Introverts lurk everywhere. They may come in the form of your reserved co-worker who stays holed up at his desk, your friend who would rather watch reruns of Doctor Who on a Saturday night than be at a party or a train commuter who reads a book with headphones in.
Often, introverts are mislabelled as antisocial. As Susan Cain puts it, “We are not anti-social. We are just differently social”.
In a study conducted by Stony Brook University in New York, Southwest University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, published in Journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, it was found that 20% of people are born with a personality trait called sensory perception sensitivity. This is characterised in people who:
- Are slow to warm up in social environments but will eventually join in
- Need little punishment
- Have deep thoughts
- Pay attention to detail
- Take longer to make decisions
- Require more time to themselves for reflection
- Become bored with small talk
- Are more bothered by noise and crowds
- Are easily startled
These characteristics are seen to be a result of more activity in certain regions of the brains when processing visual information. These parts of the brain are for deeper processing of input.
Things only introverts will understand
If you can relate to any of following things, then you’re probably a certified introvert! Congrats, you now have something in common with famous introverts Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Emma Watson, Christina Aguilera, Heath Ledger, JK Rowling, Johnny Depp and Marilyn Monroe among others.
#1 Flirting means you exercise more effort to be outgoing
Flirting for introverts is a feat that requires a lot effort – in some cases much more than necessary. Usually, it’s done just to communicate that you don’t hate the person.
#2 An awesome night drains you of energy
After an awesome night out with friends, you feel completely drained. The crowds in the club or at the music festival have sucked your energy and you’ll be needing about a week of “me time” to recharge. We know the feeling.
#3 You watch and observe
No matter what event or crowd gathering it is, you’re happy to just watch and observe. I guess this is where all the deep insights come from! When with a group of friends and/or strangers, you are attuned to sudden mood shifts, flicks of the eyes of certain people and you can silently observe who leaves the group first (if it’s not you, of course).
#4 You prefer a few friends
Introverts go for quality, not quantity. You may prefer to have just a few friends you connect with on deeper level than have many friends and know so little about them. Those few friends and bound to be friends for life.
#5 Your thoughtful face is mistaken for RBF
You are always spaced out since you tend to drown out the noise and the crowd with your own thought patterns. But most often, this thoughtful face is mistaken as your resting bitch face. You may look unapproachable, but in truth, you’re silently recalling a book you just read or are just trying to have some quiet “me time”.
#6 Friends invite more people, but you don’t want to seem rude and say “no”
Your friends often ask to bring other friends to a little party or hang out sesh. You have nothing against people but you know it will take some time to adjust. In your heart, you really just want to hang out with your friends, but you don’t want to seem mean so you just say “yes”. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
#7 You had a blast during your “all me” weekend
You shut yourself up in your home for the whole weekend relishing the fact that you won’t be meeting people or trying to make small talk. Some of your friends will see this as the most horrible weekend ever! For you, it’s equivalent to a nice mall stroll or a beach day.
#8 You don’t mind not speaking
You could keep your mouth shut for hours if you really wanted to! You don’t mind speaking as long as it is really necessary. If you do have something to say, you usually think about it so you know exacty how to make a strong point and get your opinion across.
#9 You don’t mind eating alone
Some people dread the idea of being caught eating alone or getting food delivered for one. Introverts simply relish at the idea of enjoying food by themselves. It helps them concentrate on the food, think of colourful ideas and do some deep thinking.
#10 You stay in your room whenever family friends come to visit
Since you are just not comfortable with small talk, you hide in your room after a quick “hello!” and let your parents do all the talking.
#11 Your friends understand not to invite you unless it’s something crucial
Your friends now know your antics so they better not invite you to something for the sake of “it’s-the-weekend”. However, you know they can count on you when it’s something intimate or important for a few friends, like a birthday or a wedding.
#12 Avoiding stores that have chatty salespeople
By now, you have memorised a list of stores that have talkative salespeople. You avoid shopping at these places unless it’s really necessary. Anyway, you ultimately make the decision to buy or not buy something by yourself, so no need to have them pitch sales to you.
#13 You prefer texting, emails and messaging over phone calls and Skype calls
You dread the idea of talking especially if you’re not expecting the call. Phone calls are a feat you need a lot of effort to overcome. Skype calls are even worse!
#14 You would rather do individual projects than group projects
What’s the point of doing the project when all you do is talk and debate on what to do? Or join some people you rarely talk to? Why don’t they just let you do it? It’s easy to do anyway. You hate teachers who assign random groups for projects. You know it’s all in the name of teamwork and skill-building, but still… Nope.
#15 When you try to stay calm when people tell you to speak up for the Nth time
Life isn’t a speaking contest! It seems like people who do this think they’re doing something good for you, but you feel differently. It’s nice they’re trying to include you, but after being told to speak up for the nth time, you’re like, “leave me alone, I’m enjoying my solitude”.
#16 When people pressure you to be more social
I’m sure this has happened to all of us… Your mum would prod you to talk to your cousin, talk to your aunt or play with the next door neighbour’s child. Then your teachers would pair you up to encourage discussion and sharing. You’re usually fine to meet and greet these people, but you like to do so on your own terms and at your most comfortable time.
#17 When you’ve plugged in your headphones but they still talk to you
You’re ready to enjoy some of your favourite music and not have to talk for a little while. All of a sudden, someone starts talking to you! Can’t they see you have headphones in? You have to remove one to be polite, secretly wishing they’d stop talking to you. If they don’t stop, you’re going to have to pretend to fall asleep.
#18 You secretly love cancelled plans
Cancelled plans are a secret heaven to you. While you might have been looking forward to it, you now realise you don’t need to dress up or get out of bed early. You don’t need to meet new people or recall names and faces. These cancelled plans lead to some serious binge watching of your favourite TV series, rereading your favourite classics or trolling around on the Internet.
#19 You know answers to questions but just don’t want to answer
Sometimes, if not most of the time, you know the answers to your teacher’s questions but you just dread raising your hand or you really just can’t be bothered to be part of the discussion, so you wait for someone else to say something.
#20 Foreign places and anonymity don’t scare you
You love travel since it lends you the ability to be anonymous. Travelling to a new place helps you be who you really are among strangers. It gives you the chance to relax, free your mind and observe awesome places while catching up on your people-watching.
Most introverts can be extroverts when needed. And as opposed to what many people believe, introversion is not about being shy. There are extroverts who are shy. There are introverts who are confident. Introverts just take time to adjust and like the idea of delving into their thoughts and watching the world unfold before them.