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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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Last Updated on January 6, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1]University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2]Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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