Let’s get one thing straight: No one is completely and utterly an introvert. People aren’t either introverts or extroverts; they are a combination of both. However, some people are much more introverted than others. Those who fall on the extreme of the introverted side of the introvert-extrovert spectrum often have habits that vary little from person to person.
We do like to keep to ourselves a lot of the time, but not all of the time. We’re not quite as asocial as most people would have us believe, but there is a good reason it seems that way from the outside. Most of us have friends who are introverts if we aren’t introverts ourselves.
Understanding introversion is important because most of us have the wrong beliefs when it comes to our less-than outgoing friends.
It’s even more important if you, yourself, are introverted because you very well could be missing out while trying to adhere to some unrealistic definition of yourself as a person. Here are a few habits of those we like to call introverts:
1. We like to take walks. Lots and lots of walks.
We are observers by nature – and what better setting to observe than the outdoors as we stroll by? Our setting of choice will vary from individual to individual, some of us liking urban settings while others preferring mother nature as a walking buddy. Walking is probably our favorite activity because it allows us to think without being interrupted, allows us to observe others and the world around us without being questioned, and gives us some exercise. What could be better?
2. We have no problem lying at home, doing nothing but rummaging through our thoughts.
We like to think… a lot. Sure, you can argue that we all think all the time, but we especially like to be conscious of our thoughts. We like to observe them from a third-person perspective, not as ourselves. We like to think about the way we think about things.
3. Books are our poison of choice… but we like movies, too.
We’re huge fans of stories. They allow us to lead lives we would otherwise never be able to live. We can delve into books, movies, or TV marathons of detectives, serial killers, race car drivers, astronauts, zombie hunters, warlocks… We love to use our imaginations, forming a visual only intensifies our experience.
4. We enjoy talking to people, just not as much as most people do.
Believe it or not, we’re not asocial – at least not most of us. However, don’t necessarily expect us to be going around introducing ourselves to everyone. It’s not that we don’t want to meet them, but we’d prefer to observe them first. Then, after observing and judging them, we (more often than not) don’t want to meet them. But that’s the way it goes for most people; we just don’t even bother making the introduction so it’s less awkward when we decide not to continue or start a conversation.
5. Our minds are our playgrounds – sometimes quite literally.
Some call it their mind palace. Some their castle. Mine, personally, is a giant library. Introverts, with enough practice, are especially talented at creating inner worlds for themselves where they can store their memories, experiences and imaginary ponderings. We can spend hours just roaming about thinking things over and running through old experiences.
Some will argue that it’s better to just focus on living in the moment, but the truth is, most moments aren’t worth living. Why not go back and revisit those that are, or create new ones from scratch?
6. We prefer observing over interacting.
We do like to interact, but only with certain people. We are very picky when it comes to a lot of things, especially individuals we interact with. It’s much more fun for us to simply sit or stand on the sideline for a bit and gaze upon the crowd. That way, we take in a bit about each individual without having to make people a part of our lives who we don’t want to make a part of our lives. Even if it’s a very small part, why risk negative impact?
7. We don’t necessarily shy away from all social interaction; we just know when we won’t have fun and decide not to participate.
We like to have fun; we really do. But more often than not, what most people, extroverts especially, consider fun we consider trivial. We just don’t get the excitement that extroverts get out of many experiences and things.
We know ourselves well because we spend so much time conversing with ourselves, and we do our best to avoid experiences we are certain we won’t enjoy. This sometimes leads to us missing experiences we would enjoy… but that’s why introverts do need to leap in from time-to-time to make sure they still understand their preferences; those tend to change and fluctuate over time.
8. We like puzzles.
Sudoku, crosswords, jigsaws, Ikea furniture… you name it, we enjoy it. Most of us are problem solvers by nature and we like a challenge. Video games are always fun, especially RPGs. This is probably the reason we enjoy mystery novels so much.
9. We believe people to be the best of puzzles.
There really is no better puzzle than a human being, which is another reason we like to observe from a distance. Interacting with a person does tell you quite a bit, but because you have to interact, you lose focus on observing. Hence why we often prefer to observe others interacting. This way, we get a lot more information about a person than we would by simply talking to them.
10. We tend to be very picky about our music.
You may think you listen to music, but we really listen to music. We listen to the lyrics and the melody in detail. We often have music playing in our minds, able to play a song from beginning to finish. When you spend more time inside your head than outside, you’d be surprised what you’re capable of.
11. When we like something, we love it; when we don’t like something, we hate it.
Not all of us are so two-optioned, but a good number of us are to call it an associated trait of introverts. Because we dissect just about everything, we end up clearly defining what we do and don’t like. This leads to us fervently disliking something when we find a detail we don’t like, and very much loving the things we find to our liking. Whether this is good or bad is debatable. But this is a quality Steve Jobs was known for… so it can’t be that bad.
12. We don’t keep many friends, but the bonds we do build are stronger than average.
We have a clearer-than-average understanding of what we like, what we don’t like, what is good for us and what we ought to avoid. This also goes for who we ought to avoid. We may get along well with most people, but that doesn’t mean we want them all to be a part of our lives. We can be very defensive about who we let into our circle of trust.
13. We don’t often let people in, but when we do, we open up like a book.
We like to keep private. We observe others so much, we have a clear understanding of the power of knowledge. For this reason, we keep our distance and we like to keep our personal lives to ourselves. However, if we do brand you as friendly, you will get filled in on just about everything – probably more than you want to even know.
14. You know the quiet-on-the-streets-freak-in-the-sheets type?
Yeah, that’s us. While extroverts may be outwardly active, showy, and even wild on the regular, we don’t; we keep all that energy bundled up, only to let loose with those we get close to – especially those we get intimate with. The fact is, we spend a lot more time thinking about what we want to do to you. So when we get a chance to do it, we have a freakishly creative arsenal of goodies to choose from.
15. We often get lost in our thoughts, even when someone is talking directly to us.
If you are having a conversation with an introvert and he or she is staring directly into your eyes, don’t expect that this person is hearing every word you say. An introvert will get the jist of it, but more likely than not, something you said triggered a thought sequence that he or she got taken away by, like a tidal wave.
This person is still there… somewhere, and he or she will come through at some point, but won’t snap out of it until it's noticed on his or her own. However, this may take longer than you’d think. But you probably won’t ever realize because we’ve become very good at faking it.
Photo credit: House