How To Know If You're An Introvert Or Not

by Raven Ishak

When someone hears the word "introvert," they probably think of people who are shy, don't go out often, and hate small talk. While these things could all be true, there are other surprising signs that could indicate someone is an introvert Just like extroverts, introverts often love to talk to people. They'll grab a few drinks with their friends, hang out at parties, etc. However, how they process social situations is completely different: they prefer more in-depth conversations, observe more than speak in group settings, and then, choose to recharge alone afterwards. Believe it or not, even the most "extroverted" people sometimes considered themselves introverts.

"There are more of us out there than people would expect. Being a therapist and talking for a living, writing articles, being interviewed, people automatically assume I am an extrovert. I am not. I know many teachers, speakers, and salespeople who are introverts as well. It becomes about preparation and positive self-talk," says psychologist Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC, in an interview with Bustle over email.

"There are the obvious introverts who are shy, socially awkward, and prefer to be by themselves or work alone, but there are many more who are going about everyday life without much indications that [they're] introverts at all. They have learned to work with it," continues Martinez.

If any of these qualities sound remotely familiar to you, then check out these 11 surprising signs that could indicate you're actually an introvert.

1. You Process Social Situations Differently

Being an introvert doesn't necessarily mean you want to be home alone, reading a book 24/7 (even though that sounds lovely). Being an introvert is about how you choose to process social situations. "There is a common misconception that introverts are shy, when in fact, being an introvert has more to do with how you process a situation. For example, I am an introvert, a very gregarious introvert, but after spending time at work or around other people, I need a few hours of alone time," says career & business coach Rachel Ritlop in an interview with Bustle over email.

2. You Observe More Than Speak

Introverts could be considered great listeners. Instead of chatting their heads off, they'll often quietly listen to everyone else speak about their day. "Often introverts are described as the 'observers' in a group. Taking in their surroundings rather than participating or being in the center," says Ritlop.

3. You're Good At Working Alone

"Introverts are often good at getting tasks done. They are refueled by working alone and checking things off of a to-do list. Compared to extroverts, who are refueled by a team brainstorming session," says Ritlop. Even though Introverts are most likely considered to be observers doesn't mean they can't work well with others. They just prefer to reflect quietly by themselves instead of feeling overwhelmed with hearing everyone else's thoughts to help creatively solve a problem.

4. You Need To Recharge After Hanging Out With People

You'll know if you're an introvert if the thought of an overly social calendar scares you. While you love to hang out with your friends every once in a while, you'll often go home afterwards and choose to recharge by yourself. "You prefer to 'recharge' on your own, rather than with others. Being an introvert or extrovert is really about how you primarily gain energy or recharge. If you prefer some alone time to recharge over going out with friends, then you’re probably an introvert. If being around others all the time makes you feel drained, while being alone gives you the energy boost you need to get out and be social, then you’re an introvert," says clinical psychologist, speaker, and founder of the AZ Postpartum Wellness Coalition Christina G. Hibbert, Psy.D. in an interview with Bustle over email.

5. You're Very Cautious When It Comes To Making Decisions

Because introverts love to quietly reflect to themselves about solving problems, they usually tend to be very cautious before making a decision. "Introverts exhibit the following: feeling drained or overwhelmed due to many social activities, discomfort in large crowds of people, are generally cautious when making decisions, are often quiet in conversations and may not speak unless spoken to," says psychotherapist and author Karen R. Koenig M.Ed., L.C.S.W., in an interview with Bustle over email.

6. You Prefer Quiet Environments

"[Introverts] are thought of as shy, enjoy time by themselves, and enjoy a quiet (low stimulation) environment," says Koenig. Being surrounded by hundreds of strangers in a highly stressed environment for a long period of time could be an introvert's nightmare. While they can most likely handle that type of situation, they'll need to hibernate and recharge in the comfort of their own home.

7. You're A Deep Thinker

Just because someone doesn't talk that often doesn't mean they don't have a lot to say. Introverts are known to be quiet until they've finally connected with someone. The minute they find out that someone has similar interests to them, that's when introverts won't stop talking. "Some are thought of as deep thinkers because they don’t say very much. Sadly, they’re often perceived as party poopers because they can take just so much socializing and then they want to be by themselves in a quiet environment," says Koenig about introverts being deep thinkers.

8. You Like Being Alone

While extroverts gain energy by surrounding themselves with people, introverts never get bored when they're home by themselves — they actually prefer it. "[You're not] shy, but you definitely like being alone. If you look up the definition of introvert, it will probably say something like, 'a shy, reticent person.' That’s not necessarily true. In fact, many introverts are anything but shy; they are outgoing, friendly, love good conversation, and enjoy being around others. The difference is, introverts also enjoy, and often prefer, spending time alone, while a true extrovert prefers being with others around the clock," says Hibbert.

"For example, people are always shocked when I say I’m an introvert, because I’m not shy at all. I love speaking to large groups, interacting and connecting with others, and being social, but as much as I love social connection, I love alone time more. Time to read and learn and think and rest—it’s what I love most. If I’m around others for extended periods of time—like on a family vacation—I start to feel antsy and crave a little “me” time. Introverts will actively seek ways to spend time alone because we need it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see an introvert at the party on Saturday night. They probably just spent all day alone before the party, and enjoyed it tremendously," continued Hibbert.

9. You Have A Keen Eye For Detail

Because introverts tend to talk less than others, they can become more aware of their surroundings. According to the Huffington Post, research has found that introverts tend to process visual information differently than extroverts, which allows them to have a great eye for detail.

Introverts are awesome. They love to have deep meaningful conversations and love to hang out at home. Whether you know an introvert or you happen to be one yourself, now you know what some of your best qualities are.

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