If people drain your energy, then you are an introvert. Shyness, sociability, and introversion aren’t the same thing. Though the usual picture of introversion is the person hiding in the nearest corner and shrinking away when anyone gets close, this is not the only picture of introversion, by far. This is more a sign of extreme shyness than introversion. Shyness is a form of social anxiety and is inherently unpleasant.
Being alone, for an introvert, is very pleasant. There are many introverts who don’t know they are introverts because they are outgoing. The truth is, you can be a social butterfly and an introvert. Whether or not you are an introvert has little to do with your level of sociability and the pleasure you get from socializing, it depends on where you get your energy.
Even if you leave a party having shaken hands with everyone, constantly stood in the spotlight, and learned about each person’s favorite pet, you are still an introvert if you arrive home completely exhausted and need a few days to recover. Introversion exists on a continuum, but the underlying feature is that socialization drains your energy and solitary activities replenish it.
Here are nine signs you are an introvert.
#1 You Dislike Small Talk
You may feel that small talk is a barrier to true communication, that it blocks you from getting to know possible ideas. If you are an introvert, small talk may cause feelings of annoyance or anxiety. This anxiety isn’t because you fear other’s judgment but that you may have to perform for others or push yourself into exhaustion. You may think there are deeper conversations that could be happening if only you didn’t have to talk about the weather to get to them.
#2 You Don’t Go To Parties To Meet New People
You may go to parties and enjoy them, but the ultimate goal isn’t to meet new people. You’d much prefer to hang out with a group of people you already know. While meeting a new person with awesome ideas is great, it’s rarely the reason you attended the party.
#3 You Feel Alone In A Crowd
Even though you are surrounded by people, including those you know, you may still feel alone. Not the contentment you feel when actually by yourself, but a lonely kind of solitude. Due to this perpetual othering when among people, you may let friends or activities choose you rather than initiating relationships and events.
#4 You Feel Disingenuous When Networking
Your mother may have told you never to sell yourself, but when you go to a large networking mixer, you’re sure you’re disappointing her. You put on those shoes the interviewers like, style your hair to their preferences, and use all the buzzwords they love. What happened? What possessed you to go against your mother’s advice? Advancing your career, of course!
Networking, i.e. small talk for the career-minded, can make you feel like a fake. As an introvert, you want authenticity in all of your interactions. So, to help the slightly icky feeling that networking gives you, try doing it in small groups rather than a large room of 5-minute career dates.
#5 You’re Known As “That Intense Dude”
Introverts are known to be quite intense. Small talk is the opposite of their deep and philosophical thinking patterns. Why talk about the weather everyone’s quite aware of—I mean, we both did come out of the same rain, right?—when you can talk about the bigger, deeper questions that lead to profound debates. As an introvert, you enjoy thought-provoking books, movies, and philosophical conversations.
#6 You Get Distracted, Easily
While extroverts can get distracted because they don’t have enough to do or the task is monotonous, you get distracted when the environment is overwhelming. Knowing this, you may prefer environments that have little stimulation. This can help you access the deeper recesses of your mind and come up with original ideas and solutions.
#7 “Doing Nothing” Is Everything To You
While others may think you’re lounging around doing nothing, you are actually getting the much-needed downtime you need to rebuild your energy. An extrovert may grow bored when facing a tea-filled staycation, but this is heaven to an introvert. You need this controlled environment and these quiet activities to gather the energy to go back out in the loud, fast, world that sucks your energy like a hot phone battery.
#8 The Stress Comes After Talking To Hundreds
There are many excellent leaders and public speakers that are introverts. Though the stereotype is that of a shrinking violet, many celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Emma Watson, and Christina Aguilera, have said they are introverts. For that matter, around 40 percent of CEOs are introverts. Giving a presentation to hundreds of people may be fine for you because this is a one-way interaction, but having to meet these individual people may exhaust you and cause stress.
#9 You Shut Down When Too Much Is Going On
When you have a lot to do, do you start to feel fatigued and speak in monosyllables? For an introvert, the entire outside world can drain your energy. This fact may lead to your selective nature. You may spend your days weighing the amount of energy that will be expended compared to how much the activity will impact your life.
Let’s say you have a store of 100 energy points. The following may be what you can handle in one day without recharging. Going to the career fair: 65 points. Small group discussion: 15 points. Taking your kids to a play date: 20 points. Once you go over those 100 points you may seek a quiet place to wait until your points re-spawn. If there is no place, you might just zone out. This can make you look like that spacey guy, but it’s necessary to recharge your energy.
Monitor your energy levels and take as many breaks as needed. Being an introvert is an excellent way of being.