• 10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently With The World

    INTROVERT
    Introverts and extraverts may seem the same on the surface, but if you look at the way they respond to life’s everyday occurrences, differences begin to emerge.

    Last month, for example, Science of Us writer Melissa Dahl reported on findings from psychologist Brian Little’s latest book on personality science, Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being, which showed that introverts are better off avoiding caffeine before a big meeting or important event.

    Little cites the theory of extraversion by Hans Eysenck and research by William Revelle of Northwestern University, explaining that introverts and extraverts naturally differ when it comes to their alertness and responsiveness to a given environment. A substance or scene that overstimulates the central nervous system of an introvert (which doesn’t take much) might cause him or her to feel overwhelmed and exhausted, rather than excited and engaged.

    In her 2012 TED Talk titled “The Power of Introverts,” author Susan Cain reiterated this point in her definition of introversion, explaining that the trait is “different from being shy.”

    “Shyness is about fear of social judgment,” Cain said. “Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So extraverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched on and their most capable when they are in quieter, more low-key environments.”

    Now it goes without saying that most of our societal constructs cater to the former — from open office spaces to loud bars to the structure of our educational system — despite the fact that anywhere from one-third to half of the population has an introverted temperament.

    While a person’s introverted or extraverted tendencies fall within a spectrum — there is no such thing as a pure introvert or pure extravert, according to famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung — an introvert is most obvious and vulnerable when he or she is in an overstimulating environment.

    Coffee jitters aside, here are 10 ways introverts physically interact with the world around them differently than extraverts.

    They withdraw in crowds.

    alone in crowd

    “We hit the 20th century and we entered a new culture that historians call the culture of personality,” said Cain in her TED Talk. “We had evolved from an agricultural economy to a world of big business, and so suddenly people are moving from small towns to the cities, and instead of working alongside people they’ve known all their lives, now they are having to prove themselves in a crowd of strangers.”

    The resulting crowd, which is often loud, noisy and congested, easily overstimulates introverts and drains them of their physical energy. They end up feeling more physically isolated than supported by their surroundings, and would rather be anywhere but that sea of people.

    Small talk stresses them out, while deeper conversations make them feel alive.

    While most extraverts are energized by such interactions, introverts often feel intimidated, bored or exhausted by them. It’s not uncommon in large conversations for introverts to take on the role of the quiet listener and then take time alone once it’s complete. As Sophia Dembling, the author of The Introvert’s Way: Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World, explains in her book, it ultimately comes down to how a person receives (or doesn’t receive) energy from his or her surroundings. Instead, introverts prefer deeper conversations, oftentimes about philosophical ideas.

    They succeed on stage — just not in the chit-chat afterwards.

    speech

    “At least half of people who speak for a living are introverted in nature,” according to Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D, a certified speaking professional, executive coach and author of Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference. They simply play to their strengths, and prepare extensively. In fact, some of the most successful performers are introverts. Remaining on a stage, removed from a massive audience, proves far easier than the small talk-filled conversations that follow.

    They get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored.

    If you’re looking to destroy an introverted person’s attention span, just put them in a situation where they feel overstimulated. Due to increased sensitivity to their surroundings, introverts struggle with feeling distracted and sometimes overwhelmed in large crowds and open office spaces.

    However, when they are in peace and quiet, they have no issue tending to a favorite hobby or delving into a new book for hours. Having that time to take care of their inner selves helps them recharge while enjoying an activity they already enjoy.

    They are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented and solitary careers.

    woman writing

    Introverts naturally prefer spending time alone or in a small group, delving deeply into one task at a time and taking their time when it comes to making decisions and solving problems. Therefore, they fare better in work environments that allow them to do all of these things. Certain professions — including writers, in-the-field natural scientists and behind-the-scenes tech workers — can give introverts the intellectual stimulation they crave without the distracting environment they dislike.

    When surrounded by people, they locate themselves close to an exit.

    Introverts not only feel physically uncomfortable in crowded places, but also do their best to mediate that discomfort by hanging as close to the periphery as possible. Whether it be by an exit, at the back of a concert hall, or an aisle row on an airplane, they avoid being surrounded by people on all sides, according to Dembling.

    “We’re likely to sit in places where we can get away when we’re ready to — easily,” Dembling previously told HuffPost.

    They think before they speak.

    thinking

    This habit of introverts is often what earns them their reputations as listeners. It is second nature to them to take their time before opening their mouths, reflecting internally, instead of thinking out loud (which is more common among extraverts). They may seem more quiet and shy because of this behavior, but it just means that when they do speak, the words they share have that much more thought — and sometimes power — behind them.

    They don’t take on the mood of their environment like extraverts do.

    A 2013 study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that extraverts and introverts process experiences through the brain’s “reward” centers quite differently. While extraverts often sense a feel-good rush of dopamine related to their surroundings, introverts tend to not experience such a shift. In fact, people who are naturally introverted do not process rewards from external factors as strongly as extraverts do.

    They physically can’t stand talking on the phone.

    texting

    Most introverts screen their phone calls — even from their friends — for several reasons. The intrusive ringing forces them to abandon focus on a current project or thought and reassign it to something unexpected. Plus, most phone conversations require a certain level of small talk that introverts avoid. Instead, introverts may let calls go to voicemail so they can return them when they have the proper energy and attention to dedicate to the conversation.

    They literally shut down when it’s time to be alone.

    “Solitude matters, and for some people, it is the air that they breathe.” – Susan Cain

    Every introvert has a limit when it comes to stimulation. HuffPost blogger Kate Bartolotta explains it well when she writes, “Think of each of us as having a cup of energy available. For introverts, most social interactions take a little out of that cup instead of filling it the way it does for extroverts. Most of us like it. We’re happy to give, and love to see you. When the cup is empty though, we need some time to refuel.”


  • 16 Things You Need To Know Before You Date An Introvert

    1. Some of us have very outgoing personalities. We don’t always come across as the stereotypical introvert. We can be social butterflies and charming dates and then need a few days alone to recoup.
    2. Listen when we say we’re uncomfortable with something. It may seem like a simple task — to venture out to a party, to make a speech at a friend’s wedding, to put ourselves on display in one way or another — but it’s not for us. Don’t belittle us when we say we’re nervous about something that seems commonplace to you. Our hearts are pounding and we’re going to be overthinking this for weeks, the last thing we need is to feel like you don’t support or understand us.
    3. More often than not, we’ll bottle up our emotions because it’s exhausting for us to express them all the time. So while our quietness doesn’t necessarily mean we’re upset with you, it also doesn’t mean that we’re okay. Seems confusing, but really all that has to happen is set a foundation of open communication and go from there. Not to mention: there’s a discernible difference between “quiet because we’re seething” and “quiet because we’re contemplating.” Don’t play dumb to avoid conflict.
    4. We’re the “read books next to each other, take long quiet car ride” types. As cliché as it is, we don’t always want to be paraded around town with your college friends and coworkers and extended family. We’re going to feel closest to you when we’re coexisting with one another.
    5. If you want to know, ask. It doesn’t always occur to us to fill you in on where we are mentally, emotionally, etc. Communicate the obvious is the best route in this instance.
    6. When we say something, we mean it. Listen the first time. Take our word at surface level. If we say no, the answer is no. If we politely decline an invitation or don’t answer a phone call for a little bit, this isn’t a chance to press and prod us until we respond or agree. Do not take our seeming passivity for granted. It will do nothing but push us farther away.
    7. Post-break-up, the way to win us back isn’t by smothering us. Sending three emails a day and texting our friends to see what moves you should make next and persisting does nothing but infuriate and encourage us to write you off for good, because you aren’t respecting the lines we draw, however lightly we trace them.
    8. We’re most attracted to independent people. Do your own thing, keep your own interests, make plans without us, hangout with separate friends, live your own life. We’re not looking for a leech, we’re typically not too reliant on other people in the first place.
    9. We’re probably not going to be enthused about the plans you just sprang on us to hangout with a huge group of people in which we only know you. Not fun. Not cool. This is a socially exhausting situation to be in regardless of introversion or not.
    10. We’re not going to give you a running roster of our thoughts and opinions. We work through things in our own ways, and we’ll clue you in on a need-to-know basis. I’d be wrong not to acknowledge the fact that there’s open communication, and then there’s nearly harassing someone to force them into speaking their minds (hint: this usually doesn’t make way for the absolute truth to come out, if we’re not ready to say it, we’ll make something else up to defer in the meantime.)
    11. If we suddenly want to do everything with you, it’s a BIG DEAL. We develop that kind of comfort slowly. It’s not in our nature to want to be with people all the time, so take it as the ultimate sign of interest.
    12. We’re probably not going to take you home right away. Introducing you to our parents and then subsequently having you stay with us for days on end is not something we’re willing to do with just anybody. It’s a huge step and we’re cautious about it. We don’t let people in unless we want them to stay there.
    13. We appreciate and prefer small gestures over larger ones. We’re not going to always have a thrilled reaction to an elaborate surprise, and it’s nothing personal, just that we ultimately prefer smaller gestures of thought and caring, ones that are more digestible and less overwhelming.
    14. And the biggest gesture we can offer you will often seem small. Going on a trip with our family, opening up about a traumatic childhood experience, wanting to spend a few solid days together non-stop — these are all things that remain sacred to us. Letting you into these intimate parts of our lives is a big deal for us, and you should know that you mean a lot if we want you there.
    15. We probably don’t respond to things immediately. And honestly, it has nothing to do with whether or not we’re interested. We like to belabor our thoughts over emails, finish reading the page we’re on before we pick up our phone to respond to a text, etc. We’re just not quick to dive into social situations.
    16. We don’t just want to take it slow, we have to. Love is a sticky, messy, deeply compelling, and opening and changing thing, and it’s not that we don’t have our hearts and a half to give to you, just that we’re cautious by nature and we’re going to make sure we’re on the right path before we completely immerse ourselves.

  • Getting to know each other: Note from Carla

    If you’ve been tagged or you are reading this, you have the honor of copying all these goofy questions, writing your own response, and tagging 10 other victims. You have to tag me so really you just need 9 more people. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you – but not in a creepy stalker kind of way.

    To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your title as “Getting to know each other!”, tag 10 people including me (tagging is done in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.

     

    1. 1. What time did you get up this morning?  0500hrs
    2. How do you like your steak? Medium to Medium Rare, depending on my mood and where I’m eating
    3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Scott Pilgrim
    4. What is your favorite TV show? SG-1/SG:A/Warehouse 13/Eureka
    5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Northern Ireland
    6. What did you have for breakfast? Didn’t eat yet
    7. What is your favorite cuisine? American/Italian
    8. What foods do you dislike? Sushi
    9. Favorite Place to Eat? any place that will cook for me!
    10. Favorite dressing? Ceaser
    11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? none
    12. What are your favorite clothes? cargo shorts/pants and a t-shirt
    13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Seattle
    14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 full
    15. Where would you want to retire? Top of a mountain
    16. Favorite time of day? Night Time
    17. Where were you born? Atlantic City
    18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Hockey
    19. Who do you think will not tag you back? Dave Allison
    20. Person you expect to tag you back first? Mia
    21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? Everyone whom I tagged