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 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.
Also, a study 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.
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.
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.
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!
|||^||Quiet Revolution: Why Introverts and Extroverts Are Different: The Science|
|||^||The Journal of Neuroscience: Individual Differences in Amygdala-Medial Prefrontal Anatomy Link Negative Affect, Impaired Social Functioning, and Polygenic Depression Risk|