How do you become an introvert

Are You Born an Introvert, or Do You Become One?

Introverts are finally getting our time in the sun. There are more websites, books, and communities for introverts than ever before—enough that young introverts can grow up understanding their introversion, instead of feeling “wrong” like I did as a kid. But there’s no shortage of people who still don’t get it. Anytime I mention I’m an introvert, someone asks something like, “Why can’t you just learn to be social like everyone else?”

That viewpoint is backwards, but it does raise a good question. Do people “learn” to be introverts as they grow up, or are we introverts from birth? In other words, what makes you an introvert—your genes, your upbringing, or some mix of both?

The Science of Young Introverts

To answer this question I turned to Dr. Marti Olsen Laney’s book The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child: Helping Your Child Thrive in an Extroverted World. Laney gives a detailed rundown of what we know about young introverts, including the specific factors that cause them to be introverted in the first place.

Like most questions of nature versus nurture, Laney tells us that the answer is a little bit of both:

“Yes, children are born with an innate temperament. And yes, parents are vitally important to how that temperament is nurtured.”

But she emphasizes that introverts are (mostly) born that way. Specifically:

  • The degree to which you are introverted or extroverted is influenced by genetics.
  • Out of all the personality traits that have been studied, introversion/extroversion is one of the most strongly hereditary ones.
  • Nonetheless, a lot of environmental factors—like how you’re raised—influence it too.

These aren’t guesses on Laney’s part. She pulls together some of the best neurological research on introverts to show exactly how genetic it is—and why some factors can defy your genetic “programming” to change your disposition.

The Genetic Basis for Introversion

Laney says the basis of being an introvert lies in our biochemistry. Human brains have a mix of over 60 neurotransmitters, chemicals that determine exactly how the brain works. While those chemicals are largely the same from person to person, we each have slight differences—our own “recipe.” Your recipe is determined by your genes, and is with you from birth. It also determines many personality traits, such as your tendency toward introversion or extroversion.

This correlation is so strong that Laney says children show their introversion/extroversion tendency from the moment they’re born.

The most important of these neurotransmitters is dopamine, which rewards you for pursuing external rewards. Introverts’ brains are far less driven by dopamine. We don’t get the buzz from it that extroverts do, so we don’t seek as much external stimulation.

Our dopamine sensitivity is an example of our neurotransmitters in action—and it’s determined by our DNA.

How Genetic ‘Set Points’ Make You Flexible

Introversion isn’t totally genetic. It gets influenced by your environment at a young age, and our genes allow a certain amount of flexibility in response. This happens through “set points,” which are the upper and lower limits of how much extroversion your brain can handle.

Laney compares these set points to setting a temperature range on a thermostat. You might program your thermostat to keep your house between 68 degrees and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Within that range you’re comfortable and no climate control is needed. But if it gets too cold or too warm, the heater or AC kicks on and you have to spend energy to get back to the comfort zone.

The brain works the same way. As an introvert you might want more social time one day and less another day, and as long as you’re within your “set points” you’re okay. But if the stimulation takes you beyond your upper set point—maybe by going to a big birthday party—we all know how drained you’re going to feel.

That means two introverts with the same genetic disposition could come across quite differently. One might stay closer to the high-stimulus end of their comfort range, while another stays cautiously at the low end. These behaviors are largely learned through experience. If a child gets enough positive experiences with social time, they might enjoy pushing the top of their range, even though they’re an introvert. A child who has negative experiences could develop more reclusive, quieter ways.

A Portrait of Three Kids

To see how this works, let’s look at three hypothetical children. All three are introverts, but they’re not all the same:

  • Jen and Amanda are identical twins. They have the same DNA and very similar brains at birth. Both show signs of being introverted, but their “set points” are quite wide. They could act more social or more introverted on any given day.
  • Matthew is also introverted from a young age. However, his brain has fairly narrow set points, much narrower than Jen and Amanda’s.

Despite being all introverts, the children turn out very differently.

Jen has some early positive experiences that reward social activity. She’s older than Amanda by several hours, and people always ask if she’s going to be the “leader” of the two. When she does something bold or showy, adults laugh and cheer. This positive encouragement makes it fun to stay toward the top end of her set point range and be a social introvert.

Amanda has the opposite experience. When she does something showy, adults say she’s copying her sister. She doesn’t find it rewarding to come out of her shell as much. By the time she’s old enough for preschool, she isn’t as excited about making friends as Jen. Other kids stare at the twins, and she takes this attention as negative. She’s happier when she stays near her lower set point. She’s considered the shy one.

Matthew has a different upbringing. He’s an only child and his parents give him a lot of positive attention. They can see his introversion early on, and instead of being critical, they try to gently encourage him in social situations. They take him to the playground, join a play group with other families, and put him in a private preschool that encourages creativity.

But Matthew stays introverted. Even though his group experiences are positive, he has a very low set point for external stimulus. He comes back from play dates cranky or sleepy. He’s well adjusted socially, but he prefers inner, imaginative activities to people time.

So Are You Born an Introvert, or Not?

These children are imaginary, but they correspond to patterns that many of us have lived in real life. Your genes give you a “range” of introversion. A wide range could be heavily influenced by how you were brought up, but a narrow range means upbringing won’t change you as much. This is why Laney says the answer to the nature vs. nurture question is, “Yes… and yes.” Your genes make the choice, but they can make you flexible, too.

What’s clear is that your preference for introversion or extroversion gets fixed early on. As much as your experiences might shape you, Laney says most children stay true to whichever preference they showed in the first four months of life.

I can clearly see experiences in my own life that helped give me my strong introvert tendencies, such as being a misfit at school. I also wonder if I might have a “narrow” range of set points, more like Matthew than Jen and Amanda, as I can happily spend weeks at a time with no social contact.

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Read this: I Wasn’t Living My Life Until I Learned to Stay Home

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.

basic personality traits, advice from psychologists

One person can have fun with friends all day long, while another gets tired of talking after only half an hour. This is a completely normal situation, because different people belong to different psychotypes and interact differently with the outside world. Extroverts energize in society, love diversity and cannot stand loneliness. It is believed that thanks to the flexibility it is easier for them to adapt to the constantly changing modern world. At the same time, it is precisely such active and active people who are increasingly thinking about how to become introverts. It is worth asking the experts about whether it is possible to change the type of thinking.

Features of introverts

Introverts are people who are more focused on their inner world and find a source of inspiration in reflection, observation, contemplation of what is happening from the outside. They have their own value system, so they are less influenced by others than extroverts.

Among the positive character traits are:

  • purposefulness;
  • perseverance;
  • stability;
  • independence;
  • self-sufficiency;
  • observation;
  • mindfulness;
  • fidelity;
  • reliability.

An introvert prefers to listen rather than talk. He knows how to control his emotions, does not give in to momentary impulses. He prefers loneliness to society, does not seek to make new acquaintances, but is the most devoted friend and comrade.


The main disadvantage of introverts is their unwillingness to build social connections. Such people often isolate themselves from society, adapt worse to external changes, may neglect the opinions of others and rarely listen to others. It is not surprising that it is more difficult for them to find true friends, especially considering that they avoid noisy companies, do not like turmoil and crowds.

How can an introvert become more sociable? This question is relevant if a person sees that his isolation and unsociableness interferes with the achievement of his goals and causes discomfort. The easiest way is to take the initiative in communicating with interesting people without fear of rejection. Public speaking will also help loosen up a little. You can enroll in acting or public speaking classes. The main thing is not to be afraid to let new people into your life and be more willing to experiment.

Other shortcomings of introverts include:

  • touchiness;
  • rancor;
  • excessive isolation;
  • depression.

Development of introversion

The question of whether one becomes an introvert or is born causes a lot of controversy among specialists. Some scientists argue that in childhood, almost all children are extroverts, since development is impossible without studying the world around us, communicating with people. The traits of an introvert are formed due to unfavorable circumstances: for example, when a child is not accepted into the company by peers, or a parent is often left alone, isolated from the outside world. Then he has no choice but to entertain himself on his own. Subsequently, such a person no longer feels a special need for communication. This is how one becomes an introvert, according to some scientists.

Other experts argue that some (especially gifted children) themselves tend to be alone, which means that this special way of thinking is given to them by nature. Not the last role is played by heredity, because children adopt some character traits and even a psychotype from their parents. The development of positive qualities (perseverance, diligence, purposefulness, etc.) will certainly lead to positive results. No wonder it is among introverts that you can meet truly outstanding people, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steven Spielberg, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin.

Work on oneself

Psychologists cannot give an exact answer to the question of whether it is possible to become an introvert, but they agree that a person's worldview changes throughout life. People who have been incredibly sociable and active may at some point feel extremely tired and want to be alone with their thoughts. The reason for this can be drastic changes in life (when you want to rethink what is happening) or a negative experience. A person may realize that he has not achieved what he dreamed of, and then he will want to figure out why this happened.

Advice from psychologists will help you develop the qualities of an introvert.

Keeping a diary

The best way to become an introvert is to keep a personal diary. It will allow you to better concentrate on inner thoughts, experiences. Experts recommend to record every event on paper every day, even the most insignificant. Since extroverts generally do not delve into themselves, at first such a task may seem difficult, but later they will learn to analyze what is happening.

To make it easier, it is recommended to use the following list of questions (you can use it as a plan):

  • What good/bad thing happened to me today?
  • How do I feel?
  • What did I learn today? What did you learn? Who?
  • What new ideas have come up? What was I thinking?
  • To whom am I grateful? What people in my environment seem depressed or lonely? Can I help them?
  • How is today different from yesterday/the day before yesterday?

Solitary hobbies

In order for an introvert to become an extrovert, and vice versa, it is enough to change the field of activity and hobbies. It is better for closed people to be in public more often, and for those who are too active, on the contrary, it is recommended to find solitary hobbies. For example, such as:

  • reading;
  • embroidery;
  • sewing;
  • knitting;
  • programming;
  • playing a musical instrument.

To better develop fantasy and imagination, you can try to compose a story, write a poem or even a book. It is recommended to practice hiking and walking alone. Staying in nature will give a powerful boost of energy, strength, inspiration, and help you tune in a positive way. However, you should not overdo it either: there is no point in completely protecting yourself from communication. It is enough to set aside a certain amount of time for your favorite activity.

Alternatively, instead of noisy companies, you can invite for a walk or invite your best friend to visit.


Loneliness is the main reason why people become introverts. When a person is interested in being alone with himself, he does not feel the need for communication. Extroverts are distinguished by the fact that they literally do not find a place for themselves without company. They have no idea how you can organize your leisure time on your own and how, in principle, you can be alone for several hours.

To become an introvert, one must learn to enjoy being alone. Psychologists advise to conduct a curious experiment and, for example, refuse to go to a club or restaurant with friends on Friday evening. Instead, stay at home: read a book, watch TV or your favorite movie. It is quite possible that later you will catch yourself thinking that you had a better rest than usual.


Another effective way to become an introvert is to engage in meditation and spiritual practices. This is a great opportunity to develop your awareness, learn patience and endurance. Extroverts, in principle, are quite impulsive, quick-tempered, it is quite difficult for them to control their emotions. It is meditation that will allow you to learn to hear the voice of reason and not let feelings take precedence over common sense. By embarking on the path of self-improvement, you will become the master of your own destiny and will be able to cultivate the positive aspects of your character.

Before contemplating how to become an introvert, it is better to think about the need to remake yourself. Extroverts also have many advantages: energy, a wide range of hobbies, social circle, the desire for diversity, activity, activity, etc. Trying to become a different person, it is easy to lose your own individuality.

How to become a leader if you are an introvert

March 9, 2021Motivation

Recognize your strengths and learn how to use them correctly.



Just because you're an introvert doesn't mean you're destined to play the role of "that weird dude sitting in the corner and saying nothing" forever. You can be a leader - moreover, you simply have to become one.

The ability to form a team, manage it and set goals, make decisions, take initiative and delegate responsibilities - these skills will sooner or later be needed by any introvert who grows up in his professional field. To get them, you don’t have to do anything supernatural - you already have all the necessary abilities. You just need to apply them correctly. Features of your character can become your advantage.

A leader is perfect when people are unaware of his existence. .. A good leader doesn't scatter words, and when the job is done and the goal is achieved, people say: "We did it ourselves."

Lao Tzu

Introversion and extraversion are thought to be at opposite poles, but in fact each of us has distinct traits of both types. The main difference between them is that introverts are introverted and pay close attention to their own experiences and sensations, while extroverts look for inspiration in the world around them.

Introverts make excellent leaders, and sociability has nothing to do with it. Their sharp mind, ability to think carefully and analyze, attention to detail and the ability to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with others are important (small conversations are the real curse of any introvert).

Such qualities are fully consistent with the quote from the wise Lao Tzu above. This has also been proven by world-famous introverted leaders who have achieved success due to the peculiarities of their character: Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and JK Rowling. Susan Cain describes them in her book Silence: The Power of Introverts in a World of Chatting.

Here are five tips to help you reach your goal.

1. Talk about your achievements

Regardless of the quality of the work they do, introverts often remain in the background because they don't want to be open about their successes. In the end, the result is important, not the amount of attention attracted, they say.

Introverts are famous for their incredibly meticulous approach to getting work done and their complete disregard for self-promotion.

It's a paradox, but it only makes it harder to move up the career ladder. An introvert needs to figure out what he's really good at and learn how to talk about his accomplishments in order to get the position he deserves.

2. Build deeper and more meaningful relationships with those who make important decisions

A popular misconception is that introverts are timid and asocial people who avoid interacting with others at all costs. In fact, they are energized by being alone with themselves. And at all introverts are not afraid to talk to people, just communication very quickly puts their internal batteries.

What does this mean? It's simple: making new acquaintances, an introvert seeks to give them a deeper character than non-committal chatter. Such is the superpower - he establishes relationships that are remembered for a long time by his interlocutors. By connecting with powerful people in the company and sharing their unique ideas, introverts can stand out from the crowd and succeed.

3. Find interesting solutions to problems through attention to detail and listening skills

These are traits common to most introverts. They are used to analyzing everything and delving into themselves, so they easily notice the details of projects missed in a joint discussion and find a way out of situations where, it would seem, there are no ends to be found.

Such qualities make introverts valuable members of any team. They first listen and think, and only then they speak. Use these skills in discussions that involve multiple points of view, and the attention of others to your words will not take long.

4. Embrace being alone, but overcome insularity

Most introverts are only truly comfortable with themselves, so they need some alone time during the day to feel good. However, it is equally important to regularly challenge your insularity, if only through situations such as going out to lunch with colleagues or participating more actively in work meetings.

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer—yes, she's also an introvert—has her own way of coping with the discomfort of being in public situations. It establishes a certain period of time before the expiration of which it has no right to leave the event. If by this time it doesn’t get better, you can leave, but not earlier. Forcing herself to sit out the allotted time, Mayer overcame shyness and stiffness. When you know that you only need to hold out for 30-40 minutes, you begin to feel more free and more actively involved in the work.

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