Introspective people are often deeply misunderstood. Their tendency to live in their own worlds can make them appear elusive and unengaged.
To some, they come across as quiet. To others, their observing behavior can be downright unsettling!
However, introspective people are usually some of the kindest, warm-hearted, and creative people you could ever know.
Despite their tendency to look at the world through an unusually wide lens (with a magnifying glass in hand), their compassion for others is always at the forefront.
Think you may be an introspective person? Check out these 8 traits most introspective people share.
1) Preferring solitude over time with others
When you’re a naturally introspective person, there’s nothing you value more than your alone time.
Thinking time is important to you – and, for you, there’s nothing like the peace and quiet to mull things over.
When you have a free weekend coming up, you’d happily spend it alone rather than with other people if you’ve been busy recently.
If you have the option to commute to work privately or with another work colleague, you’d choose to be alone every time.
If a friend invited you to attend an art gallery, you’d much prefer to visit it in your company, rather than with anyone else.
Not because you’re an unsociable person.
But because you’re deep-thinking mind appreciates things more when done in solitude, silence, and your own time – rather than on anyone else’s schedule.
2) Being open-minded and flexible to new things
It makes total sense that introspective people have broad horizons. Narrow-minded people are known for being rigid in their perspective.
Once they’re told something, they stick to their beliefs – and few things will ever change their mind.
Why? For one, they’re resistant to change. And two, they don’t generally have the capacity to think about things deeper than what they believe or what they’re told.
So if you told them something radical, they wouldn’t be able to fathom what you’re saying. But likewise, if you told them something not so radical, it’s just different from what they’ve always known, so they still won’t believe you.
This is the complete opposite of introspective people. They are completely open to new thoughts, ideas, opinions, beliefs, behaviors, etc., etc.
It’s just the way their deep-thinking brain works!
That doesn’t mean they don’t have strong values rooted in what they believe is right. But it does mean they’re always willing to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives.
3) Observing and listening over talking
Picture this. You’re at a dinner party with 15 of your work colleagues at a round table. Some of them you know very well, while others you hardly know at all.
What are you doing?
Are you the one starting all the conversations? Pitching the next hot topic to discuss? Getting to know everyone? Making jokes and being the life and soul of the table?
Or are you sitting there quietly – listening, thinking, and observing everyone else around you? Contributing occasionally but mostly just being a fly on the wall?
If it’s the latter, you’re a highly introspective person.
As we said earlier, it’s not because you’re unsociable or couldn’t be the life and soul of the party if you wanted to. When you’re out with a close friend, you’ll happily be the loudest at the table.
But when you’re in an environment that has so much going on, you feel way more entertained when you’re taking it all in – rather than being the center of attention yourself.
4) Enjoying being creative
Another thing introspective people are known for is their creativity. With their brains always so full of ideas, they can easily keep themselves busy with something.
Reading, writing, creating, schematics, hobbies, and creative construction projects are all things introspective people enjoy engaging in.
As an introspective Quora user says: “We invent the world”.
Not literally, of course. But what the user means is that inward thinkers are more likely to dig their teeth into the creative arts and stick it out.
And so many of the stories we read, movies we enjoy, and intricate tools we use were likely created by an introspective person – and it all started with a quiet thought or two!
5) Rarely feeling bored
Another trait of an introspective person is that they will rarely ever get bored.
Because their brain tends to run so fast without ever running out of steam, it’s almost impossible for them to get bored.
As one Quora contributor puts it:
“Our mind provides so much stimulation that we aren’t reliant on the external world…to avoid “boredom”.
Just sitting in an empty room with no phone or TV could still provide them with hours of entertainment – purely because they can entertain themselves with their own thoughts and ideas for as long as they need to.
Can you relate? Then you could be a naturally introspective person.
6) Having high empathy for others
Another trait of introspective people is high empathy. Generally, this is described as an understanding of what other people may be feeling, allowing you to connect with them.
But there are three strands to having empathy: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate (according to experts).
Cognitive empathy means being aware of someone else’s emotions. Emotional empathy means sharing those emotions (also known as understanding them). Compassionate empathy means taking action to support other people.
When you’re an introspective person, you’re more likely to complete all three stages for the people around you.
Because you think so deeply, you also feel very deeply – so it’s easy for you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to see how they may be feeling.
And to do what’s right to help them feel better or more supported.
7) Being self-efficient
Independence and introspection go hand in hand. Because an introspective person’s brain is always so active, rarely do they ever feel the need to ask for help.
To them, they feel as though there’s nothing their brain can’t figure out by itself.
Even the more “fun” activities, like going to the cinema, crafting, or exploring are activities that can be enjoyed alone by an introspective person.
As per a very interesting thread on Quora, a benefit of being an introspective person/introvert is that you don’t need to rely on others to stay happy.
One user writes:
“We typically keep ourselves busy with our inner lives, which are already full of projects, ideas, schematics, libraries, animals, and other hobbies”.
Even when it comes to personal possessions, you may be more of a minimalist.
As the thread continues, one user writes:
“We typically don’t require much in terms of physical things either. I’m a minimalist regarding personal possessions”.
8) Finding it easy to problem-solve
Naturally, because introspective people are always thinking, problem-solving is something that comes easy to them.
In fact, most of the time they don’t even know they’re problem-solving – their brain is just doing it!
Sometimes, it’s a blessing and a curse.
Despite being able to fix their own problems and think their way out of any situation at work or school, they can end up taking on the burden of everyone else’s problems, too.
Knowing when to stop can be a tricky thing for an introspective person – because it’s just in their instinct to think.
Being an introspective person is much like being an introvert. Typically, you are content with your own company and actually find joy in it!
The difference is that introverts enjoy socializing and can, in fact, be the loudest people in the room (provided their social battery hasn’t drained yet).
But introspective people will happily sit in silence – quietly thinking and observing. It’s actually one of their preferred ways to experience many things in life!
But living in your own world has its consequences. Despite being so creative and connected to themselves, introspective people can often be misunderstood by others.
Their deep-thinking nature can make them appear rude and judgemental – which often isn’t true at all.
With such high empathy levels, their thoughts tend to be more positive and deconstructing of others’ behavior to understand it – rather than to judge.