Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, and Meryl Streep. What do these 4 people have in common? Aside from being iconic cultural figures, they are all identified introverts.
Not all introverts are alike. Introversion is often mistaken for being shy or lacking social skills.
In fact, according to a study, introverts are capable of holding conversations and interacting with people — they simply would prefer not to, most of the time.
Another study found that there are at least 4 kinds of introversion: social, thinking, anxious, and inhibited. Some are either daydreamers, awkward, quiet, or contemplative.
While it may be difficult to classify yourself to any single one, here are 16 common behaviors that most introverts share.
1. You’d Rather Spend Your Time Alone
One of the defining traits of an introvert is how comfortable they are when it’s just them in the room.
Although French philosopher Blaise Pascal would say, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”, you’re perfectly capable of sitting with your thoughts; you might even consider your alone time as where you do your best thinking.
Others might find it odd to eat at a restaurant by yourself or buy a movie ticket for one, but to you, it’s peace; it’s solitude.
2. You’re Inner Monologue Is Always On
Since you spend most of your time in your head, it’s as if you’re constantly talking to yourself about just about everything.
Your head is often noisy when you’re standing in line at a restaurant to order your food.
The voice inside your head goes back and forth, indecisive, unsure what to order, what to say, forming opinions about the people ahead and behind you.
It can reach a point where you can be lying in bed at night ready to sleep but conversations in your head are flowing nonstop.
3. Talking To People Tires You Out
As an introvert, you only have a limited social battery.
When you get invited to a party, you have to prepare yourself for the social marathon that you’re going to have to run.
Meeting people is still an enjoyable experience for you, however; you know how to get along and blend in with the crowd.
But once you’ve spoken to enough people and enough hours have gone by, you feel the need to go home already.
This is one of the reasons why people often think that introverts aren’t comfortable talking to people.
The reality is that you like people, but you just can’t keep up with conversations for too long; you need to recharge too.
4. You’re Self-Aware
Introverts tend to be introspective.
They often reflect on their lives, their past experiences, their past actions, and their behavior.
They aren’t narcissists; they don’t think more highly of themselves than others. Instead, it’s as if their actions are always on review.
They try to understand themselves more, which is why they might gravitate towards more philosophical books or books that have themes about understanding the self.
Being self-aware is a great quality to have.
5. You Enjoy Observing People And The World Around You
When you visit a cafe for some coffee, you like to sit at a table and simply watch people go about their business.
There’s that woman leaning in to tell her friend about what happened over the weekend; there’s the man in the business suit and sunglasses, probably waiting to strike a business deal in the next few minutes; there’s the old man resisting technology with his newspaper and steaming hot coffee.
You can’t help but be fascinated by other people, and imagine what their life must be like outside the cafe.
6. Speaking To A Crowd Of 100 Is Easier Than Speaking To 1
Contrary to what others may think, introverts actually make for capable public speakers.
They don’t mind standing behind a podium and delivering a speech to the crowd of people.
A study even found that introverts make for better CEOs than extroverts, with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Google co-founder Larry Page being prime examples of that.
The problem begins when you have to talk to someone one-on-one.
7. You Delay Replying To Messages And Answering Calls
There’s a tendency to hold off on replying to messages or answering calls because it might come off as being too excited or eager.
Picking up the phone too quickly might make it look like you were waiting for their call the entire day.
When you receive a message or a call, you always have to check who it is first. That way, you can prepare yourself and know how to answer them.
8. You Notice Small Details
Since you tend to be more quiet than others, your energies get redirected to your eyes and ears.
When you’re sitting in a restaurant, you can overhear people talking about a random investment that they made.
When you meet someone for the first time, you notice the band’s logo tattooed on their arm, or the odd way they fix their eyeglasses.
These are trivial details to one person but gems of interest for you.
9. You’d Rather Work Alone Than In A Group Setting
Working in a job that requires you to constantly be interacting with people doesn’t excite you at all. That’s why you’d rather spend your time alone, like writing stories, code, or graphic designing.
You’d rather work by yourself because you do your best thinking when you’re alone.
You don’t feel like you have to constantly update someone else or keep up with another person’s thought process. You’re free to go at your own pace.
10. Your Friend Group Is Small
Since introverts aren’t known for their networking abilities, they tend to have a smaller friend group.
Although they may not know most people, introverts hold the friends that they do have close to their hearts.
They value quality over quantity when it comes to relationships.
11. You Enjoy Writing
Since introverts commonly enjoy spending time by themselves, and they have trains of thoughts constantly whirring by, it isn’t surprising that some would take to writing as a way to express themselves.
Writing is commonly viewed as a solitary activity. It’s just you, the keyboard, and the blank document.
Or it’s you, the pencil, and the blank sheet of paper.
It’s the perfect and most accessible way for introverts to express themselves. As Anne Frank once wrote, “Paper is more patient than people.”
12. Even In Crowds, You Feel Alone
Have you ever attended a large-scale event but felt more alone than if you were, well, alone?
As if you’ve suddenly become aware of the amount of people that you don’t know, so you stand around awkwardly?
It’s times like these where having a friend around feels like a life vest for you in a sea of people; it’s also a common experience among introverted people.
13. You’d Rather Avoid Small Talk
It’s not that small talk in itself is bad, it’s just that it works on the social battery.
There are bound to be times when small talk can’t be helped, like lunchtime at the office or birthday parties where your friend invites people that you’ve never met before.
Since you share a common friend, there’s the shadow of small talk ever looming above. “So, how do you know the birthday celebrant?” or “What’s your job?”.
All the small talk that you’ve encountered more or less follow the same script, and you’ve reached the point where you’d rather skip it by simply not going.
14. People Say That You’re A Good Listener
Since introverts already have the tendency to be reserved, they don’t mind it when the other person is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to conversation.
That doesn’t mean that introverts are simply standing there, nodding every so often. Introverts are astute and active listeners.
When someone simply wants to vent out their frustration or talk through a personal problem, introverts are there to lend them a friendly ear.
In a time when most people are constantly sharing content online, people like to relax with someone that actually listens to them.
15. Networking Is Difficult For You
Networking to an introvert feels can be exhausting and nerve-racking. It feels like you have to pretend to be someone that you’re not.
That’s because networking is something that you would never normally do; it feels like you’re being a fake.
Before networking, you might try power posing in the bathroom stall or talking yourself up in the mirror: “Don’t forget to be a polite, smile, and make eye contact.”
If simply going to a party drains your social battery, then networking is going to suck your social battery dry within a few minutes.
Conversations don’t feel natural anymore; now there’s pressure to perform and build a relationship when you’d rather take your time.
Knowing whether or not you’re an introvert helps you understand where the best environments for you to thrive in are.
If you devote your time to extroverted activities such as cold calling for sales or working under the public eye, your chances of success might be less than other pursuits such as being an artist or a writer.
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