Have you heard, ‘’Why are you so quiet?’’, more times in your life than you can count? Have you always felt a little bit different? And do you feel extremely tired from socializing too much? Then you might be an introvert, just like me.
What’s an introvert?
An introvert is someone who prefers a calm, quiet and low stimulating environment. Socializing too much drains their energy and they need to recharge by being alone.
This has everything to do with the amount of stimulation introverts need in comparison to extroverted people. Extroverts enjoy getting that extra bit of stimulation, but introverts function best with less stimuli.
If you’re an introvert (and especially if you’re highly sensitive) being exposed to too much stimulation can be overwhelming and can leave you feeling completely drained.
Every introvert reacts differently to stimuli. Some introverts get drained quicker from socializing and need more time to recharge than others. But overall, there are quite a few things that are common for introverts.
Here are 11 signs that you’re a true introvert.
1. You Like to Spend Time Alone
As an introvert, you enjoy spending a lot of time alone.
Even when it’s a Friday night, you’d sometimes rather spend the night in by yourself than go to a party. And you don’t necessarily need to have your weekends jam-packed with fun stuff to do, you’re completely fine with staying at home and reading a book or watching a movie as well.
Perhaps you even find yourself making excuses from time to time so that you can spend time alone (and that’s totally fine!).
Spending time alone is how you recharge.
Knitting, reading, writing, drawing, cooking or whatever you like to do. It feels so good to have this time for yourself.
2. You’re a Good Listener
You’re the one your friends turn to when they have issues and they need someone to talk to.
That’s because they know you’ll REALLY listen to what they have to say.
Instead of giving them advice they didn’t ask for, you let them empty their hearts without interrupting. You make them feel understood and loved by just listening to them.
In a discussion, you listen to what other people have to say before jumping to conclusions and interrupting. Instead, you take your time to listen and understand.
You think carefully before you react and you choose your words wisely.
3. You pick up on the little details
Introverts are true observers and we notice the little details that other people might miss.
When someone is talking, you do not only pay attention to what they’re saying by you also notice their body language and facial expressions.
You pick up on the little signals and you can tell when someone is upset, angry or disappointed, even when they try to hide it.
Because you pick up on the little details, you just know when something is off.
4. You Don’t Like Small Talk
The typical ‘’Hi, how are you’’ conversations in the hallways at work are just not for you. And you try to avoid small talk whenever you can, even if that means waiting a little bit longer to go out or making a detour so that you don’t run into that one person.
I’m with you: I’m not a big fan of small talk either.
As introverts, we crave more meaningful connections and conversations. Small talk often feels inauthentic and forced, and that’s why we dislike it so much.
Sometimes you do engage in small talk, for example when networking. Even though it may feel unnatural to you, you know it’s valuable so you do it anyway.
Only to come home afterwards and feel totally drained…
5. You Prefer Writing over Speaking
You feel that you can express yourself much better through writing than speaking, because it allows you to think about an appropriate response.
When having to answer something on the spot, you often don’t know what to say or how to respond. And afterwards, you may find yourself thinking about your response and feel stupid for not having said something better or different.
You like to take your time to think about what you want to say.
That’s why you’d also rather send people an email, instead of calling them on the phone (because imagine them saying something you don’t know how to respond to… A true nightmare!).
Can you imagine I had a job in sales not too long ago…? Brrr!
6. Too Much Socializing Drains Your Energy
Parties, dinners, after work drinks…. Big social gatherings are just not really your thing.
No, it’s not because you’re not a social person or because you don’t like a good party. It’s just that socializing uses up a lot of your energy and the environment is overstimulating: it’s crowded, noisy and filled with people.
As a result, we tend to feel tired quicker than other people.
Perhaps you’ve experienced it before: you’re having a good time at a a party, but then suddenly you feel tired and want to go home, while everyone else still wants to stay.
When coming home or the day after you feel completely drained and extremely tired from all the socializing. It almost feels like you have a hangover, but unlike a hangover you don’t even need to drink a whole lot of wine to feel it.
7. You Have a Small Group of Friends
Because socializing takes up so much of your energy and you only have a limited amount of social energy to spend, you carefully choose the people you want to spend time with.
That’s why you prefer to spend your time with a small group of close friends with whom you can have sincere, deep and meaningful conversations.
In their company, you may find yourself laughing and talking all evening without feeling drained afterwards like you would in a big group setting.
8. You Don’t Like to Be the Center of Attention
And I completely feel you on this one!
In school, I was that kid who wouldn’t even think about raising her hand in class if the teacher asked a question, even if I knew the answer.
And when I’d have a question, I’d rather wait for the class to be over to ask my teacher personally, than to ask it in front of an entire class (Or even better: hoping someone else would ask my question, so that I didn’t have to).
If you’re an introvert like me, this is probably something you recognize.
You’d rather let someone else be in the spotlight. Unless it’s something you’re really passionate about and it’s something you think people need to hear, you’ll take the chance.
9. You’re in Your Head a Lot
You’re in your head a lot, thinking and wondering about things. And you find yourself daydreaming a lot about the future.
There’s a lot happening in your mind. You always have thoughts, creative ideas and questions popping up in your head.
It’s hard for you to stop thinking and sometimes that may results in overthinking about all the small things.
10. You Seek Meaning
You’re always looking for meaning: in your job, in your life and in your relationships. Because as a thinker, you like to dive deep.
Superficial conversations are not for you and you want your work to be meaningful. And when you find something truly interesting, you want to know everything there is to know.
You also like to think a lot about the big questions in life and self-reflection is important to you.
11. You Sometimes Feel Out of Place
Our Western society is build around the belief that people should be sociable, bold and that we should be putting ourselves out there. Susan Cain calls this ‘’The extrovert ideal’’ in her book ‘’Quiet’’.
We have open offices and there is a focus on teamwork in schools and at work. But if you’re an introvert, this is what causes overstimulation for you.
You prefer to think about things and work in a quiet place instead of brainstorming in a team or in a noisy environment. It’s where your creativity blossoms and where you can thrive.
So it’s not strange that you might feel out of place at work or at school from time to time. Or perhaps you feel like you’re not fitting in with the rest of the world.
I’ve felt this way for a very long time, and if you feel the same way because you’re an introvert I want you to know: It’s not you, it’s the world around you.
Just one more thing…
If you resonate with these signs, you might be an introvert too. And even though it might feel like you’re the only introvert amongst your friends or at work, know that you’re definitely not alone!
1 out of 2 to 3 people in the U.S. is introverted, but a lot of them may pretend that they’re extroverted because that’s what our society expects us to be. It’s how we’re taught to be when we grow up, so we hide that we’re introverted.
If you want to learn more about being an introvert, I highly recommend reading ”Quiet” by Susan Cain. This book has taught me so much about myself and about the world we live in.
Now I’m wondering: which of these signs do you resonate with the most? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!