You Might Be an Introvert If . . .

You might be an introvert if...you have friends who talk more than you do, you prefer texts to phone calls, etc. Thoughts from Susan Cain's, "Quiet."

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. God uses all types.

Learn to appreciate your type. And watch him use you.

* * *

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

revised from the archives

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

  1. Pam Ecrement

    Lisa, I think this is one of the best and most balanced books and reviews I have read on this topic. A Myers-Briggs puts me on the extroversion side and my husband decidedly on the introversion side, but I am aware that we are all on a continuum and that other aspect of us is less dominant while still present. For me, I am aware that my introversion side is fairly well developed. When I read the list I am just over about half toward extroversion.

    One of my pet peeves is when people use their type (or perceived type) to justify something or to make a case about why their type is preferred or better.

    One of my husband’s favorite books on the subject is The Introvert Advantage, but this book sounds like a possible better choice.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Even though I’m an introvert, Jeff sometimes doubts it is true. But I know it is! 🙂 I agree with you whole-heartedly that we shouldn’t use our type to justify things or absolve ourselves of responsibility for our actions, as in, “That’s just the way I am; I can’t help it.”

      I don’t think I’ve read The Introvert Advantage…I’ll have to look into that one. Thanks, Pam!

  2. bill (cycleguy)

    I am an extreme extrovert so when I cam across your thought about the upside of introvertism I said, “There’s an upside?” Just kidding. My wife is on the opposite spectrum from me. She is, shall I say, reserved? 🙂 She is a perfect complement to me actually. I’m glad God made us differently. thanks for the review.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Haha. There are days I would agree with you, Bill, when I am tired of being an introvert and wish I could just be an extrovert and keep going and going. 🙂 But yes, overall I try to be grateful that God made each of us the ways He did. I appreciate Jeff being an extrovert to ensure that I don’t stay holed up in the house too much. 🙂 It’s always tempting.

  3. Karen Friday

    Lisa, interesting information on introverts (and extroverts), many things I wasn’t aware of. I’ve always thought, just like anything else related to personality and temperament, that there’s upsides and downsides to both.

    Thanks for this!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re welcome, Karen. I appreciate hearing both sides to every type, too, because if we know real-life people, we know there are always pros and cons to everything! 🙂

  4. Laurie

    Thank you for pointing out the differences between introversion and shyness. I took the Myers-Briggs personality test and found that I am an extrovert, but the split between E and I was something like 55/45, rather than 90/10. I do cry at commercials sometimes and I hate scary movies, though!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sounds like you’re well-balanced, Laurie! My guess is it’s easier to get along well in the world if we have access to both sides of the scale.

      And scary movies are definitely a no-go for me, too! 🙂

  5. Barbara Harper

    That book was so helpful. I knew I was an introvert, but even I associated introversion with shyness because I am also shy. But when Cain explained that introverts are drained by social interaction and extroverts are energized by the same, a light bulb went on in my head. 🙂 I also liked her explanation that we have to extend ourselves beyond our comfort zones sometimes and ways to help with that.

    I’ve heard and read that introverts liking deep conversation rather than small talk. While that’s true, for me the distinction is more about hating meaningless talk vs. meaningful. But I also am not willing to jump into a deep conversation with someone I hardly know – like at a Bible study: “Turn to your neighbor and discuss all your deep, dark issues.” It takes a certain amount of small talk to get to that place. I don’t mind the “Where are you from?” kind of small talk, but other kinds grate.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think it’s so easy to associate shyness with introversion because the two traits do often reside in the same person. But I do know some introverts who aren’t shy at all which is encouraging to see.

      My introversion caused me trouble over the holidays because I was around people almost ALL the time. 🙂 (Even though I loved them all.) I looked forward so much to when the world all went back to work and I could spend a day at home alone.

      You make a good point about meaningless versus meaningful because yes, sometimes small talk does serve a useful purpose. Thanks for adding to the conversation, Barbara!

  6. Lesley

    I loved that book too! I am definitely an introvert and it helped me understand that more and realise it was ok! It definitely helps to understand one another more. I work with someone who has a very different personality from me and it has taken a lot of time and effort over the last couple of years to figure out how to work well together but it has made such a difference!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, understanding that it’s totally OK to be the way we are was a huge help to me too. Working (and/or living!) with people who are very different from us is a growing process for everyone. 🙂 Good for you in making progress, Lesley.

  7. Ashley

    Even though Jeff says I’m not an introvert, I am. Haha. But as you’ve seen, I can function as an extrovert when needed. All God’s Grace.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Lol. I agree with Jeff that you don’t appear to be an introvert. But he says that about me, too. ha. And I’ve proven again and again that I am an introvert. After my introvert hangover since Christmas, he’s really seen it, poor guy. 😉 But yes, being able to function as an extrovert is a much-needed skill; I’m glad we can draw on that too. Grace indeed!

  8. Betsy de Cruz

    It’s interesting that although I consider myself an extrovert, I could answer “yes” to about half of the questions at the beginning. This is such an interesting post. I think that after I began writing (and entered my 50’s maybe?) I grew just a bit more introverted… Thanks for sharing this book! My daughter would love it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I have an extrovert friend who says the same thing, Betsy. As she has gotten older, she’s tapped more into some introvert characteristics. Maybe we all balance ourselves out as we age? 🙂

  9. Pingback: January 16 – Living In The Shadow

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “Quiet” is a wonderful book about introverts, Joanne. I hope you like it if you get it. I wish all extroverts would read it, too. 🙂 It could explain a lot about us to them. ha.

  10. Stacey Pardoe

    Love this information, Lisa! I’ve always known I’m an introvert, but it hasn’t been until more recently that I’ve realized how much this deals with stimulation in general. My sensitivity to sounds and chaos has often felt like a burden, but I’m learning to embrace it as a part of the way God wired me! Love this post!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Stacey, you might also be an HSP, a highly-sensitive person. Lots of labels, huh? 🙂 I’m sensitive to over-stimulation as well. I don’t always do well with embracing my limitations, but I want to be more accepting too.

  11. Michele Morin

    On the Myers Briggs, I have tested as both Introvert and Extrovert, so I’m thinking that I must be sort of on the cusp, depending on the kind of day I’m having, or the season of life I’m in.
    I found Adam McHugh’s book for introverts to be very helpful as well, and the important thing seems to be that we manage our tendency rather than letting it manage us.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think life might be easier for those who are somewhere in the middle between extroversion and introversion. You can get the best of both worlds (but then again, maybe the worst too? ha).

      I have McHugh’s book on my bookshelf ready to read as soon as I work my way deeper into the stack. Glad you hear you found it helpful.

  12. Tracey Rosenberger

    I’m such an introvert! I need a ton of alone time to recharge after socializing. After Christmas, I’d love to find a way to stay in my room for a month if I could. (So. Many. People!) I’ve heard of the book you mentioned before, but have never read it. I just added it to my ever-growing list of “must-reads.” Thanks!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re speaking my language, Tracey. 🙂 I’ve wanted to abandon ship ever since Christmas, too. I’m actually planning on introverting pretty seriously this week (I can hardly wait!), only going out for the most basic things. I need to seriously recharge and I think that will make a big difference.

  13. Trudy

    Thank you, Lisa! I’ve been thinking lately that I need to starting embracing myself as an introvert instead of treating it like a burden and a need to change. I think I often feel guilty, like I’m not being social enough or thinking of others more. With so many points you share here, I had to shake my head, “Yep! That’s me alright!” Thank you for helping me to better appreciate my introversion. 🙂 Love and blessings to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I relate to what you’re saying, Trudy. I often wish I could change my introversion. 🙁 But then I have to remember too that this is how God made me, and I don’t need to feel bad about it. It’s just sometimes more difficult in our American society to be an introvert instead of an extrovert. However, I sure do love my introvert friends (and my extrovert ones too), so God must know what he’s doing. 🙂

  14. Karen Woodall

    interesting read… im an introvert, but don’t cry at commercials or anything like that. I do prefer texting to calling, would rather write a letter than have a conversation, and am ready to leave the party for pajamas! I bought the Quiet book for my daughter who is more introverted than me (though we are much alike) and am waiting in line to read it.
    PS i had to laugh at the quote about small talk… totally true!! horror!! haha

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think both my daughters tip toward introversion, too, but maybe not as much as I do. I hope your daughter gets a lot out of the book! And you too when you get your turn. 🙂 I found it so encouraging.

  15. floyd samons

    Great post! This is educational because the stigmas that have been slapped on introverts, as you pointed out.

    I find the older I get the more I can see the value in others, even when they don’t speak as much. Those are the ones you can usually learn from…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What’s the saying…”Still waters run deep.” In my late teens I had a super-bubbly friend that was the life of the party. For a period, I wanted to be like her, but I had to remind myself that not only could I NEVER be that energetic even if I tried, but God didn’t want us both to be alike. Yes, with age does come some wisdom mixed in with those wrinkles and gray hairs. 🙂

  16. Jean Wise

    It surprises others to learn I am an introvert. I portray a good mask of more outgoing but draw my energy from silence and solitude. That book empowered me to value my introversion more too.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I find it interesting that introverts can sometimes be classified as extroverts (Jeff sometimes says that about me, but I don’t understand why!). But does it ever work in reverse? I can’t imagine an extrovert being mistakenly categorized as an introvert. 🙂

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