Signs of being introverted

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.

If You Relate to These 21 Signs, You're an Introvert

Have you always felt different? Were you the quiet one in school? Did people ask you, “Why don’t you talk more?” Do they still ask you that today? If so, you might be an introvert like me. Here are 21 signs from my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts, that will help you find out.

(What counts as being an introvert? Check out our in-depth explanation.)

1. Your inner monologue never stops.

You have a distinct inner voice that’s always running in the back of your mind — and it’s hard to shut off. Sometimes you can’t sleep at night because your mind is still going. Thoughts from your past haunt you. “I can’t believe I said that stupid thing… five years ago!”

2. You enjoy spending plenty of time alone.

You have no problem staying home on a Saturday night. In fact, you look forward to it. To you, Netflix and chill really means watching Netflix and relaxing. Or maybe your thing is reading, playing video games, drawing, cooking, writing, knitting tiny hats for cats, or just putzing around the house. Whatever your preferred solo activity is, you do it as much as your schedule allows. You feel good when you’re alone. In your alone time, you’re free.

3. You do your best thinking alone.

Your alone time isn’t just about indulging in your favorite hobbies. It’s about giving your mind time to decompress. When you’re with other people, it might feel like your brain is too overloaded to really work the way it should. In solitude, you’re free to tune into your own inner monologue. You might be more creative and/or have deeper insights when you’re alone.

4. You often feel lonelier in a crowd than when you’re alone.

There’s something about being with a group of people that makes you feel disconnected from yourself. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to hear your inner voice when there’s so much noise around you. Whatever the reason, as an introvert, you crave intimate moments and deep connections — and those usually aren’t found in a crowd.

5. You feel like you’re faking it when you have to network.

Walking up to strangers and introducing yourself? You’d rather stick tiny needles under your fingernails. But you know there’s value in it, so you might do it anyway — except you feel like a phony the entire time. If you’re anything like me, you had to teach yourself how to do it. In the moment, you have to activate your “public persona.” You say things to yourself like, “Smile, make eye contact, and use your loud-confident voice!” Then, when you’re finished, you feel beat, and you need downtime to recharge. You wonder, do other people have to try this hard when meeting new people?

6. You have no desire to be the center of attention.

At work, you’d rather pull your boss aside after a meeting and have a one-on-one conversation (or email your ideas) than explain them to a room full of people. The exception is when you feel passionate about something. You’ll risk overstimulation when you think speaking up will truly make a difference.

7. You’re better at writing your thoughts than speaking them.

You’d rather text your friend than call her or email your coworkers than sit down for a staff meeting. Writing gives you time to reflect on what to say and how to say it. It allows you to edit your thoughts and craft your message just so. Plus there’s less pressure when you’re typing your words into your phone alone than when you’re saying them to someone in real time. You may even be drawn to writing as a career.

8. Talking on the phone does not sound like a fun way to pass the time.

One of my extroverted friends is always calling me when she’s alone in her car. She figures that although her eyes, hands, and feet are currently occupied, her mouth is not. Plus, there are no people around — how boring! So she reaches for her phone. However, this is not the case for me. When I have a few spare minutes of silence and solitude, I have no desire to fill that time with chitchat.

9. You avoid small talk whenever possible.

When a coworker is walking down the hall toward you, have you ever turned into another room in order to avoid having a “Hey, what’s up?” conversation with him? Or have you ever waited a few minutes in your apartment when you heard your neighbors in the hallway so you didn’t have to chat? If so, you might be an introvert. It’s not that introverts are afraid of making small talk, it’s just that we’d rather not do it.

10. You’ve been told you’re “too intense.”

This stems from your dislike of small talk. If it were up to you, mindless chitchat would be banished and philosophical discussions would be the norm. You’d much rather sit down with someone and discuss the meaning of life — or at the very least, exchange some real, honest thoughts. Meaningful interactions are the introvert’s antidote to social burnout.

11. You don’t go to parties to meet new people.

Sure, you party every once in a while. But when you do, you usually don’t go with the intention of making new friends. You’re content with the few close friendships you already have.

12. You shut down after too much socializing.

Recent research shows that everyone gets drained from socializing eventually, even extroverts. That’s because socializing expends energy. But introverts likely tire faster than extroverts and experience social burnout with more intensity. They may even experience something that’s been dubbed the “introvert hangover,” which is when they feel extremely fatigued and perhaps even physically unwell after lots of socializing.

13. You notice details that others miss.

Introverts (especially highly sensitive introverts) can get overwhelmed by too much stimuli. But there’s an upside to our sensitivity — we notice details that others might miss. For example, you might notice a subtle change in your friend’s demeanor that signals that she’s upset (but oddly, no one else in the room sees it). Or, you might be highly tuned into color, space, and texture, making you an incredible visual artist.

14. You can concentrate for long periods of time.

I can write for hours. I get in the zone, and I just keep going. If you’re an introvert, you likely have your own hobby or pet project that you can work on for practically forever. That’s because introverts are great at focusing alone for long periods of time.

15. You live in your head.

You might daydream so much that people tell you to “get out of your head” or “come back down to earth.” That’s because your inner world is almost as alive and vivid as the outer one.

16. You like to people watch.

Actually, you just like to observe in general, whether it’s people, nature, etc. Introverts are natural observers.

17. You’ve been told you’re a good listener.

You don’t mind giving the stage to someone else for a bit and listening. You’re not clamoring to get every thought out there, and you don’t need to “talk to think” like many extroverts do.

18. You have a small circle of friends.

You’re close with just one, two, or three people, and you consider everyone else to be an acquaintance. That’s because introverts only have so much “people” energy to spend, so we choose our relationships carefully. It’s about budgeting.

19. You don’t get “high” off your environment.

There’s a reason big parties aren’t your thing: Introverts and extroverts differ significantly in how their brains process experiences through “reward” centers. Check out the science here.

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20. You’re an old soul.

Introverts tend to observe, take in a lot of information, and think before they speak. We’re analytical and reflective, and we’re often interested in discovering the deeper meaning or underlying pattern behind events. Because of this, introverts can seem wise, even from a young age.

21. You alternate between being social and being alone.

Introverts relish being alone. In our solitude, we have the freedom to tune into our inner voice and tune out the noise of the world. But introverts don’t always want to be alone. As human beings, we’re wired to connect with others, and as introverts, we long to interact meaningfully. So introverts live in two worlds: We visit the world of people, but solitude and the inner world will always be our home.

Are you an introvert? Learn more in my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts.

You might like:

  • 25 Illustrations That Perfectly Capture the Joy of Living Alone as an Introvert
  • 12 Things Introverts Absolutely Need to Be Happy
  • 13 ‘Rules’ for Being Friends With an Introvert

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13 Signs You're an Introvert, Even if You Don't Know It

December 8, 2014 Life

Many people perceive introverts as shy, introverted people who try to stay inside their own world by any means. However, this is not a complete and correct representation. A person can be outwardly quite relaxed and not show any signs of shyness, but at the same time be an introvert inside.



1. You are not happy to meet new people

This doesn't mean that you can't make friends or have problems communicating. It's just that some people have an underlying desire to constantly expand the circle of their acquaintances, they know how to easily and quickly get along with people. You are not.

2. You can speak well, but do not participate in discussions

If a person is an introvert, this does not mean at all that he is not able to connect two words or does not know how to speak in public. How capable and able! But after a brilliant speech, report or lecture, you are not too fond of answering questions or participating in disputes.

3. You have extroverted friends

Amazing, isn't it?

However, opposites attract, so it's natural for you to have super-sociable friends. But you keep them at a distance and let them approach you in a strictly dosed way, just to once again see the beauty of your loneliness.

4. You don't like large crowds

Concerts, parties, gatherings, crowds in the streets make you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. There is no panic fear in you, but every time there is a subconscious desire to quickly leave this restless place.

5. You don't like interviews and job interviews

Any such event requires the ability to quickly establish psychological connections with new people, which introverts are not very fond of. Therefore, they always prefer written answers and correspondence interviews to personal communication.

6. You are a true friend

Introverts are usually very loyal and honest people. They are, as a rule, self-sufficient individuals who value relationships in friendship, and not the benefits that it can bring.

7. Sometimes you just don't do anything

Extroverts are always busy, always in the process. They are bored with being with themselves, and they strive to fill this void with any action. Introverts, on the other hand, are able to enjoy their own company and find pleasure in peace.

8. You prefer letters to calls

Your cell phone doesn't ring very often because all your friends and colleagues have already figured out that you're better off sending text messages or emails. You do not understand how and why you can solve cases by phone if you have Gmail.

9. You hang out with people (for a) long time

Being an introvert doesn't mean you don't have friends at all. There are friends, but they are of a very special quality. These are really time-tested and circumstance-tested people who did not appear in your life by chance.

10. You are polite

The rich inner world and vulnerability of introverts make them more attentive to the feelings of others. Knowing well how striking a careless gesture or word can be, they attach great importance to manners, etiquette and traditions.

11. You try to plan ahead

Extroverts are quite capable of going on a trip around the world tomorrow, and spontaneously starting a new company the day after tomorrow. You have just as many interesting ideas, but before you start implementing them, you prefer to plan everything well. In writing, of course.

12. You feel older than your peers

Calmness, rationalism, restraint and good manners were inherent in you even at a very young age, and this has always distinguished you from most of your peers. Sometimes you looked down on them a little, marveling at the spontaneity and thoughtlessness of their actions.

13. You are able to keep a balance between communication and loneliness

Although you do not feel any discomfort when you are alone, you perfectly understand the need for socialization. Therefore, you quite consciously try, when you see fit, to attend parties, parties and social events. At the same time, you are not trying to force yourself and portray the ringleader and the soul of the company. Even in a noisy crowded place, you remain who you really are and enjoy it.

You are an introvert.

11 signs of behavior of a typical introvert | Interesting facts

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word "introvert"? Maybe you imagine a modest quiet person or an insecure loser? However, everything is not at all what you might think: the concept of an introvert is much broader and more interesting.

From the outside, introverts seem quiet and withdrawn, and sometimes even rude and aloof. But in fact, they are not at all as asocial as they might seem at first glance. Introverts can have a busy social life and close friends, and like to spend time in companies, just like extroverts. The difference between introverts and "ordinary" people is that they feel exhausted both mentally and physically from every such pastime. At such a moment, they need to exhale and spend some time alone to "recharge" - take a walk in the park, stay at home or listen to music while driving around the city. But why do introverts behave the way they do?

Introverts are exhausted by communication, but this does not mean that they do not have friends

There are two neurotransmitters (or neurotransmitters) in our brain responsible for obtaining pleasure - these are dopamine and acetylcholine. Scientists have discovered that with an equal amount, acetylcholine works more actively in introverts, and dopamine works more actively in extroverts. Acetylcholine is responsible for the preservation of memories, the course of sleep, it is the so-called "slowing down" neurotransmitter. While dopamine is an energy stimulant that requires adrenaline next to it. An excess of dopamine in an introvert leads to overexcitation, and its lack leads to depression and depression. Thus, the division into types of characters can already be reasonably called conditional - if the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain is regulated in different ways, this will also affect the mental state of a person.

Also in one study* in 2012, it was shown that introverts have thinner gray matter in the prefrontal area - this part of the brain is responsible for decision making and abstract thinking. It follows from this that an introvert, in order to make any decision, needs some time to think alone.

Especially for you, the editors of have collected 11 signs of the behavior of a “typical introvert”. Test yourself and your loved ones and draw conclusions for the future when you are misunderstood, or you yourself call a harmless introvert a rare bore.

In a relationship, introverts can embarrass you with their behavior.

Of course, dating an introvert is much more difficult than working with him. Here are some signs that you have an introvert around you:

Introverts prefer to be alone at work.

At work, introverts remain true to themselves - but they are not at all as gloomy as some might think!

  • Introvert prefers action to boasting. Introverts, as you already understood, do not strive to be the center of attention - rather, they are interested in the opposite state. Boasting and narcissism, according to introverts, are just cheap ways to attract others. Self-affirmation people with this character prefer hard work, the purpose of which is positive results, and not the approval of others.

  • They don't care if others like them. Obviously, the opinion of other people introverts, in general, is not particularly concerned. More precisely, this is simply not an area that they think about a lot - after all, there are more important things to do. This does not mean that their opposites - extroverts - are hypocritical and only seek the favor of others. It’s just that introverts don’t see much point in polite and empty “How are you?” conversations and prefer more productive communication to this.

  • Introverts work better alone. Introverts are more comfortable working when no one disturbs their space and following their own schedule. Teamwork is also difficult for them - joint discussions exhaust them greatly. So if you want to achieve the greatest productivity from an introvert, give him the opportunity to manage himself and his time.
  • Introverts don't like to work in teams, and that's okay

  • Introverts can be great leaders. From the previous paragraph, it logically follows that introverts have a good leadership potential, although by external manifestations of their character they cause the opposite opinion among others. In order to become a boss, they just need a fertile ground for this and ideal employees who do not need to be monitored every 10 minutes and constantly motivated to work.

  • They don't like to ask questions often, but if they ask something, then only on business. Sometimes the overly calm and even detached behavior of an introvert at some meeting suggests that he is generally hovering somewhere in the clouds. However, this is just another false impression - in fact, he has a whole swarm of thoughts in his head at this time! It’s just that an introvert needs to first discuss his opinion with himself, and then express it to others.

  • Introverts are not shy about talking about themselves, they just do it when necessary. Being an introvert does not mean being silent or modest. It's just that people of this type prefer to think first, and then say - because why waste energy on meaningless conversations? The introvert, of course, also does not like to be in the spotlight - he feels much safer “behind the back” of his extrovert friend.

  • When an introvert befriends someone at work, it develops into a strong and intimate relationship. Introverts prefer serious and deep communication to superficial chatter. Hence the result - a long and strong friendship, a trusting relationship that helps both partners to better understand themselves.
But remember, not all introverts are the same.

After reading this text, you may find some traits of an introverted character in yourself or better understand your friends. In any case, this is not some absolute truth - every person is unique, and every introvert too.

Learn more