Traits of an introvert
The Extrovert Ideal, according to author Susan Cain, says that people should try and be as extroverted as possible in order to achieve success. This ideal, which is supported by American and, as a whole, Western beliefs, states that the ideal person should be very outgoing, an alpha-type personality, and seek out the spotlight wherever possible. However, introverts are often viewed as being faulty and needing “fixing”.
What Cain suggests in her novel, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”, is that introverts truly boast a power that extroverts lack to varying degrees. She also proposes the idea that there are three general personality types: introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts, who run a fine line between extroversion and introversion.
In general, it’s believed that introverts have the following personality traits:
- High degree of self-awareness: Introverts have an innate ability to “tune in” to how they are feeling or thinking about any given situation, thereby leading to the common conclusion that they possess a high degree of self-awareness.
- Enjoy understanding the fine details: Generally speaking, introverts like paying attention to precise details about a variety of subject matter. This means that introverts like to spend time contemplating any given subject matter in order to best understand what they are learning and discussing about.
- Emotionally reserved: Introverts feel no need to have their emotions on display. They are notoriously private people who are not overtly emotionally expressive, as they prefer to express their more intense emotions privately. As a result, they may be far more moved by a particular musical piece than others, simply because they are able to spend time “within themselves”, feeling whatever their emotional response is to a subject, and expressing it, often in a more intense fashion than their extroverted peers.
- More sociable when they are comfortable: While it’s true that some introverts may also be quite shy, it’s a truism that many introverts tend to “come alive” when they are surrounded by a group they are comfortable with. Loud parties with large crowds are noxious to them; they would sooner spend an evening that is a little more low-key in nature with a few close friends rather than going to a large social gathering with people they neither feel comfortable with nor know all that well.
- Observers: Many introverts are generally happier when they are learning through watching whatever is being taught. The thought of doing “groupthink” – a buzzword which generally implies all members are engaged in a collaborative learning experience – is somewhat abhorrent to them, as they would prefer to consider what they have learned in relative quiet, so they can process what they have seen or discussed without the extra noise involved in having people around.
The above characteristics are nearly in opposition to the traits of extroverts, which includes:
- A desire for the spotlight: Most extroverts have little issue in being the center of attention. In fact, many will often seek it in order to get the job done, whether that includes being in charge of a project or giving a speech.
- Gregariousness: Strictly speaking, gregariousness means being sociable. It should come as no surprise, then, that extroverts have gregariousness as a common trait.
- Cheerful: This doesn’t mean that introverts aren’t happy. However, given introverts are commonly emotionally reserved, they are far less likely to be joyously cheerful as extroverts tend to be.
- Seeking novelty and excitement: Introverts tend not to take risks as frequently as extroverts want to. In fact, extroverts are the ones far more likely to impulsively decide it’s time to try skydiving, get a tattoo or anything that would generate a fair bit of excitement.
- Talkative: Extroverts are, generally speaking, far more comfortable being talkative and engaging in social situations. They are the ones who will help keep the conversation going where introverts will sit on the sidelines, observing what’s going on with the interactions between people and with the people themselves before determining that it’s safe to engage themselves in the situation.