I never would have associated Lady Gaga as being an introvert.
But the pop icon has admitted to being shy, saying that she often feels like she doesn’t fit in.
Lady Gaga says she uses her glamorous persona to help shield herself when she’s in a social setting . “I always like when I have a hat big enough to keep people away at pretentious parties,” she has said in the past. It’s [a form of] protection.”
You may not be as famous as Lady Gaga but there are most likely a number of things you’re doing in public that point to just how introverted you are.
Here are ten of them.
1) You wear sunglasses to achieve a subtle sense of separation
As something of a certified introvert myself, I don’t wear oversized hats like Lady Gaga, but I do wear oversized sunglasses—even on cloudy and rainy days—as a way to “tell” people not to approach me.
“Sunglasses can assist in offering a sense of anonymity, allowing people to relax and be themselves in public. They can conceal expressions and emotions by concealing the eyes, which is especially useful in situations where the individual is uncomfortable or self-conscious.”
The beauty about sunglasses is that they also have the ability to act as a barrier between a person and their surroundings, says Saran.
“This separation [allows] people to concentrate on themselves, rather than the opinions of others. Sunglasses can also assist in decreasing distractions, allowing people to focus on their own thoughts and feelings rather than being overwhelmed by outside stimuli.”
Not just a fashion statement.
2) When it comes to fitness, forget the gym, you’d rather go hiking, biking or attend a yoga class instead
Again, I’m one of these people. I avoid the gym so that I don’t have to make small talk.
I have a friend who’s also introverted and she’s more fitness-forward then I am so she does go to the gym. Except what she does is wear wired headphones as a way of communicating to people that she doesn’t want to be communicated with!
“There’s nothing like a nice long walk or bike ride alone to make me feel like I’ve put my head back on straight,” says Emily Shawn from Introvert Dear.
“It’s not necessary to have a group, or even to go to a group fitness class, in order to enjoy some outdoor exercise,” she says.
Walking, hiking, and running allow introverts to be in public but also alone with their thoughts. This is why yoga is also ideal.
“Though yoga classes often involve groups of people, you don’t actually have to talk to anyone while you practice,” says Shawn. “Most teachers actually encourage a quiet class, in which you can combine movement and mindfulness, heightening your awareness of what’s going on in your mind and body.”
3) At a party you tend to stick to the one person you came with
Introverts don’t mind going to parties from time to time—they even enjoy them.
But they do prefer to stay close to the person they came with or with the people they know well. It gives them a sense of safety, comfort, and ease.
Mingling, especially with strangers, is a bit scary and “out there” for them. They would much rather have one-on-one conversations with not just people they know, but people they feel most comfortable with.
For this reason, an introvert’s ideal social setting tends to be going out to an intimate dinner with their partner or with a close friend.
Or, alternatively, when they do go to parties, they prefer sticking to the dance floor (like me) because, like yoga, they can engage in something they enjoy without having to engage with people.
4) People might find you talking to…the dog
It’s no secret that introverts tend to abhor crowds.
“At parties and at any kind of gathering, you can see us at the room’s edges, talking only to one or two people. Or to pets,” says Shayne Kamille, a Quora user who describes herself as an introvert.
“In my case, I love it when they have dogs at house parties [because then] I have an excuse not to talk too much to people and just pet the dogs instead.”
They might also stay close to the “exit” so that they can make a quick and quiet getaway as soon as it all starts to be “too much.” Until then, they might be periodically checking their watch, silently wondering when an “appropriate” time to leave might be.
5) When you do actively mingle, you’re more of an active listener
Introverts may not be the life of the party, but many still like the atmosphere of a fun night out.
Contrary to popular belief, introverts aren’t anti-social or lack social skills, it’s just that their style of social interaction is different, says Carol Bainbridge from Very Well Mind.
“They tend to listen more than they talk and are excellent listeners. They are attentive and will make eye contact with the person they are listening to and rarely interrupt.”
“When in a group, we don’t talk too much, but we look around, pay attention, and listen…We’re very observant. We like to learn by watching others on their activities.”
6) You stay away from small talk
Introverts aren’t big on small talk and would just rather say nothing than something that they feel doesn’t add to the conversation, says Bainbridge.
“Although introverts are quiet, they will talk incessantly if they’re interested in the topic. They also dislike being interrupted when they talk, or when they’re working on some project.”
“We’re willing to participate in small talk. Talk to us about life, sex, drugs, dreams, culture, art…There’s so much to talk about. Don’t just ask us ‘how it’s going,’ or ‘what are you doing,’” adds Kamille.
7) People might catch you zoning out
I have been guilty of this myself. When the stimulus from being in a large gathering gets to be a bit too much, I can’t help but zone out as a way to preserve some of my energy.
Kamille echoes this sentiment. “[Introverts] usually zone out in the midst of a gathering,” she says. “That’s because we need to ‘rest’ from social interaction. Being with lots of people drains our energy.”
Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they’ll need to go back and replenish their stores, says Sophia Dempling, author of the book, The Introvert’s Way; Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World. “Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will report to zoning out.”
8) You’ll go to back to the car to recharge your social battery
An introvert will make it a point to retreat to get a bit of space and recharge their social battery, says Studio205Hamilton, a club in southern Ontario.
Introverts tend to scope out somewhere where they can get a bit of breathing room, whether it’s a bedroom, outside, or even back to their car.
“Having this place to go can help them overcome their anxiety and stress of being in a loud social environment.”
9) You’re often seen out and about alone
Introverts like to be out in public, as long as they don’t have to step out of their comfort zone.
Many won’t have a problem going to the movies alone, because they can just immerse themselves in the film and people just keep to themselves.
Similarly, they’ll like going to a park to people watch or sit under a tree with their nose in a book.
Myself, I love going to a coffee house patio on my own and just spending an afternoon reading and people watching.
It’s a way to be around people while still being in the company of your own thoughts—something bonafide introverts love to do.
“I think that being alone in public is a beautiful experience, one that introverts should do more often,” says Richard J. Whitlock of Introvert, Dear.
“It’s the perfect sweet spot between socializing and staying in: You get a change of scenery, you get a little human contact, but you’re still mainly left to your own thoughts (or book, or podcast).”
10) You tend to go to unpopular places
Introverts prefer hanging at inconspicuous places that don’t get too much foot traffic or in inconspicuous parts of a busy venue.
“We avoid overrated restaurants, cafes, and bars,” says Kamille.
“We would rather stay at ‘unpopular’ establishments than go to famous ones and have to deal with being in the same room with lots of people. In my case, I hate it when my friends invite me to crowded places.”
It’s a myth that introverts don’t like to go out in public…
This notion is nonsense, according to Marty Olsen Laney PsyD, who wrote the book The Introvert Advantage: How To Thrive In An Extrovert World.
Introverts just don’t like to go out in public for as long as extroverts.
“They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there long for long to ‘get it’.”
Before long, they’re ready to go home, rest, recharge, and process it all.
Think of it this way: the best part of a night out for an extrovert is being out and having a blast.
The best part of a night out for an introvert on the other hand? Coming home, having a shower, and then going through the photos from the comfort of their bed.
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