23 Signs You’re Secretly An IntrovertPosted: August 28, 2013
One of the theories I find really interesting is the whole introvert/extrovert thing. At first glance, you might think you know which category a person falls into, but it’s not as easy to judge as you might think. Introvert doesn’t always mean hermit, and extrovert doesn’t always mean life of the party; there’s actually a lot more to it.
One of my friends posted this article called “23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert” on Facebook the other day, and I found it really amusing. Not only did it have me laughing out loud at the similarities I see in myself, but it also reaffirmed that I am definitely an introvert.
I’ve always thought of myself as an introvert because I much prefer being alone over being in a group of people, but the article talks about how “people are frequently unaware that they’re introverts –especially if they’re not shy – because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone.”
It goes on to say that it can be more important “to pay attention to whether they’re losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure.” That’s the part that I find really poignant because of the truth behind it; it’s not that I consider myself an introvert because I don’t like being around people, I just certainly need my time alone to recharge as well.
Not all of the 23 signs applied to me, but here are some of the ones that did most:
1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome. Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance. For many quiet types, chitchat can feel disingenuous.
This is so me. I find small talk hugely uncomfortable and awkward. Not only do I never know what to say, but I also don’t know where to look, how to act, or when to end it. It feels fake and forced, and I hate it.
2. You go to parties – but not to meet people. If you’re an introvert, you may sometimes enjoy going to parties, but chances are, you’re not going because you’re excited to meet new people. At a party, most introverts would rather spend time with people they already know and feel comfortable around. If you happen to meet a new person that you connect with, great – but meeting people is rarely the goal.
This is so me too, and something I really struggled with in college. I really enjoy going out, but unlike a lot of other people, I much prefer going to a friend’s house, a small house party, or out with a close group of friends than going to a huge gathering. The fear of not knowing anyone and getting caught in an awkward situation with no one to talk to terrifies me.
3. You often feel alone in a crowd. Ever feel like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings and group activities, even with people you know?
4. Networking makes you feel like a phony. Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.
Absolutely true. We have networking events at work all the time, and although I think about going because it might be good for my career, I never do. It’s not that I’m not ambitious, I’d just so much rather talk to people in everyday situations or natural work engagements than in awkward, forced, inorganic set-ups.
5. You’ve been called “too intense.” Do you have a penchant for philosophical conversations and a love of thought-provoking books and movies? If so, you’re a textbook introvert. “Introverts like to jump into the deep end,” says Dembling.
I don’t think I dive off the deep end with philosophy, per se, but I think my sister and mom would call me intense every time I start spouting off about why people with arthritis shouldn’t eat grains, what foods give me a stomach ache and why, the ingredients on a box of macaroni and cheese and what they do to your body, or why CrossFit is awesome. I’m into learning; whatever.
10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long. Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you’ve been out and about for too long? It’s likely because you’re trying to conserve energy. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they’ll need to go back and replenish their stores in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.
This is so me too. Incredibly. If I’m in a group too long, I become exhausted quickly. I like working and having fun in groups of people but I can only handle so much of it. The time I get to spend after work or at night home alone is probably my favorite time of the day.
14. You screen all your calls – even from friends. You may not pick up your phone, even from people you like, but you’ll call them back as soon as you’re mentally prepared and have gathered the energy for the conversation. “To me, a ringing phone is like having somebody jump out of a closet and go ‘BOO!,’” says Dembling. “I do like having a long, nice phone call with a friend – as long as it’s not jumping out of the sky at me.”
Woops. I guess the secret’s out. Sorry, guys. I guess that’s why I like text messaging so much – there’s no surprises.
16. You have a constantly running inner monologue. “Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” says Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later.”
This might sound weird, but this one is partially the reason I started this blog. Every time I do/see/hear something, I think about who I can tell about it, what I can write about it, or how I could recreate it. Sometimes I have so much running through my head that I have to whip out my phone and write it down before I either forget or it consumes my entire being. It’s a little bit mentally draining, but at least I’ve found an outlet for it.
22. You’re a writer. Introverts are often better at communicating in writing than in person, and many are drawn to the solitary, creative profession of writing. Most introverts – like “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling – say that they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.
Yup. (See the one before this.) I would so much rather communicate fully through writing than orally. I have to think everything through so hard before it comes out of my mouth, and writing allows me to do that.
23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity. Introverts can move around their introverted “set point” which determines how they need to balance solitude with social activity. But when they move too much – possibly by over-exerting themselves with too much socializing and busyness – they get stressed and need to come back to themselves. This may manifest as going through periods of heightened social activity, and then balancing it out with a period of inwardness and solitude.
This is something I’ve seen so much of this summer. I love being on the go and packing my days with fun things to do (and I’ve gotten better at doing so), but I also need to schedule some time for myself or I burn out fast. As long as I make sure to balance my alone time, I’m good to go, but if I don’t, I start to feel tired, anxious, and hugely overwhelmed.
If this stuff interests you, be sure to check out the rest of the article to see if you have any of these traits. Do you consider yourself and introvert or an extrovert – and why?