Don’t Buy The Myth
At one time, being an introvert was considered a negative trait for a person to have. Introverts often share myths such as poor leadership, weirdness, being stand-offish, and a lack of confidence (1).
Even more so, when you hear the word introvert, you might picture someone who’s extremely shy and avoids human interaction at any cost.
These myths have existed mainly because introverts are famously misunderstood, especially compared to the behaviors of their outgoing counterparts, extroverts.
In contrast to the extrovert, many introverts are most selective with their time and interactions because they receive most of their energy during periods of alone time.
Uncovering the Introvert
Jonathan Creek, a psychologist at Wellesley College, says that there are 4 basic types of introverts (2); some could also be a combination of all 4 types.
These types include Social, Thinking, Anxious, and Restrained.
To clearly understand the functioning of your mind, first, you need to identify which type of introvert you really are.
Continue reading to learn how to use introversion as a strength and overcome many obstacles in every aspect of everyday life.
The Four Types of Introverts
The Social Introvert
These introverts don’t mind gathering; they are not shy and would attend social events without hesitation. They like to keep their circle small and avoid socializing with a large group of people.
This decision comes from personal preference and not from the fear of socializing; they value solitude, calm, and quiet company.
Related: 30+ Mental Strength Hacks
In mainstream, they are mostly referred to as shy by people at gatherings which isn’t solely true.
This introvert can exist in a social environment and isolation.
For example, they don’t experience social anxiety around people; it is just that they prefer small groups of people or selective friends to hang out with.
In contrast, they sometimes might feel the need to stay at home without socializing with anyone because they enjoy their own company the most rather than going out with people.
Prefer tiny intimate gatherings
Will happily go on a solo date or vacation
Require alone time to recharge, especially in a relationship
Will accept social invitations with no intention to show up
The Thinking Introvert
Second, thinking introverts spend most of the time in their head pondering their thoughts and scenarios built in their head.
It’s not uncommon that these types of individuals will often “disappear” from a conversation and retreat into their own minds.
The thinker imagines, compares themselves to a character and thinks how they would have done things in similar situations.
They do not mind being around others but would rather not socialize.
Generally, this class of introverts is busy analyzing the beliefs about themselves, others, and the world in their minds.
Additionally, writer Stephanie Barnes states, “the thinking introvert will often pause to cogitate before offering a response to a question. “Let me think about that” can be a very common response for the thinking-type introvert.”
Moreover, thinkers often process what kind of person they are and respect their inner feelings.
Related: Can A Shy Person Be an Entrepreneur?
When reading a good story, novel, or watching a movie, the thinker imagines, compares themselves to a character and thinks how they would have done things in similar situations.
More introspective than the average introvert
Will lean toward activities that provide a “mental haven” for thinking: studying, reading, researching, musical pursuits, or other creative activities
Generally not reactive and will often pause to think before offering a response to a question
The Anxious Introvert
In addition, the anxious types are the complete opposite of the first: social introverts. They avoid socializing altogether, especially with unknown people. Their anxiety gets triggered around people, making them feel awkward.
They are not confident and comfortable, making them self-conscious around people, questioning everything about themselves. Likewise, the anxious introvert is often stereotypical quiet, on edge, or nervous.
Being alone doesn’t reduce social anxiety. When alone, anxiety can persist, if thoughts of how everything could have been or how you could have acted.
Common traits and habits:
Typically appear at least mildly nervous in most situations
May appear highly avoidant and rude
Will avoid social interactions at all costs
The Restrained Introvert
Restrained introversion is a rare type of introversion and is also called the inhibited introvert.
Individuals with this trait refrain from speaking spontaneously and avoid situations that require rapid replies.
In addition, they tend to be more reserved and guarded until they are comfortable with another.
Instead of being shy, they are thoughtful, grounded, and often ponder the situation to develop a thought-out response later.
Another element of the restrained introvert is that they won’t feel energized most mornings. They often spend time in bed to gather thoughts about certain situations and plan out the day.
Common traits and habits:
Move at a slower, more methodical pace in all things
Tend to enjoy predictable activities
Do you know who’s an introvert in your social circle? Which one are you?
Whether you are more social as an introvert or isolated, learn how to use your given trait to the best of your ability.
As introverts and innovators, be selective in the audience you engage in, learn to set boundaries, and keep it simple: be yourself.
Thanks for reading. I hope the words in this article were helpful or helped spark conversation.