Introverted personality is one of the ones that arouses most interest both in the fields of differential and applied psychology and in that of popular culture. And it is that many people feel identified with the category of “introverts” from the valuation they make in the way they relate to the environment and to others.
But … what exactly is being an introvert beyond that notion that it has something to do with shyness? Let’s see it starting, first, with the most basic question of all then look at their characteristics.
What is an introvert ?
Introversion is a concept originally coined by Carl Jung, known among other things for being one of Sigmund Freud’s disciples who ended up distancing himself from his teacher. Jung created the categories of introversion and extraversion to refer to a duality of mutually exclusive psychological traits (although every introvert has some extravert and vice versa) and that were based on a main idea.
This idea was that introverts tend to focus their psychological activity on private mental processes and only indirectly related to the environment, while introverts tend to seek external stimuli in the present, constantly.
Over time, the psychodynamic paradigm from which both Jung and Freud departed was losing strength, but in the second half of the twentieth century, based on a psychometric approach, researchers of differential psychology kept the introversion-extraversion dialectic in force because they saw that it describes well the way in which a part of the human personality distinguishes us and explains the tendencies of our behavior .
Specifically, both Raymond Cattell and Hans Eysenck, two of the main references in the field of differential psychology, have used this category in their personality models. And they are not the only ones.
To sum up what or who is an introvert it is important to keep in mind that introversion is not the same as social anxiety or shyness .
People who are introverts tend to live in their inner world, they focus more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods than on seeking external stimuli.
Characteristics of introverts
1. Avoid being constantly in changing and complex environments
Introverts feel significant psychological wear and tear if they have to be constantly engaging in events that occur around them and that present a relatively high degree of uncertainty. For example, if they must carry out work for the public full-time.
That is why they need to “regain strength” away from that kind of context.
2. They need time alone
Another characteristic of introverts is that they actively seek to reserve a time and a place to be alone. This not only has to do with the need to rest, but, because of its way of being, a good part of the activities that they consider most motivating and stimulating are based on introversion and therefore try to have environments that do not present distractions .
This is something that especially affects relationships, and something that can cause problems if it clashes with the expectations of the other person, who can interpret this as a distancing or as a sign that the love bond is weak.
3. Tendency to interact with few people
This is another consequence of the way in which these people’s minds function. Since they are especially looking for stable environments and do not appreciate situations in which there is uncertainty , introverts prefer to relate to a rather small circle of friends, and not depend on many other face-to-face interactions with those outside of that set.
As a result, they are not usually very talkative or assertive people, since they prefer to keep a low profile in their social relationships so as not to lengthen them too much and keep them simple, without complications.
4. They prefer the practical to the striking
For introverts, social capital does not have much value beyond those people with whom they maintain a strong emotional bond. Therefore, the idea of ??wanting to attract attention does not make much sense to them , and this even tends to be reflected in their way of dressing, chosen not so much for their striking aesthetics as for practical use criteria, such as their comfort.
5. They are very good analysts and listeners
The fact that they are introverts does not mean that they have no social life. But they are very selective with the people who approach them and do not want everyone to interfere in their lives, much less in private. At the same time, being introverts makes them very good listeners, since they do not interrupt to explain their own life, to give their point of view or to become important ones by attracting the attention of their interlocutor. The world needs more listeners like this, especially today that we are so many but we live in a world of superficiality and lack of face-to-face and sincere communication .
6. They tend to be calm and quiet
Introverts are often imagined as quiet, reserved and shy individuals , although the latter is a mistake, since shyness is not synonymous with introversion. Shyness is fear and shame to be observed and valued by others, but introversion is a type of personality that flows into inner life. A person can be shy but not introverted , that is to say that in his interior he has strong desires to expand, to go out with friends at all hours and to speak by the elbows, although he is ashamed to do it in certain situations. And an introvert, even if he is reserved, does not have to be afraid to speak in public about his work, for example. In many cases, people with this type of personality .They simply prefer to choose their words carefully and not waste time or energy on unnecessary talks.
7. They are friends and faithful companions
Introverted people, as we have already said, are very selective in choosing their friendships, so when they give them their trust it is usually for life, because they have weighed the pros and cons very well. They are, therefore, very loyal to their friends and maintain a firm affection for those they trust . In addition, since they do not need to share their experiences constantly, they are very good at keeping confidences and secrets . They are great guardians of their personal experiences and understand that for others it is equally important, so they never infringe your freedom or your private space.
8. Do not succumb easily to peer pressure
Because they live in their own world, they are faithful to their own rules. It is more common for them to do what they want, when they want and how they want. They are not very influential by the social group, first because they do not easily join anybody and second because it is not their main interest to fit in and be valued by others. His top priority is to feel good in his inner world. They don’t do things because they are fashionable, but because they really motivate them . They are great thinkers and weigh whether or not what others do makes sense to them, and if the answer is no, they do not go that way.
10. They are full of fantastic ideas
Introverts live in the world of ideas; they create thousands of universes in their minds but keep them secret. Your mind is full of crazy and bold ideas , which means you’ll never get bored in the company of an introvert. Extraordinary thoughts and assumptions sprout from his head. As long as you are a good friend and companion, they will guide you through the magical world of their dreams, which will eventually become yours, since there is little chance that you will be able to resist their beauty.
11. They are strong and independent
Introverts are very capable of traveling around the world without having to do so in the company of someone, if they don’t want to. This saves them from having to ask for permission or wait for the approval of another to go or do what they want. They know how to stay safe and firm being alone without the company of anyone else .
If they have broken up with their partner, or if they decide to live independently, this does not cause them trauma or fear. They will never be emotional dependent on anyone. The true force does not come from the physical, it comes from the mind and soul. And introverts have control over both. It is the result of his personality, the result of the nights they spent thinking about why they could not be like the others, nor be in a group as one. Now, you know why. Because they are different from most and stronger than them.
12 . In trusted environments, free your inner child
Introverts are reserved while they are with strangers. They act in a serious way, are not put in evidence and usually go unnoticed. But in the company of their closest relatives, introverts let their inner child free themselves because, deep down, they are children at heart: sweet, sincere and playful .
13 . Its ability to observe, although selective, is great
Introverts are excellent observers of their environment, as they tend to analyze situations internally and deeply , due to their high levels of neural activation that makes them always alert to all stimuli. Every single detail or change in someone’s behavior, whether in their choice of food, the way they talk to them when no one is around, etc., everything is computed by their hypersensitive mind. So it is much harder to lie or cheat them. Appreciate this unique feature of introverts, as it will be easier for them to perceive your sad mood at any given time and lend themselves to help you.
- Thompson, Edmund R. (2008). “Development and Validation of an International English Big-Five Mini-Markers”. Personality and Individual Differences.
- “Extraversion or Introversion”. The Myers & Briggs Foundation.
- Looking at Type: The Fundamentals
by Charles R. Martin (CAPT 1997)