24
Jun
2013

The 7 ‘Why’s’ of 7 of the Most Common Introverted Traits

Introversion is a gift.  jars

That’s a little something I learned from The Introvert’s Way author, Sophia Dembling (who, by the way, is my first featured guest in a brand new series coming to the blog in July).

Honestly…I couldn’t agree with her more.  Many of the so-called traits we possess are advantageous to us on so many levels, yet many introverts struggle with some of the traits, as they often times can feel that the traits work against them and not for them (like small talk, for example). We know it’s one of society’s normal conventions and ways of conversing, but to us, it’s an energy drainer & conundrum.

Question for you though…

Have you ever wondered the ‘why’ of some of these most common traits found in so many of us?  

Well, I did.  And for this discussion, I set out to find answers where I didn’t already know them.

Discovering the answers was both interesting and fun.

Trait I

Avoiding or Loathing Networking

Most people would think this trait’s ‘why’ is connected to energy zapping.  To the introvert, thinking of being forced to talk with many people, maybe even simultaneously we may not know, in an unknown social setting, is unnerving…literally.  Just thinking about it makes us feel a bit of arrhythmia.   But the actual reason we don’t look forward to it (or perhaps hate it), is because of the awkwardness and rejection we might experience.  Here’s what I mean…

Introverts often feel misunderstood by many people (perhaps because they don’t understand many of these ‘why’s’ we’re discussing today).  Volunteering to raise their hand and have more people not understand why they seem ‘stand-offish’ or don’t want to socialize or the infamous “she’s being rude”?  Yeah, right.  We’re not signing up for that voluntarily.  Some introverts don’t loathe networking, but the ones who do feel exhausted at the thought of having one more person misunderstand them.

Trait II

People-watching and observing

Oh, how we LOVE this.  We can watch people for hours – with no conversation.  I can, personally, go sit at La Madeleine in the mall and watch people while I eat alone – I have absolutely no qualms about doing so, and I don’t need company.  I’m perfectly fine eating my meal then watching people for the next 30 minutes to an hour while I eat dessert, think, process, and observe.  It’s often said that we watch and observe because we wish we were that outgoing or involved, when the opposite is true.  We love that we’re not.  Watching other people’s lives in those moments is our fun.  We like it because it’s insightful and engaging.  And because some introverts are highly sensitive and intuitive, we also discern a lot about things people are going through, sense moods, and intuitively process.

Trait III

Slow train of thought and deeper processing

Because introverts are so inward, in our thinking, processes, and assimilating, we have deep inner lives.  I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to ‘Depth of Life’ because it’s just a part of who I am and the introverted woman, period.  I know we’re layered women – things take a while to sink in.  This is why introverts have a slower thinking process sometimes.  Notice I said thinking, not listening.  We listen very well…we hear you.  It just might take us longer to assimilate the information or be able to craft, what we would deem to be, an appropriate response we’re comfortable with.  Aron’s HSP theory as a facet of introversion took actual brain scans and concluded that some of us take longer to process information because we have more sensitive sensory processing systems.

Trait IV

A lack of assertiveness (or saying ‘yes’ when we really feel ‘no’) 

This is a common trait with some introverts.  Usually, it happens because they either a) don’t want to feel left out, b) don’t want to miss something or c) are being pressured to feel that “it just won’t be the same without you.”  Most of these aren’t true, at least half of the time.  This one really boils down to balance.  In my opinion, many introverts struggle with assertiveness because they’re trying to find that balance between craving alone time and fitting in.  It’s a constant struggle for the ebb and flow of who they are, so it always feels like a huge decision to go many places they honestly really would rather not go.  Balance is a good word here – an introvert desires to find a way to go to some things when she doesn’t want to, but mostly honor her initial gut reactions about invitations.

Trait V

Hating small talk

At this point, everyone pretty much knows this about introverts.  But why?  Why do we hate it so much?  I mean, would it kill us to ask how the weather is?  (No, but close).  It’s dang near painful.  Think of the introvert like you would an investor.  An investor finds his investment ‘mix’ and jumps in and invests a great deal.  In return, he expects a substantial ROI (return on his investment).  Millionaire entrepreneurs invest in startups, hoping for a return there.  In the same way, introverts invest in their relationships – deeply.  And often times, that means they also expect that level of return (this can be good AND bad).  As a result of this quality, “investing” in a conversation that feels surface-y feels way out of our comfort zone.  In fact, it drains us.  There’s only energy going out (in our mind) – there’s nothing coming back.  Even talking about the weather feels depleting, because I’m not getting a return on my investment.  Our mantra?  Energy in, energy out.  This leads me to trait #6…

Trait VI

TMTS – Too much, too soon (or blurting out)

Because introverts are deep thinkers, we tend to divulge way too quickly.  We skip the shallow and jump into the deep end about life details, worldview, and hot, emotional issues a bit too quickly.  It’s like a wedding cake – we waste no time cutting right to it because we can’t dwell on the surface-level stuff.  *Note – this would obviously not be the case for a shy introvert.  Not all introverts are shy, and this trait is a perfect example of why that’s true.

Trait VII

Our need and craving for alone time.

You might remember my recent post on being an alone-time-a-holic?  The truth is, solitude for the introvert can be our double bind.  We have to have it to replenish and process everything from the day, but too much of it isn’t a good thing – we still crave intense connection with the right people when we’re ready to go out and associate.

*Small disclaimer here.  These are not exhaustive nor are they meant to apply to every introvert, all the time.  We all have extroverted qualities, and we are not all shy.  This is meant to be a deep conversation with an interesting and informational slant.

I’d love this list to continue in the comments…any other traits you have noticed or have personally?  Any theory on the ‘why’ behind it? Please share.

Thank you always for reading and contributing,

Tamisha

Want more on assertiveness? Check out my signature eCourse, Assurance, here from our Services Exhibit. Also, make sure you’re getting The Art of Modernity, our twice-a-month communique to get more content like this. 

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99 Responses

  1. Brilliant post. The traits I relate to the most are 4: a lack of assertiveness (saying yes when i want to say no). Trait 5: hating small talk. And Trait 6: TMTS . What you said about the lack of assertiveness really being any of the following: a) don’t want to feel left out, b) don’t want to miss something or c) are being pressured – You’re spot on, that’s exactly how I feel about it. And honestly – it’s not that I find small talk uncomfortable, it’s just that I find it such a waste of time. When I meet people I want to know REAL things about them, not silly surface things. It’s weird, I wouldn’t call myself introverted at al , but I could relate to a lot of what you said! :)

    1. Hi Alex. Thank you for sharing what you relate to. I like what you added about small talk being a waste of time. That is indeed, another reason people dislike it. It’s usually connected to having a high intentionality about life – desiring to be really intentional about who and how you make connections. I don’t know if you’re interested, but you might have fun taking the Enneagram and MBTI tests to see what your predominant in – extroversion or introversion. We all have traits of both, but some of us lean more one way. Might be interesting to know! Thanks again for sharing your insights.

  2. Kristi Bowers

    “Hot enough for ya?” I absolutely hate that small talk question! I have no idea what the right answer is! And I agree, small talk is such a waste of time and I don’t even know what stupid, useless questions to ask other people to keep the conversation going, because I don’t care about their stupid, useless answers.
    I love people as a general idea, but there’s very few I connect with on a level that makes me comfortable and safe.

    1. Kristi – wow – “hot enough for ya?” is not something I’ve heard before. Pretty sure that one would stump me! I have found one of the most important things I can do to curb surface-y level convos is to either remove myself, if possible, or smile and remember that the present moment is literally all I have. I might be the last person that person sees or who smiles at her/him. Definitely NOT easy to do though – trust that I know that! Thank you for sharing your perspective….

  3. I really enjoy these “introspective” posts!

    I love to observe and deeply ponder what I see. I hate the quick “So what did you think/feel about” a certain situation because I need time to consider it. I often feel pressured by extroverts to give quick thoughtless answers, and then I feel as if I agree with their impressions because they are waiting for an answer, and then I feel as if I sold a piece of myself to “go along.” In reality, I think a lot of times the quick surface impressions aren’t always the truest. It takes time to sort through all the impressions and deep connections of things, and figure out what I really think about something. If you are asking me “What do you think?” give me time to figure out what I really think! To me, an extrovert often swoops down to pick up a pretty rock and then casts it aside, while an introvert slowly and carefully mines for gold. Maybe that’s why I love writing so much…it gives me time to think and process and formulate my thoughts.

    While I like to belong, I’d rather be true to me and not be shaped by others. People and relationships are very important to me, but the shallow stuff isn’t. I once went to a friend’s jewelry party just to be supportive, but jewelry isn’t important to me, and I couldn’t relate to statements like “a woman isn’t completely dressed unless she is wearing seven accessories.” I thought, “That’s ridiculous. Who comes with this stuff?” I’d much rather discuss the books that I’ve read, the things I’ve observed, and the meaning of it all.

    I can appreciate the unique differences of people, both introverts and extroverts. I just wish extroverts would stop trying to pressure us to be like them, as if there is something wrong with us.

    1. Love your response, TJ. Pretty spot-on if I do say so myself.

      “And then I feel as if I sold a piece of myself to ‘go along’. Wow, what a way to accurately state the emotion we can feel here, when we try to go against who we are to fit in or be accepted. I’ve never heard it stated this way before, but this is the exact feeling we solicit. Thank you for putting such eloquence to it.

      What you said about writing is SO true – it’s one of the most dominant forms of expressions for introverts. I have a dominant writing expression as well. It is one that allows us to express on our own terms, at our own speed, and with our own thoughts & perspective.

      God, can I ever relate to those jewelry, Avon, Party Lite, parties, etc, etc! I stopped going to those a long time ago, because I just felt like a faker – I really wasn’t interested. I think we have to look for that balance I spoke of – sometimes we just need to get out and go, even if we feel resistance to it, but we have the freedom to pick those instances. If I really like the person giving the party, I can invite her to lunch the next day instead of going. I’m still letting her know I care about her, but I’m asking for a compromise in how we connect.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, TJ!

  4. Judith Mount

    I’m an introvert and have all of these traits. I crave social interaction but at the same time I hate it. I love being alone and doing my own thing, but if the right person comes along whom I’m comfortable with, I’ll talk their ears off. I have a hard time saying no and it’s hard for me to make decisions quickly. I’m very reserved and like to observe my surroundings before getting involved. I love nature: animals, insects, flowers, dirt. I’m not materialistic and I’m very laid back. I always thought I was incredibly shy and would never make friends, but now I know that I’m introverted and its just my personality and I accept it.

    1. Judith – I love that you know yourself so well & have come to accept it. That is such a warm, wonderful feeling. There is nothing like a person who owns their personality and who they are. It makes us irresistible, for sure. I most love that you have been able to carve out the difference between introversion & shyness. Truly, they are not the same. Thank you for being here & sharing your thoughts.

  5. Alex

    I see myself reflected in many of these traits, and good to understand a little more how and why I am as I am.
    As I read, I wondered whether there is another aspect related to a number of the traits you describe here. Beyond the dreaded small talk, there is the second circle of hell: being asked my opinion. For me, ideas are the my most precious possessions. They fill my mind and my soul – they are there for me to explore and inhabit and there’s always something new to learn, always a new way of looking at something. Being asked my opinion can sometimes feel like this other person is plunging a grappling hook deep into my soul and expecting to drag a fully-formed, perfectly thought-out opinion. It just isn’t there. What is there is this web of ideas; interconnected threads of thought tied tightly to emotion and experience.
    I may have an opinion on something, but trying to describe it is like trying to separate the soil from the roots of a pot-plant. So I either try my best and risk losing the listener with an ever-complicated clause-ridden attempt; or I say something easy that risks making me look – and worse, feel stupid.
    And later, if I meet this person again, floating between us is this ‘thing’; this opinion that shot out of my mouth and sits accusingly before me, waiting to nail me to a position I never truly held when they refer to it as ‘what I think’.
    So now, now that I’m a bit older and quite a bit braver I say “it depends when you ask me” or “do you really want to know?”. I have learned to hold my thoughts closer, to not care too much what other people might think of me.

    1. Alex – your comment has me in deep thought. Can’t even describe how accurate this is for me.

      “And later, if I meet this person again, floating between us is this ‘thing’; this opinion that shot out of my mouth and sits accusingly before me, waiting to nail me to a position I never truly held when they refer to it as ‘what I think’.”

      When you said that, my heart sank. I SO identify. It is so frustrating (and sad) to me that humanity has such an unforgiving spirit at times, about things that are said. I believe if we took a more purposeful intention on getting to know others, we might see that maybe they didn’t really “mean” what you “heard.” My goodness, you’ve depicted this well.

      There’s a biblical scripture that warns us to “not throw our pearls to the swine (pigs).” It’s a metaphor for not sharing your most precious thoughts and insights with just anyone. Thank you for the mini scripts – I will use them!!

      Thank you for being here & commenting – beautiful insight.

  6. While I agree that trait 4 is true in some cases, I’d also suggest that the opposite is true. Sometimes we say “no” when we want to say “yes,” but this would boil down to what you said under traits 5 and 6.
    A few examples (one real, the other theoretical): If a guy asks me out on a date, and I say “yes,” I know I’m going to go into the date 100% already trying to figure out if this guy is marriage material. So, if I have any doubts about him when he asks me, it’s more likely that I’m just going to turn down the date. I’d like to go. I’d like to get to know him better. I’d like to find out if he is a great guy (and not just a nice one). But the stress of actually suffering through a potentially painful date is something I’m going to say “no” to.
    A couple weeks ago, a friend (who is more like a brother) invited me to meet his new baby boy. I would have had to travel with him by bus, spend the night, and return in the morning. I suppose the “why” for this one is a little different (and it might apply to the first example as well now that I continue processing this). ***I think introverts like their “home territory.”*** It may have had something to do with the fact that my friend wanted me to make a split second decision, but in all honesty, I did want to go see his wife and son.

    1. Annalisa – I love this. You are SO right on. Sometimes we say “no” when we really want to say “yes.” Wouldn’t have thought of that, but now that I think of it (and read your awesome examples), you have said it. This is a conversation I’d like to start around being assertive with ourselves, not just others. There are many forms of assertiveness – maybe I’ll write about that soon. Thank you for such an insightful post here. Glad to have you.

  7. Nancy Waldo

    This is very helpful. A book that helped me a lot was Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh. I’m an extreme introvert (NOT shy) very involved in ministry both within my church and as a spiritual director. Even if you’re not particularly interested in church, his analysis of the strengths for leadership which introverts bring (when we stop trying to force ourselves to be extraverts, which I have done almost all of my life) is very freeing.

    1. Nancy – I have heard of this book so many times that today, because of this comment, it’s going into my book archive & Amazon bookstore. I haven’t read it, but have only heard great things about it. I’ll be picking it up soon! Thank you for sharing…

  8. Actually in my standpoint, i don’t agree with the “Lacks Assertiveness” part. As an introvert who gets always misunderstood by people as someone who is rude, apathetic and stand-offish, i always feel the need to assert myself further, and tell them what i think so there is less misunderstanding, i say no when i mean no.

  9. Cassie

    Excellent list. The one I feel the most strongly about is number 6. I lose people a lot because of doing so much thinking before saying something about it.. I will get really excited about an idea and want to let the husband or the boss know, but it’s already in the middle of my thought process. I don’t want to blurt out something too soon that may or may not be true or may not be the best idea so I process and research and wait…then I lose people. It’s frustrating, but I am learning to work around it.
    Number 5 is also something I’m learning to do to appease people. I used to be really uncomfortable going into places like banks or stores because I was no good at small talk and jumping right into a serious and/or deep conversation creeps people out. I wish I felt more meaning behind my words when I do this, but if it saves me some stomach cramps I’ll be ok. ^_^

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Cassie. I can identify with your experiences SO much. In my earlier, and not so mature days, I would be guilty of just jumping right to “the heart of the matter” before I really let it sink in. It has taken me years to somewhat improve upon it – it’s not easy because it is SO much a part of us. Love that you’re learning to work around this – aren’t we all?!

  10. For me, Trait IV (saying ‘yes’ when we really feel ‘no’) isn’t due to a lack of assertiveness. I can be very assertive. I simply need time to turn that on.

    If I say ‘yes’ when I want to say ‘no’, it’s due to my difficulty in “thinking fast”.
    I need more time to form a reasonable response.

    This is why I will so often come back later to say “Oops. Sorry. I Changed my mind.” (I can do that because I am assertive… eventually. :-)

    1. Thank you for sharing, Vicki. This brings up a great facet of assertiveness, actually. As an assertiveness coach, I would actually not advise saying “yes” on a consistent basis, just because you have the right to change your mind later. That is actually a form of passivity. Assertiveness would feel the responsibility to not answer at all, until you were ready to answer – not commit until you knew. That would be an assertive approach.

      I do see what you’re saying though, and I agree that we have the prerogative to change our minds. I just don’t think it should be a consistent behavior.

  11. Anna

    Very good article, each point sounds like me :-) Another “trait” that I have found myself struggling with many times is, the tendency to make people really dislike me by seeing right through them. Even when I didn’t mean to, even when I haven’t said a word or even knowingly given them a funny look. Introverts are usually very sensitive and intuitive, as you mentioned in trait II. For example I can remember a second-grade teacher taking an intense dislike to me because I didn’t conform to the happy, quick learner who ate up every false praise she dished out. I was slow in academics but quick to see through her teacher-politician routine, I didn’t give her the constant “Oh Mrs. M. you’re so wonderful!” I couldn’t even verbalize why she made my stomach clench up and I couldn’t “love” her like nearly everyone else did, but she hated me for it.

    As an adult I’ve also dealt with a number of messy and painful situations as a result of being unable to give insecure extroverts around me what they “need.” Seems I commit the unpardonable sin of not giving them something they think they’re entitled to, or seeing through their facade. I don’t tell them so, I don’t rub it in. They just know somehow. Even trying to be gracious and trying to be friendly, something about me is a little too quiet and perceptive…my quietness makes them nervous…or I don’t go along with the program like they want … or I don’t mindlessly take it when they try to pull a fast one on me.

    Maybe I’m not the only one. Would like to hear more from others.

    1. Oh, Anna. This is a GREAT one!

      You hit the nail on the proverbial head with this. And I will tell you – your intuition & discernment here, is a gift. I have it too. I have had these situations too. I hear you. We simply cannot shrink who we are because it makes others uncomfortable.

      I dated a guy once who tried to pull fast ones on me all the time. Our relationship never worked because I was so keen on his game-playing. Even when he wasn’t with me, I would feel things. It’s a very strong gift. In a group setting, it can make others very uncomfortable for you to be looking around the room, picking up on vibes, and sensing moods. And then get the dreaded, “are you okay?” just because you aren’t talking to everyone or “working the room.”

      One thing I can say I’ve learned is to be VERY….and I mean VERY selective about who you share your perceptions WITH. Most people can’t handle what you pick up on, so it’s better to keep it to yourself. This is where my spirituality has come in handy for me – I pray….about EVERYTHING. It gives me an out to have someone to share it with, and feel like it’s not going into the wind, but I’m getting it out. That part of my faith has served me well with the gift. And most of the time, it’s not for anyone else to know what you see anyway. It’s the double bind of the gift.

      Hope this helps! Thank you for sharing and being here.

  12. autmn

    Right up there with alone time is Space. I find that most of the introverts I know have a much larger personal space need than the extroverts I know. People tend to think that we are rude because we don’t want to casually hug every person we’ve met. Not wanting to hug every person I have a casual acquaintance with does not mean I am uptight or anti-social. It just means that physical contact is a form of intimacy that I’m selective about sharing and hugging everyone is right up there with small talk, a complete drain.

    On the same topic it also comes down to needed a space to physically call my own that I don’t have to share with anyone. This is often misunderstood. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into people misreading my need for a space of my own (Mine happens to be my writing desk) that I don’t have to share with anyone as a sign of rudeness or that I dislike someone.

    We need a little bubble of peace and room to decide how much we want to join the fray or chaos that exists around us.

    1. Yes, Autumn! Space. Isn’t it lovely?

      A member in our G+ community was sharing recently about a roommate situation where she really is feeling shut in. Like her space is not being honored by them. I felt for her because I have been there too.

      Once I moved out on my own, I knew until I got married, I’d never have another roommate unless I had to. I love people, but once I tasted being able to have my space when I got home – my quiet – I have never thought twice about it. It is a high value for us, indeed.

      Thank you for adding to the conversation.

  13. I think there is also the potential for “lack of patience” to be a trait. I’m not talking about picking up food at the drive-thru or waiting for the kids to get out of school, but because introverts tend to internalize their thought process, we tend to have already figured out THE ANSWER to the problem. So, when–after all that thinking–we finally present our solution, people a) tend to think we’re just being contrary to the solution that they [probably] already came up with, or b) now need to discuss our perfectly good solution which covers most, if not all, of the problems (either the original or side effects of dealing with the original problem). As I said, this would come because we internalize our thought processes; we don’t talk them out.
    So, why do some introverts lack patience as others discuss their solution? We feel unappreciated (in the case of “a”) or because we internalized our thought process (which is more efficient for us), everyone else hasn’t had a chance to think about our solution nearly as long as we have. We can’t just expect someone else to drop everything and say, “Of course the introvert is right!”

    1. I never thought about this way, Annalisa, but true. We internalize, work everything out, then share the outcome verbally. I’ve been known to think for hours on one thing someone said and bring it up hours later – “remember earlier when you said __________? I thought about it, and ___________.”

      For me, the lack of patience at times is because I am not sometimes able to verbalize what or how I arrived at a conclusion or why it makes sense. That is frustrating, so I am impatient with myself, not others. If I can’t articulate my thought process, I get frustrated. However, if you handed me a pen and paper and asked me to write it….I’d be able to do it in minutes. Amazing how that works!

      Thank you for sharing this – agreed that this is a trait some of us have.

  14. This post is amazingly accurate of who I am! I have felt so alone in being this way, and it’s refreshing to connect with someone who understands what it’s like to be an introvert. I really thought something was wrong with me, as I tried to attend networking functions or hang out in social groups. My heart and soul just isn’t in it. I literally hate small talk, and will even avoid people at the grocery store that I know because I don’t have the energy to even care about the weather, what the kids are up to, etc. I’ve had to learn to guard my self against “energy vampires” (my daughter is one) because I am left so drained after dealing with them. I’m a writer by trade, so I’m perfectly happy to hole up and write, venturing out to the local coffee shop from time to time for a little human interaction or to simply people-watch. The funny thing is that when I am in the mood to be social, I’m very social. So I always thought I was extrovert. Now I see that I truly am an introvert who isn’t shy. I’m kind of like a cat – I’ll come to you when I want “petting,” otherwise leave me alone. :o)

    1. Haha! Love the metaphor, Dawn. And thank you so much for sharing this. I thought something was wrong with me too, for a very long time, until I read Sophia Dembling’s book. Welcome to this community. Know that you are not alone, and there are plenty of us like you!

  15. Sometimes I feel as if extroverts are like the Borg in Star Trek: These aliens have a collective hive mind, all thinking and doing the same things. “Resistance is futile. You shall be assimiliated.” They expect everyone to be like them and there seems to be no room for individualism. It’s like they are afraid of anyone who is different. Why must I be exactly like them? Why can’t I be different?

    I see it a lot when it comes to the Internet. I hear people put down the social media as a disconnect from people and relationships because people aren’t relating face-to-face on it. For me, the reverse is true: I connect deeply on the Internet, finding people all around the world to talk to, but in a way that doesn’t always require immediate replies. It’s like the best of both worlds for me. So why can’t those people understand people relate in different ways, and just because it isn’t the way “you” relate, doesn’t make it “bad”?

    Ugh. And I also think even my humor is different and misunderstood by extroverts. A family member once said at her birthday party, “See, TJ? This what it’s like to have fun.” I wanted to sink into the floor. People who know me think I am funny with a well-developed sense of humor. But this person had a slapstick goofy sense of humor, which I thought was delightful, but she never “got” my humor, which is more subtle, based on observations of life. I have a lot of interests and enjoy life, but she didn’t recognize our unique differences.

    Sometimes I get frustrated by extroverts who can’t seem appreciate differences. I resist the pressure of being assimilated by them, living up to their expectations of what relationship is, humor is, and so on.

  16. Sarah

    I would add the list (for me, at least) that I can’t stand it when my extroverted friends gush about each other (or me, for that matter) either in person or on facebook: “How are you my beautiful smart friend? XOXOXO” I wholeheartedly approve of telling someone they are beautiful and smart, but when done in such an insincere way it just drives me crazy. And when the cameras come out to take the cheesy pictures, I tend to find myself busy with something else.

    1. Haha! Oh, the joys of “social” media. Right, Sarah? :-) It has changed so much for us – the way we work, live, play, and interact. I agree with you that I see this over-exaggerated form of “love” online that most of those people would NEVER say to you if they walked up to you in person. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Greetings Tamisha,

    Wow, finally makes all sense. I was just talking to a friend yesterday and then again today, about processing and thinking things through. I’m ALWAYS in my head and I’m sensitive and feel as well however the mind is takes over. I’m glad I’m not alone. I absolutely loooooove, people watching. LOL
    Assertiveness, is another topic I was “thinking” about the other day, in some ways I am and in other ways I’m not. And finally TMTS is totally me as well. I feel that I may talk too much. LOL I tend to get excitable and can be seen as an extrovert as well however I believe that comes from not being shy.

    Thank you Tamisha for this platform.

    LoveAlways,

    Keli

    1. Thanks for being here, Keli! Assertiveness does tend to be top-heavy for a lot of us – meaning, we are really great at it with one or two areas, and weaker in other areas. That is why I do this work – learning more about this greatly helps introverted women gain back some of that balance she craves and yearns for. It helps keep the ’emotional reactive’ at bay.

      I used to get “talks too much” on every report card when I was little, and if I’m comfortable with a person, I can definitely engage in conversation (like you). That is definitely an extroverted quality, but doesn’t necessarily classify anyone as such. We all have qualities of both personalities. Many introverts are VERY social – we just need to make sure we can replenish afterward. Socializing for us is “energy out”, while for the extrovert, that’s their “energy in.” That’s the difference.

      1. LoveAlways Keli

        Yes, Tamisha that is it. I too got the talks too much as a child or you’re still talking? Lol

        I realized the “older” I got the less I liked being around a lot of people. If its not by choice, like a concert or play or going to listen to live music at a lounge then I don’t like big crowds because of the energy.

        Awesomeness this is truly a blessing o know exactly what’s going on and not have to hold on to a “label” per se.

  18. Elizabeth

    Wow! It’s been a long time since I felt like someone really “got me”. I was blown away by everything I’ve ready and can say unequivocally that it’s all true. I just wish this information was more widespread. Promoting that understanding is so crucial. I’ve found that often people want to make introverts more extroverted in an attempt to “fix us”. That causes me great pains. Seriously! I used to be a shy introvert but I’ve since graduating to being more outspoken; to my own detriment I’m afraid… that “blurting” and “Too much too soon” you talked about? Well… let’s say I’ve lost a few prospective relationships in the process. These guys I take it, must be extroverts… and were probably scared. Lol! Too much too soon… what do I do about that? I just would love to get past the surface talk.

    1. Ha! Oh, how I feel you, Elizabeth! It took me several years to harness my blurts. You are aware of it – no need to judge it too. Approach it with compassion and allow yourself to grow.

      What you’re asking – how to deal with TMTS Syndrome (as I call it), is 1) to give it time. It will take some time, but now that you have an awareness, I don’t doubt you will start catching yourself more often when you’re about to share TMI. (And that’s okay – growth takes time). 2) Sometimes I let surface talk be my guide instead of feeling like I have to jump in and “save” everyone from having it. Sit back & let the extroverts have their small talk – observe it. Give small bite-size pieces of you or info you have tucked away. It keeps you intriguing and mysterious and maintains your edge. Trust me, they’re extroverts – if they want to know more, they’ll ask!

      Hope this helps. Thank you for being here!

  19. Kathryn

    Love this list! I can add a few.

    1 – Introverts sit. I’m a teacher and I’m always sitting at my desk. I try to circulate because I know I’m supposed to but it really intimidates the students. They don’t expect it – or – they sense it’s not in my nature. When I teach I often anchor myself by sitting on a desk or stool or gravitating towards a corner. Same as parties or concerts. I want a seat and my own space.

    2 – I agree with Sarah about the gushing! I’ve never thought of it as an introvert quality but it makes sense. When I say, “Oh, nice shirt! It looks great on you” very sincerely, my other friends will say “Oh. My. GOD! I LOVE the sparkles! YAY SPARKLES! YAY YOU!” I can’t keep up.

    3 – We set our texts so that no one can see if we’ve seen it and we let phone calls go to voicemail. I often wondered why even when I really like the person.

    1. Kathryn – you have me laughing! I love your list! The gushing is just so over-rated most of the time, isn’t it? It’s like……who nelly…..simmer down! But people can’t help it. Let them have their gushing & excitement the same way you want your ability to talk when you want – it’s all in the balance.

      Phone calls. That’s an entire chapter in Sophia’s book that I love! I think you’d dig it. The extrovert often says, “I’d DIE without my phone.” The introvert says, “take it – PLEASE. I could use a break.”

      Love your sharing about teaching and liking to ‘sit.’ I was a certified elementary teacher earlier in my career, and I paced also, but it always felt unnatural. I can identify. There’s something about having your own space and people approaching it because they genuinely want to talk to you, right? It feels so comfortable for us.

      Thank you for being here & sharing.

  20. Anonymous

    Thank you Tamisha,

    I am 51-years old and just beginning to accept my introverted self. For years I thought something was wrong with me. ” Why don’t I like being around large groups of people?”. “Why do I hate small talk?” “Why do I hate to be called on to share in meetings?” “Why do I feel so different than anyone else?” I asked these questions of myself all the time and it seemed to get worse the older I became. I am now beginning to embrace who I was meant to be without any apologies and also accepting my extroverted family and friends who want to talk and interact all the time.

      1. Yesssssssssssssss nature and animals indeed. I didn’t realize it until I got older and got my own puppy. The hardest thing to let him go. I NEED to be by water to write an meditate almost a daily practice too.

  21. Susan

    Beyond grateful for the gift that Susan Cain, you, others are offering in bringing this all to light (and love – literally) With understanding, perspective, insight … comes healing and acceptance. Always. And that is never more true than in a situation where a human beings’ intrinsic self is somehow felt as being wrong – either by the person themselves or others.

    It is not a far leap to compare the struggle for acceptance and understanding of introversion with the acceptance and understanding of being gay. I don’t say that without deep appreciation for the difference in intensity involved – there is little in life more intense than the most personal of traits – our sexuality. But like being gay – being introverted in a society where it seems extroverts run the show for the most part – leaves one with the feeling that they are somehow “not right”; should change; that what to them is the most natural and loving and right thing in the world – is judged the opposite by others.

    End of ramble :o) But thank you – to ALL of you fellow introverts who are waking up along with myself to the thought that Dr. Dwyer was right all those years ago: “I’m OK – You’re OK”! As a boomer about to turn 60 next year – if not now, when – to discover it’s OK indeed to be me … the REAL me. What a gift to offer my grandchildren also – yes sweeties, it’s not in the advertising and the onslaught of pressure to be what others tell you to be – it (YOU) is in your heart and soul. Really, really, really ~ in your heart and soul. Be true to that always, regardless of what anyone else tell you … and either in your outward-ness or your inward-ness …. you will be at your best and offer the most that way to the world.

    And one last thought: yes Christopher, yes. In animals and nature I think we find the beauty and honesty of their non-judgmental acceptance. And animal, a plant, a tree, a cloud ~ they simply ARE their intrinsic selves with an energy of quiet being that attracts the same in us. Perhaps introverts are more drawn to them because we are truly ~ kindred spirits.

    Thoughts offered with much love and appreciation Tamisha, to you and others who are bringing all this to light through social media …. (now ~ back to hummingbirds and horses :o)

  22. Natasha

    Tamisha,

    I can’t thank you more for pointing out trait #2: observing other people. I have been doing this since I was a child — in metro, in buses, in shopping malls, at work…and you explained the reason so well, I just maybe try to understand who they are, how they feel at this particular moment, what makes them happy or sad right now without being engaged in actual interaction. I just love this. Except I’m very sensitive to an open expression of anger… I felt awkward that I was this way (liking to observe others) since my Mom would tell me to stop staring at people (since well, true that it might be intimidating and impolite). I guess as I grew up, I’ve learned to do so less obviously now.

    1. Hi Natasha – you are so welcome, and thank you for your comment. I love watching others, but yes, there’s a way to do it subtly and without making others feel uncomfortable – sometimes it takes practice.

      As an INTJ, I can be caught with what they call “the death glare” where it can literally look like I’m staring into space with the look of death, but usually, I’m just thinking – I can be having the best day with this face on and not realize how it looks to others. I’ve had to work on it.

      You sound like a thinker too – share your MBTI type if you are so inclined.

  23. AJB

    Having just for the millionth time got stick for not socialising after work (even though a week ago I’d say I may go ) I did a chance google, something like ‘what’s wrong with me’ …how awful that we feel like the outsiders and as if we have a disease that needs curing – I now know that, wow, I’m part of this beautiful, unique group of introverts and I’m actually normal :) yay.

    I haven’t always been like this, but its been an over arching ‘issue’ for around 10years …I agree to something, scrabble around to find an excuse not to go sometimes but sometimes I do go but will spend pretty much the entire night/day thinking ‘it’ll soon be over’. I have lots of friends and wonder why and I think I’m generally known as the ‘boring’ one! (Thaaaaaaanks!)…which brings me to another introvert point/trait – I actually think I am the most interesting and unique of my entire circle of friends, am I being biased?!
    The reason I say this is let’s take Facebook for example, I have lost count of comments/emails/conversations along the lines of ‘you’re so funny, keep updating your status you have me in stitches’ etc etc etc …you see, while everyone ‘EVERYONE’ is doing small talk status I’m the one being different, in social circles (small ones) I will be the one who comes up with the wittiest quip and when forced into larger circles I also manage to achieve this 75% of the time, i now think my humour is MY way of putting interesting out there and stopping small talk – however I have to feel really energised for this. Also, we are unique, we don’t follow the ‘crowd’, I’m even getting married (to a fellow introvert!) in a black dress and doctor martins, I’m honeymooning on a Harley doing a road trip and I think I am one of the most interesting, entertaining people anyone could know…but I don’t fit in because I detest socialising and will manage it (kicking and screaming) just enough to keep my friends ‘happy’

    I may sound full of it , but I honestly believe my own introverted hype and I would be interested in hearing if anyone feels the same?
    Lovely to finally fit in :) thank you!

  24. Shauna

    It is difficult to be an introvert in a world that so prizes extrovert ism and tells you there is something wrong with you. A mother and siblings who tell you that you’re weird, you’re antisocial, that you’re crazy, that you’re messed up and need therapy — because you’re not like them. You don’t like wasting a day at a mall. You don’t like going out to coffee or lunch “to chat” about inane trivia. They equate you preference for your own home, a few close friends, books, your garden, with depression and unhappiness, because that’s how they would feel. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to stop being the me that is so displeasing to them (and I’ve been called a bitch, a social retard, an angry person — because I’m not like them!) and tried to be more like them and fake being outgoing. No more. I finally realized I’ve cheated myself out of the joy of being true to me. I now say no thank you. I now excuse myself early from parties when I’ve had enough and need my solitude. I’ve stopped trying to explain myself, stopped trying to explain that I’m not depressed, I’m not angry, I’m not unhappy, I just like what I like — small get togethers every now and then, time to myself to read, garden, knit… I never tell extroverts they need to change. I’m tired of extroverts telling those of us who are happily introverted that we need to change and be more like them, so they feel better! Thank you for your article.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Shauna. SO glad to have you here. It can be so frustrating trying to explain yourself. Some people will just accept it as a part of you being you. For some, it will be more difficult to let them know you’re okay and you don’t need “help.” I can identify with your frustration.

  25. Loved your post. I think this is so great and you are spot on. I’m a blonde 23 year old introvert and people think I’m so stupid its hysterical. I would love a chance to talk to you, you seem like a really cool person. Anyways, great post, I will continue to read some of your stuff, its great to laugh with too.

    Shaelyn

  26. shiko

    This post is amazing. I just learnt about introverts recently, and until then I felt I was not part of the world. People said am anti-social, hypocrite, and a pretender just because i was not comfortable having small talk and doing stuff that seemed unnecessary to my life. Now that I have discovered why, I like my space, my time and few meaningful interactions am so glad. Nearly came to the conclusion that I needed counselling!!!
    I don’t hug every one I meet, and they take it as an offence, frankly to me, its an invasion of my personal space which is reserved for me and the selected few.
    I wish my extrovert friends would understand me.

    1. Hi Shiko. Oh, this is a good one for us to discuss, right? Personal space. Many introverts share this with you – I am actually the opposite – I am a bit touchy-feely. But when someone gets too close in my personal space without my permission, that’s when I have a problem. I can identify with you on this.

      I’m glad you’re here. Many of your extroverted friends probably just need you to educate them slowly on what it takes to thrive in your world and love you your way. If they’re true friends, they’ll want to learn this about you.

      Stick around, as I will be discussing this in future blogs and content.

  27. Danielle

    All of this is true … I wouldn’t call myself shy it’s just that it’s exhausting talking to people. I don’t care about pointless things like you just got a new dog, so what, I would rather talk on an topic I like and I love to talk about my ideas and concepts but small talk is absolutely stupid. I rather stay at home than go to a raging party and most of my friends don’t understand me. They always think I’m depressed or sad but I would rather be quiet do my work than listen to they’re pointless chatter.My mom actually made me go to speech therapy as a child because all my teachers thought I was too quiet and not partaking in questions. I get things on the first try all you have to do is think. Sorry if I come off rude but I 100% agree with you. Don’t get me wrong I love meeting people but I can tell if your fake… I like the real stuff…. why lie, lieing is exhausting I rather paint or read.

    1. Danielle – so many people have childhood stories like yours where their parents thought something might have been wrong. You don’t have to feel alone in that – sometimes it’s hard to know with children because we naturally think they are “supposed” to act a certain way that’s “normal.” I never think parents don’t have their child’s best interest at heart in this.

      I’m glad you’re settling into your introversion – it can be a beautiful, gorgeous thing when you can learn your unique advantages and how to optimize your life through them!

  28. Mona

    Wow! Finally found “myself” on this website! For most of my life I have felt “left out”. I wasn’t excluded but I often found myself in situations that I really didn’t want to be in. The “fake” conversations, forced laughter, awkward social moments and the list goes on. Not knowing what to say when everyone else stayed on “surface talk” only. I always felt more comfortable being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I like people; love the interactions when things are “deep” but sometimes I’d rather be alone than deal with nonsense.

    Thank you so much to all of you for putting your experiences out here! Thank you Tamisha for these conversations!

  29. A trait that I just became aware of is the predisposition to write. I’ve always loved to write and am now just beginning to understand why. Thanks for your article.

  30. ahiddentreasure

    Great blog! Many times I say yes when I would like to say no because societal views include collaborative support. Honestly, in my case the “yes” meant fear. Fear that associates perceive me as non-supportive, therefore withholding support. I use to say all of the time “If I keep this up, no one will be available to attend my funeral”. However, I am learning that there is no need to subject myself to nonsense. Keeping surface people at bay is healthy; if their eventual intention includes clogging my ear. In terms of my circle of influence…….. “It is what it is”.

    Thank you for the great conversation.

  31. Kris

    Hello everyone, This is a great forum. I can definitely relate to most of this info.. But I feel there is just something wrong with me. Being introvert myself, I feel like I “over-think” a lot of things. I get side-tracked into deep thoughts and I sometimes cant focus on what I need to focus on. It’s both good and bad i guess. Good as in understand things on a deeper level. And bad in way because I don’t need to think so deeply about a simple matter. I don’t talk much so I have nothing to do but think!.. sometime. Well, That’s was just something I wanted to share and wondered about and if anybody else felt the same way. This a great topic and a great forum. I love it!

    1. Thanks for being here, Kris! You’re NOT alone (as you can see).

      It’s a classic introverted trait to under-think the really important things and sometimes over-think things that might not matter as much. But really, that’s in the eye of the beholder. What’s important to one person might not be as important to someone else.

  32. Brittany

    Can I just say, yes! This is me. I am 98% introverted and absolutely need my alone time to gather my thoughts and re-energize. I hate when teachers call on me and ask me what I think because I don’t have an answer right away, so I look like an idiot. I am so indecisive and I’m a people pleaser. Being around people makes me grumpy, and sometimes I feel bad, but I can’t help it.

    There are many people that have said I am stuck -up because I don’t like to interact with a lot of people, so they say I think I’m too good for them. This is definitely not the case and it’s not fair for them to assume that.

    Keep on keepin on my introverted friends!

  33. Bethany

    I can’t begin to relate how excited I was to find this post a week and a half ago. For much of my life I didn’t realize I was an introvert because I grew up in an environment where extroversion was forced on you and I learned to ‘fake’ it so well that I believed it myself. While I’ve always possessed many of the classic traits of an introvert, I always just thought that I was weird or there was something wrong with me. It wasn’t until the last few years that I began to ponder the idea that I might be introverted and it wasn’t until this year that I really started to explore it. For years I worked as a Recruiter. Yes, a recruiter. What a perfectly horrendous job for an introvert – meeting and talking to people all day every day??? It was like my own personal hell. I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard for me to simply talk to someone on the phone about a job when my peers seemed to find it so easy. I jumped from job to job for 6 or 7 years thinking I just hadn’t found the right mix. I eventually found my way out of recruiting but remained in Human Resources for another 6 years. Not recruiting gave me slightly less stress but the emphasis here is on slightly.  I’ve actually been very successful in my career in spite of all this but my personal life and psyche has suffered greatly along the way. It’s only in the last week and a half (literally) since I’ve been reading about introversion that it occurred to me that perhaps I was in the WRONG profession completely – or at the very least, in the wrong job in this profession. This knowledge has been no less than earth shattering for me. Finally! It’s NOT weird or somehow a failure that I am exhausted after a day of talking and constantly switching gears – it’s simply that this is not an effective way for me to work. After years of wondering why it seemed to be ‘just me’ that had an issue, I have realized that 1) it’s probably not just me and 2) there isn’t anything wrong with recognizing that my personality and traits aren’t a match for something. I don’t actually have to force myself to fit in a round hole if I’m a square peg. Hooray!!!! I have a long journey ahead to figure out what this means in practice and how I can manage my life in a way more in keeping with the true me but this initial knowledge alone is deeply liberating. I mean, no one questions that diabetics have to manage their sugar intake to leave healthy successful lives. Why is managing our energy intake any different?

    1. Oh, Bethany. I am SO glad you are learning more about yourself, how you manage energy, and can make better choices point forward. It is difficult for introverts to find jobs that suit them. Like you, I also worked in corporate America for big-name companies and job pounced myself. Gained a wealth of experience, but pounced. After 15 years of doing that, I finally found a job and an awesome company that suits me extremely well – I have been able to thrive in my position. Some of us find it on accident, some on purpose, but whenever we DO find it, it’s liberating in the biggest way.

      I hope you stay around – I’d love to know what this journey looks like for you in the coming months. You can never get back that energy lost, but you can preserve so much going forward, now that you know. I appreciate you sharing this here.

  34. Jan

    I am so grateful and excited for this post. I don’t consider myself an introvert, nor an extrovert, but I am dating an introvert, and I’ve been struggling to understand him, and why he does what he does, says what he says, and I have been at a loss as to what to think about it. I feel hurt sometimes when he doesn’t want to take me out on a “date” and would rather stay home with me. We have been dating steadily for a year and a half, and I was beginning to wonder if there really was a chance to have an on-going relationship with him. Everywhere I go, I go alone. I enjoy traveling for long periods of time, and I travel alone. He doesn’t tend to acknowledge things I say, or answer my emails, but we have the same love of nature, animals, and many other things, but he has a higher need for solitude than I do. I’m definitely more social. I just about cried when I read the post (in joy: “Oh my God – that’s HIM”) because it explained so many things to me. I am grateful to now understand my man, and feel that yes, we CAN have a great relationship!!! Thank you so much!

  35. Jen

    I can relate to so much of this article. My big struggle is that many people think I am stuck up or rude which is so not true. I just feel if I don’t have something important to say I just keep my mouth shut. I live in a very small town and I am constantly getting comments that I am rude because I didn’t make small talk- it just drains every ounce of energy I have to pretend to enjoy small talk. I try to,but it is obvious I would rather just jump off a cliff. I mean I will speak and acknowledge someone, but after that I’m done. I have every characteristic of an introvert to the letter. I have a few really close friends that I absolutely adore and would do anything for them! I am always getting questions like are you ok? What’s wrong? When in fact I’m in a great mood. I just wish I could find a way to have a happy medium. Social situations drain me completely and I have to have major time on my own after. Thanks for the article!!

  36. Michelle Campbell

    I fit into the category 1-5 but 6 not so much. Sometimes it’s hard being an introvert because people think that I’m being rude when I don’t speak and I’ve been told that I need to step out my comfort zone and speak up a little more. It also doesn’t help that I’m also painfully shy which on top of being an introvert can be a bit overwhelming. I’m also the type that will sit back and observe while taking everything in instead of being the center of attention. I also have a hard time approaching people especially someone I might like because I get the butterflies in the pit of my stomach, the lump in my throat, I start to shake and tense up and it gets hard to breathe. My friends always tell me “well don’t tell me what you like about him, go tell him” which my reply is “I’m an introvert it isn’t that easy, we introverts have to plan out and analyze everything, and not jump in with both fee” But in a way I enjoy being introvert and it helps me view the world a lot differently.
    Oh and I just thought about this one thing introverts can’t stand is when an extrovert kind of gets in our personal space because it become very overwhelming to us.

  37. kip

    I’m a guy–an introvert– on a site for women. The reason why I had to write is because your article describes me almost to a tee. It actually feels good to see it in writing.

  38. Dezmenn

    I recently discovered that im actually an introvert. I usually think and observe a lot. However, i have a problem. I dont tend to get close to my family members but at the other hand, im can really speak a lot when im with person im comfortable with, not with a lot of people but in a small group of friends or even one. I want to clarify if others are having the same problem as me. Im really glad to know that i have this unique trait. Yeah..like everyone else, extroverts around me used to think that im quiet and shy. They just need to understand that this is a trait not a disorder or anything. Eventhough majority of the population are extroverts, I think they need to learn more about us and not just trying to fix anything that are different from them.

  39. Allison

    I just recently concluded that I’m an introvert, after years of being unsure of what I was. The traits in the article are spot-on, particularly people watching, alone time, TMTS and, my personal favorite, small talk! How I loathe it…yes, I want to have meaningful, real conversations with people and don’t care about what the weather is, especially since it’s an entity that we have no control over. To me, weather talk is used as noise filler because many folks can’t handle silence and feel like they need to say SOMETHING. So, thank you!

    1. Allison – you are OH so right about weather talk feeling like noise filler – I would have to agree with you on that. I mean…sometimes I genuinely want to talk about it, but it usually feels awkward then. It’s probably #1 on the “small talk topic” list. Haha!

  40. lizbeth

    u are seriously the only person who has gotten this right.why doesn’t everyone else do.i just feel like we r soul sisters of sorts now.brilliant post

  41. Hennie

    I am 43 and still struggle daily, some days it is almost unbearable. Am elected into positions where I need to chair meetings and do networking. I hate networking it feels so false. Chairing meetings is so exhausting and stressful. It feels my brain is slower than the rest. People seems to connect the dots so quickly while I am still trying to analyze it from all directions.

  42. Wandiswa Madikane

    Hey

    Thanks for the lovely article, I have always been a shy introvert since childhood but I am now 20 and not shy anymore but however people will call me the shy or quiet girl and that irritates me. I used to feel bad about my introversion but now that I know its natural and a normal thing, I feel good about myself but just that there are some people that think that im lacking confidence because of the fact that im reserved. I graduated and just started working. At the workplace I am having a difficult time. I hate small talks and my colleagues think I am arrogant, depressed and don’t like people and that’s just not true at all. It is not fair :(

  43. Moses

    That is very true. am also an introvert but i had no idea. i really love being alone, doing less or no talk, i hate group discussions coz they make me unconfortable. before i come to realize that i have that personality,i used to make wrong choices that would really make me very unstable. i’ve learned to accept myself the way i am becoz i feel confortable with it, and after all, it is what i feel not what others feel that matters. Thankyou for the article.

  44. Jenna

    Just got a bit teary reading this, now realising there are so many other women who feel the same and that I’m not mentally unstable! It’s bloody hard having these qualities sometimes. The part about over-disclosing is just something I thought was a weird personality flaw. Oh wow, the relief!

  45. Lauren

    TMTS makes so much sense to me! I either talk too much or don’t talk at all. I can relate to everything here. Nice to know I’m not the only one :)

  46. Dayna

    I’m 25 and finally realized that I’m an introvert. And I’m ok with that. I recently got evaluated at my job which is a serving job. And things they said to me about me I was blown away. 1. I get distracted easily by my thoughts 2. I don’t communicate with my coworkers or managers 3. I don’t take leadership(putting on my 2 cents on how to make my job easier) At first I was really mad at the comments but now I see I’m not fit for being a server where on that environment you have to thrive off people and like big crowds. And that’s simply not me. I love being by myself and I get stimulated by my own thoughts.

    1. Hi Dayna! Yes – finding meaningful work is difficult for most people in the world, but especially for introvert personalities. My suggestion to you is to take all of these “problems” they seem to think you have, and go searching for work that actually could see them as strengths. ;-) And all of the other things that you know you need to work on, you can start growing & developing. I’m glad you were able to move past the comments to maturely assess that it just might not be the right job for you. Kudos, my friend. And best of luck to you in finding meaningful work. –T

  47. Crystal

    Hey, just wanted to thank you for posting this article. I am most definitely an extrovert; however, I am married to a text book introvert. Sometimes it is hard for us to communicate and I can get my feelings hurt when he wants to be alone, or does not want to go places with our friends etc. We were actually just discussing this last night, and he was saying all the things you listed. I mean, it’s like he read this article and memorized it before our discussion lol. However, it is really helpful to see it somewhere else and know that others feel the same way. For some reason it makes me feel a lot better to read it coming from someone else, so thanks I guess. I feel like I know/understand my husband a little better now. Crystal

    1. Crystal – that is GREAT news! I’m glad. :-) There’s nothing like a healthy dose of understanding to make our relationships explode with passion and unity again. Love it.

  48. Don

    I’m definitely an introvert. I’m retired now and get to spend all the time I want researching stocks to invest in, watching news or just browsing the web or watching a movie. I used to have severe panic attacks when I was employed and they were triggered by things as small as going to lunch with company reps or driving to a meeting etc.
    One trait that you didn’t mention that I’m very well known for is finding a way to cancel an appointment at the last minute. I begin dreading an upcoming event a week or more before and my wife is always expecting me to cancel if it’s something we’re both supposed to be going to. She accepts it now but doesn’t understand it. We’ve been together over 27 years. She’s the extrovert, doesn’t even ask if I want to go to the mall with her anymore.
    Since I don’t have to take valium at anything close to what I used to, I wonder if introverts are more likely to suffer from panic attacks or social anxiety disorder. I used to take 10-30 mg daily, now 10-30 mg every two weeks or so.

  49. Anne

    I agree with ALL of these.

    I hate small talks, like extremely hate it. I don’t know what to say and how to answer. When someone asks me something, sometimes so many answers pop up in my mind that I don’t know how to answer and sometimes I’m completely blank.

    I’d rather sit and watch a conversation taking place than be a part of that conversation. I can sit for a couple of hours and listen to a conversation. I feel ‘active’ when I listen and observe. Ask me to be part of that conversation and I would feel drained after fifteen minutes and would want to leave that place, close my eyes and relax for a while.

    I’m not always quiet. give me a topic of discussion and I would speak. Just give me a ‘topic of discussion’ first. After being in that discussion I’d again like few moments of solitude.

    I can concentrate in the class. whatever teacher is teaching, in hung up on every word. Even though I’m sleepy and my head us aching, I’d still be fully attentive.

    I hate when many students misjudge and say I don’t talk to them because I’m smart and so and so. I’d talk to anyone. I’d like to help out anyone who has trouble with any question. Just because I don’t want to talk about who Ryan Gosling dated recently doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk to you.

    I find it easy to identify introverts even if I’m eighteen and they are thirty six. And I like introverts because I think they can understand me better. For example, I like talking to my dad than mom because my dad is an introvert while mom is an extrovert. I extremely hate it when my mom compels me to be more outgoing.

    1. Hi Anne! Love, love, love this heartfelt sharing & response here. Thanks so much for sharing yourself & your thoughts with us. :-) I can totally identify with most of this. There are lots of introverts in this community, and I’m glad you’ve found your way here.

      Tamisha

  50. This is a great article and I can totally relate! I know I’m coming late to the party but can you relate to our introverted contradictions? For instance, wanting to be invited but not wanting to leave the house. Or being lonely at home but not wanting anyone in your space. Or wanting recognition for a job well done yet not wanting to be noticed. These self contradictions drive me crazy! Have you experienced them and if so, what are some things you’ve done to create balance?

    1. Oooo! Thank you SO much Robyn! I always read comments so you’re never late to this party. ;-) I absolutely LOVE this idea of the contradictions. I’m actually going to write a new blog post about this soon at your suggestion, so stay tuned!

      Hugs,
      Tamisha

      1. Anne

        Takisha, have you written on this topic yet–the introvert’s contractions? I, too, thought is was a wonderful topic and would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

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