An introvert is a person with qualities of a personality type known as introversion, which means that they feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what’s happening externally. They enjoy spending time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds.
Though it looks different in everyone, introverts have many of the same patterns of behavior. In general, introverts –
• Need quiet to concentrate
• Are reflective
• Are self-aware
• Take time making decisions
• Feel comfortable being alone
• Don’t like group work
• Prefer to write rather than talk
• Feel tired after being in a crowd
• Have few friendships, but are very close with these friends
• Daydream or use their imaginations to work out a problem
• Retreat into their own mind to rest
• Social Introvert
Social introverts value solitude more than most people. They like being alone but aren’t opposed to the occasional gathering of close friends and family.
• Thinking Introvert
The thinking introvert is very cognitive by nature. Often intellectual, this type of introvert is often at peace when studying, reading, learning, researching, and investigating.
The thinking introvert will often pause to cogitate before offering a response to a question. “Let me think about that” can be a very common response for the thinking-type introvert.
• Anxious Introvert
The anxious introvert is often quiet and may appear on edge or nervous.
This type of introvert shrinks away from people and settings that may further stimulate anxiety. The “anxious” introvert can be highly avoidant and even seem rude, yet the “turning inward” behavior is simply a protective, sheltering defense mechanism at work.
• Restrained Introvert
The restrained introvert, also called the inhibited introvert, tends to be more reserved and can have their guards up around others until they get to know them. But rather than seeming shy or avoidant, they simply come off as thoughtful and grounded. Often unemotional, this type of introvert is often very controlled and may have very grounded energy.
Introversion, like other aspects of personality, develops as a combination of two main factors – genes and environment.
Your genetic makeup, or traits inherited from your biological parents, plays a key role in determining where you fall on the personality continum.
The environment you grow up in also has an important impact. In short, observing how family members behave and respond in social settings can help shape your personality.
Other environmental factors might include –
• parenting style
• the type of education you receive
• experiences with peers
• life experiences, especially in childhood
People with a high-functioning dopamine system might pursue the reward of connection regardless of the risk involved. Those with a less functioning dopamine system, on the other hand, might feel more inclined to avoid others to increase their personal sense of safety.
Myths about introverts –
We’ve established that introversion isn’tjust another way to describe shyness, but plenty of other myths about introversion exist. A few common ones include –
• Introverts don’t like people.
In reality, introverted people do benefit from close relationships with others, just like most other humans. They typically just prefer to save their social energy for people who understand and support their needs.
• Introverts have social anxiety.
Sure, some introverted people could also have social anxiety. But that’s thanks to a combination of personality traits, like conscientiousness and neuroticism, rather than introversion alone.
• Introverts are more imaginative and creative.
Creativity stems from openness, another Big Five trait. Introverted people with high levels of openness might easily be more creative, but this won’t apply to every introvert.
• Introverts just need to try harder to be social.
If you’re happy with yourself as you are and don’t feel the need to change any of your social habits, draining your energy by trying to force yourself to interact with others when you need time alone will probably only leave you miserable and stressed.
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