You Might Be an Introvert If . . .

You might be an introvert if...

You might be an introvert if . . .

  • You cry easily at commercials
  • You have friends who talk more than you do
  • You prefer texts to phone calls
  • You think small talk is shallow
  • You keep your stories short so you won’t waste people’s time
  • You prefer to study alone rather than with a group
  • You get personal on social media
  • You can’t scrapbook with a group
  • You’ve been told you’re too sensitive
  • You blush easily
  • You leave a party with less energy than you arrived with
  • You become speechless over a piece of art or a poem or a song
  • You’re not labeled a “people person” despite having strong friendships
  • You have fewer hobbies but you stick with them
  • You hate scary movies
  • You can be too tired to talk

It’s been awhile since I’ve read the game-changing book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I’m due for a re-read soon.

Looking back, there were some things I learned brand-new in Quiet. And other things reinforced what I already felt deep in my spirit.

“Introverts may enjoy parties and business meetings up to a point, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas.

They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family.

They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.” 
– Susan Cain, Quiet

Introversion Is Not Shyness

Nobody is all introvert or all extrovert. One-third to one-half of us are introverted (but it’s hard to tell because introverts can channel extroversion as needed).

American culture encourages extroversion whereas many eastern cultures respect introversion. (The tipping point for extroversion in America was around 1900; earlier, our culture emphasized the importance of virtuous qualities over having a “good personality.”)

Even though the terms are often usually interchangeably, introversion is not the same thing as shyness.

  • Introversion is also not low self-esteem.
  • It’s not low IQ.
  • It’s not about liking or disliking people.
  • It’s not about the ability to carry on a conversation.

Though these qualities—either negative or positive—are often attached to popular definitions of introversion/extroversion, there is no scientific evidence correlating them to either introverts or extroverts.

“Probably the most common—and damaging—misunderstanding about personality type is that introverts are antisocial and extroverts are pro-social.

But . . . neither formulation is correct; introverts and extroverts are differently social.

. . . Your degree of extroversion seems to influence how many friends you have, in other words, but not how good a friend you are.”

So What Is Introversion?

Introversion is about how much stimulation you need to function well.

For introverts, less is more because they’re more sensitive to stimulation than extroverts. Introverts tend to process the world more deeply, thinking and feeling more thoroughly about what they notice.

In infancy, introverts are high-reactive babies, typically very sensitive to their environments. Extroverts, however, are typically low-reactive babies; it takes more stimulation before their nervous systems are overloaded.

The upside for introverts is they are more empathetic and cooperative. Kind and conscientious.

They have thinner boundaries, able to empathize and focus on personal problems of others instead of considering them too heavy for conversation.

They have greater powers of alertness, seeing extra nuances in everyday experiences.

The downside is they may react to stress with more depression and anxiety (and yes, sometimes shyness) than an extrovert.

They can feel more guilt because of their heightened sensitivity to all experiences—positive or negative.

They are also more easily disturbed by cruelty and irresponsibility.

“It can be hard for extroverts to understand how badly introverts need to recharge at the end of a busy day.

We all empathize with a sleep-deprived mate who comes home from work too tired to talk, but it’s harder to grasp that social overstimulation can be just as exhausting.

It’s also hard for introverts to understand just how hurtful their silence can be.”

Summary

Introverts are geared to inspect. They think more and act slower.
Extroverts are geared to respond. They think less and act faster.

Should either try to change? No, except when it’s temporarily appropriate to do so. Otherwise, stay true to yourself.

If you’re an introvert, learn to use it to your advantage. If you’re an extrovert, strengthen your unique skills.

Walk alongside your opposite to complement each other, not compete. Each has much to offer the other.

Whatever your temperament, we all have much to gain by better understanding each other and valuing each other.

Learn to appreciate and use your type. 

* * *

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Is your partner the same or opposite? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

25 thoughts on “You Might Be an Introvert If . . .

  1. Megan Russell

    I totally relate to this. I love to host gatherings and company, but after a little while I’m ready for everyone to go home so I can recover! I love talking to people, but I reach a point where I’m almost desperate to be alone. Such a strange way to be, but I can’t change it.

  2. Martha J Orlando

    I’m most definitely an introvert, Lisa. I have memories even as a young child of needing time to myself, away from other children, though I have always been sociable. It does take self-reflection and a secure ego to maintain an introverted perspective, yet get along with all types of people.
    Love this post!

  3. Harry Katz

    I like the distinction between introversion and shyness. I’ve always been an introvert but I think I’m less shy than I used to be. Working with a lot of extroverts over the years has helped me, or maybe forced me to be a bit more outgoing.

  4. Nancy Andres

    I can check off many of the introvert boxes, and at long last love and approve of myself just the way I am. Grateful people are not all in the same personality group. That would be boring. Saw this post at SSPT#296. My shares are #75 through 79. Happy Valentine’s Day and be well.

  5. Esme Slabbert

    Most of the introvert boxes do apply to me and relate.
    I visited you via Randomosity: The Good. The Random. The Fun. v. 5
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  6. Lois Flowers

    Lisa, I love reading a headline at a linkup, thinking to myself “I bet that’s Lisa’s post” and then clicking over to find out it is. 🙂 As I read through this information about introverts, I resonate with a lot of it. (For example, I hate scary movies and absolutely cannot scrapbook in a group!) Even so, I’d say Randy fits more of the description than I do. Which sometimes makes life interesting at our house. I definitely agree that we all have much to offer each other. I would not be the person I am today if I were not the mother of one amazing extroverted daughter. 🙂

  7. Joanne

    I was just telling my hairdresser yesterday that we got a large room on our cruise because I KNEW we’d be spending more time in there than most people. I love meeting new people at the pool and at dinner, etc. but once places start to get crowded or a few hours have passed I much prefer sitting quietly in my room for a bit watching TV or reading a book and recharging. I definitely need that retreat space!

  8. Linda Stoll

    Oh you’re talking my language, Lisa. I love the overview you’ve painted here … and so appreciate Susan Cain’s work over the years. Discovering and embracing who, what, and why God shaped me to be has been a game-changer. And it’s always good to know we’re in good company!

  9. Jean Wise

    Many of that list hits home. I read that book a while back and am thinking it would be a good one to take off the shelf and reread. I bet one of those books that continues to teach us something. Thanks for the reminder, Lisa

  10. Marsha

    Hi Lisa, Vince and I are both primarily introverts. I am more extroverted than he is. We both love to be home in our jammies, even though we love a night out with friends. We love to travel, but he likes to go with just the two of us. I prefer to have another couple or two but not be tied to their schedule. One of our best trips was with two couples in Hawaii. All of us were somewhat introverts but very friendly, and we mixed and matched based on our interests. Most fun I’ve ever had traveling. The other two couples didn’t know each other ahead of time either.

    Thanks for this informative article. 🙂

  11. Lydia C. Lee

    This is very interesting – esp re the horror movies, art and getting personal on SM. It’s part of that small talk is boring…All true but I hadn’t picked it up….Great post. #Weekendcoffeeshare

  12. Joanne Viola

    Over the years I have found it hard as I realized I was more of an introvert than I cared to admit. But with the passing of years, I am learning to embrace who I am, in the way God fashioned me. As I have, it is there that I have found purpose, and am better able to interact with others. But I will say, there is nothing like home, sweet home 🙂

  13. Gary A. Wilson

    Hi Lisa,

    I don’t think we’ve met until now, but really enjoyed this article.
    Can I add one item to your list?

    You might be and introvert if you find yourself in group meetings thankful that you have nothing of merit to add to the conversation and think it wise to just leave these folks to proceed without your insights.

    My wife and I both easily and happily qualify as introverts.
    We find ourselves exhausted by groups especially if only small talk happens.
    I joke with friends that I’m a much better virtual friend than I am face to face.

    Blessings

  14. Karen

    I think I’m an introvert. I think my husband is more of an extrovert. Though, I think too, sometimes those roles change to the opposite in certain situations. I related to every item on the introvert list.

  15. Julie Santos

    I hate how some people conflate introvertness with shyness which isn’t the case. Some extroverts are shy and are overcompensating by being rowdy — that’s my observation. I am an introvert but I work a job that requires me to interact with other people. That doesn’t make me less qualified because I am introvert. I am introvert because I reflect inwards, I am analytical to a fault.

  16. stephanie

    I think I’m a combination of introvert and extrovert.- An ambivert. I think I balance both pretty well. Thank you for sharing this post with us at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #24.

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