Introvert Personality: Am I Just Shy?

Updated February 9, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Introversion is a term that often gets misunderstood. Introverts are habitually stereotyped as being shy and socially awkward. However, the term itself has a rather more intricate meaning than most of us understand. The most basic definition of an introvert is someone who gains their energy from time spent in solitude and loses energy while being around other people. More often than not, it has nothing to do with having anxiety associated with social interactions or being around people. An introvert simply functions better when alone.

Introversion Is Not A Disorder

Signs That You May Be An Introvert

1. You Love Spending Time Alone
While you might enjoy time on your own, this doesn't mean you don't crave human interaction. You might even enjoy having a busy social life, but if it feels more peaceful and rejuvenating for you to recharge your brain and body all by yourself, you may be an introvert.

2. Socializing Wears You Out, No Matter How Much You Like It
Contrary to what many people think, you might enjoy being out socializing with people, but regardless of how much you appreciate it, you may find your energy being drained if you hang out with others for a long period of time.

3. You Try To Avoid Making New Friends But Value The Ones Who Are Already Close To You
When it comes to making friends, you probably take the process nice and slow. You have a group of people you feel comfortable with and tend to stick to them more than others.

4. You Dislike Small Talk
Despite popular belief, introverts can easily talk to anyone, but small talk might start to seem boring very quickly. You may find unnecessary conversations tiresome and prefer to use your time in more productive ways.

5. You Hate Group Work
As an introvert, you already have a lower tolerance for external stimulation. You are more creative and productive when you aren't bombarded with distractions brought on by others.

6. You Are Quite Active On Social Media
While it might appear counterintuitive, introverts surprisingly succeed online, as it is a less intimate environment, and they can take their time to formulate responses.

7. Eating Alone Is Fine

For some, it is not acceptable to dine alone. But for introverts, eating alone is not a problem, and they may even prefer this practice. Not only can they avoid dealing with small talk, but they can also enjoy their meal peacefully. It's fascinating how introverts in love may communicate their emotions in different ways.

8. You Might Feel More Lonely In Big Crowds Than You Would Be All By Yourself

Part of the problem with big crowds is that you do not manage to build any kind of deep connections, either with others or with yourself. Introverts may prefer to stick to smaller gatherings where they can connect with others.

9. You Hate Networking

As discussed earlier, introverts appreciate already existing relationships and tend to avoid new ones if they do not find them to be worthy of their time. Networking can be a lot of small talk and surface connections, things introverts may prefer to steer clear of, so when networking is necessary, it can be a challenge.

10. Work Is Nothing But Work

When it comes to working, introverts may view their workplace as a place to get the job done rather than a place to meet new people or chitchat. They want to go in, do their job, and go home! They may get easily distracted and irritated by their co-workers if they're keeping them from getting tasks done.

Common Misconceptions About Introverts

1. Introverts Don't Like To Talk
This is not always true. Despite popular belief, many introverts do like to talk, but it has to be meaningful. Surprisingly enough, many of the world's greatest social activists, lawyers, speakers, CEOs, and other professionals that require conversing are introverts.

2. All Introverts Are Shy
Shyness and introversion are two completely different things. Shyness is that painful feeling you have when you feel yourself being socially rejected or find yourself in socially awkward situations. Introversion is the tendency to focus more on internal thoughts than on the external world. While there are introverts who are shy, there are also ones who aren't. At the same time, there may be extroverts who are shy before they get to know others better.

3. Introverts Do Not Like Socializing
Incorrect! Introverts do like to go out and socialize. It's just that they can only stay out for a certain period of time before they have to head home to rejuvenate their energy.

Introversion Is Not A Disorder

What Type Of Introvert Are You?

1. Social Introvert

Social introverts can be quite talkative and easygoing, especially when they are around their close friends and family. They choose their friends wisely and carefully and open up only to the ones they trust. They aren't exactly shy in the true meaning of the word but need time alone to recharge themselves. Meeting new people can be exciting, but long conversations can make them feel tired. They would prefer being alone or spending time with their best friends than having too many social interactions with strangers. 

2. Thinking Introvert

Thinking introverts aren't usually overwhelmed by big groups of people or huge social events. They just stay in their lovely bubble and ignore potential distractions. They can spend hours in their thoughts. They usually perceive the world through their emotions, which gives them a unique sense of empathy and intuition. They tend to create unique and original ways of living life rather than strictly going by the rules.

3. Anxious Introvert

If you go to any lengths to avoid any form of communication, you may be an anxious introvert. Anxious introverts tend to get intimidated by unnecessary conversations. They may often find themselves in awkward situations when they don't understand something properly or find it difficult to convey their opinions to others. They tend to overthink and may easily stress themselves with unnecessary things. They try to keep their social life to the minimum due to their self-consciousness, and sometimes, low self-esteem. An anxious introvert may benefit from trying to take small steps out of their comfort zone to interact more with others. 

4. Restrained Introvert

Restrained introverts aren't people who love being alone but rather prefer to think carefully before any kind of social interaction. They aren't uncomfortable in big groups of people. Sometimes they just need time to adjust to a new situation or environment.

Can Introverts Become Extroverts?

Introversion is a trait you are said to be born with. It isn't something you develop over time. Of course, you can work on your personality and become the kind of person you want to be, but that isn't going to change the temperament you have. What is important to know is that there is no need for becoming an extrovert if you weren't born to be one.

Some introverts wish they could be more outgoing than they usually are, but this has nothing to do with being an extrovert. You can, like everyone else, work on your social skills, be more engaging, and adapt better to various social situations. However, it is hardly going to change that these activities are likely to wear you out.

The good news is that you can easily learn to be more capable in social interactions. What is more important is to discover and practice the kind of lifestyle that suits our personality type and makes us happy, rather than try to be someone we aren't meant to be. Each of us is different, and it may make more sense to focus and work on our strengths and weaknesses.

Do Introverts Have Any Unique Advantages?

In our society, introverts tend to be frowned upon whereas extroverts are hailed. Try to remember the last time you tried to be someone you didn't want to be or pursued something you didn't want to do just because you wanted to conform to social norms. Were you satisfied with your results?

More often than not, the answer would be a loud NO! Why can't introverts be themselves? Well, they actually can, and they should. There are a lot of people who have set an example, proving that introverts can become great people, for example, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Meryl Streep, Bill Gates, and J.K. Rowling.. 

There are certain skills introverts tend to be better at than extroverts. More often than not, they are known to be more versatile, creative, responsible, and work well independently. They take their jobs seriously and try to perfect any task they are assigned. When it comes to relationships, introverts do a better job both in choosing the right partner as well as spending quality time with them. Being an introvert in no way dictates how successful or happy you can be as long as you see it in the correct light. At the end of the day, all that matters is being yourself! Janis Joplin said it best: "Don't compromise yourself. You're all you’ve got."

Should An Introvert Seek Professional Help?

Introversion is not a disorder, but we do live in an extroverted culture where extroversion is celebrated. Online therapists and in-person therapists can help introverts learn tools to deal with social, work, and networking situations. Meeting with a therapist also creates a safe, intimate space where introverts can freely be themselves. This can go a long way in progressing through one’s therapy goals.

How BetterHelp Can Support You

Meeting a therapist face to face can be scary for an introvert, especially because it usually means that they'll have to interact with the therapist in a new, unfamiliar place. But, as mentioned above, this is not the only way to get therapy. Other therapy options include online professional counseling services such as those offered at BetterHelp. This option applies to extroverts and introverts alike and takes place in the comfort of their own home and within a time frame that works best for them. In therapy, you may just learn to be happy with who you are.

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