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23 Signs that You May Be an Introvert

23 Signs that You May Be an Introvert

Are you secretly an introvert? Do you even know what being an introvert really means? Introverts are often misunderstood, as the term introvert is often thought to be someone who is shy, is a wallflower at parties, and doesn’t like other people. This is not true.

Have you thought you might be an introvert but didn’t want to be?

I can’t emphasize enough that introverts are not all shy. Most people I know don’t realize I am one because they don’t understand what an introvert really is. Some people whom you may think are introverted may not be; they may just be quiet.

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Maybe you think being an introvert is a bad thing. Nothing is further from the truth. The characteristics of an introvert will be more clear after you read through the list below.

Signs you may be an introvert

  1. You often dread going to an event where there will be a lot of people
  2. You relish the time you have alone, sneaking off to take a bath or go for a walk
  3. You prefer to sit back and observe
  4. Your inner world is rich
  5. You enjoy spending time by yourself
  6. You dislike small talk
  7. You enjoy discussing your favorite topics with others
  8. You tend to tune out when someone you don’t know well is giving you their entire life history
  9. You need to get out for walks during work to take a break from all the people
  10. You like people, you just need them in smaller doses
  11. You prefer to spend time with friends one-on-one, or in very small groups
  12. You dreaded your wedding reception (all those people to talk to)
  13. You have a few close friends rather than many acquaintances
  14. You are often stressed by being in a group of people
  15. You listen more than you talk
  16. You enjoy solitary activities like reading
  17. You need a space of your own where you can go and shut the door
  18. You get crabby after spending a lot of time around other people
  19. You are humiliated if you think you made a mistake in public
  20. You don’t easily share your feelings with others
  21. You like creative and imaginative activities
  22. You don’t like to talk to strangers
  23. You may or may not be shy

Do some of these signs describe you? Once you understand you are an introvert it makes life a lot easier.

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I have been an introvert my entire life. I come from a family of introverts as well, but I didn’t know about or understand what an introvert was. As an adult, I had a great conversation with a co-worker that really led me to understand the introvert/extrovert difference and myself better. My co-worker was an extrovert married to an introvert, and I was living with an extrovert at the time.

We discussed that the extrovert in the relationship needs to get out and be energized by people, while the introvert needs quiet time to recharge, so being in a group will drain that person. This revelation was so helpful to me in understanding some of the challenges in my relationship.

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How can you use this information in your life? Once you understand what being an introvert is really all about how you are energized you can more easily take the time you need for yourself.

Limit the time you are in large groups and know that it is okay to need to leave. Let your family and friends know what to expect and what it means that you are an introvert. Having a significant other who understands your needs helps a great deal: My husband and I went to a large outdoor music festival recently; it was a long day, packed with great music. At the end of the day, the top tier musicians were playing and it was very crowded. I just wanted to crawl into a ball—the stimulation and crowd were too much, but my husband was as giddy as a schoolboy.

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At no time has the difference between introverts and extroverts been more apparent to me. Another day at the same music festival he actually drove me home before the big acts because I was so overwhelmed by the large crowds and couldn’t stay. We now try to limit our festivals to smaller ones that don’t get so crowded.

Parties can be challenging, so let your close friends know you are an introvert and that you may need to leave 2-3 hours into their get-together. The number of people and the energy level may be too overwhelming for you. Three hours is usually my limit, but I know this now and I can let my friends know what to expect. Their understanding makes it a lot easier.

Being an introvert is a great thing, as you will observe things others don’t. There is so much going on in your mind at all times, so use that to your advantage. To the extroverts: I hope you find this helpful. My mother-in-law recently read the book, Quiet, which is about introverts, and now understands her oldest son much better because of it. I would recommend this book to everyone to gain a deeper understanding of what being an introvert means.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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