Shy, depressed, unsure of themselves, passive – this is how introverts often appear to most people. But are they really like that? Not even close!
These traits may indeed belong to introverts, but they are not considered common and certainly not wholly defining. After all, these same qualities may belong to extroverts as well. But, then what are the main features of an introverted personality? How do you communicate with them and is it possible to develop introversion in yourself?
Who is an introvert?
An introvert is a calm, quiet, deliberate person, deep into themselves and their inner world. But appearance is often deceptive: there is a fountain of ideas, thoughts, dreams and feelings behind their restraint.
Introverted people usually “live in their heads” and often lose touch with reality. Their interlocutors are often offended by introverts because during a conversation it seems the introvert does not listen to them at all. And that is true sometimes. Physically, an introvert-listener may appear to be engaged, but their thoughts are somewhere far away. It is given away by their blank expression. The introvert gets unconsciously distracted by their thoughts; it doesn’t mean that they are being disrespectful or ignoring others.
Take this quiz to find out if you are introvert or extrovert.
Typical characteristics of introverts:
- Strong affection for relationships and interests (hobbies)
- Search for the meaning in their surroundings, planning (thinking, then acting)
- Observant, patient, shows restraint
- Frequent desires to be in solitude, in silence, isolation
- Great need for independence and personal space
- Avoidance of noisy companies, parties, queues and crowds
The last points are especially important. Introverts love communication, too, but they “ration” it. The situation can be compared with how the battery of the smartphone gets discharged.
- After a night’s rest, the charge is full — 100%.
- A trip to work, a short visit with an acquaintance — 92%.
- Work until lunch, constant communication with colleagues — 75%.
- Meeting with a friend at lunchtime, discussion of the recent events — 70% (Communication with close friends and relatives is an exception. It takes a minimum of energy, and sometimes even recharges it).
- Afternoon work, meeting with the boss, work team meetings — 40% (if there is an office party — then 0% immediately).
- Return home, buy a few groceries at the market (another energy-consuming action), small talk with neighbors — 20%.
- An incoming phone call from an unfamiliar person (extreme awkwardness) — 0%.
To “recharge” themselves, introverts delve into their thoughts, hobbies, sleep, meditation, playing with a pet, etc. Perhaps they will just sit still, do nothing and enjoy the silence.
It may seem that because of this trait, the introvert does not like people, since they find them exhausting That’s not true. The introverted person avoids conversations with strangers and meaningless talks, but at the same time, seeks communication. No wonder the word “rationing” applies. Drinking delicious expensive alcohol is a good example:
- At first, a person takes small sips, savoring every drop — this is how communication begins.
- Then they start to drink more, become slightly dizzy, and their mood improves — this is the stage of high interest or even passion caused by the interlocutor.
- Then comes the peak of intoxication and relaxed condition — the height of conversation.
- After the euphoria, there comes unpleasant dizziness, loss of body control and nausea — the stage of excessive satiety.
- It all ends with a hangover — an urgent need to “recharge,” trying to avoid contact with other people.
But introverts need this intoxication, and many of them have learned to quit before the hangover appears. They are not misanthropes and certainly not victims of social phobia. They just feel better in silence and solitude.
If you place an introvert in a room with internet, full-packed fridge and toilet, they will venture out of their home only when they have to; such as going to work.
Introverts avoid socialization and learn to exist in society only when they have no other option.
Periods of “self-imprisonment” help introverts to discover themselves and to recover from stress or fatigue. However, sometimes these periods of isolation last for too long. This may cause the development of depression and other neurotic disorders.
Poor communication skills
Despite their attempts to avoid the crowd, introverts still need to communicate. As a rule, their friendships last a very long time; they are faithful and reliable in a relationship. Among the people they are closest to, they can behave openly and actively, just like extroverts. However, to build such relationships, they have to overcome themselves. This is a challenge and test for the introverts themselves, and for those who want to be friends with them. The main problems are:
- Fear of new acquaintances, the need to initiate conversations
- Isolation, terseness
- Unwillingness to spend much time with a new person
- The desire to hang out not far from the introvert’s home or only at their place
- Subdued body language, faint expression of emotions
It is also hard for introverts to forgive; they hold grudges for a long time. Occasionally they express them openly. However, more often, introverts absorb all the negative emotions themselves and don’t share them with others.
If the information can be transmitted via email or social networks, they will use those methods of communication. They will delay an in-person meeting for as long as they can.
Usually, an introverted person does not like changes. It is hard for them to get used to new conditions, people and habits. And even more so, they are not happy with “brainstorming” and any situations that require quick thinking. Improvisation in front of people is a real nightmare. If something is not going according to plan, they get anxious and confused, and try to leave immediately.
When existing in a face-paced society, an introvert can often feel embarrassed, crushed.
Intellect and genius
Thanks to patience, curiosity and the desire to comprehend the meaning of everything surrounding them, introverts are distinguished by a sharp mind. Many of them also have a well-developed imagination and creativity. They are more independent; therefore, they study well and delve deeply into the topics they are interested in.
The notions that introverts have in their dreams now, will become reality in the future. They tend to analyze the details and plan ahead. Stability and reliability in everything are very much appreciated by them.
Faithfulness in any relationship
Getting used to people takes a lot of time for introverts. But they bond with them really strongly. These people are faithful in friendship and marriage and are committed to the work team. If they choose someone, they will try with all their might to please this person. Being with those closest to them, they open up a completely different side of themselves. They are cheerful, active and sociable — often joking.
Self-improvement is important for introverts, so they always strive to become even better people. It affects their relationships as well.
Tact and sense of diplomacy
Politeness, tact and good manners are integral parts of introversion. If introverts start to behave badly, then there is a good reason for it. They never start a quarrel with no basis and try to resolve conflicts peacefully.
Personal space is very important for an introverted person, so they respect the personal space of others. They often say the words, “excuse me,” and “please,” and are afraid of offending others. Introverts, despite the attention to their inner world, think about the feelings of others. They are unobtrusive and are good listeners.
Introverts do not ignore social norms, but they are used to thinking and making decisions on their own. This has a positive effect on their internal balance, as they know what they want. If you need impartial advice, you should ask an introvert.
Introverts more often find their “vocation” — job and hobby. This is one of the reasons why they are so confident about their loved ones — they chose them by themselves.
Introversion and temperament
In religion, these are ascetics who refuse worldly fuss. In ordinary life, they avoid noise and crowds, because:
- They don’t like them
- They don’t see the point of them
- They don’t care about things they don’t like and don’t see the point of
- All these things take a lot of energy, and phlegmatics don’t want to be bothered by them
Phlegmatic introverts are not lazy, but methodical. However, this does not affect their image in general.
Melancholic introverts are vulnerable, sensitive and anxious. They avoid large crowds because they are afraid of them. In particular, they are terrified that:
- People will push them (not on purpose), touch them or they will steal something
- Strangers will talk to them and they will have to answer
- Someone can shout at them, insult them (whether they have a reason or not)
- They will have to improvise and not be able to plan everything thoroughly
If something unpleasant happens with a melancholic introvert in a public place, they will stay locked in their room for a long time. There, they will recall every detail of the incident and relive it in their head over and over again. Then, the “introspection” stage begins — the victim is considering whether they could have avoided such a situation and how it would have been better handled.
Introverted melancholics are obsessed with their failures, so they pull away from society and try to avoid the awkward moments. At the same time, they are great empaths who can understand other people.
The introvert child
As a rule, introverted children often study well. Either the child is a wunderkind because they successfully manage all subjects, or they focus all of their attention on one topic. For example, they may excel mathematics and physics but fall behind in literature. Or they take top honors at the history contests but fail biology and chemistry.
Introverted children prefer independent work and are nervous when they have to work in a group. The solo tasks they perform reveal their full potential and are much more successful.
An introverted child finds one-to-three peers and communicates only with them. Often their school friendship lasts for years even after graduation. Little introverts begin to make friends with neighbors only if the friend or neighbor takes the initiative to get acquainted or they are introduced by adults.
These children can become victims of ridicule and bullying by classmates. Their quiet temperament, outward defenselessness and attention and praise from the teachers may turn their classmates against them.
Some teachers do not understand and condemn the closeness the child seeks and considers it to be something abnormal. In this case, it makes sense for parents to talk with the teachers and make them understand that everything is fine, but the child needs an individual approach.
The introvert’s career
A noisy office is like a jail cell to an introvert. Usually, they gravitate towards work of these types:
- “Human-nature” — veterinarian, agronomist, zoologist, botanist
- “Human-sign” (sign system) — programmer, translator, accountant
- “Human-technics” — Auto mechanic, engineer, electrician, driver
The reason for choosing such professions is that the provide detachment from other people. In such tasks, all responsibility for the result is on the shoulders of one performer. Teamwork is extremely rare.
Sometimes introverts devote themselves to professions related to art, but only if they do not require frequent meetings with other people. For example, they may be brilliant writers or artists but are unlikely to choose acting or dancing.
Introverts often avoid “human-human” jobs.
Introverts and relationships
Some basic features about introverts, they:
- Lack initiative, but take every step seriously
- Do not impose their habits and thoughts on partners
- Rarely express love with words, but are always willing to ease the burden of their partners
- Prefer quality rather than quantity, strive for moral intimacy
- Listen and try to understand their loved ones
- Are prone to self-sacrifice; they are loyal and faithful
They try to take whatever it takes to maintain any relationship. However, after finally breaking up, they don’t attempt to reconnect with their partner.
Introvert and extrovert
Despite their opposite qualities, the “introvert-extrovert” pairing has every chance of success. For such a pair (friends or lovers) to be happy, both sides have to compromise.
Introverted individuals do not always enjoy the lifestyle of extroverts and they are far from ready to share it. However, introverts rarely condemn their socially active friends. An introvert is more likely to engage in extraversion traits or activities to please their partner or will learn something new about themselves.
The combination of “introvert-introvert” will have to look for external incentives, common interests and reasons for hanging out together. Otherwise, it will be two strangers living in the same apartment. They will become uninteresting two each other since each partner will be busy only with their own self-development.
How to communicate with an introvert
How to stay in a good relationship with an introvert:
- Respect their personal space; show tact. For example, enter their room, only after knocking and getting their permission.
- Do not expect them to be willing to spend time together 24/7. The less time they spend in solitude, the more closed and passive they become in the presence of others.
- When making plans, warn them at least a day, or better, a week/month in advance.
- Do not force them to be more active, cheerful or sociable. Most likely they will withdraw even more.
- Develop yourself. It is very important for an introvert to surround themselves with smart, good-natured people.
- Do not expect a strong emotional reaction from them, especially in public. Sensitive emotional topics can be fully revealed only in private with those the introvert trusts.
- Support them and be close by during awkward moments. It is much easier for an introvert to be among strangers if someone they are close to is by their side.
How to become an introvert
The temperament and psychotype of a person are developed during the prenatal period (before birth). They are based on the physiological characteristics of the fetus. A person will suddenly cease to be an introvert only if there are serious malfunctions in their body. These are developmental anomalies, mental abnormalities and severe stress.
Each psychotype has its own pros and cons. It is better to work on the former and focus on the latter.
However, if you really want to become like an introvert, you can learn a few of their habits and adapt them. For example, you may:
- Get interested in psychology, sociology, philosophy and similar sciences
- Write down your plans, stick to your daily routine
- Learn to be in solitude and deal with your own thoughts
- Develop patience, perseverance, concentration, self-control
- Try to think in advance about every serious action, calculate its pros and cons, and anticipate the consequences
- Start keeping a journal to record your thoughts about everything
- Try replacing videos with books, shopping (as a way to relieve stress) with walks in the park; add a couple of calm songs to your playlist, reduce the usual sound volume
However, such changes may seem too boring for extraverts. And this is further proof that it is better to enjoy what is already given to you by nature.
An introvert is an absolutely normal person with their own advantages and disadvantages. Their preference for isolation is not a reason to think that they have mental or mood problems. They are all right. The only thing most introverts need is a little understanding and respect for their personal space. Then they will become wise and loyal friends even to the most active extraverts.