The 23 Signs (1-11)
August 25, 2013

The 23 Signs (1-11)

Recently, I wrote about the personality and cultural theories of the introvert and the extrovert. Naturally, in those blogs, I used information to generalize the differences between these two personality types. Of course, the characteristics of each are not so cut and dry because each person is different, an individual. One person may be an extrovert who needs the occasional quiet moment or an introvert who really enjoys chitchat.

I am obviously not the only person interested in this as the Huffington Post recently released an article called “23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert.” Since it has not been so long that I wrote about the introvert, I thought it would be helpful to discuss these 23 signs, secret or not.

1) You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

For the introvert, small talk is worse than getting dental work done without any Novocain, anesthetic, or happy gas. This is because for most introverts (myself included) small talk is vapid. It does not connect the introvert in the way that others feel like it connects. Some see small talk as the opening to something more, but introverts tend to see it as sucking the life from them. Deep thoughts on philosophy or ideas definitely draw in the introvert. Small talk makes us want to run…far and fast.

2) You go to parties—but not to meet people.

Parties are a part of many people’s social lives for one reason or another. The introvert goes to parties not because there is an opportunity to broaden their social circle or network. Oh no. That would be awful. Introverts go to parties to be with their friends and family they love and adore. They go to spend time with the people in their lives who are important to them for one reason or another. Meeting new people is the antithesis of party fun for the introvert.

3) You often feel alone in a crowd.

Even if an introvert is surrounded by people she loves, she might feel lost and alone in a crowd. This is likely because the introvert has to expend so much energy when socializing.

4) Networking makes you feel phony.

Yeah, so going to parties or engaging in small talk for the sole purpose of building a network (social, work, or otherwise) simply feels fake, like a lie, to the introvert. They might understand the need for it, but they do not like and feel like they are simply phony.

5) You’ve been called “too intense.”

Because introverts tend to prefer heavy conversations about deeper ideas like philosophy, science, or religion, they are often accused of being too serious and intense. Thought-provoking conversations, movies, music, and books draw the introvert in. Small talk pushes her out.

6) You’re easily distracted.

As the Huff Post article says, “While extroverts tend to get bored easily when they don’t have enough to do, introverts have the opposite problem — they get easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation.” I can’t count how often this happens to me.

7) Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

Because introverts need quiet time alone to reenergize and ready themselves for social interaction, downtime is a necessity to their lives and well-beings. Many might see downtime as wasted time, but introverts need it to function.

8) Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

One of the common misconceptions of the introvert is that she is too shy to be social. That is not the case at all. In fact, leaders and public speakers are often introverts. That is probably because they are leading and speaking about something they are passionate about thus they indulge in their intensity, and when speaking in front of large groups (like, say, a classroom full of college freshmen), the introvert is not engaging in social activity, chitchat, nor networking.

9) When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench—not in the middle.

Why? Well, that is pretty obvious for the introvert. Being on the end allows for quick escape from social interaction.

10) You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

Because introverts have to expend lots of energy to interact in public, when they do it for too long, they go into conserve mode. Once that happens, the activity shuts down in the introvert. They zone out.

11) You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.

This is so true for me. Through my extroverted partner, I am able to experience the fun of his extroversion vicariously without having to expend too much of my own introvert capital. We balance each other nicely.

In the next blog, I will identify the other 12 signs for introverts.

Image Credit: ZIGROUP-CREATIONS / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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