Understanding the characteristics of an introvert is the very best way to balance what is happening on the inside, with what is happening on the outside.
Sometimes an introvert can appear as rude, unsociable and unwilling to engage.
This could not be further from the truth, introverts love connecting with others. However, the connection must be mutually beneficial, rewarding and needs to be one that is at ease.
Fair-weather friends and forced interactions will never be appreciated. An introvert has a high desire for authenticity and if this is not in place, anything else will seem trivial and interest will be quickly lost.
Introverts can realise very early on that they are a little different to others, but often something doesn’t click into place until years later. When we can recognise our personality type, it really fast-tracks getting to know ourselves and understanding our needs a lot better.
I remember as a child, I would create a den behind the sofa, to read or play games, while the rest of my family interacted in the main living space. Friends would call to play and I would ask my mom to explain to them how I couldn’t go with them as I was too busy reading Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree for the hundredth time. I had a book to finish and could not understand what could have been more enjoyable than doing that.
Of course, needless to say, it lost me friends and gained me more alone time—in which, I reveled at the time. However, as the years went by, I did question why others seemed to naturally be surrounded by groups of friends, while I found the pleasure in the company of just one or two, or more often than not, on my own. I would sometimes feel pangs of loneliness and could never quite figure why my world seemed so different.
Other people didn’t (and still don’t) fully understand me, and my solitude. This has led to people thinking they can coax me out of my safe haven and enable me to become a social butterfly rather than staying safe in my cocoon.
If we all understood each other a little better, it would remove the need for unnecessary concern, so that we could all then celebrate and appreciate each other’s differences and realise that what may work for one person, could be the opposite for another.
There are certain traits that can help to define the traits of an introvert and can make it easier to recognise one and hopefully, go a little way to understanding them a little better.
- Introverts know what they want—As much of an introvert’s time is spent alone, they often get to know themselves very well and due to this, they know what they want from life and can usually figure out ways to get it. From an early age, they discover what they do and don’t like doing; they aren’t always afraid to try new things, but will quickly discover what they find great joy in and what they don’t. An introvert will ensure their time is spent doing the things they love most and often it is in the simplest of things life has to offer.
- Alone time is much needed—Whether it is spent reading, writing, working, exercising or watching movies, an introvert likes their space and time on their own. A pet is often the best companion for an introvert.
- Attracted to extroverts—As with a lot of things an attraction for the opposite is magnetising. An introvert will find the way extroverts operate extremely intriguing and the two can compliment each other perfectly, whether as friends or lovers.
- Few, but very loyal friendships—Introverts are much happier in the company of a very small crowd, often, just one other person. For an introvert to get close to someone, they must be able to feel completely comfortable with them and to be able to place their trust in them. Because of this, an introvert will place loyalty and trust above all else and will be deeply upset if those things are broken. As an introvert has been hurt in the past when their highly valued trust was misplaced, they may be wary and cautious before trusting again.
- Writing—An introvert will usually have a rich creative mind, huge imagination and a constant desire to figure things out and philosophise. Much of an introvert’s world happens on the inside, so they will find it very easy to engage with their inner mind and see things through others’ perspectives. Writing is one way that an introvert can put things into perspective and understand the world through their own unique imaginings.
- Analytical—Always looking at the bigger picture, observe as much data as possible rather than basing judgements on one piece of information.
- Doesn’t always respond to texts and calls—An introvert likes to feel completely comfortable before responding, if their frame of mind isn’t right, they will find it difficult to communicate so will delay responding until the moment is right for them. Introverts are highly unlikely to start calls or conversations unless they feel completely at ease to do so.
- Energy is depleted after being in the company of large groups—Introverts aren’t always shy, however, their energy comes from within, so they take time out for themselves to conserve energy and when in large groups, this is not so easy. Downtime after social events is often essential as the energy that has been drained will need recharged.
- Chooses where to sit carefully—Whether in restaurants, on public transport or in a room with family/friends an introvert will choose a spot to sit where they are most at ease. Most likely it will be towards the edge of a room or on a seat where they are not surrounded by people.
- Easily distracted—Whether it is small talk or watching a movie, an introvert’s attention needs to be captured, if not, their attention will soon fade and this will lead to an introvert feeling bored, irritable or exhausted very quickly.
- Small talk can feel intrusive—When a colleague, acquaintance or stranger asks personal information an introvert can easily take offense or feel intimidated by the questioning. They do not like to share personal information with anyone they do not know well or trust and will avoid answering anything that crosses their boundaries, however trivial it may seem.
- Sensitive to negative energy—An introvert will walk into a room and immediately sense a bad atmosphere or if someone’s mood levels are low. They will absorb the energy fast so they will avoid people and places where this is likely to occur. Confrontations are introvert’s nemesis, as interactions with aggressive people will have a long lasting effect, which can last for days afterwards. High action movies and certain types of music can even have a direct impact on an introvert.
- Avoids places with high stimuli—Places such as supermarkets, activities where there are a lot of children around and nightclubs all can lead an introvert to experience an overload of stimulation. Bright lights, loud noises and crowded places can all take their toll as an introvert’s sensory organs take a battering. Calm, relaxed, quiet, chilled out places are much preferred to compliment the inner calm of an introvert.
- At parties or social events a calm place is always found—Often that is in the kitchen where it is a little quieter, the ladies room chatting to one or two good friends, or navigating to a garden or outdoor space for a little breathing space can be a safe option. Social events can be a lot of fun for an introvert, but only if they are on their terms only. Stuck in the middle of a room, talking to strangers, with loud music and a crowded atmosphere can be a complete nightmare. An introvert will far more likely enjoy engaging with one or two friends on the outer edges.
- Cancelling plans happens regularly—If it’s someone else that cancels the plans, it can feel like a huge relief, now, the stress has been taken away from having to attend something that could potentially be exhausting, uncomfortable and uninteresting.
Often, an introvert is the one to cancel. At the time, an event can seem like a great idea, but as it draws closer, the thought of all the stress that could be involved can become too much to bear. Cancelling is simple, compared to the thought of how much time, energy and anxiety would go into attending. As effects from social events can have long lasting implications, and also be incredibly intimidating for an introvert, the very thought of doing something they are not comfortable with can lead to high levels of anxiety, let alone actually attending. If an introvert is at completely at ease with the plan and is confident about where it is taking place and who is attending, they will likely look forward to it and far less likely to cancel.
When we fully understand the traits of an introverted personality, we will find it easier to find ways to compliment the delicate, but complex set of requirements, rather than cause regular unease by subjecting them to circumstances that will feel harsh and damaging to an introvert.
It’s all about creating an understanding, learning to accept ourselves better and appreciating and accepting others too. When we recognise and embrace our personality types, we can then blend mix them with others whose characteristics and traits compliment and challenge our own.
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Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
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