By Frank Yung
What comes to your mind when I say the word “introvert”? A shy, timid person? Or someone who thinks they are too-cool-for-school? As an introvert myself, I’m proud to tell you introverts are not what you think they are.
Introverts are seen as quiet, reserved, and often seen as rude and reclusive. However, the introvert definition doesn’t include being anti-social. Introverts can have great social lives and close friends, and they do enjoy spending time with others, but they feel so tired physically and mentally after a long day of socializing and mingling.
What they need is spending alone time to regain their energies. They mainly appear in places which provides silence and solace like parks, their home, and cafes. They also enjoy a good ole bus ride alone.
But why do introverts act this way?
Scientists have the perfect explanation of introverted behaviors.
Everyone possesses dopamine and acetylcholine in their brains. These are both neurotransmitters linked to pleasure. Scientists discover introverts rely on acetylcholine — a chemical that makes you feel good when you turn inwards; while extroverts respond better to dopamine — a chemical that provides the motivation to seek external rewards and stimulation.
Also, a study in 2012 finds out introverts have thicker gray matter in their prefrontal cortex, which is a region of the brain linked to decision-making and abstract thoughts. This explains introverts tend to sit and ponder alone before making a decision.
At work, introverts mind their own business.
They don’t boast, they just take actions. Introverts don’t crave the limelight, and they think boasting is another form of attention-seeking. They prefer working hard on their own instead of gaining popularity or likeness from others.
They don’t bother to act nice. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean introverts are stuck-up or extroverts are fake. Introverts do not prefer small talks, or even dread chitchats. They think small talks are not acts of niceness, but pointless conversations.
They aren’t shy to present themselves, they only say things when it counts. Introverts are often assumed to be soft-spoken and shy, in fact, they are listening and internalizing their thoughts while others speak. They prefer thinking before speaking, and say things that are really meaningful and constructive.
They hate gossips and don’t understand why others love it so much. As I have mentioned before, introverts seldom enjoy trivial conversations, and office politics is no exception.
Despite everything, when they make friends at work, they make really close ones. The reason why introverts don’t enjoy chitchats is because they prefer deep, introspective conversations with others. They build friendships beyond the surface, but not upon superficial interactions.
In relationships, introverts may seem to be a handful.
Of course, dating an introvert could be more challenging than working with one, especially if you are an extrovert, but here is why:
If introverts have a choice, they would rather stay at home and spend time together than going out for a date. Introverts enjoy spending quality time with their loved ones in a space with minimal social interactions, simply because a loud and noisy atmosphere it is more draining and boisterous. Also, introverts like to direct their attention on one person, going out just creates more distractions.
They really need a lot of alone time, but it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Often times, introverts in relationships are deemed as non-communicative and distant. Their partners (usually extroverts) may feel less attention from them. It’s not that they don’t love you, it’s only because their introverted temperament requires a silent space to absorb and process information from both outside and inside.
They let their partners shine. Introverts prefer stepping back and let others have the spotlight, it’s the same in relationships. Their introverted nature makes their more extroverted counterparts feel less threatened and competitive for attention.
They don’t like to socialize with their partner’s friends, but they are willing to try. It all comes back to introverts not liking small talks. They can be friendly and sociable (and may be mistaken as an extrovert), but they find it mentally draining afterwards. They hate being the center of attention too. But because introverts are great listeners, they understand what their partner wants and try to accommodate their needs.
There are a lot of more that constitute someone’s personality.
After reading this, you might see a bit of yourself, or you may think “nah, my introverted friends are nothing like this”. I just want you to know, there isn’t a solid and absolute introvert definition.
People have different degrees of introversion, and it’s more important to know introverts can be different from one another, and people may change after time, but just remember, they all share one ultimate similarity — they need their alone time to recharge.
No matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, let us know if there are any other qualities you think an introverted person possess!