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Published on August 22, 2017

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

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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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