The Perks of Being An Introvert

I’m an introvert, but not excessively so (but then again, maybe more so then not). According to an article published on The Minds Journal titled, Hey Introvert”:

Introverts are the most misunderstood people on the planet. They care deeply about others but their inability to express or demonstrate their feelings earns them the reputation of being rude, shy, and whatnot.

Introverts enjoy their own company and feel drained out when they are forced to socialize with people they’re not comfortable with. They maintain a very small group of friends who are close to them and privy to their innermost thoughts. (Quote source here.)

Some well known introverts include leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Barack Obama (source here), along with Bill Gates, Guy Kawasaki, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffett (source here). Also included in the list of introverts are Oprah Winfrey, Amy Schumer, Rosa Parks, Meryl Streep, and J.K. Rowling (source here). 

Yesterday I found myself in a brief conversation with someone I had not met before, and he asked me a few questions that led me to answer that I tend to be an introvert, but not excessively so. That made him laugh and he said, “So, you’re an extroverted introvert.” I laughed and said, “Probably so.” 

This morning I got to thinking about the topic of introverts from that brief conversation, and I decided to look online to see if there is a category known as “extroverted introvert,” and I found several articles on the topic. It does exist and it is sometimes also known as ambivert.”

One of the articles I found was published on October 5, 2018, on IntrovertDear.com titled, If You Relate to These 10 Signs, You’re Probably an ‘Extroverted’ Introvert,” by Jenn Granneman, founder of IntrovertDear.com and author of “The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World.” I’ll list the 10 signs below, and you can read the descriptions for each sign in her article at this link. Here is the opening statement to her article along with the list of the ten signs:

The extroverted introvert is known by many names. Some call it an “outgoing introvert” or “social” introvert. Others argue that this is ambiversion.

So what does “extroverted introvert” really mean?

The thing to understand about introversion and extroversion is they are not all-or-nothing traits. Think of these two temperaments as being on a spectrum. Some people fall closer to the extreme ends, making them either very introverted or very extroverted. Most people are closer to the middle, which gives them qualities of both introversion and extroversion. 

If you think of yourself as an extroverted introvert, it probably means you’re an introvert at heart—but you may be more outgoing than other introverts because your personality is more middle-of-the-spectrum.

Are you an extroverted introvert? If so, you’ll recognize yourself in these 10 signs [see article for details on each of these signs. I’ve added a personal note after each sign listed below]. (Quote source here):

    1. Your energy level is closely tied to your environment. (True.)
    2. You find people to be both intriguing and exhausting. (True, too.)
    3. Certain people and interactions drain you while others recharge you. (True again.)
    4. You can be charming but also deeply introspective and reflective. (Charming… maybe.)
    5. When you feel rested and recharged, you reach out to others. (Maybe, depends.)
    6. You need time to warm up in social situations. (Depends on the social situation.)
    7. It actually takes less energy to say what’s on your mind than to make small talk. (So true.)
    8. You’re selectively social. (Yes.)
    9. You have no interest in trying to prove yourself in a crowd of strangers. (True.)
    10. You’re often confused for an extrovert. (Usually when not expected.)

This website, IntrovertDear.com, is an excellent resource for introverts and parents of introvert children, and anyone involved in relationships with introverts who want to understand them better. I also looked at the contents of her book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World,” on Amazon.com (I’ve decided to ordered this book online), and in Chapter 3 she lists seven misconceptions that are frequently believed by others regarding introverts. Here are the seven misconceptions: (1) rude, (2) antisocial, (3) lack passion, (4) hate people, (5) shy, (6) poor leaders, and (7) don’t know how to have fun. As an introvert, I can attest that introverts are not any of these things listed above.

So let’s take a closer look at the signs of the introvert personality. In an article published on June 24, 2020, on WebMD.com titled, Introvert Personality,” by Rachel Reiff Ellis, freelance writer, she writes:

What Is an Introvert?

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.

When you hear the word introvert, you might think of someone who’s shy or quiet and prefers to be alone. While that may be true for some introverts, there’s much more to this personality type. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert all depends on how you process the world around you.

A psychologist named Carl Jung began using the terms introvert and extrovert (sometimes spelled extravert) in the 1920s. These two personality types sort people into how they get or spend their energy. Introverts, Jung said, turn to their own minds to recharge, while extroverts seek out other people for their energy needs.

Signs You Might Be an Introvert

Around one-third to one-half of all people in the U.S. are introverts. 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

Types of Introverts

Being an introvert isn’t an all-or-nothing stamp on your personality. Psychologists think of introverts as falling somewhere on a scale. Some people are more introverted than others. Other people fall right in the middle of the scale. They’re called ambiverts.

Introverts usually have a few extroverted traits mixed in with their introverted ones, and vice versa. There are a wide range of ways to be an introvert. One study shows that introverts tend to fall into one of four subtypes:

Social introverts. This is the “classic” type of introvert. Social introverts like small groups and quiet settings over crowds.

Thinking introverts. People in this group are daydreamers. They spend a lot of time in their thoughts and tend to have creative imaginations.

Anxious introverts. They seek out alone time not just because they like it, but also because they often feel awkward or shy around people.

Restrained/inhibited introverts. These introverts think before they act. They aren’t likely to make a decision on a whim. Typically they take longer to take action.

Your introverted ways may change over time, and in different settings, too. You’re not likely to swing from introvert to extrovert. But it’s possible you could become more or less introverted, depending on what’s going on in your life.

Introversion Versus Shyness

Many people think of introverts as shy, but the two aren’t linked. Introversion is a personality type, while shyness is an emotion.

People who are shy tend to feel awkward or uncomfortable when they’re in social situations, especially when they’re around strangers. They may feel so nervous, they become sweaty. Their heart may beat quicker, and they may get a stomachache. They may be inclined to skip social events because they don’t like the negative feelings that take over their thoughts and bodies when they have to go to parties or other activities.

People who are introverted also prefer to skip social events, but it’s because they feel more energized or comfortable doing things on their own or with one or two other people. Introverts don’t choose to skip social events because they have strong negative reactions to larger gatherings the way that shy people do; they just prefer being alone or in very small groups.

Myths About Introverts

One common myth about introverts is that they’re shy. Some introverts may be shy, but this is not the case for all introverts. Other myths include:

    • Introverts are unfriendly. Being an introvert doesn’t affect how friendly you may be. Some people may think that introverts are unfriendly because they don’t tend to have large groups of friends, and they may reflect on situations quietly rather than joining in on conversations at gatherings.
    • Introverts can’t be leaders. Although people may think of an extroverted personality when they imagine a leader, introverts have the skills to be bosses and leaders, too. Some of their qualities make them effective leaders: They listen to their employees’ ideas, they can stay focused on long-term goals, and they may seem less threatening, so people may accept them in their roles.
    • It’s hard to get to know introverts. Introverts prefer to have deep friendships with only a handful of people. They may not open up to everyone who wants to small-talk, but the people they’re close with know them very well and develop real friendships with them. (Quote source here.)

When I did a Google search on the topic of the perks of being an introvert, many links to articles showed up listing the number of benefits from anywhere between 5-16 benefits, and that was just on the first page of the search. For the purposes of this blog post (and to keep it within a reasonable length), I’ll end this post with a list from an article titled, 12 Reasons to Celebrate Introverts on World Introvert Day (Jan. 2nd),” by Jenn Granneman, founder of IntrovertDear.com. And yes, Virginia,” there really is a World Introvert Day, and it is celebrated every year on January 2nd. Here’s the list of 12 reasons (and full descriptions of each of these 12 reasons are available here):

  1. Introverts really know their stuff.
  2. Introverts are problem-solvers and idea-generators.
  3. Give up? Not yet.
  4. Introverts make better team players than extroverts over the long run.
  5. Introverts are capable of incredible depth and intimacy in their relationships.
  6. Introverts know the power of words.
  7. Introverts are low maintenance.
  8. Introverts can be the calm in the center of the storm.
  9. Introverts “get” you.
  10. Introverts look before they leap.
  11. Introverts create worlds inside their heads—and help create the world we live in.
  12. Who runs the world? Introverts. (See the list of world leaders at this link.)

So, to all of the introverts out there in the world, it’s time to…

Celebrate, celebrate . . .

Dance . . .

To the music . . . (P.S.–and you don’t have to go to the ball, either)

YouTube Video: “Celebrate” by Three Dog Night:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here
Photo #3 credit here

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