Till date, I struggle to blend into this busy world of extroverts. Often, I feel like I have a split personality. There are days when I talk to great lengths, laugh uncontrollably and feel adventurous- even restless. Life is perfect. But, just as I get too comfortable, my introversion reverts back, and I'm back to square one.
In simple terms, Carl Jung defined that "introverts draw their energy from being alone, whereas extroverts draw it from their surroundings and relationships." Research estimates that almost 50% of the world is made up of introverts, yet it can still be difficult to perceive the world through their eyes. Fear not! Here are some things all introverts can relate to.
1. There are always exceptions.
You aren't always an introvert. In certain situations or random times, you love being surrounded by people. For example, I absolutely love speaking and performing in front of large audiences because I've never really had stage fright. However, put me in a small classroom or expect me to mingle with a handful of strangers and I'll become the awkwardest person on Earth.
Some people are naturally more extroverted about things that they are passionate or hold strong opinions about. Some people change with varying circumstances and people. There are certain people in your life who you can completely be yourself with and that's why you hold on to them so tightly.
2. Chances are that you have a fixed mindset.
Research shows that introverts and extroverts are two extremities and that the majority of the population is actually a combination of the two. This group is referred to as "ambiverts." Ambiverts have more balanced personalities because they can interchange between introverted and extroverted characteristics depending on the situation. In other words, they can listen AND assert, lead AND follow.
So, why do so many people still continue to label themselves as one of the two minorities? More likely than not, it is possible that you have a fixed mindset that you are an introvert. Basically, the more you begin to believe you are an introvert, the more you will become one. Having a fixed mindset can make you ignore some of your more extraverted traits and moments, leaving you more wary of socially demanding situations.
This type of mindset is unideal for a number of reasons-- the main being that it greatly affects our self-esteem and potential performance. So, it may be more beneficial to classify our personalities situationally, rather than two categories we think to be mutually exclusive.
3. You hate small talk.
It doesn't mean we don't know how to make small talk, but simply means that we dread doing so. It's pointless and unnecessary. Yes, some situations do call for superficial chats about the weather and such to break awkward silences, but introverts would much prefer silence than engage in such exchanges. It's weird to explain, but it almost feels more alienating to ask meaningless questions like "How are you?" and "How's your day?". Like, what do you expect to hear other than "I'm good."? It's clear that this conversation is taking place for the sake of talking. It takes effort to listen and pretend to care about the responses. Introverts already have a limited amount of energy, and using it up for small talk is exhausting. You'd much rather use it talking about things you are passionate about, or asking deeper questions.
4. You like being alone.
You feel like you have a battery inside of you that needs to be recharged after a certain level of social interaction. So, maybe you were surrounded by complete strangers (or sometimes, even friends) at a party or a new job, but either way, you cannot wait to go home and have some alone time. It excites you. Chilling in bed, working on a hobby, listening to music and watching Netflix sound like the ideal day. Now, don't get me wrong. You still love spending time with other people, but in those moments, being alone sounds a lot more refreshing than going out with friends.
5. You love being the listener.
You love listening to people talk. Chances are that the friends you naturally drift towards love talking. After all, opposites attract. People like ranting to you because you are always there to listen and give them attention.
6. You have a small group of close friends.
Even though your social circles are limited, the few friends that you do have are extremely close to you. You prefer these types of relationships in which you can be candid and profound. You enjoy talking in group settings, but the conversations you hold dearest are one-on-one interactions because of the intimacy.
7. You spend time observing and reflecting.
You are very self-aware. You think a lot before you act and speak. You continuously reflect on your feelings, your priorities and your decisions. It does not feel strenuous. You love wandering off into thoughts and writing them down. Self-discovery is important to you. Chances are that you keep a diary to pour out your feelings in solitude.
8. You get annoyed that people think you are shy.
While a considerable number of introverts are shy, it would be a misconception to mistake reservation for timidity. Shyness indicates a fear of people and interaction in general. On the other hand, people who are introverted may be reserved depending on the situation. You love having deep conversations with close friends. In your friend group, you are not afraid to be free and crazy because this scenario is completely within your comfort zone.
9. People think you are difficult to get to know.
You are careful with your words and not too good at instantly making new friends. You take time and expect relationships to develop slowly and genuinely. You find yourself feeling lonely even when surrounded by others in some gatherings. People may think you are distant or just avoiding them, but it really isn't the case. You just take time.
At the end of the day, it is important to know that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert and there is no "better" personality type. Also, no one is forever stuck being one or the other. Being an introvert can become overwhelming in this busy world, but remember that you are not alone. To find out where you fall in the intovert-amibvert-extrovert spectrum, take this quick 10 question test!