guidance from their boss every ten minutes. Such employees would drain an introvert at a rapid rate.

They don’t ask questions very frequently, but when they do the questions are the wisest ones. Sometimes, an introvert may give the impression that they are not paying attention during a meeting or conversation. Don’t be fooled – underneath their calm exterior, millions of thoughts are zipping around their head! However, they like to consolidate their position first, and only then communicate it to others.

They aren’t shy to present themselves, they only say things when it counts. Introverts are often assumed to be soft-spoken and shy, in fact, they are listening and internalizing their thoughts while others speak. They prefer thinking before speaking, and say things that are really meaningful and constructive.

They hate gossips and don’t understand why others love it so much. As I have mentioned before, introverts seldom enjoy trivial conversations, and office politics is no exception.

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Despite everything, when they make friends at work, they make really close ones. The reason why introverts don’t enjoy chit-chats is because they prefer deep, introspective conversations with others. They build friendships beyond the surface, but not upon superficial interactions.

Not all introverts are identical.

After reading this, you might see a bit of yourself, or you may think “nah, my introverted friends are nothing like this”. I just want you to know, there isn’t a solid and absolute introvert definition.

People have different degrees of introversion, and it’s more important to know introverts can be different from one another, and people may change after time, but just remember, they all share one ultimate similarity — they need their alone time to recharge.

No matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, let us know if there are any other qualities you think an introverted person possess!

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on July 13, 2018

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

What is attachment theory?

Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

How attachment develops

Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

Different types of attachments

In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

  • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
  • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
  • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
  • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

What attachments mean to adults

So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

  • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
  • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
  • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
  • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

Here’s where it gets really interesting:

Move towards secure attachment

The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

How to restructure your thoughts

Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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For the Avoidant Style

As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

For the Anxious Style

For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

For the Secure Style

Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

Strive towards Secure Attachment

As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

  • Positive self esteem and self image
  • Close and well adjusted relationships
  • Sense of security in self and the world
  • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
  • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
  • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
  • Trust in self and others
  • Close, intimate relationships
  • Strong determination and problem solving skills

If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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