Introversion and extroversion are two ends of a personality spectrum with most people falling somewhere in the middle. For those who self-identify as introverts, there is wide variation of what that looks like.
We have misconceptions that introverts are shy, socially awkward hermits that hole up in their apartments and never want social interaction. But for most of us, this is not so. We might value community. We might talk a lot sometimes. And we might wear a disguise at times.
Here are some signs that you might be an introvert in disguise:
1. You feel drained after significant social interaction and need time alone to recharge.
You enjoy your time with people close to you, but you have a time limit on how much social interaction you can handle before you start to feel depleted. That limit might be much shorter if you are not a social drinker! After socializing, you usually need to take time for solitude to recharge your energy.
2. You prefer interacting one-to-one or in small groups over large parties.
Large groups tend to make you feel scattered and overwhelmed, as they may have less of the personal connection you crave and too much stimulation. You can handle a networking event or birthday bash, but you would much prefer intimate conversation among a few friends.
3. Small talk makes you want to run.
You get anxious and annoyed when you find yourself having to talk about where you live, what you do for a living, and, of course, the weather. But when someone engages you in meaningful discussion, you will gleefully light up and are easily chatty and engaged.
4. Your head is incessantly abuzz with deep thought and analysis.
People constantly ask you what’s wrong or what is on your mind. Typically, nothing is “wrong” and you could not begin to share what is actually on your mind because one thought after another flies in…some deep, some shallow, most analytical.
5. You are often told you are too serious.
You need to laugh more. Lighten up. We hear this a lot. The extroverts in our lives assume we are sad when we are not smiling and gregarious. They think that dissecting our internal mental processes means we are overanalyzing (okay, maybe) and deeply distraught. They want us to be happy—only—we are. We actually thrive on this sort of analysis and deep thinking.
6. You love solitude.
You could spend days without seeing or talking to anyone and barely notice. You find yourself happily plugging along with house projects, reading, writing, crossword puzzles, art, movies, music, and so on. You can feel so satisfied when you can delve into what you love without interruptions. You sometimes have to force yourself to set social dates.
7. You do some of your best work independently.
You can work in a group, but some of your best creativity and productivity comes from using your own mind to work through problems and create new ideas. You prefer working alone first to fully understand something before sharing your ideas with others.
8. Despite your social abilities as an adult, you were a rather quiet child.
You might see yourself as outgoing to a degree and expressive. What were you like as a child? Did you constantly need stimulation from sports or playing with other children or were you quite content to read all day long, do puzzles solo, and talk to yourself. Yes, I totally talked to myself all the time while working on art projects.
9. You are told both that you are a good listener and that sometimes you are not listening.
Well, in all fairness, a lot of folks might get this. But with introverts, we can be extremely good listeners and very empathetic, but there are times when we are accused of not listening well due to all of the clutter taking up our mental space.
10. Group activities bring up anxiety sometimes.
Who will be there? What are they like? Will you feel trapped or will you be able to leave? Does this sound familiar? For some introverts the thought of going sailing in Chicago on a beautiful summer day might sound amazing, but for others, all of those questions might come up when there are a lot of unknowns.
11. You prefer observing over participating or interacting.
Some have a tendency to enter into the role of observer in a seminar or group event. They take time to check in with their environment and the actions of their peers. Introverts often take their time to decide if and when they want to participate and are unlikely to march to the beat of another drummer, particularly in any kind of loud groupthink type event.
12. You have a great deal of empathy.
Many introverts have an inordinate level of compassion and empathy toward others. They have to be careful to set boundaries for themselves so as not to take on the pain of others. Personal time is really important to take care of oneself.
Not all introverts are created the same. The signs mentioned above are a compilation of traits that belong to either my partner or me, with plentiful overlap between us.
Author: Melissa Renzi
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Travis May