As a child, I was always told I needed to “come out of my shell,” and that I was “too shy.” I’ve since learned that while I may have a touch of social anxiety, for the most part, I’m a natural introvert. When I first heard the term “introvert,” I assumed it was just another label, a high-lofted way of calling someone shy. The more I’ve read about psychology and personality traits, the more I’ve discovered that introversion (or alternately, extroversion) may actually be a trait we are born with.
I’ve compiled a list of seventeen common traits of introverts. This is far from an all-inclusive list, but it is a good starting point if you are trying to determine if you are an introvert. It’s also a great idea for extroverts to become familiar with these characteristics to better understand their introverted loved ones.
1. Introverts enjoy alone time
Extroverts long for interaction, prefer to be around other people and will seek out large social events. Introverts, on the other hand, enjoy being alone, spending time in solitude. They gravitate towards hobbies traditional done alone such as reading, crafts, painting, or writing.
2. It takes less stimuli to overwhelm an introvert than an extrovert
Whether it is physical, auditory, visual or contemplative (or a combination of these), introverts can easily be overwhelmed by a barrage of stimuli. They tend to “zone out” or “shut down” when there is too much happening around them.
3. Introverts spend a lot of time inside their own heads, contemplating, introspecting, imagining
Introverts are often called “dreamers” or “wanderers.” They enjoy introspection, analyzing deep thoughts and exploring their imaginations.
4. Introverts require solitude to recharge after social situations
While extroverts thrive on the energy of others, introverts will tire of being around others and need to be alone to recharge.
5. Sometimes, pushing themselves to act “normally” in social situations can be exhausting for introverts
Introverts can be quiet, they are often asked if everything is okay. To avoid this, introverts will put on a social persona in some situations, but that can be equally taxing on them.
6. Small talk is the bane of their existence
Deep conversations are much more enjoyable to the introvert. Polite small talk bores them.
7. Introverts brains are different
Longer neural pathways mean information takes longer to process, travelling through more centers, allowing it to be processed in relation to emotions, logic, memory, etc.
8. This also means it takes longer for introverts to put their thoughts into words
Just as incoming information requires more time to process, so does outgoing information. Introverts will also think and rethink how they want to verbalize their thoughts.
9. Introverts are better at writing than speaking
The previous two points, as well as their tendency to be contemplative, introverts are able to express themselves better through writing than verbally. Writing allows them to take their time and articulate their thoughts correctly.
10. Overthinking can be a problem for introverts
Because introverts are so introspective, constantly thinking about the same problem, situation, or discussion can occur. In some cases, this can further increase an introvert’s need for solitude to cope with the onslaught of disquiet.
11. Introverts do have social skills
They are not necessarily socially awkward and can enjoy attending social events, but will eventually grow tired of it and crave solitude.
12. Introverts prefer small gatherings as opposed to large groups
Introverts are more likely to feel comfortable in small groups or a one-on-one setting.
13. They prefer to spend time with people they already know rather than meet new people
Meeting new people is uncomfortable for introverts, as it requires significant small talk, something we’ve already established as a turn-off for them. Introverts would rather have meaningful conversations with people they are already comfortable with.
14. Introverts are often drawn to extroverts. Opposites attract!
Whether it’s to live vicariously through an extrovert, it allows them to experience new things, or because extroverts have such outgoing personalities, introverts are easily attracted to extroverts.
15. Introverts are very observant and have a great eye for detail
An introvert will often surprise you with just how many details they notice about you and their surroundings. Many enjoy people-watching and have a knack for picking up on seemingly minor details.
16. Often, introverts have a few good friends
Because they prefer deep conversations over small talk, introverts will choose to have a few deep relationships over having many acquaintances. They are loyal and many of their relationships last decades.
17. Interestingly, introverts tend to choose seats in the back row, the end of the table, anywhere they don’t feel surrounded and could make a quick exit
Introverts need for solitude is so ingrained, they often choose seats, tables, etc. in an area that would leave them least exposed to other people and able to leave as unnoticed as possible, but many don’t realize they do it or if they do, they don’t know why.