What is an Introvert? An In-Depth Explanation & Guide to Introversion
You may have heard of the term introvert and wondered if you are one.
You may even be an extrovert and wonder what all the fuss is about.
In this in-depth explanation we'll go over the definition of introverts, how they differ from extroverts, what introverts prefer and some signs that can help you spot an introvert - or perhaps discover that you are one.
What is an Introvert?
What's the meaning and definition behind the word 'introvert'?
Introversion refers to a person who is energized by being alone and finds less reward in socializing. Introverts are sometimes called 'lone wolves' because they prefer the company of themselves rather than others.
An introvert may enjoy going out for coffee with their close friends, but an extrovert would be more likely to go on meet-and-greets or other events where they can interact with lots of people at once.
This difference in behavior often comes from the way that introverts process information differently than extroverts do:
unlike extroverts, who learn best through sharing experiences and talking about things (often spontaneously), introverted individuals tend to think before acting and need time reflecting on new input before responding appropriately.
This is because both introverts and extroverts neurologically process dopamine differently. Meaning that, if you're an introvert, it's likely that you were born this way.
How Do I Know if I'm an Introvert?
The way to know if you're an introvert or not, is by using the following questions:
Do I need time alone after socializing?
Am I energized by being on my own for long periods of time? Perhaps in nature?
Would I rather spend one evening reading than going out with friends?
If any of these statements sound like they apply to you, then it's likely that you are an introverted personality and enjoy spending some time away from groups.
However, this doesn't mean there aren't extroverts who also love their quiet moments too! But generally speaking these are things that introverts tend to prefer if they were faced with a choice.
What Does It Mean to Be an Introvert?
There's the short answer: that you're wired to recharge more in solitude rather than getting energy from interaction with others.
And then, there's the longer answer.
Everyone has innate temperament — a way they gain energy and how they prefer to interact with the world. Introversion and extroversion are temperaments, largely determined by genes, meaning you were probably born that way.
Even though introverts have the same needs as extroverts, we’re also shaped by our life experiences.
For those who grew up feeling confident in their behavior, you may not see being an introvert as a disadvantage, but if introversion was socially discouraged or you were bullied because of it, then it can give rise to social anxiety and insecurity.
Are Introverts Shy?
Shyness and introversion can overlap, and it's more likely that a lot of shy people are introverts.
However, introversion does not equal shyness. Shy people tend to want to avoid social interaction, and introverts can enjoy it when they choose.
6 Myths About Introverts
There are many misconceptions about introverts and introverted traits.
Next, I'm going to dispel 6 myths about us introverted people.
1. Introverts are loners
Introverts simply have a narrower social circle than extroverts.
They want to be able to connect with people who match their level of activity and interest, so they may not feel the need for an extensive network like extroverts tend to do.
Generally, an introvert prefers social gatherings in very small groups rather than in a large group setting, so they can focus deeply and spend time on the topics at hand.
2. Introverts don't like people
On the contrary, many introverts just like people differently.
Introverts tend to show affection in different ways and need less face-to-face interaction to feel meaningful contact.
Most introverted children don't dislike other kids as much as it often appears when observed by their extroverted peers; rather, an introvert's energy is drained by socializing, so they need to recover before being able to fully participate in fun activities.
3. Introverts are antisocial
Introversion doesn't equal anti-social.
Introverts often prefer the company of one or two people they know well to being in a crowd, but that can also be because they are more comfortable in minimally stimulating environments where they have to make fewer decisions.
Introverts take pleasure from their own thoughts, emotions and passions without much outside interference—which is not always an indication of loneliness or melancholy.
It's possible for introverted individuals to get energized by spending time with other people; however it requires them first taking some time away to balance their energy levels before socializing.
4. Introverts can't work in teams or groups
It's possible for introverts to work in teams and groups, but it will be more difficult.
It may take them longer than other people to adjust or become comfortable enough with the team that they can contribute their thoughts and ideas.
Introverts are often uncomfortable making small talk because they don't have much practice at doing so; however, this is not an indication of antisocial tendencies, as extroverts also find small talk draining.
5. All introverted people are the same
Not all introverts are the same.
Introverts may not enjoy public speaking, but some introverts are known for their lack of inhibition and spontaneity in social situations because they're comfortable being around people or talking to strangers.
There is a misconception that all introverts struggle with small talk; however, this isn't always true -- only those who don’t have much experience making small talk will typically feel uncomfortable doing so.
It's possible for an introvert to be able to make small chat easily if they've practiced it enough (or if they learn how).
6. Introverts don’t need be “fixed.”
Introverts should embrace their nature and take advantage of it. They are at their best when they live, work, and play in the way that aligns with introversion.
11 Signs You Are an Introvert
You enjoy spending time alone
Introverts tend to enjoy being alone because they get to recharge their energy, and delve their own minds and inner world.
This doesn't mean introverts are lonely people; in fact, introverts will make friends with other introverts or those who appreciate solitude as well!
You may feel drained after spending time around a lot of people because it takes more energy for you to be social than others.
Certain types of socializing drain you
Introverts can be drained by socializing with people they don't know well, or if it's a large group.
Social events might not be the best option for you because there are many unknowns and you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed in these situations.
It's important to note that even though most introverts feel this way,, it doesn't mean they're shy or anti-social.
In fact, most introverts will make friends with other introverts or those who appreciate solitude as well!
You do your best work alone
You might get more done by yourself than with others. This is because you don't need to worry about getting interrupted or bored and can focus on the task at hand.
When working alone, introverts often enjoy listening to music, drinking a cup of tea (or coffee), reading a book, meditating, going for walks outside or other solitary activities.
You'd rather hang out with a few close friends than a large group of people
Many introverts prefer hanging out with their close relationships rather than large groups.
And this is perfectly normal!
When an introvert hangs out with their inner circle, they're usually comfortable enough to be themselves. They don't need to worry about if their friend doesn't like them because of who they are.
You have a vivid, rich inner world
Many introverts have vivid, rich inner worlds. They may live in a world with more details and opportunities than an extrovert does because they need to spend time alone every day - their imaginations are constantly moving!
There is nothing wrong with being this way; it's what makes you who you are.
The creativity of introverts is often overlooked.
They can be more creative than extroverts because they spend so much time inside their own brain, thinking of imaginative ideas!
You prefer to stay out of the spotlight
Many introverts prefer to stay out of the spotlight. If they do find themselves in a social situation, they may be more comfortable watching and observing from the side rather than speaking up about their opinions.
You can “network,” but you feel like you're faking it
Introverts may feel as though they are faking it when networking with people because this is not a preferred social setting for them.
Introverts can be more honest in one-on-one settings where they are given time to process their thoughts before speaking, rather than having to speak up quickly and without much thought in front of the group.
You don't always know what to say
Introverts don't always know what to say when they are in a social situation because their brains can be overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions.
They may take longer than an extrovert does to think of the perfect words for any given occasion or conversation.
However, when they do have something to say, it is usually carefully considered and may be more insightful than what an extrovert would have to say.
In one-on-one situations, introverts can take their time as they process what was said in a conversation before responding with something thoughtful or meaningful.
This enables them to come up with a well thought out response that only matches their thoughts and feelings.
You're better at writing your thoughts than speaking them
An introvert can be better at writing their thoughts than speaking them, because when they are in a social situation their brain may get overwhelmed with emotions and thoughts.
It takes some time for an introvert to think of the perfect words that will fit any given occasion or conversation- but once they do have something to say it is usually more insightful than what an extrovert would come up with.
In one-on-one conversations, introverts take their time, thinking about what was said before responding so as not to underestimate how much thought went into a response. This enables them to only say things that match both his/her thoughts and feelings which leaves no room for misunderstanding.
In contrast, most people know extroverts to be the ones who speak their thoughts out loud without giving it much thought.
Both are fine, and both have their place in the world.
You seek meaning
We already know that an introvert's thoughts are deep and meaningful because they spend more time mulling things over.
You seek meaning in the world, and enjoy one-on-one conversations with others.
You treasure those private moments where you can slow down and think about what is going on inside of you.
An introvert's attention to detail makes them a quality listener which also means it takes longer for an introverts mind to process information than that of an extroverts'.
Communication between two introverts is perhaps best described as “slow conversation” or even like partners in a dance.
You feel out of place in an “extroverted” society
An extroverted society can feel like a relentless assault of stimulation.
You may be constantly bombarded by noise, people or rapid-fire talkers.
Those moments of being out in the world take an extra toll on you and often leave you feeling drained when it's all over. Introverts need to get alone time to recharge their batteries every now and then because they are not always able to cope with that kind of pressure for long periods of time before becoming exhausted.
They also have lower energy levels than those who are more sociable and outgoing which means introverts will likely prefer staying at home instead of going out on the town even if both types enjoy similar activities when given a choice between them!
In general, the introvert enjoys smaller, more intimate gatherings where they can share their thoughts and feelings in a setting that is less likely to be overwhelming.
There's no such thing as someone who is 100% introverted.
It is important to note that there's no such thing as a pure introvert, or a pure extrovert. Especially if you subscribe to Carl Jung's 8 cognitive functions theory.
Introversion does not necessarily mean anti-social behavior but rather those who would prefer one-on-one interactions over group activities where they may feel outnumbered or overwhelmed by all of the people around them.
For example: an introvert might be more likely to choose reading at home instead of going out to a movie even if they like both things equally!
Before concluding this article, here are some frequently asked questions.
If your question is not listed, feel free to ask in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can an Introvert Become an Extrovert?
Introverts cannot become extroverts and vice versa because both introverts and extroverts have a different brain wiring.
What Are the 4 Types of Introverts?
Social Introverts are those who enjoy solitary activities but do not mind being around people. They often get drained by too much social interaction or too many social events and require time alone to recharge their batteries before engaging with others again.
Thinker introverts (or thinking introverts) are those who love the intellectual stimulation of spending time on their own, like reading books for hours or working on a puzzle. However, they also have an interest in interacting with other folks such as through writing or just sharing ideas over coffee at a local cafe.
The Anxious Introverts are those who have a very low tolerance for socializing. They often experience extreme anxiety when they’re around other people, or even just thinking about going out.
The Restrained Introvert is someone who has a high tolerance for socializing and social interactions. They have the ability to go out into crowds and even enjoy themselves, but they do so with caution.
I also wrote a dedicated post on the 4 Types of Introverts.
Is it bad to be an introvert?
Being an introvert is a personality trait and not something to be ashamed of!
As long as you know how to manage it, being an introvert can actually be quite beneficial.
Are Introverts Born or Made?
The origin of introversion has been thought to be environmental, but recently research suggests that it may either originate from genetic factors or a combination of the two.
Are there more extroverts or introverts in the world?
In general, there are more extroverts in the world. However, it is thought that introversion and extroversion both have a genetic component to them so this may not be completely accurate. The most recent study done by Dr. Brian Little suggests that introversions constitute about 30% of the population while extraverts make up the remaining 70%.
Which Celebrities Are Introverts?
Jennifer Lawrence, Keanu Reeves, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Susan Cain (author of "Quiet"), J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, Albert Einstein, Simon Sinek, Emma Watson
We hope you found this article on what it means to be introverted and how extroverts can better understand them helpful.
You may also find our guides concerning the different types of personalities as well as some articles about mental health interesting!
If you have any other questions, we would love to hear from you in the comments below!