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.
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.
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.
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.