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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 August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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