Do you have the habit of looking into the mirror and feebly and sadly asking yourself this question repeatedly, “I’m a nice-looking guy with intelligence and wit, and yet why am I so introverted?” If the answer is yes, then you have come to the right place.
To get satisfactory answers to the above crucial personality-based question, you need to understand the concept of introversion and how it differs from extroversion. I hope to give you some insight into this matter. So, let’s get started.
The first thing you must know and accept is that being an introvert is not something to be ashamed of. It is merely a personality type, which like other personality types like extroversion has its pros and cons. On that positive note, let us begin to understand the answer to ‘Why am I so introverted?”
What does it mean to be introverted?
Introversion is a major personality trait wherein the individual in question is an inward-looking man. He is focused more on his internal thoughts and feelings and is not very keen on seeking external stimuli to feel complete and happy. An introvert is just the opposite of an extrovert who needs external stimuli for happiness. Introverts appear introspective, quiet and reserved while extroverts appear gregarious and outgoing.
Photo by Christin Hume
Differences between introverts and extroverts
Recognize the following signs of being an introvert as against an extrovert:
Being in the midst of many people tires you out– After spending many hours with a large number of people, do you feel a deep urge to go away and spend some time on your own?
Then, you are an introvert because you need to spend energy when you are around other people, and you conserve and accumulate energy when you are alone or with only a couple of your favorite people. Most often, introverts need to recharge their energy levels after spending some time in large groups.
On the other hand, extroverts gain energy when they are in the middle of a large social group and lose energy when they are alone.
You enjoy being alone – If you are your own best friend and love your own company, then it is a classic sign of an introvert. If you like the idea of spending a weekend alone in your studio pursuing your hobby on your own, then you are an introvert. You could watch your favorite TV program or read a book or take a nature walk by yourself happily.
Contrarily, extroverts need lots of people around them to be happy and joyful. They are people who don’t like their own company much and prefer to spend time with lots of other people.
Your friends’ circle is not very big – Another common misconception about being an introvert is that they don’t like people. No, that’s not the truth. Introverts feel enervated in large social groups, and hence, avoid having too many people in their social circle.
However, they have a small, close-knit group of friends that they are very attached to. Introverts focus on building long-term relationships characterized by plenty of intimacy and closeness. Introverts are very careful about choosing their friends but once the deal of friendship is struck, then generally, it lasts a lifetime.
On the other hand, extroverts have a wide circle of friends though they may not feel very close or attached to any of the people in this social community. Extroverts find it easy to mingle and make friends quickly.
You are described as quiet and people find it difficult to understand you – Introverts are generally described as quiet and reserved. People around introverts think that the personality of such men is difficult to fathom.
Many times, introverts are mistaken as ‘shy’ men. However, it is important for you to wake up to the fact that being an introvert does not necessarily make you are a shy person. Introverts take time to start conversations because they take time and effort to choose their words wisely.
Extroverts, on the other hand, wear their personality on their sleeves, and people find it very easy to understand them, and they are definitely not quiet and reserved. Extroverts are gregarious and love to talk.
Excess external stimulation leaves you distracted – Suppose you spend too much time in environments of hectic activity and you find yourself feeling distracted, overwhelmed, and unfocused, then you are an introvert. Extroverts, on the contrary, thrive in hectic environments. If there are lots of activities happening around extroverts, then they don’t get bored.
Your level of self-awareness is very high – Introverts focus on their internal feelings and thoughts and are very inward-driven. Therefore, they are acutely aware of their own personalities, likes and dislikes, and other things about themselves. They are highly self-aware.
Extroverts are less self-aware because they focus more on the external environment than on themselves. They are more outward-driven than introverts.
Causes of Introversion?
Experts opine that being an introvert or extrovert is strongly connected to the physiological functioning of your body. The reticular activating system or RAS is a network of neurons found in the brainstem. RAS is believed to be responsible for wakefulness, sleep, alertness, and the transition between wakefulness and sleep modes.
RAS increases your arousal levels during times of danger so that you are alert and ready to confront and overcome potential threats. Every person has his or her own basic arousal level. Some people have above average arousal levels, some people have below average, and some have average levels of arousal.
Introverts are those individuals who have a naturally high arousal level because of which their brains are chronically alert and active. Such people seek environments and activities that help them overcome their over stimulated level of brain functioning, and therefore, introverts feel drained out in the midst of large social groups and feel recharged when alone in quiet, subdued environments.
It is, therefore, believed that most of us are born with a predisposition for either introversion or extroversion. Our biology does seem to play a very important part in this aspect.
Differences between being introverted and shy
It is time again to clarify that being introverted does not translate to shyness. If you accept and understand this powerful truth about being an introvert, then your tone of voice will have a tinge of pride when you ask yourself the question, “Why am I so introverted?” and feel happy about being so. Here are some differences between introverts and shy people:
Difference #1 – Introverted people like being around other people and do not feel fear in talking and voicing their opinions. They do not fear adverse judgments of other people. Shy people avoid talking to people because they are scared of being hurt by other people’s negative judgment.
Difference #2 – Introverted people do not think negatively about other people’s ability to enjoy being in a large social circle. They simply and happily accept them as people with a personality different from their own without a sense of superiority or inferiority. Shy people, however, think negatively and resent other people’s extrovertist attitude.
Difference #3 – Introverted people are not scared that they will feel humiliated because they are confident of their strengths and abilities. Shy individuals, however, are wary of being humiliated or receiving disapproval and, therefore, avoid making excessive contact with other people.
A key element that connects shyness and an introverted personality is that introverts are made to feel that their low-key personality and their love for solitude are negative traits that need to be overcome. Many introverts mistakenly believe or are led by others to think that being an extrovert is more desirable than being an introvert.
The primary reason for this blind belief is that modern society is driven by talkers and not thinkers. If you can understand this situation, then you will find the strength and the wherewithal to accept yourself the way you are.
Moreover, you will find the willpower to come out of your introverted comfort zones at strategic times for your own advantage such as to talk to girls or to present your perspective confidently to your boss or to ask for a raise or promotion for your hard work, etc. By the way, being an introvert can actually enhance the mysterious aura that many women find attractive.
Again, it might make sense to repeat here that being introverted or extroverted is neither wrong nor right. It is merely a personality type. An extrovert likes and dislikes certain things, and an introvert likes and dislikes certain other things.
Both extroverts and introverts can have similar problems in life, and the success of either depends on how the man perceives and solves the problem. It is little to do with being an introvert or an extrovert.
An introvert can choose to be an extrovert when the situation calls for it. Similarly, an extrovert can choose to be an introvert should the situation demand it. Changing your mindset to a positive one is the key element for success, confidence, and happiness.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. You only need to be aware of this personality trait of yours, and deliberately put yourself out of your comfort zone whenever the need arises.
Therefore, instead of worrying about ‘why am I so introverted,’ take pride in your personality, increase your self-awareness, build confidence and self-esteem, and go and conquer the world.