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All Things About Introverts: The Seemingly Mysterious Personality That Often Gets Misunderstood!

All Things About Introverts: The Seemingly Mysterious Personality That Often Gets Misunderstood!

A Sneak Peek To “What is an introvert?

Introverts – shy and withdrawn, mysterious people that don’t particularly need human interaction, or do they? With all of the buzz about introverts, extroverts and ambiverts going on lately, are we sure we are not jumping to conclusions regarding someone’s personality, and more importantly, how much of the information we have is accurate and not leading to generalizing and misconceptions?

There’s no doubt that extroverts are easy to spot and recognize since they are outgoing and tend to be the center of the attention. On the other hand,introverts tend to keep everything to themselves and don’t talk too much. They tend to be misunderstood as shy, not friendly and socially disconnected.

Finally, ambiverts are perceived as being in the middle with having some of the traits that belong to introverted, and some of the extroverted personality with neither personality being the dominant one.

Carl Jung defined introversion [1] and introverted people as being completely opposite from extroversion and extroverts. He explained that while extroverts are more prone to focusing their energy outwards, introverted people are more focused on their inner life, their subjective thoughts and feelings. With no single definitive definition of introversion being constructed to this point, it is no wonder that we are prone to misconceptions and generalizing.

However, there are a great number of works and research that have managed to analyze the introverted personality type and draw insightful conclusions.

Some Obvious signs of an introvert

Since they are more focused inwardly, introverts enjoy alone time. They thrive and find inspiration from taking the time for their favorite hobby. In those moments best of their ideas are born. As opposed to popular belief, introverts are a beneficial part of the team at work. Even though they would restrain from giving their opinion, and talk only when asked, their ability to think more independently provides valuable different perspective on the matter being discussed.

As far as daily social interactions are concerned, introverted people would most often choose not to get involved in discussions that involve people who show signs of anger. According to the research [2] by psychologist Marta Ponari and collaborators of University College London, this trait of introverts may come as a result of their sensitivity to potentially negative evaluations.

Most often introverts are wrongly judged as people who don’t enjoy social interactions that much. People can sometimes perceive them as rude or uninterested. This misconception comes from the introverts’ tendency to avoid being evaluated by others, so they would always choose not to engage in small talk with strangers, or people they don’t feel truly close with.

It is also a common misconception that introverts aren’t able to withstand leader positions. Actually, introverts have the potential of being great leaders and drawing the most potential out of the team, given that the team is comprised of people who don’t need extra stimulus to perform well. [3]

How Different Types Of Introvert Act Differently? 

With the more thorough research done on introversion, it has become clear that introversion is a far more complex term that has four subcategories. As the psychologist and academic Jonathan Cheek’s research done on 500 adults suggests, there are four types of introverts. Cheek has developed the STAR model [4] in order to explain the four main types of introverts: Social, Thinking, Anxious and Restrained.

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1. Social introverts

Social introverts tend to rely more on their alone time for regaining energy. As Cheek explains “The idea that introverts need to alternate sociality and their recharging time, that’s very important in social introversion”.

2. Thinking introverts

People who don’t necessarily shy away from social interactions, but tend to be more introspective and inward oriented are described as thinking introverts.

3. Anxious introverts

Most anxious introverts get described as shy, due to their anxiety when around other people. Anxious introverts tend to feel anxious about how they will be perceived by others and, unlike social introverts, the anxiety doesn’t stop when they are alone. Even though they like to be in social situations, they tend to over-analyze their words and behavior and worry about how they will be interpreted by their peers.

4. Restrained introverts

Inhibited, reserved, or restrained introverts most often think before taking any actions and lack spontaneity. They will most certainly decline a last-minute call to a party, because they like to make plans and sudden events make them uncomfortable.

How are introverts Different From Extroverts?

While Carl Jung was the first to coin the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” and provided theory explaining the main differences between the two types, later research showed the differences in the brain structure of the two types of personalities as well as the different ways in which they react to stimulations and recharge their energy.

Namely, extroverts possess lower levels of arousal, therefore they are always on the lookout for new exciting adventure, while introverts, possessing higher levels of arousal, will look for activities and situations that require lower levels of arousal. [5]

Additionally, extroverts are much more adventurous than introverts due to the difference in their brain structure. The pathway of stimuli of extroverts is shorter than the pathway of introverts, therefore the stimulation process of extroverts is shorter, making them “hungry” for more excitement.

Moreover, introverts would always choose a more relaxing activity for recharging, while extroverts are more likely to choose rewards through excitement. This has to do with the fact that brain of extroverts feeds on dopamine, making them feel pleasant only through challenges and excitement, while introverts’ brain prefers acetylcholine, which creates pleasure through introspection and more self-focused activities.

Extroverts are more aggressive. Does that mean they are more successful?

With introverts getting more positive press, it is refreshing to see the negative stigma surrounding them being erased. For so long, it seems our society has been praising extroverts as go-getters and great leaders and achievers, while introverts were considered awkward and underachieving.

Although at first sight introverts may seem like their performance career-wise may seem poor, their natural abilities to listen, stay focused and calm, provide them with great benefits and make them perfectly able to achieve great success.

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If we take a look at the lives and careers of some of the most successful introverts in a number of different areas, we will notice that introversion doesn’t in any way prevent people from being great at what they do. Some of the most famous and successful introverts of our time include

Albert Einstein

Bill Gates [6]

Steven Spielberg [7]

Sir Isaac Newton [8]

Mark Zuckerberg [9]

JK Rowling [10]

Meryl Streep [11]

Introverts: Core strengths and weaknesses

Focused and devoted in every situation, thoughtful to others, insightful and visionary at work, those are some of the common denominators for people with introverted personality type. These are, at the same time, their greatest strengths that make them irreplaceable and beneficial workers, partners, friends, parents…

On the other hand, being introverted usually means being perceived as slightly snobbish, or even rude to others. Also, the more inner focused nature of introverts makes them less likely to get noticed, make more friends or business contacts.

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What Are The Ideal Occupations For Different Introverts? 

There are plenty of great positions for introverts to thrive in depending on their natural abilities, education and preferences. As mentioned before, not all introverts are the same, therefore not every person with introverted personality will be happy in the same work position. However, certain occupations have been shown to better suit introverts as they require some of the natural strengths that introverts possess.

According to the four types of introverts, there is a list of potential jobs that would perfectly suit each type’s needs.

Ideal jobs for social introvert

  • Database administrator
  • Private chef
  • Electrical or electronic engineering technician
  • Commercial diver
  • Animal trainer

Ideal jobs for thinking introvert

  • Aerospace engineer
  • Industrial engineer
  • Computer programmer
  • Web developer
  • Video game artist
  • Fashion designer
  • Interior designer
  • Graphic designer

Ideal jobs for anxious introvert

  • Statistician
  • Commercial pilot
  • Technical writer
  • Accountant
  • Medical lab technician or technologist
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Audio engineering technician

Ideal jobs for restrained introvert

  • Physicist
  • Biochemist or biophysicist
  • Management analyst
  • Market research analyst or marketing specialist
  • Anthropologist or archaeologist
  • Creative or non-fiction writer or author
  • Wildlife biologist
  • Career or education counselor
  • Mental health counselor

How introverts can improve themselves?

Introverts can face many challenges, especially at work and in social situations. Since most introverts won’t speak first at meetings, or sound convincing on job interviews, their careers can suffer as those around them don’t always see their true potential.

There is a way for introverts to how their greatest skills at work while still staying true to themselves. At meetings, they can show their great ability to focus and show their insightful and creative side, and contribute to new ideas.

They can start by asking questions to get the pressure off, and then follow the impulse and speak on the idea. Furthermore, they don’t need to become social butterflies all of a sudden, yet they can use their natural abilities to create meaningful relationships, and use it to make a few genuine connections or allies at work that would help them shine. When it comes to nailing job interviews, introverts can be truly successful if they rely on their natural abilities to prepare well, think before they speak and listen to the person they are talking to.

Since introverts prefer one-on-one conversations to group meetings, they can use their ability to connect in these situations. Moreover, as introverts don’t enjoy talking about themselves, they can show their skills in a manner they are more comfortable with – they can imagine it as sharing instead of bragging.

How To Build Better Relationships With Introvert?

Here are some guidelines on how to understand and respect your introverted friend, partner, or a kid.

If you have an introverted friend

Introverts possess some of the best qualities that make true and genuine friends. In order to keep them around, make sure not to pressure them to hang out in crowded places, as they prefer more intimate atmosphere. Also, give them time to be by themselves to recharge, and time to think before making decisions. Keep surprise adventures at a minimum.

If you are in love with an introvert

Introverts are great partners as they can provide genuine love, support and thoughtfulness to their love interest. Since they don’t act before they think things through, their partners can be assured that they are the only center of their attention. If you are in love with an introvert, make sure to respect their need for private time, don’t interrupt them, and don’t force them to make quick decisions about your lives together.

If you have an introverted kid

If you are raising and introverted child, again, make sure to respect their ways of doing things. Don’t pressure them into making a lot of new friends, having a few, genuine friends is what introverts prefer. Help them cultivate their own skills and talents instead of pressuring them to take part in activities they don’t enjoy. Be aware that they won’t always ask for help, so make sure to be observant and present in order to offer your assistance when needed.

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Books you can read if you want to get in-depth knowledge of introvert

If you are interested in learning more about introverts, here are some great reading suggestions.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

    “The book that started the Quiet Revolution” is an ultimate guide on what it means to be introvert, how to care for one, and how introverts help the world go round, all filled with real life stories.

    The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney Psy.D.

      As the title says, The Introvert Advantage helps introverts overcome their weaknesses, realize their strengths in order to achieve success in every aspect of their lives. The book also debunks most common myths about introverts and provides better understanding of introverted personality type.

      The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling

        Another great piece of writing that empowers introverts to stay true to their nature and realize their unique potential.

        Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength by Laurie Helgoe Ph.D.

          In this truly powerful book, Helgoe inspires introverts to turn their natural strengths into their unique supremacy and show their invaluable geniuses to the world.

          The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Beth L. Buelow

            Insightful and actionable tips on how to become a super successful introvert entrepreneur without getting too overwhelmed by extroverted ways of doing business.

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            Last Updated on August 19, 2019

            How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

            How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

            We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

            When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

            In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

            Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

            If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

            According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

            No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

            When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

            Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

            1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

            When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

            Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

            When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

            Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

            In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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            It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

            You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

            Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

            What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

            You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

            That’s where we all should be.

            So, answer me this:

            How are you, really?

            And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

            Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

            Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

            Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

            Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

            It’s taking control.

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            2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

            You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

            You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

            In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

            Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

            You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

            Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

            But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

            It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

            In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

            It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

            Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

            Change will happen.

            Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

            You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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            And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

            You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

            That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

            You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

            When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

            There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

            3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

            Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

            In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

            If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

            Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

            Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

            How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

            Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

            “Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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            Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

            Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

            It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

            Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

            “If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

            What would you do if you felt you were enough?

            By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

            So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

            Final Thoughts

            By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

            Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

            When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

            You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

            More About Living Your True Self

            Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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