Lately, I’ve been thinking about what being introverted means, apart from the basic definition. Which, by the way, many people have only a fuzzy concept of, to begin with. (“What do you mean, socialising drains you? We’re not that horrid!”) But more than that, I’ve been thinking about characteristics which we introverts tend to share and things via which we connect to others and the world around us. I also did some research into the scientific insights and came up with a handy list of facts about introverts.
Introverts in a nutshell
- Introverts need to expend energy to socialise and recharge when alone. Extroverts, who function the other way around, sometimes have trouble understanding this.
- We don’t generally hate people. Well, most of us.
- We just need to like people from afar now and then.
- When we say “I need to be alone right now” it doesn’t mean that we’re upset, or angry with you. It’s like saying “I’m hungry right now” – a simple, basic need. It occurs regularly and doesn’t mean that anything is wrong.
- We don’t generally hate going to parties, clubs, or social gatherings. It’s just that doing so is exhausting for us and, consequently, we may yearn to go home sooner than the extroverts.
- Introverts aren’t necessarily socially awkward (though we often worry about it) or bad at small talk.
- However, we do better at socialising one on one or in small groups.
- Introverts tend to have smaller circles of friends and acquaintances, because we chose carefully on whom we expend our precious and limited energy for ‘people time’. If an introvert spends a lot of time with you, consider it a huge compliment.
- Introverts are very attentive listeners and thoughtful advisers.
- We may not talk much about it, but most of us have a strong imagination and nifty creative talents.
- Books are friends to introverts. And a bookstore or library is to us what a mindblowingly awesome party is to extroverts.
- We’re good at connecting to animals.
- Yes, we do hate group assignments.
- Being introverted is not the same thing as being shy. Many people are both, but it’s not synonymous, and not all introverts are shy. In the most basic terms, being shy means being scared of social interaction (sometimes); being introverted means that social interaction tires you out, after a while. It should also be noted that everyone is shy sometimes – who doesn’t dread the agonising interaction of asking your crush out, wondering whether they’re going to say yes, or no, or laugh in your face?
- Introversion is not a feminine trait. In fact, almost as many men as women are introverts.
- Though it is often said that we live in an extrovert society, introverts are actually almost 50% of the population. Older studies came up with much smaller numbers (15-25%), but have since been disproved. See for example this article for more detailed statistics.
- Introversion is not a detriment to success. Many famous personalities of past and present times are/were introverts. To name just a few, there’s Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Julia Roberts, Mahatma Ghandi, and – that’s right – Barrack Obama.
- Introversion cannot be cured or “gotten over”. It is simply the mode of how we function emotionally and psychologically. No matter how hard we try, we will never become extroverts.
- It’s kind of offensive to suggest that we should try to magically turn ourselves intro extroverts, because…
- There’s nothing wrong with being introverted.
What do you think?
Do you see yourself in this list? Do you have stuff to add? Things that surprised you? Leave a comment and let me know!