What does being an introvert really mean? For those on the outside, being an introvert means you like to stay home, wear your pajamas, say “no” to social events, and binge-watch your favorite Netflix TV shows.
But anyone who’s really an introvert knows that’s far from the truth.
Being an introvert can be complicated (as all personalities are), but here’s what you need to know:
1. Being an introvert doesn’t actually mean you’re shy.
Sure, shyness can be a part of an introvert’s personality, but at the core, these two things—introversion and shyness—are vastly different.
Shyness is often fear-based. Maybe you’re shy because you’re scared of being judged. Maybe you’re shy because you feel nervous in social situations or have social anxiety. Or maybe you’re shy because you don’t feel comfortable somewhere. All of those are valid feelings, but they don’t necessarily mean you’re an introvert.
Introversion is rooted in a preference for a less stimulating environment. It’s a focus more on the internal feelings over external sources. This is why your introverted friends will often need to “escape” from loud or crazy social situations or want to “recharge” after being with others. Solitude is a means of reconnecting with oneself and regaining energy. (It’s also something that’s necessary for an introvert to feel regulated, so please don’t take it personally!)
2. Being an introvert means quiet environments are preferred.
This may come as a no-brainer for those who are introverted (or understand their introverted loved ones), but someone with this type of personality prefers quiet situations for work, studying, or anything that requires focus.
While some individuals can listen to music, multitask, or function with background noise and voices, introverts often struggle with these outside interruptions and prefer minimal distractions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t work without complete silence, it does mean that peace and quiet is preferred, when possible.
3. Being an introvert means the mind takes priority.
Many introverts will identify with the “mind over matter” or a logical thinking approach rather than “follow your heart.” This is not because they’re rigid, but because so much of their personality is rooted in their mind. In fact, some introverts may say that they “live in their head” which means they are constantly inundated with thoughts and reflections of the world.
While introverts are often quiet, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on up there! An introverted person is often a deep processer, critical thinker, and calculated reasoner. On the downside, though, an introvert might also be an over-thinker or over-worrier, especially when it comes to loved ones or important decisions.
4. Being an introvert means knowing how to listen.
Some of the best listeners are introverts. Not because they struggle to put words together and speaking them aloud (although this does happen to some introverts who get “lost” in their heads), but because they are so willing to put aside their own needs for others.
Introverts are some of the most selfless and dedicated friends, partners, and coworkers. They are often the ones who keep the peace during arguments or hear all sides of the disagreement without reacting in anger. Because they process so much in their heads, introverts are excellent at collecting their thoughts, rationalizing different sides of the story, and being attentive to those who are feeling upset.
5. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you crave isolation.
While time alone is necessary to reset the system, introverts aren’t antisocial—they are selectively social. This means that being invited to places and included in events is still important, but that doesn’t mean they’ll attend (and that’s okay!).
If you feel like your introverted loved one doesn’t care about you, chances are, that’s not the case. Perhaps they’ve been declining invitations because going out feels like too much or because they need a “brain break.” Talk to your friend about how you’re feeling, and on the flip-side, make sure you share your events and outings with your introverted friend(s), even if you know they won’t come.
Everyone likes being included and it’s the invitation that counts—more than physically showing up.
To learn more about introverts and their unique personalities, click here. You can find other articles on personality types on our blog and if you haven’t taken the FREE personality test on Birdy’s app, click here!