While a few people might really be on the extremes of the scale, I don’t think there are any pure extroverts or introverts out there.
However, we can think of this characteristic as a spectrum or a continuum, and each of us lands on a certain level.
I’m more on the introverted side. I don’t think I’m too far down the line, but I’m definitely more of an introvert than an ambivert.
How do I know?
While I love having time to myself, especially when I need to recharge my batteries, I also like to go out and socialize a fair bit, too.
However, when I do, I tend to overthink social situations a bit, which is, according to the American Psychological Association, a clear sign of introversion.
But I still think that introversion is my superpower. Being this way doesn’t make me miss out on much.
If anything, I think there are at least nine ways being an introvert gives you an edge over everyone else.
1) You’re self-sufficient.
By definition, we introverts spend a lot of time by ourselves.
We turn down a lot of invitations and turn away from a lot of social situations. We tend to find them tiring.
So it just stands to reason that we tend to be more self-sufficient than extroverted people. We know how to be alone and take care of ourselves, seeing to our physical and emotional needs effectively.
This is obviously a great skill to have because there are many situations in life when we’re forced into doing things on our own.
It’s better to be ready and be prepared so that when you need to do things on your own, you’re already well-practiced at it.
2) You’re creative.
Creativity seems to thrive in solitude.
Most people get inspiration from the things they encounter out and about in the world.
But it’s when they’re on their own with all of these inspiring ideas swirling around in their heads that they typically produce their creative concepts.
Famous inventor Nikola Tesla once stated, “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude.”
That makes perfect sense to me because I write way better when I’m by myself. I feel like I can think more clearly, and that helps me come up with ideas.
It may also be that introverts are less inclined to pay attention to social limits and restrictions. We may, therefore, feel fewer limits on our creativity than extroverts do.
3) You’re more self-aware.
Extroverts definitely win in the social skills department. They’re the people who know how to inject fun into a conversation and life into a party.
That’s probably because they’re more socially aware than introverts.
On the other hand, we introverts spend more time alone with our thoughts. We also think more about ourselves than extroverts tend to.
This isn’t always a great thing, though.
Sometimes, we can be overly critical of ourselves and that leads to disappointment and even, in some cases, negative self-talk.
On the other hand, though, this gives us the edge in that we’re more self-aware and able to notice things like our bad habits more readily. This definitely makes it easier to change our behavior for the better.
4) You’re more empathetic.
As an introvert, are you really more empathetic than an extrovert?
Doesn’t it kind of seem like it would make more sense the other way around?!
While you’d think that people who love to go out and spend lots of time with other people would be more empathetic, it seems that the opposite it normally true.
But why would that be?
Perhaps it’s because introverts spend more time on their own reflecting on their feelings. That might help them develop more empathy and understanding of how other people feel as well.
This study even found a very strong link between higher self-esteem, empathy, and introversion, as well as a greater tendency towards alone-time activities like reading.
Empathy is an incredible power to have if you want to be able to understand people and their motivations better. And introverts have got it!
5) You have higher crystallized intelligence.
Higher crystallized intelligence? Doesn’t that mean smarter?
Well, sort of.
When intelligence experts measure intelligence, they normally have two different parts which are crystallized and fluid intelligence.
Crystallized intelligence is essentially the things that you can remember, like facts and figures. These are the things you’ve stored up over time, your wealth of accumulated knowledge, as it were.
Fluid intelligence is your ability to apply reason to solving new problems and processing new information.
According to this research, people who have more extroverted personalities scored lower for crystallized intelligence and slightly lower for fluid intelligence as well.
Does this suggest that introverts are smarter?
If we’re talking strictly about IQ here, then yes. But we also need to remember that we’re just talking about averages here.
It’s not that every introvert is smarter than every extrovert. There is a huge range of individuals to account for.
Instead, the group average is a bit higher, so overall, introverts seem to have the edge.
6) You have strong academic skills.
If you’re an introvert, you might also have the edge over ambi- and extroverts in yet another area.
In addition to being more intelligent, introverts also thrive in an academic setting, which includes listening to lectures, reading and studying, and writing papers on their own.
This is because they’re able to focus on these activities more easily than extroverts, who are often distracted by social influences and happenings.
Is the academic system made by introverts for introverts?
Have we set the whole thing up?
For thousands of years, reading and writing have been the most effective educational technologies that humans possess. Anyone who had great skills in these areas was, therefore, able to go far.
Not only that, but lecture-style teaching, like we normally find in university settings, is very much shaped to the introvert’s style.
Rather than the commotion of a lively debate or a class discussion, we’re very comfortable focusing on a lecturer’s voice and letting that information sink in.
But things may change.
Many different academic subjects now put a lot more focus on group discussions and debates. Plus, video is fast overtaking written language as the most effective educational medium.
So, change might be coming, but for now, introverts still seem to have the upper hand.
7) You’re a great listener.
If you’re an introvert, there’s a good chance that you’re a great listener because you prefer to listen rather than talk in social situations.
That gives you a lot of practice in listening, but you probably also do it simply because that’s what you’re comfortable with.
Hey, I still like to talk and tell people my ideas and opinions. But since I know mine already, I’m also quite interested in hearing what other people think.
I end up listening a lot, so much so that I’m sometimes being accused of acting like a spy or a scientific observer rather than a participant in the conversation.
To be honest, that’s sometimes true!
8) You’re very observant.
Extroverts generally focus intensely on social cues when they’re out and about in the world.
They also have a strong focus on how they’re presenting themselves when they’re talking and otherwise interacting. This generally takes up most of their attention.
Introverts, on the other hand, are more freed up to observe since they’re doing less talking and socializing.
But that doesn’t make us uninterested in social dynamics and behavior.
If anything, it’s quite the opposite.
When a group of people is talking and interacting, they’re doing it rather than thinking about it. But sometimes, we introverts stay quiet and a bit removed and watch what’s going on instead.
This makes us good at reading things like mood and body language.
But we’re not just observant with people.
We’re also interested in lots of non-social things and often take up careers or hobbies that involve looking into the inanimate. We might be more inclined to collect rocks or study chemistry because we’re curious and good at looking into things that don’t necessarily involve people.
9) You’re an incredibly loyal friend.
Introverts are careful about how they invest their social energy since they don’t have nearly as much of it to spread around as extroverts do.
Consequently, they tend to focus their attention on a smaller group of people whom they really like and want to stay close to.
For introverts, it’s about quality, not quantity.
When introverts find such people, they, therefore, want to hold onto them and often do this by being very loyal and interested in their small circle of friends.
These nine ways being an introvert gives you an edge over everyone else can be incredibly empowering.
While movies, music, and other media celebrate extroverts, it’s good to know that we introverts have our own superpowers, even if they might be somewhat hidden.
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