The Huffington Post recently published this article on how to tell if you’re actually an introvert. Which I most certainly am, hands down. But, as this article pointed out, that doesn’t mean I’m never outgoing. According to Sophia Dembling, author of “The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World”, “Spotting the introvert can be harder than finding Waldo. A lot of introverts can pass as extroverts.”
A lot of what was said in this article really rings true for me. The first one that really hit home was number 2.
2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.
“If you’re an introvert, you may sometimes enjoy going to parties, but chances are, you’re not going because you’re excited to meet new people. At a party, most introverts would rather spend time with people they already know and feel comfortable around. If you happen to meet a new person that you connect with, great — but meeting people is rarely the goal.”
This is so true for me and I always thought that I was lacking somehow because of it. My outgoing friends would go to parties and meet new people and leave me standing alone by myself in a sea of unfamiliar faces, expecting me to do the same. Panic would set in and I would immediately want to leave. I found it a lot easier to meet new people if they were introduced to me by a friend.
Now, this isn’t to say that I can’t meet new people or flounder in all social situations. I am excellent at networking and meeting new people if I know that I am surrounded by people I know or am in a setting that is familiar to me. If I know what to expect or am comfortable in my surroundings I can be extremely outgoing (I still suck at small talk, which was #1 on the list, however)
6. You’re easily distracted.
“While extroverts tend to get bored easily when they don’t have enough to do, introverts have the opposite problem — they get easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation.”
My goodness does this one hit home. I find myself so often stepping back at work, completely overwhelmed by all that is going on around me. When I work with a client who is surrounded by a half dozen co-workers, all chatting loudly and they are all running a coffee machine or turning on faucets, I have to resist the urge to run from the room. I literally have to step away from the situation and watch from a distance.
I also get entirely overwhelmed when I have a million things to do at once and have to stop to break them down in to lists in the order that they have to be done or I will freak the eff out. No joke.
7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.
My whole life would be downtime if it were up to me.
8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.
This is so true. I have a degree in communications and took a lot of classes on public speaking. I am actually quite good at it, if I may say so. I even did an internship as reporter with my college’s NPR affiliate, where I had to record my stories to be put on the air. It is so much easier speaking to the masses than to an individual. Its a lot less pressure.
10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.
“Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you’ve been out and about for too long? It’s likely because you’re trying to conserve 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 in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.”
This is one that I have a really hard time explaining to my bf. After a particularly exhausting day at work, I really feel the need to spend some time by myself. Usually the car ride home, music blaring, will do the trick. Its almost like a physical need to have this time to myself.
14. You screen all your calls — even from friends.
“You may not pick up your phone even from people you like, but you’ll call them back as soon as you’re mentally prepared and have gathered the energy for the conversation.
“To me, a ringing phone is like having somebody jump out of a closet and go ‘BOO!,’” says Dembling. “I do like having a long, nice phone call with a friend — as long as it’s not jumping out of the sky at me.”‘
I am so glad that this one is not just me. I do this all the time. Its not that I don’t want to talk to them or that I dislike them, I just really need to mentally prepare.
15. You notice details that others don’t.
“The upside of being overwhelmed by too much stimuli is that introverts often have a keen eye for detail, noticing things that may escape others around them. Research has found that introverts exhibit increased brain activity when processing visual information, as compared to extroverts.”
This is so true. My boss has even commented on my attention to detail. I tend to notice small things that no one else does.
16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.
18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.
I have been called an old soul since before my 20s.
23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.
“Introverts can move around their introverted “set point” which determines how they need to balance solitude with social activity. But when they move too much — possibly by over-exerting themselves with too much socializing and busyness — they get stressed and need to come back to themselves, according Olsen Laney. This may manifest as going through periods of heightened social activity, and then balancing it out with a period of inwardness and solitude.
“There’s a recovery point that seems to be correlated with how much interaction you’ve done,” says Dembling. “We all have our own private cycles.”
Check out this Ted talk on Introversion: