Usually, when people say, “there are two types of people in this world…,” you can safely ignore the next words out of their mouth, because it’s never that simple.
However, it is possible to divide the world into introverts and extroverts.
We all fall somewhere along the scale. Some people are classic extroverts who get their energy from being around other people, and others are the opposite. Introverts who need time alone to recharge their social batteries.
But there are different levels to introversion and extroversion, and it’s possible to be one of these personality types without even realizing it.
Sometimes, a man may not have thought of himself in those terms. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fit into the pattern. And your behaviors can give you a clue as to what type of person you are.
Keep an eye out for these traits, because they can point you toward a man who is more introverted than he thinks.
1) He prefers deep conversations
How do you feel about small talk?
Some people love to chat about inconsequential things. Whether it’s the weather, the news, or the local sports team, they can spend hours swimming in the conversational shallows, happy just to be saying anything.
But for introverts, that’s not true at all.
Often, introverts are more comfortable than most people with silence. They may even prefer silence to talking about things that don’t matter.
Instead, they prefer deep conversations about ideas. They would rather talk about world events than the weather, and prefer to discuss philosophy than make small talk about traffic.
“Conversationally, introverts prefer to dive deep,” writes Jenn Granneman, the founder of IntrovertDear, the world’s largest online community for introverts. “We want to know what’s really going on in your head, or to talk about something interesting we’ve read, heard, or watched, among other meaningful topics.”
That doesn’t mean an introvert is going to grill you on whether you believe in the existence of the human soul the very first time he meets you.
But it does mean he may display an aversion to inconsequential chatter and a preference for going deep.
2) He enjoys being alone
You don’t have to be an introvert to enjoy solitude. But there’s no denying that a love of being alone can often be a sign of introversion.
It definitely is in my case.
Most of my favorite activities – reading, writing, hiking, sailing – can be done alone. In fact, some of them basically have to be. And having solo hobbies means that some of your happiest times will be spent by yourself.
That can seem strange to extroverts, who are easily bored when alone and find it difficult to imagine being happy by themselves for long stretches of time.
But for us introverts, solitude can be bliss.
In fact, it’s often necessary. Introverts need alone time to recharge their batteries, and if they don’t get it often enough, they often become unhappy.
3) He chooses social engagements carefully
Social interaction can be draining for anyone. But it’s especially exhausting for introverts.
This means that an introvert needs to choose their social engagements carefully. We all need to spend some time with each other, introverts or not. But when you find hanging out with other people exhausting, you need to be selective.
An introvert will show up for important social events, but they may take a rain check on more casual get-togethers.
It’s not because they are rude, or because they don’t like people. It’s just that they need to recharge.
4) He feels drained after socializing
This is perhaps the classic sign of an introvert. And yet, a man can easily experience this without realizing that it is a sign of introversion.
Ultimately, everyone feels drained by too much social interaction. But for an introvert, being around other people exhausts them much quicker than it does for others.
If a man needs to recharge with some time alone after socializing, it’s a good sign he may be an introvert, whether he knows it or not.
“Just be honest,” recommends clinical psychologist Laurie Helgoe.
“To friends, you might say something like, ‘It was so hard to leave my dog and my couch tonight. You all better make this worth it!’ or if you’re meeting someone new, bring up a topic that reflects your introversion, like asking them about their favorite pandemic binge show.”
5) He’s not afraid to say no
Turning down invitations is an art most introverts learn sooner or later. And an ability to refuse an invite, along with the desire to do so, can be a sign of a man who is more introverted than he thinks.
He may not think of himself as an introvert. But if he routinely turns down opportunities to hang out with other people, it’s a strong sign that that’s exactly what he is.
For introverts, saying no isn’t rude. Instead, it’s a necessary step they need to take to preserve their mental health and happiness.
An introvert shouldn’t be afraid to say no when it matters, and often, he isn’t.
6) He is highly self-aware
Take it from an introvert: one of the things that happens when you spend a lot of time alone is you get to know yourself really well.
After all, with no one else around to distract you from your thoughts, you can go really deep and analyze your emotions and your thinking.
This almost inevitably leads to a greater level of self-awareness.
That’s why most introverts know that they are introverts. However, it is possible for man to have a high level of self-awareness but not realize that the reason for it is because he is introverted.
This self-awareness often shows itself in a high level of emotional control. A man may also show you he is self-aware by knowing his thought patterns and impulses very well and being able to control them.
7) He gets overwhelmed in crowded places
Crowds can bother all of us from time to time. But for an introvert, a crowded place can be a special kind of torture.
Introverts are often highly sensitive to things like bright lights, loud noises, and crowded places. And they will display deep discomfort in a crowd even if they are not aware that they are an introvert.
“Introverts tend to prefer to interact with people that are familiar, like friends, family or acquaintances,” says this article on INFJ Male Psychology. “When it comes to large crowds however, the problem is that 99.9% of them consist of strangers.”
A large crowd can also be overstimulating to a sensitive introvert, and can make us feel trapped.
So even if a man has never identified himself as an introvert, his distaste for crowds may give him away.
8) He prefers a few meaningful friendships to lots of superficial ones
One common misconception about introverts is that they don’t like people.
Actually, introverts are fine with other people, and are perfectly capable of forming meaningful and rewarding relationships with others.
But when it comes to relationships with other people, introverts tend to focus on quality over quantity.
That means they will often have few friends, but will feel closely connected to those friends. They may have maintained their friendships for years or even decades, preferring to spend their limited social time with people they really know and trust rather than surrounding themselves with people they don’t know that well.
To some men, this seems like they don’t like most people and are selective in their friendships. They may not be aware that it is a classic sign of being an introvert.
9) He has intense focus
Another more subtle sign of introversion is an ability to focus intensely on a specific task. And this is most often seen in male introverts, since in general, men tend to be better at focusing on one thing at a time, while women are better at multitasking.
“Extroverts are more likely to focus on what’s happening around them,” writes Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. “It’s as if extroverts are seeing ‘what is,’ while their introverted peers are asking ‘what if.’”
10) He looks for meaning
Across the board, introverts are more likely to search for meaning in whatever they do.
That doesn’t mean they have to be constantly questioning the meaning of life – although they might do that, too.
But just as they prefer a few meaningful relationships to lots of shallow ones, they also look for meaningful work and hobbies that fulfill their need for meaning.
Whether it’s the deep conversations they have, the long-term relationships they maintain, or the things they do in their spare time, an introvert can reveal themselves by this desire to make what they do mean something to them.
Hidden signs of an introvert
Some of us are well aware of our introvert tendencies. But others, though they display all the classic signs of an introvert, don’t think of themselves that way.
If you recognize these traits, though, whether in yourself or others, it’s safe to assume you’re looking at an introvert.