Signs of an introverted person

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.

23 Signs You're Secretly An Introvert

Think you can spot an introvert in a crowd? Think again. Although the stereotypical introvert may be the one at the party who’s hanging out alone by the food table fiddling with an iPhone, the “social butterfly” can just as easily have an introverted personality.

“Spotting the introvert can be harder than finding Waldo,” Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, told HuffPost. “A lot of introverts can pass as extroverts.”


People are frequently unaware that they’re introverts ― especially if they’re not shy ― because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone. Instead, it can be more instructive to pay attention to whether they’re losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure.

“Introversion is a basic temperament, so the social aspect — which is what people focus on — is really a small part of being an introvert,” Marti Olsen Laney, psychotherapist and author of The Introvert Advantage, said in a Mensa discussion. “It affects everything in your life.”

Despite the growing conversation around introversion, it remains a frequently misunderstood personality trait. As recently as 2010, the American Psychiatric Association even considered classifying “introverted personality” as a disorder by listing it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), a manual used to diagnose mental illness.

But more and more introverts are speaking out about what it really means to be a “quiet type.” Not sure if you’re an innie or an outie? See if any of these 23 telltale signs of introversion apply to you.


1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

TakakoWatanabe via Getty Images

Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance. For many quiet types, chitchat can feel disingenuous.

“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people,” Laurie Helgoe writes in Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength. “We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”

2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.

If you’re an introvert, you may sometimes enjoy going to parties, but chances are, you’re not going because you’re excited to meet new people. At a party, most introverts would rather spend time with people they already know and feel comfortable around. If you happen to meet a new person that you connect with, great — but meeting people is rarely the goal.

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.

Ever feel like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings and group activities, even with people you know?


“If you tend to find yourself feeling alone in a crowd, you might be an introvert,” says Dembling. “We might let friends or activities pick us, rather than extending our own invitations.”

4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.

Rawpixel via Getty Images

Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.

“Networking is stressful if we do it in the ways that are stressful to us,” Dembling says, advising introverts to network in small, intimate groups rather than at large mixers.

5. You’ve been called “too intense.”

Do you have a penchant for philosophical conversations and a love of thought-provoking books and movies? If so, you’re a textbook introvert.


“Introverts like to jump into the deep end,” says Dembling.

6. You’re easily distracted.

While extroverts tend to get bored easily when they don’t have enough to do, introverts have the opposite problem — they get easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation.

“Extroverts are commonly found to be more easily bored than introverts on monotonous tasks, probably because they require and thrive on high levels of stimulation,” Clark University researchers wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “In contrast, introverts are more easily distracted than extroverts and, hence, prefer relatively unstimulating environments.”

7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

Peopleimages via Getty Images

One of the most fundamental characteristics of introverts is that they need time alone to recharge their batteries. Whereas an extrovert might get bored or antsy spending a day at home alone with tea and a stack of magazines, this sort of down time feels necessary and satisfying to an introvert.

8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

Introverts can be excellent leaders and public speakers — and although they’re stereotyped as being the shrinking violet, they don’t necessarily shy away from the spotlight. Performers like Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera and Emma Watson all identify as introverts, and an estimated 40 percent of CEOs have introverted personalities. Instead, an introvert might struggle more with meeting and greeting large groups of people on an individual basis.

9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle.

Whenever possible, introverts tend to avoid being surrounded by people on all sides.

“We’re likely to sit in places where we can get away when we’re ready to — easily,” says Dembling. “When I go to the theater, I want the aisle seat or the back seat.”

10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you’ve been out and about for too long? It’s likely because you’re trying to conserve energy. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they’ll need to go back and replenish their stores in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.

11. You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.

AleksandarNakic via Getty Images

It’s true that opposites attract, and introverts frequently gravitate towards outgoing extroverts who encourage them to have fun and not take themselves too seriously.


“Introverts are sometimes drawn to extroverts because they like being able to ride their ‘fun bubble,’” Dembling says.

12. You’d rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.

The dominant brain pathways introverts use is one that allows you to focus and think about things for a while, so they’re geared toward intense study and developing expertise, according to Olsen Laney.

13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.

Because really, is anything more terrifying?

14. You screen all your calls — even from friends.

demaerre via Getty Images

You may not pick up your phone even from people you like, but you’ll call them back as soon as you’re mentally prepared and have gathered the energy for the conversation.

“To me, a ringing phone is like having somebody jump out of a closet and go ‘BOO!’” says Dembling. “I do like having a long, nice phone call with a friend — as long as it’s not jumping out of the sky at me.”


15. You notice details that others don’t.

The upside of being overwhelmed by too much stimuli is that introverts often have a keen eye for detail, noticing things that may escape others around them. Research has found that introverts exhibit increased brain activity when processing visual information, as compared to extroverts.

16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.

“Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” says Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later.”

17. You have low blood pressure.

A 2006 Japanese study found that introverts tend to have lower blood pressure than their extroverted counterparts.

18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.

Introverts observe and take in a lot of information, and they think before they speak, leading them to appear wise to others.

“Introverts tend to think hard and be analytical,” says Dembling. “That can make them seem wise.”

19. You don’t feel “high” from your surroundings

vm via Getty Images


Neurochemically speaking, things like huge parties just aren’t your thing. Extroverts and introverts differ significantly in how their brains process experiences through “reward” centers.

Researchers demonstrated this phenomenon by giving Ritalin — the ADHD drug that stimulates dopamine production in the brain — to introverted and extroverted college students. They found that extroverts were more likely to associate the feeling of euphoria achieved by the rush of dopamine with the environment they were in. Introverts, by contrast, did not connect the feeling of reward to their surroundings. The study “suggests that introverts have a fundamental difference in how strongly they process rewards from their environment, with the brains of introverts weighing internal cues more strongly than external motivational and reward cues,” explained LiveScience’s Tia Ghose.

20. You look at the big picture.

When describing the way that introverts think, Jung explained that they’re more interested in ideas and the big picture rather than facts and details. Of course, many introverts excel in detail-oriented tasks — but they often have a mind for more abstract concepts as well.

“Introverts do really enjoy abstract discussion,” says Dembling.

21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”

Many introverted children come to believe that there’s something “wrong” with them if they’re naturally less outspoken and assertive than their peers. Introverted adults often say that as children, they were told to come out of their shells or participate more in class.

22. You’re a writer.

Introverts are often better at communicating in writing than in person, and many are drawn to the solitary, creative profession of writing. Most introverts — like “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling — say that they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.


23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.

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Introverts can move around their introverted “set point” which determines how they need to balance solitude with social activity. But when they move too much — possibly by over-exerting themselves with too much socializing and busyness — they get stressed and need to come back to themselves, according Olsen Laney. This may manifest as going through periods of heightened social activity, and then balancing it out with a period of inwardness and solitude.

“There’s a recovery point that seems to be correlated with how much interaction you’ve done,” says Dembling. “We all have our own private cycles.”

How to communicate with closed people?

Many of us have had occasion to meet closed people. They can be recognized by the following signs: they avoid conversation, answer in monosyllables, are shy, do not know how to establish contact with others, are not confident in themselves. As a rule, it is difficult to build not only personal relationships, but also work relationships with a closed person. However, if you find an approach to him and treat him with understanding, then the interlocutor will open faster and become more talkative. In this article, we will explain why people withdraw into themselves and how to deal with them.

Causes of isolation

Stress . Tension inside encourages a person to hide from the outside world and not let anyone near him. This is a temporary state that passes as soon as you manage to overcome stress reactions.

Fear . The fear of people and everything new makes a person withdraw in order to avoid awkward situations or problems. But over time, he mastered and gradually begins to open up to others.

Lack of communication skills . The inability to communicate, build relationships, win people over is a problem due to which a person prefers to separate from others.

Low self-esteem . Self-doubt makes a person think that he does not meet the generally accepted standards of society. The easy way out is to avoid people.

How to communicate with closed personalities?

A friendly, sincere attitude and a few other tricks that will help you establish contact with a difficult person.

  1. Do not violate personal boundaries, create comfortable conditions for communication. If you plan to hold a meeting, then warn the person in advance what the conversation will be about, what exactly he needs to prepare so that the interlocutor feels confident and does not expect a catch.
  2. Do not put pressure on a person in a conversation, do not demand an instant answer. Introverted people like to think over every phrase, so they need extra time.
  3. Ask for advice. Each person has a certain competence and is always happy to talk about what he is well versed in.
  4. Avoid harsh and hurtful phrases, try to give constructive and friendly feedback. People of this type are very vulnerable, which means that after unpleasant words they can close themselves even more.
  5. Take breaks in communication. If you see that the interlocutor is tired and wants to end the conversation, do not interfere with him. If it is possible to continue the conversation tomorrow or transfer to correspondence, then select one of the options. If not, then take a break for 5 minutes, offer coffee or water to defuse the situation.

If you want to develop your communication skills and learn how to communicate with all personality types, check out the free online course "Oral and Written Communication". From the course you will learn the principles of effective interaction, types of communication and ways of building relationships.

Closed person: 8 signs and causes of a closed nature

Periodic isolation
Psychological factors
Mental disorders
Advantages of being closed off
How to stop being closed off

So, first of all, let's see what is meant by the phrase "closed person"? Ozhegov's explanatory dictionary defines him as "isolated, separated from society and occupied with his own narrow interests." In addition, this is someone "uncommunicative, secretive." Synonyms are:

  • closed person;
  • unsociable;
  • uncommunicative;
  • non-contact;
  • secretive.

Separately, it is worth noting such an interesting expression as "a man in a case", which became a household word after the release of the work of the same name by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. It applies to those who shun society, shutting themselves off from the rest with the help of a kind of mask - a "case".

A frame from the film "She"

How will we understand that we have the hero of our conversation? Here are some of its key features:

  • dislike for public events;
  • unwillingness to join the general conversation;
  • predominantly unambiguous (yes/no) or concise answers to questions;
  • distancing from others at gatherings and parties;
  • the habit of hiding one's emotions;
  • silence;
  • difficulty in expressing one's opinion or attitude towards something;
  • preference for privacy.

Why might someone avoid socializing with others and prefer solitude to noisy company? There are usually three main reasons. Let's look at each of them.

If we are talking about episodic isolation, in which it is difficult for an individual to make contact with others only in certain situations, and in others he easily becomes the "soul of the company", then the reasons for temporary lack of communication skills may be as follows.

1. Associating with someone unpleasant

We think you will agree that even the brightest extroverts can turn into a closed and secretive conversationalist when forced to communicate with someone they do not like. Antipathy can make any of us answer questions in monosyllables and dryly, not want to be frank and end the conversation with the enemy as soon as possible.

2. Uninteresting topic

When a conversation turns into a plane far from our interests, or touches on topics in which we do not understand at all, it is easy to start to “nod off” and give the impression of being unsociable simply because we do not want to actively engage in discussion of something, or even nothing to say on this issue.

3. State of apathy

When someone is depressed, they usually don't want to do anything, including talking to others. When we are indifferent to everything, and we prefer to remain silent, strangers may think that they are facing an emotionally withdrawn person, although in fact the reason may be completely different - for example, vitamin deficiency, illness or chronic fatigue.

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4. Inner experiences

If you have recently experienced a traumatic event (such as the death of a loved one) or are completely absorbed in thinking about an upcoming important event (such as a divorce or promotion), then you can mentally transport yourself far away from what is happening and have difficulty maintaining a conversation, because of which you will seem closed to the rest.

5. Stressful environment

And one more situation when a person can become unsociable: an environment in which he feels "not at ease". Whether it's a party with strangers or the first day at work in a new place, at some point most of us find it quite difficult to relax and act at ease.

A frame from the animated series "Daria"

It is possible to become a closed person who avoids communication with others due to some character traits or situations that we encountered in the past. Here are a few of them.

1. Poor communication skills

Sometimes it is difficult for someone to talk to others simply because they don't know how to do it. What to say? How to answer? When to end the conversation? Often, such questions cause stress, making it difficult to build communication.

Children who have not had socialization experience often face a similar problem - for example, if they did not go to kindergarten. Another cause of underdeveloped communication skills may be defects that make them embarrassed to talk to others, such as stuttering.

2. Negative communication experience

If a person has had an unpleasant communication experience in the past - for example, he was ridiculed for what he said, mimicked or ignored - then he may become afraid to enter into a dialogue again due to fear of repeating the painful situation .

Do you consider yourself a reserved person?

  • Yes.
  • No.
  • Sometimes.
  • 3. Peculiarities of upbringing

    A closed character may well be the result of a very strict upbringing, when the child was not allowed to express his point of view in childhood, was forbidden to communicate with strangers, or showed no interest in him.

    Introverted children often grow up in families in which parents were aggressive or emotionally withdrawn. In this case, secrecy can be a kind of "defensive reaction".

    4. Low self-esteem

    When it seems to someone that others are not interested in communicating with him, then he quite logically begins to avoid communication. Possessors of low self-esteem consider themselves boring interlocutors, constantly weigh what to say (and whether it is necessary to do it at all), and are also prone to self-flagellation.


    The property of temperament

    Why is a person reserved? Sometimes this may be a feature of his temperament, laid down from birth. As a rule, choleric and sanguine people enjoy noisy companies, while phlegmatic and melancholic people prefer to spend time in silence and alone with themselves.

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    In some cases, withdrawal and closeness are symptoms of one of the mental disorders, such as:

    • depressive disorder;
    • schizoid psychopathy;
    • sociopathy;
    • anxious personality disorder;
    • schizophrenia;
    • autism;
    • delusional disorder.

    It is important to emphasize that only a specialist can diagnose a serious problem, who should be consulted if any of the above diseases is suspected.

    As you can see, we can be closed off for a variety of reasons. Also, introverts, shy people, and those who suffer from social anxiety disorder are often called closed.

    Still from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    Since our society is dominated by extroverts and outgoing people who seem to be able to win over everyone and everything, being different from them is not so bad.

    It is important to understand that we are all different, and although society often gives a negative assessment of closedness (you never know what it hides), there is nothing negative in introversion and dislike to chat with everyone in a row. Let's say more - such a temperament can have its advantages, and here are just a few of them.

    1. Your mysteriousness can be attractive

    Those who talk non-stop and constantly try to "pull the blanket over themselves" in a conversation are hardly pleasant conversationalists, and the habit of telling new acquaintances their entire biography makes some people quickly lose interest in them .

    Closedness, on the contrary, endows its owner with a kind of "halo of mystery", because of which others want to "unravel" him and show more interest in him than in a careless and open to everyone extrovert.

    2. You think a lot before you do something

    As a rule, introverted people carefully weigh the pros and cons before deciding to take a step, and in many cases this is a very correct approach. By carefully considering your strategy of behavior, you can reduce the number of risks and increase your chances of success.

    3. You have a calming effect on those around you.

    An introverted person radiates calmness and confidence, which can have a beneficial effect on those who are excited. Probably, you have heard compliments from the category “it is very comfortable next to you” or “when you are near, my soul is very calm.”

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    It's easier for people to trust you

    They say that silence is golden, and the fact that you don't talk non-stop can inspire confidence in others. It is possible that the most intimate secrets and secrets are often shared with you without fear that you will tell everyone about them.

    5. You know how to cope with life's difficulties

    If you find it difficult to communicate with others, then probably almost every communication requires you to internally overcome fears and discomfort. Well, although such a constant struggle is exhausting, it also tempers you, making you a daredevil and a real fighter who can do anything!

    6. It's easier for you to make true friends

    Contrary to harmful stereotypes, closed people have friends. And although there may be much fewer of them than with charming extroverts, communication with them, as a rule, is deeper and more trusting - they also say about them that they are ready "both into fire and into water" together.

    7. You know how to concentrate

    Since the attention of closed people is usually directed not outward, but inward, it is much easier for them than for choleric and extroverted people to concentrate their attention on the current task and perform it well. That is why, despite the lack of developed communication skills, they succeed in a variety of areas.

    A shot from the series Sherlock

    In many cases, you don’t need to fight against closedness - if this is a trait of your character, then, trying to try on the mask of a sociable “lighter”, you will encounter strong internal discomfort and, instead of attracting people, you will only push them away their unnaturalness.

    Therefore, instead of appearing to be someone you are not, try to gradually, step by step, expand your comfort zone. To begin with, you can try to compliment the barista in your favorite coffee shop for delicious coffee or start a small dialogue with a colleague who is nice to you.

    Learn more