What Being An Introvert ACTUALLY Means (revisited)

Back in 2014, I covered What being an introvert ACTUALLY means when A Geeky Gal was still coming into her own. It was originally ported over from my very first attempt at blogging before I decided to rebrand and become what is now A Geeky Gal. It was honestly quite a nostalgic trip to go back and re-read that 5+ year old blog post. You may be wondering why in the world I’m choosing to revisit it now. Well, Angie of Backlog Crusader kindly requested a special Mental Health in the Geek Community segment on being an introvert, and I am more than happy to oblige on a subject like this!

You’ll also notice some featured quotes from fellow introverts scattered throughout this post. I asked Twitter for negative quotes or phrases that they have heard pertaining to being an introvert themselves. These are real quotes from real people. Thank you to all of you who helped contribute to this post with your own unique points of view and experiences. It really helped shape this post into an honest look at what it actually means to be an introvert.

Introvert_Alyssa

Throughout this post I will be covering several subjects about introversion! I will be sharing some common introvert traits, some introvert myths, introvert problems, as well as how to be a better friend to introverts. The goal of this post is to highlight the struggles of being an introvert while also bringing awareness to mental health and how anyone can better understand what it actually means to be an introvert. I will be calling upon my own experiences as well as other’s to better explain what we go through on a daily basis as introverts. I will also be quoting back to my original article while expanding upon my life now as an introvert and things I have learned along the way.

So what is an introvert exactly?

Chances are that you have run across an introvert, are an introvert, or are friends with an introvert. What exactly are these people? Luckily, I am one of those people so who else to better to explain what an introvert is than an introvert? — A Geeky Gal

An introvert is defined as a shy person who does not reveal one’s thoughts or feelings readily. Introverts usually prefer calm, minimally stimulating environments. They typically feel drained after prolonged socialization and recharge by spending time alone. However, no introvert is the same. Some may find they need very little time to recharge and can handle long periods of time in social situations. Others may feel drained very quickly and need even longer periods of alone time in order to recharge their energy. All introverts share the commonality of feeling completely drained after too much time around people in a social setting or having had too much stimulation in a short period of time.

Introvert_Angie

Some Common Introvert Traits:

  • Tend to express themselves better in writing than in actual conversation.
  • Enjoy solitary activities that allow them to focus (reading, writing, etc.).
  • May spend a lot of time dreaming and creating their inner world.
  • Rather socialize one-on-one or in a small group.
  • Typically dislike talking on the phone.
  • Need time to think before speaking.
  • Prefer to stay out of the spotlight.
  • Typically dislike small talk.

These are just a few traits of introverts but as I said before, being an introvert can look much different than this little list. For introverts, socializing is energy draining. Time by themselves is like a recharge. The time introverts can socialize and the time they need to recharge varies greatly by person. Some may need a little time to recharge while others need a greater amount of time. Some have a higher tolerance for socializing and stimulation while others may not. Most introverts fall somewhere in the middle. It’s important to remember introversion (and extroversion) fall on a spectrum, and there is no “all or nothing” when it comes to being an introvert.

Our life experiences can also greatly affect our place on the introversion spectrum. While some of us were encouraged by authoritative figures like our parents and teachers for our quiet thoughtfulness, other introverts were bullied and teased for our introverted nature. Due to such circumstances, introverts can develop social anxiety or even have learned to fake being an extrovert in order to please others around us and “fit in.” No one should have to pretend to be someone they’re not.

For years, I didn’t know I was an introvert. I thought I was just on the anti-social side [due to the misconceptions about introverts]. I used to make excuses to not go to social functions, dreaded having to make speeches in front of classmates, wouldn’t go shopping alone for fear of having to talk to a stranger or communicate in any way, made excuses to not talk on the phone, and left friends’ houses after 2 or 3 hours of hanging out. — A Geeky Gal

Introvert_AnnaReel

Some Common Introvert Myths:

  • They are a snob. – Usually we are too tired to interact or feel like it would be a waste of energy which can be perceived as “being too good” to socialize.
  • They are shy. – Shyness is being nervous and self-conscious in social situations which can be a trait for both introverts and extroverts.
  • They are socially awkward. – While some introverts can be socially awkward, it’s not a common trait among us.
  • They are a shut-in. – Socializing is draining, therefore we are choosy with how we spend our energy.
  • They are depressed. – Alone time isn’t a bad thing, and doesn’t mean we are depressed.
  • Being an introvert is not okay. – It is totally and completely normal to be an introvert.
  • They are a weirdo. – Let’s stop with the name calling shall we?
  • They are judgmental. – We are just listening and observing.

Despite the internet shedding a new positive light onto introversion, introverts are still commonly misunderstood. There’s a huge lack of understanding when it comes to being an introvert. In fact, there’s several myths that surround introverts. Many times, people equate introversion to anxiety and depression. If we want alone time, we are labeled as anti-social or rude. If we are quiet, we are labeled as a snob or shy. These myths couldn’t be further from the truth.

Introverts enjoy social interaction as much as the next person; we just enjoy it a bit differently and for a different amount of time. If we are already drained from too much stimuli, we may be quiet. If we decline an invitation to hang out, we may be using that time to recharge. If we are quiet during normal conversations, we may be just listening and observing.

Just because I am introvert, doesn’t mean I don’t like having company or that I have nothing to say. Just respect my personal space and how reserved I can be. Don’t take my silence as an insult. Don’t scold me in public, and know that if I open myself up to you, you must be very, very special. — A Geeky Gal

Introvert_Frost

#IntrovertProblems

  • Two words: Group. Projects.
  • Feeling drained after “every day” activities.
  • Your thoughtful look translates to resting bitch face.
  • Feeling hungover from too much stimuli and socialization.
  • People stop inviting you to places, because you always say no.
  • Being pressured to be more social… whether you like it or not.
  • Trying not to roll your eyes when you get asked “Are you okay?” for the millionth time.
  • Trying to come up with an excuse that extroverts will understand to leave social situations.

Thanks to social media, introverts have become more united and are sharing their experiences. The internet has made us feel less alone and more normal. The biggest thing uniting us? #IntrovertProblems. We have shared our daily interactions, things said to us, things said about us, and the struggles we face as we navigate a world catered to extroverts. We have united under the hashtags pertaining to our introvert troubles with GIFs and stories of our own. It’s brought more awareness to what it means to be an introvert.

However, introverts still struggle in our day to day lives with social interactions and constructs. It’s not just strangers who struggle to understand our introversion, but our own coworkers, friends, and family, too. Angie from Backlog Crusader recalled a time at work when she was just trying to take her break in peace: “I’d say my issues are more behavior than words. Like people sitting down and talking at me over lunch when I clearly have earbuds in and am sitting alone in a corner of the room happily reading. Lol[.]

Did people take this [my introversion] the wrong way? Yes, even my friends. It happens. They don’t know how to deal with it. I never wanted anyone to feel like I didn’t care or didn’t want to spend time with them, but that seemed to be how it always came across. — A Geeky Gal

Introvert_Meagan

How Can You Be A Better Friend To Introverts?

  • Don’t underestimate us.
  • If you can, don’t call us — text!
  • Skip the big groups, and invite us out one-on-one.
  • Give us time and space to recharge and wind down.
  • Give us time to think of a response in a conversation.
  • Find comfort in the silence; we promise it’s a good thing.
  • Instead of small talk, engage with us in deeper conversations.
  • Always invites us; we like having the option to socialize when we’re able.

Making friends can be hard and is one of the biggest struggles for introverts. Finding people to fill our inner circle who understand our introversion is an incredibly daunting task. Meagan from Quibbles and Scribbles thought back to her time in college when she was trying to make friends: “There were also some times in college people didn’t want to hang out with me cause I preferred to stay in. They would ditch me in public places [‘]cause I said I’m not into parties.”

Despite our need for solitude, introverts still want friends! If you ever find yourself in a situation to be friends with an introvert, you may find a best friend for life. We enjoy deep, soul-searching conversations. We can be extremely loyal, especially when we find someone who is understanding of our introverted needs. We can really surprise you with our shining personalities if given the chance.

I also would run into those people that would assume that I didn’t need to be included in anything because I was so quiet. I didn’t make many friends, but the ones I did make are amazing, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I didn’t get invited to a lot of parties, but really, who’s the winner here? I got underestimated a lot, but it gave me opportunities to blow them away when it was my time to shine. — A Geeky Gal

introvert_Matt

Introverts are widely misunderstood and are often given pesky labels that reflect negatively on mental health. I’ve covered a few common traits among us that can help you identify if you or someone you know is an introvert. I’ve discussed some of the myths that surround introverts and why they are simply misunderstandings due to the catering of extroverts in social settings. I even went over how we are finally seeing introverts in a more positive light now that we are being brought together through the internet to chat about our #IntrovertProblems.

Throughout this post, you’ve read several quotes from fellow introverts who have shared some of the hurtful things said to them when they were just being themselves. How can we continue to combat this negative stigma surrounding introverts? By being a better friend to them, of course. Having a better understanding of why and how introverts see the world can help you bring awareness to your own life — in the work place, in your friend group, within you family, and even just simple social interactions with strangers you meet.

Once they get to know you, they [introverts] probably won’t shut up and will be the funniest and happiest people you know. Just make them comfortable enough to open up. — A Geeky Gal

If you are currently struggling with your mental health, please reach out to a friend/family member and check out these resources:

Are you an introvert or do you have introvert tendencies? What do you wish more people knew about being an introvert? Let me know in the comments!

cw1

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33 thoughts on “What Being An Introvert ACTUALLY Means (revisited)

  1. As an introvert myself, I can relate to a lot of this. There are a lot of people who are surprised that I’m introverted at work or if I’m at concerts since I tend to talk to people (the former being more required, but that’s besides the point). I hate how people assume I’m haughty just because I don’t talk all the time like others who naturally more social than me. I can’t stand the misconceptions since I do like doing activities alone or in small groups more often. Blogging and writing shows better communication than real life talking. Not that I’m horrible with it, but with writing, I can pre-plan what I have to say unlike talking in real time where I can slip up my words.

    Also, thanks for checking out my other recent posts. I’m glad you understand when it came to that case in Kenya and didn’t get turned off by my last poem since it could come across as beating a dead horse about a certain subject if they figure it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here! Especially that part about pre-planning what I have to say. I took a couple of speech classes to help me get over my fear of public speaking so for the most part, I feel like I can handle myself just fine in real time conversations, but writing just feels more … comfortable? I’m not sure if that’s the right word.

      I really love your poetry so don’t worry about that. And I’m not able to keep up with the news as much as I’d like to so I appreciate seeing what you have to say about cases like that, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! That’s good how you were able to improve in that regard. I took three different speech classes during my time in college and one of them was speech tech where we did some acting and accent work which was really fun. Writing is more comfortable for me.

        Thank you very much! I haven’t posted as many news stories as I did months ago, but I felt really compelled to share that one especially being exposed to the Preying Missionaries documentary. That was the single saddest, yet most powerful doc I’ve seen in a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If you haven’t seen this humor video, you’ll probably love it – “How to Care for Your Introvert”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdG4f5Y3ugk

    It’s almost strictly an energy thing for me. I’m not shy at all usually. I’m good at public speaking and I’m very outgoing when I have energy and people usually say I’m “fun at parties”. What they don’t notice is that I usually take a break to chill outside quietly after a while. When I tell them I’m introverted and basically hate people, they never believe me. I’m not socially awkward, so I can’t possibly be introverted, they say. You mentioned that on the myth list and I relate hardcore.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I feel like a lot of this post talks to people at the far end of the introvert spectrum. There’s so much potential for crossover in exhibited behaviours across this I really struggle with definitions that box people at one side of the other so broadly.

    The core definition or difference, I think, is in how one recharges mentally. Be that socially or alone.

    In that respect I very firmly fall into the introvert camp. I would quickly become unhappy if I didn’t have the opportunity to frequently recharge alone. Sundays before returning to work are absolutely sacred to me and this process.

    But otherwise I suspect I present more along the extroverted end of the spectrum. As long as I know I’ll get my Sunday, this is perfectly fine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did touch on the fact that there is a spectrum of introvert and extrovert, but failed to elaborate more on that. I tried to base this post on my own experience with some stories from others while doing my best to also talk about things that didn’t apply to myself without making it too long so I apologize if this post wasn’t helpful to you.

      Maybe one day I can refer back to this post when I explore the other end of the introvert spectrum. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You did! You did even mention the recharging aspect too, I should have acknowledged that. Sorry. Partly I was wanting to acknowledge that the recharging element is really the key defining factor. Being ‘shy’ has a strong correlation with introversion, true, but isn’t a defining feature and considering it as such might even contribute toward some of the issues talked about here.

        Here’s the other concern I came away from this piece with though — and actually; before I even dare embark on that; a bit of a sidebar.

        I acknowledge the takeaway I’m about to mention is not the intent or the real message conveyed by this piece. In fact, parts of your post run directly counter! I also acknowledge that my view on this might be contentious. I do hope that anyone reading will understand I mean it in with nothing but kindness. Of course, I also acknowledge it is perfectly possible to be well-meaning idiot. And so I’m 100% open to having my mind changed or to at least engage in a constructive conversation.

        …Right! With that out of the way, my concern stems from some of the quotes chosen moreso than anything else. And it is really hard to say anything definitive without context or knowledge of the situation, so please also know I don’t mean to make any judgement on anyone. In fact, for at least one of them, I’m reasonably sure the person behind it IS absolutely fine! But the concern is that someone legitimately not in a healthy space may see the promotion of these quotes as a signal it is OK or acceptable to have completely withdrawn from social contact.

        That anyone showing legitimate concern for them not getting out is just mean, or doesn’t understand and should back off.

        Although echoing a part of my sidebar — legitimate concern doesn’t necessarily equate to handling things correctly. Well-meaning but ignorant idiots are certainly a thing (and I still hope I’m not being a prime example of this right now).

        I guess ultimately if the person in question is legitimately content then all is well. But introversion does not mean reclusion. Introversion doesn’t mean allowing oneself to be a doormat or being unable to speak up. (*Choosing* not to is another matter.)

        I apologise again if this has gone off the deep end a little bit. I realise it quite possibly has! Also realise that we can’t prevent people from reading into things what they will. Still. Hope this at least made some sense!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. (I think WordPress ate my comment!) You’ll have to take it up with Google as for the definition including the word shy lol! In fact, shy is mentioned in the myths portion of the post! It’s not my own definition of an introvert which is why it’s bolded. I should have made that more clear.

        As for the quotes that people sent in, I think the reader might have assume these people are in a healthy mental state and that the reason for their alone time is not harmful, but to recharge. I did cut a bit of context from some of the quotes in order to make the actual text fit my quote template, but I asked my Twitter followers to submit negative comments or experiences that they encountered themselves for being an introvert and these were what they submitted to me. I think they call for the benefit of the doubt.

        However, you do bring up a valid point. Withdrawal from all social contact is not okay or healthy. I would like to cover that topic in another mental health post and credit you with the idea if that’s okay with you.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Google! *shakes fist* 😉

        Although good call out that the more ‘dictionary’ definition does include, as the primary meaning no less(!), connotations of ‘shy’. Looking at it more from the perspective of personality theory and psychology that separation is generally much more clear in clarifying that while social anxiety or being shy has a correlation with introversion one does not strictly infer the other.

        In any case, thank-you for going to the effort of commenting again after WP ate the first! I know how painful that can be with a comment of any length, so I appreciate it!

        And of course you’re more than welcome to take any idea this convo may’ve sparked and run with it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. And thank you for pointing out some places I need to expand and improve upon! I always enjoy an alternative point of view. 😊 I definitely should make a follow up to this post. There’s so much more information out there about introverts that I didn’t get to touch on, and I’d like for introverts like you and Angie to feel included as well.

        I’ll be sure to give you a shout out when I write the post about withdrawal from social contact. You’ve given me a lot to think about!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Here’s an article I just found which might be useful too — it’s from Psychology Today which I understand is often seen as a bit pop-psychy, but this one really resonated especially in the context of this convo!

        One thing it made me realise too is perhaps how lucky I’ve been in that many of the negative connotations with being an introvert don’t appear to have shone through from anyone in my life, from school through to work — being introverted was, if not outright celebrated then at the very least somewhat understood. And that makes a *huge* difference, which you also spoke to in your piece.

        https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/parenting-new-generation/201906/shes-not-shy-shes-introvert

        I look forward to your next thoughts on this in any case! Thank-you for being so kind in the convo, too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I’ve heard just about all of those comments at one point or another. Though for work I’m usually able to sustain a “sociable” demeanor just long enough to come home and mentally recharge.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was younger, my introversion really bothered me. I can completely relate to a lot of the feelings you and other writers expressed. At this point, though, I’ve been through so much garbage in my personal and professional lives that I just don’t care anymore, so I speak quite openly about what I’m thinking without filtering it out. Some people think I’m weird, other people think I’m funny, and a few probably think I’m insane. But at least nobody asks me any of those questions anymore.

    It’s still tiring, though, especially if I’m in a situation where I really need to come off like an acceptable member of society. If I won the Powerball tomorrow, I’d buy some land in a remote area and build a house out there and become a hermit, I guarantee it. I know it’s not healthy to cut yourself off like that, but again, I just don’t care anymore. I’m happy if other introverts can find healthy ways to operate socially, though. You gave some very good advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I think it’s great that you have found a way to be yourself no matter what. Too many times I have found myself censoring my thoughts and feelings just so I don’t seem weird. I applaud you for that!

      +1 for building a house away from society lol! My husband and I dream often about what we’d do if we won the lottery. I’d hope that you’d keep your friend circle though, AK. Hermit life can be lonely and we all need friends. Good, understanding, kind friends. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Megan this is such an in-depth post, I must congratulate you. As a fellow introvert, I understand the pain when others don’t understand. I live with an extrovert and she doesn’t understand why I like to read alone for hours, or prefer to work from home.

    It’s important for introverts to understand themselves so that their normal behaviour can be identified and they don’t end up draining their energy to please others.

    Thank you for writing this. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Jaycee! I tried my best to touch on everything I could but I definitely missed a few things. And you’re absolutely right. I hope this post brought some comfort to anyone who felt like they were “wrong” or “bad” for having the need to recharge alone. You’re welcome, sweet friend. ❤

      Like

  7. Thank you for including me! This is such a detailed post and I love it. My coworkers can attest to introverts not shutting up after getting to know them. I barely spoke to them when I first started now if I get on a topic, I go on for a while. It totally depends on the people or if I’m just in the mood to talk.

    Great post, Megan 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I relate to this a lot. As a big introvert and someone who usually keeps to himself, I’m surprised people usually are surprised by the fact that I don’t talk that much. I was on a date the other day ( trying to play the game lmao.) and my date mentioned that she, too, was an introvert and doesn’t talk much and people at her work are surprised by that or surprised that some of us don’t really talk that much.

    I think I find my voice more with blogging then I do talking. I have immense social skills, pretty easy to get along with, but I much prefer to keep to myself and keep the talking to a minimum. I was always told to don’t talk unless spoken to so I guess I’m taking that on a literal level than just an expression or whatever. Excellent post by the way!

    BTW: Thanks for checking out the site!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a great post! 🙂
    I used to think of myself as an introvert as I am very shy and enjoy alone time, but I’ve grown to realise I am more of an ambivert. I’m still very shy and awkward around people I don’t know but when I am around a small group of friend I act more extroverted as I’m comfortable with them. I HATE phone calls with a passion but would happily natter to someone online for hours. I get lonely with too much time on my own but do need the time away from socialising sometimes.
    It’s weird being an in-between as there’s not as much research to explain why we act the way we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carly!

      I’ve heard the term ambivert before but had to do some quick Googling to refresh myself. Maybe I can touch on what it means to be an ambivert/omnivert when I write a follow up to this post! It’s really cool to see all of the different perspectives and where others fall on the spectrum of introvert and extrovert!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be awesome! Would be great to see what information you find about the different parts of the introvert/extrovert spectrum 🙂
        I guess it could also link up the the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator, I’m technically introvert on there as I’m INFP but not really an introvert in real life. I find all this very interesting haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This post is Amazing, Megan! 😄 I am and have always been an introvert but a lot of people consider me extraverted (including my own father)! When I was younger, I was surrounded by extraverts especially in my family, so being an introvert I always felt out of place or not worthy enough. I saw qualities of liking social situation (extraverted) and only flaw of being introverted. I’ve also been criticized because of that and generally always felt like something was wrong with me. I remember when I was a young teenager, trying to overcome this introversion, to talk to people and, with time, I’ve learned to do it quite effectively. I’m still an introvert and I still have to take time to recharge after social situations but now I feel less anxious in social situations. I’ve learned how to make small talks and how to reach out to people, I’ve learned to be the one who engages the conversation in a group (I still can’t believe I’m capable of doing that) and I’ve learned to jump from a subject to another whenever there’s an awkward silence, to make everyone feel at ease in a conversation and to keep in touch with people. Of course, all of this is very tiring for me and requires a lot of effort but I feel more confident in doing that, even if it’s only to please my extraverted friends. I’m actually planning to write a blog post about it hahaha! 😊
    Lovely post, I think as introverted we suffered a lot from the “social desirability” of extraversion and sharing the message about how we really are is so important, thank you so much! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve read this so many times and every single time i love it more. Thank you for writing this and posting it. Also thank you for using my quote – it’s kind of comforting to see that I’m not the only one who gets told that or has a similar experience with being introverted.

    I will always be an introvert, I’m just going to keep on learning how to live my life while being one.

    Liked by 1 person

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