Examples of introverts

Signs of an Introvert Personality: Types, Traits & Characteristics

Written by Rachel Reiff Ellis

In this Article

  • What Is an Introvert?
  • Signs You Might Be an Introvert
  • Causes of Introversion
  • Types of Introverts
  • Introversion Versus Shyness
  • Myths About Introverts

What Is an Introvert?

An introvert is a person with qualities of a personality type known as introversion, which means that they feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what’s happening externally. They enjoy spending time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds.

When you hear the word introvert, you might think of someone who's shy or quiet and prefers to be alone. While that may be true for some introverts, there's much more to this personality type. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert all depends on how you process the world around you.

A psychologist named Carl Jung began using the terms introvert and extrovert (sometimes spelled extravert) in the 1920s. These two personality types sort people into how they get or spend their energy. Introverts, Jung said, turn to their own minds to recharge, while extroverts seek out other people for their energy needs.

Signs You Might Be an Introvert

Around one-third to one-half of all people in the U.S. are introverts. Though it looks different in everyone, introverts have many of the same patterns of behavior. In general, introverts:

  • Need quiet to concentrate
  • Are reflective
  • Are self-aware
  • Take time making decisions
  • Feel comfortable being alone
  • Don't like group work
  • Prefer to write rather than talk
  • Feel tired after being in a crowd
  • Have few friendships, but are very close with these friends
  • Daydream or use their imaginations to work out a problem
  • Retreat into their own mind to rest

One way to find out if you're an introvert is to take a test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the SAPA project.

Causes of Introversion

Scientists don't know for sure if there's a cause for introversion or extroversion. What they do know is the brains of the two personality types work a little differently from each other. Researchers have found that introverts have a higher blood flow to their frontal lobe than extroverts do. This part of the brain helps you remember things, solve problems, and plan ahead.

Introvert brains also react differently to dopamine than extrovert brains do. That's a chemical that turns on the reward- and pleasure-seeking part of your brain. Introverts and extroverts have the same amount of the chemical, but extrovert brains get an excited buzz from their reward center. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to just feel run-down by it.

Types of Introverts

Being an introvert isn't an all-or-nothing stamp on your personality. Psychologists think of introverts as falling somewhere on a scale. Some people are more introverted than others. Other people fall right in the middle of the scale. They're called ambiverts.

Introverts usually have a few extroverted traits mixed in with their introverted ones, and vice versa. There are a wide range of ways to be an introvert.

One study shows that introverts tend to fall into one of four subtypes:

Social introverts. This is the "classic" type of introvert. Social introverts like small groups and quiet settings over crowds.

Thinking introverts. People in this group are daydreamers. They spend a lot of time in their thoughts and tend to have creative imaginations.

Anxious introverts. They seek out alone time not just because they like it, but also because they often feel awkward or shy around people.

Restrained/inhibited introverts. These introverts think before they act. They aren't likely to make a decision on a whim. Typically they take longer to take action.

Your introverted ways may change over time, and in different settings, too. You're not likely to swing from introvert to extrovert. But it's possible you could become more or less introverted, depending on what's going on in your life.

Introversion Versus Shyness

Many people think of introverts as shy, but the two aren’t linked. Introversion is a personality type, while shyness is an emotion.

People who are shy tend to feel awkward or uncomfortable when they’re in social situations, especially when they’re around strangers. They may feel so nervous, they become sweaty. Their heart may beat quicker, and they may get a stomachache. They may be inclined to skip social events because they don’t like the negative feelings that take over their thoughts and bodies when they have to go to parties or other activities.

People who are introverted also prefer to skip social events, but it’s because they feel more energized or comfortable doing things on their own or with one or two other people. Introverts don’t choose to skip social events because they have strong negative reactions to larger gatherings the way that shy people do; they just prefer being alone or in very small groups.

Myths About Introverts

One common myth about introverts is that they’re shy. Some introverts may be shy, but this is not the case for all introverts. Other myths include:

  • Introverts are unfriendly. Being an introvert doesn’t affect how friendly you may be. Some people may think that introverts are unfriendly because they don’t tend to have large groups of friends, and they may reflect on situations quietly rather than joining in on conversations at gatherings.
  • Introverts can’t be leaders. Although people may think of an extroverted personality when they imagine a leader, introverts have the skills to be bosses and leaders, too. Some of their qualities make them effective leaders: They listen to their employees’ ideas, they can stay focused on long-term goals, and they may seem less threatening, so people may accept them in their roles.
  • It’s hard to get to know introverts. Introverts prefer to have deep friendships with only a handful of people. They may not open up to everyone who wants to small-talk, but the people they’re close with know them very well and develop real friendships with them.

Famous Introverts and What You Can Learn From Them

It’s common to associate success with “putting yourself out there,” but garnering attention isn’t a telltale sign that someone will be successful. Thanks to a newfound appreciation for quieter success stories, famous introverts can teach you three impactful lessons. First, there isn’t only one type of personality that can attract success. Second, introverted characteristics hold their own power. Third, it’s possible (and suggested) to recognize the traits that may be holding you back and figure out how to change them even a quarter-turn to get out of your own way.

On Being an Introvert

Before we get into the list of famous introverts and what they can teach us, let’s clarify that there’s, of course, nothing wrong with being an introvert. However, introverts are often (and mistakenly) thought to be any or all of the following:

  • Aloof
  • Awkward
  • Loners
  • Nerdy
  • Unfriendly
  • Shy
  • Strange
  • Withdrawn

Truthfully, anyone can possess any of these qualities at some point, introvert or not. You may also feel that you’ve become more of an introvert as you’ve gotten older. This may be because you’re more comfortable spending time alone. Or, maybe your social circle shrunk after college or you have a solo job and you’re secluded during work hours. Whatever it is, strike that list of misinformed qualities from your mind. Focus on the following qualities instead, because loners tend to:

  • Decide quickly what needs to be done and adapt to the circumstances
  • Enjoy their alone time instead of feeling lonely during it
  • Focus on the task at hand without distraction
  • Handle situations independently and responsibly
  • Have fewer friendships, yet they’re deeper, long-term friendships
  • Listen well when others need to talk about something that’s on their mind
  • Need a break and some “me time” after outdoor and/or social activities
  • Prefer modes of communication that are indirect, like texting instead of a phone call
  • Seem unflappable, calm and in control
  • Thrive in one-on-one relationships
  • Think and consider their next move before they act or speak
  • Understand the big picture and how elements connect

Some of these qualities are positive, while others are simply self-aware. None of them are particularly negative, though, or something you should feel like you need to change.

Introverts vs. Extroverts

Business success is about being able to make smart decisions and knowing how to solve problems. For celebrities, success may be about natural talent and a great promotional team behind you. Neither type of success requires a person to be outgoing or even sociable, at least not all the time.

Most people are on an introvert-extrovert spectrum, having a combination of strengths and weaknesses from both categories. Which way you lean has to do with where your energy comes from and what zaps it, though, not how shy you are or how comfortable you feel walking into a room of strangers. Introverts get more energy from being alone than from being with people. Spending time with others can drain that energy and alone time is required to refill the tank. Extroverts are the opposite – they get energy from being around others and start to feel their energy drop when they’re alone.

8 Famous Introverts and What They Can Teach You

It’s surprising to learn that some of the most famous faces are actually introverts at heart. You’d assume that to perform in some way, you’d need an outgoing, extroverted personality. Turns out, that’s not true. Here are 8 famous introverts and the lessons you can learn from them.

1. Albert Einstein

Not only is Einstein one of the most famous scientists in history, but he was also a known introvert. Leaning into his introverted nature, Einstein believed that his creativity and success came from keeping to himself. He said, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

The Lesson: Time spent in solitude may provide the space you need to create.

Your Turn: Carve out time for yourself where all that’s on the agenda is creative thinking or working. If you don’t know where to start, meditate to see where your mind wanders or set a timer for 15 minutes of freewriting.

2. Bill Gates

Bill Gates has said that introverts can be successful by recognizing and taking advantage of their particular strengths. For example, take time to yourself to think and come up with ideas. Then, by combining those strengths with what extroverts do best (such as by hiring extroverts at your company), you can tap into both sets of skills to thrive. It’s also interesting to note that Gates is an introvert, but he’s not shy, which is a reminder that most people have some introvert and extrovert qualities that exist simultaneously.

The Lesson: Extroverts are not better than introverts, and vice versa. Instead, both personality types have their pros and cons, and businesses need both types of people to be successful.

Your Turn: Pinpoint a weakness that’s standing in your way, then create a plan of action to fix it. That can mean outsourcing work, like marketing or sales, to someone who does it better or figuring out how to improve that weakness in yourself, like by taking public speaking classes.

3. Eleanor Roosevelt

Since she’s known for being a public person thanks to her entertaining, lectures and press conferences, it’s surprising to learn that Eleanor Roosevelt was actually an introvert. Roosevelt believed that having a friendship with yourself is important, because only then can you be a friend to others.

The Lesson: An early life that forces you into solitude can lead to growing into a compassionate adult who’s sensitive to people’s differences.

Your Turn: Pick out three introvert characteristics you like, then make a point to compliment three people for possessing those same traits. You’ll see how being an introvert can actually connect you to others instead of keeping you in seclusion.

4. Elon Musk

Elon Musk said that it took him a lot of time and practice to get comfortable with going up on stage and speaking clearly, but that as the head of a company, it’s something you have to learn how to do.

The Lesson: Similar to the Bill Gates lesson, Musk’s experience as an introvert provides encouragement to unearth the introverted quality that’s standing in your way and do your best to change it.

Your Turn: Research the problem you’re facing, whether it’s public speaking, making one-on-one conversation with strangers or appearing approachable at networking events. Arming yourself with knowledge is an essential first step out of the problem.

5. Emma Watson

In an interview with Rookie, actress Emma Watson talked about how people applaud her for not being a party girl, especially in such a party-centric industry. Her response is that she’s not trying to be known as a non-party girl, but instead she’s just a natural introvert who isn’t into that scene. She also talks about how she once thought something was wrong with her because she wasn’t an extrovert. Eventually, though, she realized her introverted-ness wasn’t something to be ashamed of.

The Lesson: Embracing your introverted qualities can lead you to be the person you want to be, and without much effort.

Your Turn: Think about one of your introverted traits you’re ashamed of or embarrassed by, then list all of the ways it’s actually benefited you. Brainstorm how that trait can help you succeed moving forward.

6. J.K. Rowling

Introverts are often their most creative when left alone. J.K. Rowling is a great example of this – it’s well-known that she dreamt up Harry Potter when taking a solo train trip. Plus, her pen wouldn’t work, but she was too shy to ask a stranger to borrow one, opting to compose the story in her head.

The Lesson: Even being painfully shy around others doesn’t have to get in the way of your ability to move forward. Actually, it can be helpful, allowing you to hyper-focus. Rowling has said, “I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.

Your Turn: Instead of throwing in the towel when one thing stands in your way, keep going with the work that’s most important. You’re allowed to avoid the thing that scares you, so long as you can still succeed without it.

7. Meryl Streep

More actors than you realize are introverts, including Academy Awards winner Meryl Streep. To get through occasions where she can’t keep to herself, she uses visualization and tells herself that her mother would be able to get through the situation. When speaking with Michelle Obama, Streep said, “It’s a good thing, to imagine yourself doing something you think you can’t.”

The Lesson: You’re not chained to the introverted qualities that hold you back, and fear is sometimes there to be pushed through.

Your Turn: Play pretend. The next time you’re in a situation that feels threatening, like having to collaborate with coworkers, act as though you’re someone else, a person you admire who performs well in that type of setting. It will feel uncomfortable, but you’ll show yourself that nothing terrible happens when you’re a bit more outgoing, especially if the situation requires you to be.

8. Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet, one of the richest people in the world and a highly respected leader in the financial industry, had to put extra time and effort into figuring out how to connect with people. Part of his success is due specifically to his preference for solitude, though – it’s given him the focus needed to become an expert. According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Buffet’s introverted personality, namely his ability to think clearly and act wisely when other people often panic, is what has kept him on top.

The Lesson: Being an introvert may put you in a better position to recognize a warning sign of failure and act on it appropriately. Cooler heads prevail.

Your Turn: When a problem is looming, don’t join the masses in their panic. Retreat to think the problem through and to make a smart decision – this is where introverts shine their brightest. Adam McHugh of Quiet Revolution agrees, writing, “Because we do our best work in solitude, creative introverts may be less reliant on established norms and more able to see and hear new things.”

Final Thoughts

There’s no reason for an introvert to force themselves to become an extrovert (and it probably wouldn’t work, anyway). What you can do is take note of extroverted personality traits you admire. Then, work on developing them more, possibly even turning to your introvert-specific traits to help you. For example, if you know you need alone time after a social gathering, allow yourself that alone time to recharge. You may then feel energetic and confident enough to be open, warm and talkative the next time you’re surrounded by people.

Overall, remember that people aren’t all one thing – you’re not all introvert or all extrovert. You can accept or adapt whatever characteristics you want to create your own personality, regardless of how it’ll be labeled.

How has being an introvert helped you succeed? You may also want to check out this article about Why Being Resilient is Essential to Success.

Featured image via StockSmartStart / shutterstock.com

12 famous introverts who were not prevented from achieving world fame by being isolated / AdMe

Public figures, being constantly under the scrutiny of the press and fans, it would seem that they should enjoy it and by default be open and talkative. However, some of them admit that they are introverts by nature and an increased interest in them seriously weighs them down. At the same time, the ability to dive deep into their inner world allows stellar introverts to easily get used to any role.

Bright Side found the most famous introverts, whose isolation did not prevent them from becoming famous all over the world and winning the love of millions of fans.

12. Keanu Reeves

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Keanu Reeves' introversion has become the subject of many memes. A few years ago, Time magazine called the actor "Hollywood's biggest introvert." A successful actor does not hide his nature behind a mask and himself admits that he has always been a loner and does not like noisy companies, preferring solitude or the company of his closest ones. So, he celebrated his 50th birthday together with his sister.

11. Johnny Depp

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Most of Johnny's roles are closed characters, which in many ways reflect the features of the actor himself, avoiding excessive attention. Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, Barnabas Collins the vampire, Sweeney Todd the hairdresser, you could go on and on. Maybe that's the secret to great role-playing - being yourself. The actor admits that he is very shy, but his profession obliges him to be in the spotlight. 9Audrey Hepburn “I am an introvert. Playing an extroverted girl turned out to be the most difficult thing I have ever done, ”the actress admitted. Closed nature, however, did not prevent Hepburn from being a famous philanthropist and helping those in need around the world.

9. Meryl Streep

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It's hard to believe, but Meryl Streep, known for her images of principled and sometimes tough women, also calls herself an introvert. According to the actress, she loves loneliness, and in her work she constantly has to overcome her fear of the camera.

8. Salma Hayek

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The Mexican actress, known for her passionate and daring images, admits that she is very shy by nature and has a panic fear of the stage and performances in front of a mass audience . And if she brilliantly manages to overcome her fears in front of the camera, then the actress compares work for the open public with deathly torture.

7. Jessica Simpson

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Once the singer confessed to her fans that since childhood she was very shy, but she struggles with it all her life. The stage and film roles have become a great way for Jessica to cope with the fear of communication and shyness, which the singer considers shortcomings.

6. Courteney Cox

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The Friends star revealed in an interview that she is an introvert and prefers to hang out at home with her closest friends over social events. According to the actress, the difference in temperament at one time became one of the reasons for their separation from her husband David Arquette, who loves to communicate and spend time outside the home.

5. Zayn Malik

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A few years ago, the British performer admitted in an interview that fame is not easy for him due to the mandatory attendance of social events. As a shy nature, he is tired of the obsessive attention of the public. According to Zane, it is the image of the "bad guy" that allows him to hide his insecurities and shyness.

4. Lady Gaga

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The shocking singer calls herself an introvert and admits that immersion in the world of music and her own creativity seems more interesting to her than Hollywood fame. Perhaps all this theatrical make-up, feathers, spikes and wigs is the only way for her to protect her inner world from strangers.

Psychologists say that it is easier for introverts to shock the public, because, unlike extroverts, they are not very interested in what others think of them.

3. Blake Lively

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Despite the fact that the actress became famous thanks to the Gossip Girl series, she has almost nothing in common with her heroine. By her own admission, Blake is not a fan of noisy parties and has always been very modest and shy. Like any introvert, the actress needs a lot of time to make friends with someone, and she prefers to spend her free time doing a very homely activity - cooking.

2. JK Rowling

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A successful writer often repeats in her interviews that she is an introvert and only with the advent of world fame does she manage to gradually loosen up. Perhaps it was the inherent ability of introverts to better express their thoughts in writing that allowed her to achieve such success in the writing field.

1. Steven Spielberg

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One of the clearest examples of how an introverted person can be a leader. The famous director admits that he is embarrassed about dinner parties, talking to strangers and prefers not to read reviews of his films.

Which of the above-mentioned celebrity personalities surprised you with their confession? Share in the comments!

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Bright Side/Music/12 famous introverts who weren’t prevented from achieving world fame by being closed off

25 things that only introverts will understand

March 25, 2021Life

tests. You are prone to introversion if you notice these oddities in yourself.



1. You don't leave the apartment until the neighbor leaves

Situation: you hear that the neighbor's door opens in the hallway or on the landing. In order not to once again intersect with a person, you calm down and wait until he leaves. Yes, it's strange, but sometimes introverts hide from even the nicest people, just to avoid having to exchange a few words with them.

2. You are secretly glad that your friends canceled the meeting

In order not to be considered a hermit, sometimes you have to go out to meet with friends. But when the general plans are canceled, in your soul you rejoice: you can stay at home and not pretend to be a sociable type.

3. You feel uncomfortable at a party

Despite the dislike of noisy companies, there are events that you cannot avoid: a corporate party, a friend's wedding or a New Year's feast with relatives. The first thought that visits you at any meeting is: “What am I doing here ?!”

4. The Internet is not just a hobby for you, but a way of life

It is much easier for introverts to formulate thoughts on paper than to talk. It is difficult for you to communicate live, but in social networks you feel like a fish in water. In online correspondence, you can joke, and show off your mind, and leave a well-aimed comment.

5. You shy away from sales assistants while shopping

It's understandable: it's easier to find the right model and size yourself than to keep up a conversation with a stranger.

6. You try to be inconspicuous

You are not against communication, you are just not always ready for a conversation: it requires attitude and energy. In order to be less tired, introverts unconsciously limit themselves in communications, and in order to replenish their strength, they spend time alone.

In life, it manifests itself like this: you need to get something out of the refrigerator, and at this time your neighbor with a friend or parents with guests are sitting in the kitchen. The way out is to act like this guy from the gif:

7. Instead of a noisy company, you choose solitude

You are invited to spend the weekend together, and you say that you are very busy. Everyone understands that this is not so: in fact, you will stay at home and enjoy being alone. For introverts, this is the norm: they are not in a hurry to party and are able to enjoy the time spent alone with themselves.

8. You answer questions in monosyllables

What's new? and "How are you?" you try to answer as briefly as possible so that, God forbid, a conversation does not start. Small talk about anything is easy for extroverts, and introverts do not like this format of conversation.

9. You try to sneak out of the party

And try to do it as early as possible. You have an escape plan in reserve, for this you get to a meeting in your car. This is especially true for parties that you don’t want to go to in advance.

10. You rarely answer phone calls

By default, you do not answer calls from numbers you do not know, and prefer texting to a conversation with a friend or colleague.

11. You like to go to the cinema alone

You enjoy watching a movie alone or with a loved one. Afternoon sessions on weekdays, morning sessions on weekends - you try to choose a time when the hall is almost empty. Together with you, there are 2-3 more people in the hall - the same introverts who avoid large crowds of people.

12. You pretend not to notice someone you know.

Situation: after work you went to the grocery store. Everything is going well until you notice a friend between the rows of buckwheat and pasta. Your standard reaction is to turn away and quickly leave before he sees you.

13. Never open the door if you are not expecting guests

Why? You never know: a too friendly neighbor came for salt and will complain about the management company for 15 minutes, or the manager of an Internet company obsessively asks you to connect their new tariff.

14. Are you afraid to be alone with strangers

Maintain a conversation with a person you see for the first time? Never! This is what you look like when your friends leave you for a few minutes alone with their acquaintances:


Never order over the phone when you can online

Why call when you can write?

16. You don't know how to behave when people sing the song "Happy birthday to you!"

You feel awkward and uncomfortable around people. Birthday becomes a special torture: you are talked to more than usual and paid too much attention. I want to hide under the table or run away!

17. Try to solve work issues through correspondence

While colleagues annoy you with phone calls, you prefer to solve everything by correspondence. Working in open space becomes a real tragedy: the noise and people around paralyze your work. "Please, can we have a quiet place?" - you think in especially difficult days.

18. Don't like to keep up a conversation with a stranger

You wish you could be invisible when someone in a bar or on an airplane starts talking to you. “Don’t start a conversation with me just because we are sitting next to each other,” you mentally tell your interlocutor. It's not that introverts do not like people and live communication. They are simply not ready to carry on a conversation with a stranger: this causes terrible discomfort.

19. An ideal day on the beach for you is a day on a completely empty beach

Any person has such thoughts from time to time, especially when the beach is crowded, and you can safely swim only 50 meters from the shore. But for introverts, such a desire appears much more often: an empty beach is more comfortable for them by default than a crowded one.

20. You like to train alone

You hate personal trainers, group classes and chatters during sports because training time is your personal time. No joint runs and jokes with a trainer in the gym - why, when you can be alone with your thoughts and listen to your favorite tracks?

21. You don't reply to messages right away

Before you write a reply, you need to think about the content of the letter. Sometimes you completely forget to answer, and then justify yourself, coming up with stupid excuses.

22. You are not happy to meet new people

Even the very thought that you will have to meet new people is terrifying. This does not mean that you do not know how to make friends, it just makes it difficult for you to meet new people.

23. You shy away from too friendly acquaintances

Every time someone violates your personal space, you have an irresistible desire to disappear into thin air, disappear, run away, or give a good blow to the person who came to hug you.

24. You don't like large crowds

Concerts, parties, pub quizzes or work conferences make you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. You, of course, do not panic, but subconsciously dream of leaving this place as soon as possible.

25. You are not a misanthrope, you are an introvert

You love people and understand the value of human communication, so you quite consciously go out to parties and social events. But you are more comfortable alone with yourself: you value the time you spend alone or with loved ones.

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