23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert

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. 

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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?

Yup. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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?


Life Is Good!

I don’t know about you, but I literally cannot believe it is almost August.  I feel like not only this summer, but the past eight months or so have absolutely flown by, and sometimes I feel like I don’t even know where they went! 

I feel like it was just winter, and my mom was dropping my birthday cake on the kitchen floor… And then all of a sudden, I was 24 and visiting New York City and hiking Mt. Monadnock and going to Mexico… And then spring came and I started working out with other people and getting obsessed with CrossFit….

And then my hard work paid off personally and I became a certified personal trainer, and I took a leap of faith professionally and ended up getting offered a new job… And then I bought a kayak and went on vacation with my family and have been enjoying spending my time at the lake and with new friends

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And now, here we are, halfway through summer… and it’s no wonder time has been flying by!  I love my new job, which takes up a lot of my time, and I’ve been spending my free time trying awesome workouts and having fun with family and friends.  It’s bound to seem like time flies when you are filling your days with such great things.  Sometimes I look back and say where did the time go?, but when you can look back on all the great memories, it makes it all worth it. 

And I think this guy would agree:

His days are filled more with leisurely activities like sunning himself in the yard and laying in piles of pillows on the couch, but I’m sure he has some really great memories of that stuff.  It’s great to spend your days making memories when you’re go-go-going, but we should probably all take a page from his playbook every now and then and stop to smell the roses too. 

His innate cuteness has landed him in a photo contest, where the caption of the image is “Life is Good,” so if you agree, you can click here to go vote for him to win.   (Voting ends 7/31/13.)

I’m working this morning and then spending the weekend with my mom… making more great memories, I’m sure!  I hope you all have a chance to do the same. Smile 

Questions:

What are some of your best memories so far this year?

What are some of the things you’re looking forward to coming up?

What is it that makes you say “life is good”?


The Highest Form Of Flattery

Last week I saw this guy I work with drinking a Naked Juice, and I got a little too excited over the fact that he bought it in our very own cafeteria.  They are my favorite but I never think to buy them in the grocery store (plus they are too expensive so I usually skip right over them), but on Thursday, I needed a little pick-me-up with lunch so I decided to grab one.  I didn’t think I’d ever tried this Green Machine version until I looked it up, but I’m not surprised because (like all the others I’ve tried) it was totally awesome. 

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I know I’ve said this before but I love that the bottles list all the ingredients and their proportions, so now that I actually have my own juicer, the plan is to save the bottles so I can recreate them at home.

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But that’s my old obsession… my new one is with Larabars

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Have you tried these things?

If not, you must because they, too, are totally awesome.

I don’t usually eat any kind of bars, which is probably why I’ve never tried them before, but I read somewhere the other day that they didn’t have any artificial ingredients and I was a little bit intrigued.  The website says:

LÄRABAR® is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Made from whole food, each flavor contains no more than nine ingredients. Pure and simple, just as nature intended. 

I decided to check them out in the grocery store a couple days later, and honestly, I was blown away.  Aside from chocolate chips (which are made from a couple different things but I’m okay with eating them occasionally), the ingredients are all things that I could (and probably do) have at home.  For the ones I’ve tried so far:

  • Banana bread = Almonds, dates, bananas
  • Cashew cookie = Cashews, dates
  • Chocolate chip brownie = Dates, chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, sea salt
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough = Cashews, dates, chocolate chips, sea salt
  • Peanut butter chocolate chip = Dates, peanuts, chocolate chips, sea salt
  • Peanut butter cookie = Peanuts, dates, seal salt

Get the picture?

Some of them are sweetened with fruit juice (and clearly dates), but I haven’t seen any with added sugars (besides in the chocolate chips), which is pretty cool.  And because the ingredients list is so minimal, they end up being gluten-free and dairy-free too, which is extra cool. 

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The only downside is the price: $1.49 each.  Between the $3.50 for the Naked Juices and the $1.49 for the Larabars, I could end up blowing my whole food budget in just a couple of days! 

Luckily, I am an expert at trying to be a copycat chef, and the very first thing I did after seeing the ingredients lists was Google “homemade Larabars.”  Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea, and there are all kinds of recipes out there, but the basic premise is to take the ingredients you want in the bar, mash them up in the food processor, mold it into a somewhat appealing shape, and eat.  I can totally do that!

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, so I hope Naked Juice and Larabars will take my attempts at recreating their masterpieces at home as a compliment. 

I’ll keep you posted on how close I get to the originals.

Questions:

Have you tried Naked Juices or Larabars?

What foods/recipes do you try to recreate at home?


King Corn

Call me a nerd (it wouldn’t be the first time), but one of the things I really like to do is watch documentaries.  There are so many good ones out there, on all different topics, from prisons, to life in Alaska, to how factories work, and I find them really interesting.  Not only do I like to know what I’m talking about when I talk to other people, but I also just find it fun to learn about the world around me.

Obviously, some of my favorite documentaries to watch center around food, the food industry (farming, manufacturing, distribution, the use of chemicals, etc.), and health, and the other day I heard about a new one called King Corn, which was all about corn farming. 

King Corn follows two guys from Boston who move to rural Iowa to farm corn, and it’s really interesting to see how it goes from seed to plate.  I knew corn was in pretty much every single thing we eat, but I never really knew the specifics behind it.  Did you know you can’t even eat corn straight from the field anymore?  (Or wouldn’t want to, anyway.) 

Farming has evolved in so many tremendous ways over the last century, which is great in some respects; we can now produce food for way more people in way less time and with way less resources.  But at the same time – did you read the part where I said that the corn is inedible right out of the field?  It has to be processed into compounds that we can eat, and then it’s added to pretty much every packaged food in the grocery store – often as sugar.  And it’s fed to most of the animals that you buy in the grocery store too.  So you may not think you eat a lot of corn… but you probably do.

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And maybe you’re thinking: so what’s the problem?  Corn is a vegetable; it’s good for you. 

Well, that’s debatable. 

Most corn produced today is genetically modified and pumped with all kinds of chemicals that allow it to grow as fast and as easily as it does.  It’s cheap to process corn into sugar (like high fructose corn syrup) and other additives, and its cheap to make soda and snack cakes and other junk food that contains these corn by-products.  In turn, that means it’s cheap to buy these products, so people do.  Take your typical meal from McDonald’s: hamburger meat is highly-processed meat from corn fed cows, French fries are often fried in corn oil, and soda’s main ingredient is high fructose corn syrup.

The problem is, like one expert discussed, we’ve come a long way with so called “advancements” in the food industry, but when we genetically modify crops to maximize efficiency, we eliminate the nutrition.  High fructose corn syrup has virtually no nutritional value, and yet it’s in practically every [processed] food we eat.  (Check out this article if you want to see all the things corn is found in.  I bet some of them will surprise you.)  With that in mind, is it really any wonder why the rate of diabetes is so high in this country?

But the problem is not just with the food; there is a much larger issue as well.  Government subsidies fund the surplus production of cheap corn by paying farmers to produce it.  So basically, that means we subsidize Happy Meals, but we don’t subsidize healthy ones.

Back in the day, people paid twice as much for their food as we do now. So it’s easy to see why they dedicated their lives to making food production easier and cheaper.  But it used to be a family operation, and now it’s a commercial one. We spend less income on food than any generation in history, and fewer people are needed to produce it, but we’re also the fattest, sickest, unhealthiest generation yet.  Sure, we live in the age of plenty, but we might live in a time where abundance actually brings too much.

So what’s the point of all this? 

I’m not saying don’t eat corn. 

Let’s face it, almost all of the food we eat now has been genetically modified from it’s original form to make it cheaper, easier to produce, and better tasting, and most vegetables are sprayed with chemicals.  We need to be able to feed a lot of people, and we can’t all afford to eat local, organic foods 100% of the time.

But what I am saying is: do your research.  Know what you’re putting into your body, where your food comes from, and the impact it has on your own well-being and the world around you. 

Read the labels, and if you don’t know what the ingredients are… put it back. 

When you know better, you do better!

Questions:

What are your thoughts on all of this?

What are some of your favorite documentaries (food or otherwise)?


Skip The Diet

One of the things I really feel strongly about is the word “diet.” I don’t ever consider myself to be on a diet in the traditional sense. Of course, I have a diet… and it consists mainly of meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, dark chocolate, and other things that generally make me feel good. We all have diets. If we didn’t, we’d die. That’s how it works. Some of us have diets that are healthier than others, but even if you’re eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers every day, then to me, that’s your diet.  I’ve talked before about how even though my diet (choice of foods) falls pretty closely in line with the Paleo diet and I look to that community for recipe ideas, I still don’t classify myself as being on a Paleo diet.

In the Hungry for Change documentary I talked about last week, they were very clear: Diets don’t work.

Their reasoning, which I completely agree with and encourage you to go listen to for yourself, is that diets don’t work because they are inherently flawed. They violate natural laws, and most importantly, they are temporary.

Diets are often built around cutting out foods that some scientist or celebrity or author or health professional decided make people fat. Most often, diets cut out whole food groups that we need in order to survive, like carbohydrates or fats. People want to look good, so they follow the diet guidelines, but fad diets are rarely the right approach. They only lead people to starve themselves or deprive themselves of certain foods, instead of figuring out what it is that actually works for them.

The only reason I cut ever out whole food groups is because:

  1. They’re proven to be bad for us (like highly processed food-like chemicals) or
  2. They do (or I think they might) give me stomach aches.

The thing is: just because certain foods give me stomach aches doesn’t mean there’s a reason you necessarily have to cut them out.  And just because eating/not eating certain foods might give me more energy/make me lose weight/help me feel better/etc. doesn’t mean they will necessarily do the same thing for you.  So creating a cookie cutter diet and suggesting we would all be better off if we followed it is, in my opinion, ludicrous. 

The best diet is the one that works for you; the one that makes you feel your healthiest and will allow you to live the longest.  And even though some of us need more fats or less carbs or can tolerate dairy better than others, the thing that has been consistently proven time and time again is that a healthy diet is the best diet, so start there. 

Eat clean, whole, fresh foods.  Avoid processed crap.  The rest will work itself out as you figure out what your body needs. 

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Questions:

What are your thoughts on diets?

What generally makes up your own personal diet?


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