Growing up, I’d always been called the introvert in my family. While everyone was gathered around the dinner table, cracking jokes and sharing stories, I was holed up in my room, nose buried in a book.
So, all my life, I’ve always firmly identified as an introvert. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that I’m not as introverted as I’d always thought I was.
I mean, sure, I still am closer to introversion than extroversion, but I can’t deny that I do like socializing with interesting people.
Doesn’t that sound peculiar for an introvert? But…does that sound like you, too?
If you’re in search of some confirmation, here are some more signs that you’re not quite the textbook introvert you think you are.
1) You don’t always find socializing draining
Psychology experts have always described introverts as people who do better in quiet environments and get easily drained from socializing.
That’s true – whether you’re an extrovert or introvert would depend on where you draw your energy from.
So, because I’d often find myself feeling drained quickly from social events, that description of an introvert totally resonates with me.
But the curious thing is, there are also times when I’d leave a social gathering feeling inspired and energized.
Which means…I’m not as introverted as I thought.
Given the right kind of people and the right kind of topics, a conversation can really boost my mood instead of exhaust me. So, what it comes down to is the quality of the interaction.
2) You’re good at small talk, although you don’t really like it
Another clue that you might not be the introvert you think you are is your small talk skills.
If you’re an introvert, I’m pretty sure you don’t enjoy small talk. But if you’re surprised at how good you are at it just the same, you might not be as introverted as you think you are.
Let me share a quick story about this. I live on the 29th floor of a high-rise building, so of course, I have to take an elevator all the time.
Strangely, I’ve caught myself responding to strangers’ comments or starting a convo myself with the people in the elevator with me. I’ve complimented people on their nice shoes, cute babies, and adorable pets, to name a few!
Then afterwards, I’d go, wait, did I really do that? That’s so unlike me!
But as it turns out, that’s the real me – the introvert-who’s-not-quite-so-introverted.
3) You can be the extroverted one if you’re with a shy person
Has this ever happened to you:
When you’re hanging out with your more outgoing friends, you’re the reserved and quiet one. But when you’re with a shy friend, you naturally slip into the role of the outgoing one.
That’s a sign you might not be as introverted as you think you are. In fact, you might even be an ambivert – someone who sits somewhere in between introversion and extroversion.
That means you can easily adapt to the situation and call on your social skills if so required.
4) You like meeting new people
Here’s another sign that might seem counterintuitive. After all, aren’t introverts supposed to be averse to meeting new people?
That’s what I thought, too, because being labeled an introvert does make us stereotype ourselves sometimes. In some cases, labels turn out to be self-fulfilling prophecies, where we act a certain way just because that’s “what the label involves”.
But after a while, I realized how much I enjoy making new connections. So I now acknowledge that side of me and look forward to getting to know people.
I even like joining Facebook groups for my various interests because, hey, it’s the perfect balance between staying in the comfort of my room and meeting new people!
So, if that sounds familiar to you, it shows you’re not as anxious about networking as you think you are.
But – it does bear saying that you’re always after deeper, meaningful relationships. As I said in the first part, you’re all about quality, not quantity.
Which is why…
5) You like both listening and sharing personal experiences
We all know that introverts are all about privacy. You’d be hard put to find an introvert who’ll open themselves up at the first meeting.
That’s why I found it so curious that I do enjoy sharing my own stories with others as much as I love listening to theirs.
Again, it does come with a caveat – it has to be with the right people and the right context. I’m still an introvert after all, so I rely heavily on my gut feeling to know if a person is worth opening up to.
Now, what if you don’t exactly open up to other people face-to-face, but you love sharing stories through a blog or on your social media? Is that also a sign you may be less of an introvert than you think? That you might be a social introvert?
Absolutely. After all, these avenues are the virtual equivalent of speaking in front of a group!
6) You feel comfortable speaking in front of groups
So, you mostly keep to yourself but you also know when to adapt and take on a more outgoing role when you have to. And what could be more outgoing than public speaking?
It’s definitely surprising if you’re an introvert but you’re okay with speaking in front of a group, right? That’s a sign you’re not as introverted as you think you are.
I discovered this myself when I started teaching. Of course, the very first time I had to speak in front of a group, I was terrified. But once I got the hang of it, it no longer sent me into a spiral of panic and anxiety.
In fact, I came to enjoy it – and find it easier than engaging in small talk!
Why? I guess it’s because public speaking is kind of a controlled environment. As long as you’re prepared ahead of time, you can control the level of interaction.
Plus, it’s a form of one-to-many communication. This can be more comfortable for some introverts compared to one-on-one interactions or small talk.
They can express their ideas without the interruptions and distractions that typically come with one-on-one conversations.
7) You don’t mind being the center of attention sometimes
The point above shows one other sign that you’re not as introverted as you think you are, and that’s being okay with the spotlight sometimes.
While you might be okay with blending into the background, you can also enjoy a party as much as anyone else. You might find yourself in the middle of a group, dancing with abandon or cracking people up with witty jokes.
Don’t hold in that occasional urge to bask in attention just because it doesn’t go with the whole idea of being an introvert.
Remember, introversion and extroversion exist on a spectrum. It’s normal to find yourself sliding along the scale at different points sometimes.
8) You don’t always prefer solitude
Solitude – the introvert’s best friend. Or at least, definitely mine.
The best moments for me are those I spend being alone with a good book or just sitting out in the sun on a park bench. Or having a cappuccino alone in a coffee shop that smells so comforting.
But too much of it, and I begin to feel a sense of restlessness. And I must admit, loneliness.
If you can relate to this, then you might not be as introverted as you think. However, that doesn’t mean you’re not a “true introvert”; it’s simply proof that as a human being, you need a balance of solitude and companionship.
In fact, you might even enjoy working with a team…
9) You enjoy team activities
Really? Team activities?
Yes, I hear you saying that incredulously.
Enjoying team activities is definitely associated with extroversion, and the typical introvert would take great pains to avoid interacting with others.
Which is why, if you enjoy being part of a team as much as you enjoy being alone, that means you’re not quite the introvert you think you are.
10) You enjoy spontaneous adventures
Let me ask you this: Do you like planning things? Or do you like spontaneity?
If you answered yes to both, then you may not be as introverted as you originally thought.
You love being in a safe, structured, and predictable environment. But – you also find it thrilling to break out of that once in a while and go off on an unplanned adventure.
I’m this way, and I just love having the best of these two worlds. I have my daily routine that keeps me on track and disciplined, then my husband would say, “How do you feel about going to the beach after work?”
And I’d be all in.
I feel like these spur-of-the-moment decisions give my steady introvert life a sprinkling of fairy dust so I have an equal measure of stability and shake-it-all-up fun! It’s all about balance!
As you can see, the spectrum of introversion and extroversion isn’t black and white.
Just because you’ve always been an introvert doesn’t mean you’ll stick to the norm of keeping yourself holed up away from the world.
And that’s okay. You are who you are, and remember this – you’re always evolving.
So whatever personality type or labels you identify with, feel free to break out of those boxes and explore other ways to be in the world!