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