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If You Find Socializing Draining, You Have An Introvert Personality

If You Find Socializing Draining, You Have An Introvert Personality

It’s Saturday night, and you’ve finally managed to get yourself out of the house and to the party your friends have been bugging you about. As you walk in, you scan the social scene. Everyone sticks to their prospective party-going persona. There’s people chatting amongst themselves in various corners, others are playing drinking games that will probably carry on all night. There’s that fly on the wall that you hardly notice, and of course the dynamic center of attention; the life of the party.

Between the fly on the wall, and the life of the party, which of the two would you consider to be introverted? Stereo-typically speaking, you would automatically assume that the fly on the wall is the introvert. And you would be correct. But would it surprise you to know that the life of the party is an introvert as well?

Being introverted doesn’t necessarily translate to anti-social

Many introverts can pass as being a social butterfly, because they are not a shy type of introvert. Oftentimes, they are mistaken as extroverts because of their ability to be talkative and sociable. But sociability is not what defines an introvert. This probably goes against everything you thought you knew about outgoing personalities. While some introverts are incredibly reclusive, some still manage to be social for short periods of time. This catch 22 can make it difficult to identify individuals as introverted.

“Spotting the Introvert can be as difficult as finding Waldo,” Sophia Dembling, author of The Introverts Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World.

Introverts, as social as some may seem to be still tend to find social events draining. While they manage to show face and excel at entertaining; they need lots of down time to recharge after such events.

Your source of energy determines whether you are an Intro or Extrovert

For the majority of us, we don’t have cookie cutter personalities that you can fit in a box. I consider myself to be introverted, which comes as a surprise to people who have only witnessed me in a party atmosphere. Sure I don’t have trouble going to social events alone, or hanging out while I’m there. But after I go home I slip on some sweats, crawl into bed, and drift off into Netflix world for an undisclosed amount of time.

This is true for all people. No one is 100% an extrovert or introvert. But where we fall on the Ambivert Personality Scale all depends on how much energy we exert on social situations.

Extroverts cannot spend too much time alone and introverts work the opposite

Extroverts find solitude draining, and are recharged by socializing. These people have a lower rate of arousal than others, and need to work harder to feel stimulated. Extroverts often feel “high” from their surroundings, because they feed off of the energy around them.

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However, introverts find social situations draining, and need their downtime to charge them back up. You cannot determine if someone is introverted by how social they are at a gathering, but by how much energy is lost from the event. Introverts have a higher level of arousal than others, and are stimulated very easily.

Let’s revisit the party scenario. Same party, same fly on the wall, same introverted social butterfly. After the party is over and everyone goes home, that social butterfly will go into hiding for a while to regain all of their strength spent while socializing.

For an extrovert, they will find the party exhilarating. These are the people who never want the party to end, and will make plans to extend it into the next day. They feed off of the energy of others.

Are you secretly an introvert?

Many people think that introverted is synonymous with shy, which isn’t always the case. Many introverts avoid social situations because they find them draining. Whereas shy people avoid social situations because they are afraid of being judged or rejected. If you exhibit both of these characteristics, then you’re a shy introvert.

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While introverts may not be easy to spot, we do have some characteristics that could make us easier to seek out. Who knows, maybe you are even a bit introverted! If you exhibit some of these traits, then you probably are.

You find social situations very draining and you keep your circle small

It’s not that you don’t enjoy being social, but only in small doses. You prefer to have a small group of friends in comparison to a large group of acquaintances, because it’s more authentic. You never initiate small talk, and find it incredibly pointless and boring. People may describe you as quiet, but you just take longer than others to open up. You may be a person of few words, but when you speak, your words have meaning.

You enjoy being alone- you even prefer it

You don’t like distractions and people tend to cause them. You require a lot of downtime, and don’t find it at all counterproductive because you need that time to reset. Self-care if a very high priority for you, and it takes precedence over activities. You don’t suffer from FOMO very often. Unless you’re out unwillingly, and are sorely missing your bed.

You possess a very high self-awareness and sense of independence

You are very independent, and prefer to do things on your own. You’ll avoid asking for help at all costs unless you have no other choice. Waiting around isn’t your thing. If you’re capable, you’ll do it yourself. You are very focused, and your goals always take priority. You’ll pass up on a night out with friends if it means getting an early start in the morning to get some work done. Because of this, you are drawn to jobs where you can be independent. More likely than not, you are probably a freelancer or entrepreneur of some kind. Working mindlessly towards someone else’ dream has no appeal for you.

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You are drawn to extroverts, they give you balance

More likely than not, your best friend is incredibly outgoing. They capture the attention of the room as soon as they walk in, and everyone is captivated. They can hold a conversation and keep the party going effortlessly. This is your counterpart because they help you to open up, while you help to keep them grounded. You’re the person they come to when they need stability; and they’re the person you go to when you need to let loose.

Your brain just never stops. You have a constant inner monologue

The reason why you’re probably not speaking is because your mind is just overwhelmed with thoughts. You may have responded a dozen times in your head, but just never bothered to say the words out loud.

Does this sound like you? We live in a world that rewards extroversion, but that doesn’t mean you are less valuable because you’re introverted. There is nothing wrong with needing a little extra downtime, and preferring conversations and interactions with a level of substance. Introversion can be very rewarding as long as you embrace it.

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on October 30, 2019

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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