8 Signs You Might Be an Introvert

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Do you get more energy from being by yourself or with others?

While we all need some me-time every now and then, that solitude can be make or break for some of us. Introverts typically get more energy and recharge by spending more time alone than with others. By definition, introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation.

That being said, introverts and extroverts are often viewed in terms of two extreme opposites, but the truth is that most people land somewhere in the middle.

If you're not sure whether you're an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert, taking an introvert vs. extrovert test may help you get a better idea of which category suits your personality. Otherwise, read on to get a deeper understanding of what it means to have a more introverted personality.

What Is an Introvert Personality?

We might hear people use the words withdrawn or introspective as synonyms for introvert. Introverts tend to be more quiet, reserved, and introspective. Extroverts gain energy from social interaction, while introverts expend energy in social situations. After attending a party or spending time with a large group of people, introverts often feel a need to "recharge" by spending time alone.

The terms introversion and extroversion (also often spelled extraversion) were popularized through the work of Carl Jung and later became central parts of other prominent theories, including the Big 5 theory of personality.

The introversion-extroversion dimension is also one of the four areas identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). According to many theories of personality, everyone has some degree of both introversion and extroversion. However, people often tend to lean one way or the other.

What Are the Signs of an Introvert?

The following are just a few of the signs that you (or someone you know) might be an introvert.

1. Being Around Lots of People Drains Your Energy

Do you ever feel exhausted after spending time with a lot of people? After a day interacting with others, do you often need to retreat to a quiet place and have an extended amount of time to yourself? One of the major characteristics of this personality type is that introverts have to expend energy in social situations, unlike extroverts who gain energy from such interactions.2

That doesn't mean that introverts avoid social interactions altogether. Many introverts actually enjoy spending time around others, but they tend to prefer the company of close friends.

2. You Enjoy Solitude

As an introvert, your idea of a good time is a quiet afternoon to yourself to enjoy your hobbies and interests. Activities like time alone with a good book, a peaceful nature walk, or watching your favorite television program help you feel recharged and energized.

This does not mean that introverts want to be alone all the time. Many introverts love spending time with friends and interacting with familiar people in social situations. The key thing to remember is that after a long day of social activity, an introvert will probably want to retreat to a quiet place to think, reflect, and recharge.

If having a few hours to be alone sounds like your idea of a good time, you just might be an introvert.

3. You Have a Small Group of Close Friends

One common misconception about introverts is that they don't like people. While introverts typically do not enjoy a great deal of socializing, they do enjoy having a small group of friends with whom they are particularly close.

Instead of having a large social circle of people they know only on a superficial level, introverts prefer to stick to deep, long-lasting relationships marked by a great deal of closeness and intimacy.

Of the many strengths of introverts, one is that they tend to create profound and significant relationships with those closest to them. They also prefer to interact with people on a one-on-one basis rather than in a large group setting.

If your social circle tends to be small but very close, there's a pretty good chance you are an introvert.

4. People May Find It Difficult to Get to Know You

Introverts are often described as quiet, reserved, and mellow, and are sometimes mistaken for being shy.

While some introverts certainly are shy, people should not mistake an introvert's reserve for timidity. In many cases, people with this personality type simply prefer to choose their words carefully and not waste time or energy on needless chit-chat.

If you are the quiet type and a bit reserved, you probably are an introvert.

5. Too Much Stimulation Leaves You Feeling Distracted

When introverts have to spend time in activities or environments that are very hectic, they can end up feeling unfocused and overwhelmed. Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to thrive in situations where there is a lot of activity and few chances of becoming bored.

Researchers have found that introverts tend to be more easily distracted than extroverts,3 which is part of the reason why introverts tend to prefer a quieter, less harried setting.

If you tend to feel overwhelmed in busy social situations, you may be an introvert.

6. You Are Very Self-Aware

Because introverts tend to be inward-turning, they also spend a great deal of time examining their own internal experiences. If you feel like you have good knowledge and insight into yourself, your motivations, and your feelings, you might be more of an introvert.

Introverts tend to enjoy thinking about and examining things in their own minds. Self-awareness and self-understanding is important to introverts, so they often devote a great deal of time to learning more about themselves.

If you feel that you are self-aware and enjoy gaining deep knowledge about yourself, then you might be more of an introvert.

7. You Like to Learn by Watching

Where extroverts tend to prefer to jump right in and learn through hands-on experience, introverts typically prefer learning through observation. Extroverts learn through trial and error, while introverts prefer to observe before attempting something new.

Introverts like to watch others perform a task, often repeatedly, until they feel that they can replicate the actions on their own. When introverts do learn from personal experience, they prefer to practice somewhere private where they can build their skills and abilities without having to perform for an audience.

If you like to learn more by watching rather than doing, there is a chance that you have a more introverted personality.

8. You Are Drawn to Jobs That Involve Independence

As you might imagine, jobs that require a great deal of social interaction usually hold little appeal to people high in introversion. On the other hand, careers that involve working independently are often a great choice for introverts. For example, an introvert might enjoy working as a writer, accountant, computer programmer, graphic designer, pharmacist, or artist.

Are There Different Types of Introverts?

While you might picture an introvert as a shy wallflower who prefers to stay home alone instead of socializing, introverts come in many forms with a wide variety of characteristics. The types include:4

  • Social introverts: This type of introvert prefers small vs. large groups of people. They prefer a quiet night at home over a night out.
  • Thinking introverts: Introverts in this category tend to spend a lot of time thinking. They are introspective and creative.
  • Anxious introverts: Anxious introverts often feel unsettled or nervous around people during social interactions.
  • Inhibited introverts: This type of introvert tends to overthink, spending a significant amount of time considering a decision before doing anything.

You might find, however, that many introverts have a blend of qualities from among the four types. Many introverts also display qualities that you wouldn't think are typical of their personality type.