Detecting an introvert is not as easy as we may think, because sometimes introverts are not shy or silent at all, they take responsibility, work extraordinarily in teams, and can even be skilled public speakers. Yet several traits can unveil the introverted character of an individual.
A number of stereotypes have built up around introverts—that they are shy, they dislike people, they are unfit as leaders, or prone to depression. Indeed, these people prefer the company of a few close friends or even spending time alone and are reluctant to express their feelings, which could even have a biological explanation related to the way in which their brains process rewards. However, “many introverts may seem extroverted,” according to Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World. Moreover, some people do not even realise that they belong to this personality type, especially if they are not shy.
What does it mean to be an introvert?
Before we identify whether or not we are introverts, through our behaviour and feelings, it is important to understand the definition of the word ‘introvert’.
An introvert is a person who is oriented towards his own inner feelings. Some people even use the term ‘introvert’ to describe a person who seems “obsessed” with their own feelings. But how do you know if you’re truly an introvert?
Here are some signs that might help you find out if you fall into the introvert category, as collected and published by the Huffington Post:
1. It is easier for you to give a speech in front of a crowd than to speak to a group of people
Introverts do not necessarily have problems with the spotlight being directed at them. Even some famous people you see on TV may actually be introverted. However, it is more difficult for people with this type of personality to have individual conversations within large groups of people.
2. You don’t like small talk
In her book, The Power of Introverts: Why Your Inner Life Is Hidden, Laurie Helgoe explains why introverts tend to hate small talk. She emphasised that the reason is not that they dislike people, but that they perceive small talk as a barrier between them and the true nature of the other.
3. You feel lonely even when you are surrounded by a lot of people
You may prefer feeling or actually feel like a mere spectator or even a stranger, when you find yourself in a group of people you know. If so, then you may be an introvert.
4. You don’t consider time spent at home alone as a waste of time
For some people, spending a quiet day at home with a cup of tea and a few magazines or books is a waste of time. During all this time, you could enjoy your free time doing all kinds of activities like going out with friends, shopping or even trying new and exciting activities. But for introverts, a day spent comfortably in the privacy of a quiet house is an oasis of relaxation and a way to recharge their batteries after many stressful days.
5. The place where you sit may betray an introverted personality
If you just got on a public transport or a subway car with only two or three people inside, where do you choose to sit? Introverts choose to sit where they are not surrounded by other people, usually at the edge of the banks, not in the middle. For example, Sophia Dembling confesses that when she goes to the theater, she prefers to sit on the chairs next to the passageway or on the ones positioned as far as possible next to the hall.
6. You avoid answering the phone when you are called
Even if you just get a call from a loved one, you’d rather not answer when they call you. Instead, you choose to return the phone call to them when you feel mentally prepared and when you think you have enough energy to have a conversation. “I like to have a long and pleasant conversation with a friend on the phone—as long as it doesn’t come out of the blue,” Dembling reveals.
7. You often have interior monologues
Everyone talks to themselves from time to time, but, as Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, a psychotherapist and author of The Benefit of Introverts, points out, “most introverts need to think first and then talk”.
8. You go to parties to see your friends again, not to make new connections
To the things that betray an introverted personality we can add the fact that they go to social events to see close friends, not to meet new people. In addition, they like deep, philosophical discussions or books and movies that make one think. Also, if you feel overwhelmed and lacking energy after an evening out, and you need quiet moments after such an experience, or maybe your life partner is extroverted, if you prefer to specialise exclusively in a certain professional field, if you easily notice details that others miss, or if you have been told that you should “get out of your shell”… all these could indicate that you are introverted.
The difference between an introvert and an extrovert
An extroverted person is one who enjoys and feels at ease in social contexts. Instead, the introvert may feel rather anxious if he is surrounded by too many people.
In addition, if you prefer to listen to others, you do your best to avoid conflicts, you are a perfectionist, you do not like feeling unprepared or getting into situations that take you by surprise, you may be part of the huge community of introverted people.
To find out if you have an introverted or extroverted personality, you can also take the test conducted by Susan Cain, author of Quiet Revolution: Unlocking the Power of Introverts.
This piece pertains to the ST.network #KeepThinking campaign. It will give voice to dozens of authors who aim to offer readers the opportunity to explore, deeper than expected, common or surprising topics that touch our lives, whether or not we have enough time to perceive their influence.