A Simple Introvert Definition - Let's Dispel the Myths!

When I tell folks that I'm an introvert, many look me straight in the eye and say "No, you're not!"

I get this response because I don't (usually) appear to be shy, reserved, quiet, or reclusive, and most people assume that these are the defining characteristics of an introvert. Over the years, I've found that introverts have a pretty bad reputation for being anti-social wallflowers with poor interpersonal skills. This is absolutely not the case!

While some introverted people express these characteristics, they are by no means inherent in all introverted people. Being an introvert involves something different entirely, so let me give you a very simple introvert definition so we can break through the old stereotypes and do something more useful with our imaginations.

How do you feel after socializing?

  • AMPED!!! I don't want the fun to end!
  • Happy, but in need of some serious alone time.
  • Tired, and wondering WHY I BOTHER INTERACTING WITH HUMANS AT ALL.
  • Great! And I'd be equally fine with spending some time alone or staying on with the group.
See results without voting

An Easy Introvert Definition

For introverts, socializing is like swimming (or any other sport or activity you enjoy). One can swim all day and have a grand ol' time, but after a while, they need to get out of the water or else they'll drown from exhaustion.

Simply put, social activities drain energy from introverts. Extraverts, on the other hand, gain energy from socializing. For extraverts, socializing is less like swimming and more like drinking water or breathing air- leave them isolated for long enough and they'll start to wilt.

Introverted people may love to be around people, and many do. They simply can't be around people for an indefinite amount of time. After a while, they need to be alone to recharge their batteries.

Every introverted person is different. Some introverts need to spend a lot of time alone after just one hour around a bunch of people. Other introverts can be social for a week, but then need a couple days of alone time to feel refreshed. For me, I need to spend an hour of (non-sleeping) time alone for every hour that I spend with other people.

Are you an introvert?

Do social activities give you energy or take it away?

  • Socializing is draining, so I'm probably more of an introvert
  • I can't be around people ENOUGH! I guess I'm more extraverted.
  • It varies. I must be more of an ambivert.
See results without voting

Respect Your Introverted Buddies!

Many cultures emphasize extraversion, which can make being an introvert particularly hard. Many people take it personally when a friend chooses to spend an evening alone instead of hanging out with them, and that's perfectly fair. That said, such misunderstandings are entirely unnecessary.

It is my hope that more people realize that some folks just need some alone time for rest. The periodic need to be alone is not a symptom of some inherent hatred of other people, it is simply a sign of introversion.

Some introverts do hate people and are awkward and asocial, but many actually love socializing and are just as outgoing and friendly as the most gregarious of extraverts. These characteristics are independent of the introvert-extravert personality trait, so let's keep them separate.

If you yourself are an introvert, perhaps you can use the swimming (or some other sports) analogy to better explain to friends, colleagues, and family why you need to be alone sometimes. This definition has helped me a lot, and I hope it is just as useful for you!

More by this Author


Comments 34 comments

cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

yup,i'm an introvert, too. learned about the "where you get your energy" definition (introverts get energy from being alone) in a book on the Meyer's-Brigg's personality inventory called "please understand me" by kiersy and bates.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Yes, this is true, the first time I saw this definition I was surprised. That was 2007. I was still an introvert. Labels people put on you and you believe it.

In 2008 or 2009? I became an extravert. At 38? Of course, not, I was always an extravert locked in a tower of unhappy marriage. I was locked for the most of my life mistaking my imprisonment for voluntary and only way of living.

When I was finally "diagnosed" as an extravert - I felt better. Less of a freak. I understood that locking me anywhere for any reason is not unlike torture. I die. I cannot be a programmer - a job for loners, or a writer - a job for loners.

What can I be? The question is still open. But I remember when I was evaluated by professionals to determine my personality type (Myers-Briggs) and the result was wrong after sweating over 200? - 2000? questions.

Then I meet a stranger and he gives me my type within one evening. Some people know, some people do not, whether they are professionals or not.

Giving anybody a break or understanding - you don't even need to know the type - just listen with your heart. If you are a true friend - you will hear.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Loved this and never heard it put quite that way. I am definitely an introvert and feel drained after being with people but enjoy myself and am very sociable when I'm with them, so your definition fits me well.

Being out in nature or sleeping are the two ways I like to "recharge my energy".

Thanks for sharing this information.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 5 years ago from Jamaica

I like being an introvert. When I am socializing, i learn so much from my friends, because I just listen and comment.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Good insight. You underline why self-concept is more important than self-esteem. To know who you are is a firm foundation for personal growth and relating to others...

Your video succintly demomstrates you are not the "sterotyped" introvert..! Your security to demonstrate the definition of an introvert enables us to understand.

Flag up!


wanzulfikri profile image

wanzulfikri 5 years ago from Malaysia

I love how you define introvert. Introvert are not freaks like most people think, they just prefer to be alone most of the time.


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

wanzulfikri,

i'm an introvert and i don't prefer to be alone. i do need to be alone from time to time to recharge.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I am SO an introvert. Having said that, I am going to huddle in bed for a few hours to rest and recharge.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Yes, we introverts are super cool! And yes we do deserve some understanding. Great topic, great hub. I think that on the internet it's hard to tell who is an introvert and who isn't, because yeah, some of us love socializing and are actually very good at it. Most people wouldn't think I am, but I am. Great to see our kind explained here. Thanks much! PS love the video.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Hello?

Look how any people have commented on this and immediately said that they are introverts. Being an introvert is not a badge of honour. It isn’t the cool thing to be. It’s not like a teen movie with the Cheer leader and the Jock on one side of the room and the "interesting" girl with the nerdy boyfriend on the other,

We all know the end of that movie, don’t we?

Has not one of you realised that people are possibly capable of existing throughout the spectrum and the introverted side comes out at times as well as the other extraverted?

In the fifties and sixties there was a plethora of nouvelle vague movies coming out of France and Italy that depicted gaunt teenagers in dark cafes drinking absinthe and café noir and talking about Satre. Half my friends took on the cloak of the existentialist little gamin and her weird boyfriend and they did it well. But fashions change.

We all fit into society as well or as badly as we can manage, and I feel that it’s all a matter of names. Call it what you will; people are people.

Sometimes I want to mix in with the crowd and am such a nuisance because I want to show off and make myself noticed… at others I am so painfully shy that I sit in the corner and watch. At others I just want to be alone. The only thing is that I am not as beautiful as Greta Garbo. She had it down to the last letter.

And at others I am all things to all people.

Sometimes I am just me. Not extrovert – not introvert. Just the happy medium.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Twilight, you said "Has not one of you realised that people are possibly capable of existing throughout the spectrum and the introverted side comes out at times as well as the other extraverted?" Seriously, I do not have one atom of extrovert in my bone marrow. I really, really don't. I am happy for the balanced people but have always been far, far off kilter. If this ---- is the norm, I am ____.


kat11 profile image

kat11 5 years ago from Illinois

This hub was interesting and I learned something new today about some of my own family members that would rather stay in a room on a computer than visiting. Great information. Thanks Simone


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

Sometimes I need people, sometimes I prefer to be alone. Sometimes socializing charges my battery, but sometimes it is totally draining. Help - I'm so confused... not about your hub, though. I love your clear, simple definition.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

RedElf, Help is on the way. It's called 'Normality'.

Not everybody can be Wacko, the homes for Wackos are bursting at the seams. Come outside and play with the "normal" ones. it's nice out here. And when you've had enough, you can go back inside and do your finger painting.

If you want to really express yourself, the bandwagon is parked behind the home. Jump one, there's room for one or two more.


INFJay profile image

INFJay 5 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

After 13 years of studying personality type I have learned so much about being introverted and extraverted (MBTI lingo). The most important and revealing aspect about being an introvert is that it is a natural preference for a minority of the population. However, introverts can and do extravert at times and, just as Simone demonstrates on her video, introverts are exhausted after the energy drain. After some rest, introverts can extravert again and the cycle continues. When I first met Simone at the first Hub meeting in San Francisco, she worked the room like a natural extravert. Now I know that after the meeting she probably retreated into her rich inner-world to re-energize.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

As an introveer, this can't be more true. The swimming analogy fits perfectly and yes, I find social setting rather draining as well. What more can be said after all the petty little exchanges? But that's just me--an introvert to a fault.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

I found this hub to be a really creative explanation of personality types. Your Simple Introvert Definition helps me understand more clearly how people may feel in social encounters. Quite an eye opener Simone! Nice job!

HubHugs~

K9


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I have always been an introvert regarding social situations overall- although I do find that being around fellow musical people is not draining when we are talking about or performing music. Outside of my Mom, I find a lot of my relatives fill up the room and take over. Sometimes, I find that a couple of hours seems like an entire day around such people.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

I'll have to check out that book, cathylynn99!

Yeah, it's interesting how people can go through introverted and extraverted periods in their lives, kallini2010. And you're right- EVERYONE deserves a break every now and then! We've just got to abstain from being too judgmental and jumping to conclusions.

Yay! Nature and sleep are big favorites of mine, too, Happyboomernurse! Just being alone in the quiet can make a huge difference.

Introverts *are* known for being better listeners I suppose. That's cool, rasta1!

Thanks for the positive vote, dallas93444! Introverts certainly don't deserve the bad rap they often get.

cathylynn99's right, wanzulfikri. Many introverts do prefer to be alone, but a preference for solitude is not what makes one an introvert :D

Hehee, word Hyphenbird!! I've got a social function to go to tonight and I'll be doing the exact same thing right after!

Yay! Go introverts!!! Thanks for the vote of confidence, Frieda Babbley! And great point about not being able to spot introverts online. I think a lot of introverted people SEEM really extraverted online because the internet enables us to interact with others in relative solitude.

You make a great point, Twilight Lawns. People are people, and also, folks can go through introverted and extraverted periods- or be more extraverted at some events and more introverted at others. Nobody is fixed as one type, and I don't think one should be labeled as one type either, but during the times when we are introverted, I feel it helps that we might have a simple way to explain how we feel and why we need to be alone :)

Thanks for stopping by, kat11!

And it sounds like you're an ambivert, RedElf! Many people describe introversion/extraversion as more of a continuum, and if you're closer to the center, you can exhibit characteristics of both ends at once.

Brilliant explanation, INFJay! And you are absolutely right that I hightailed it home and spent a lot of time alone after that event, even though I had tons of fun. Sometimes, after going out for a night, I'll have to spend an entire day alone just to feel normal again. But that's just how it goes!

Yay! Introvert pride, anglnwu! I'm glad you like the swimming analogy.

Thanks for the kind words, K9keystrokes!

And that's totally how it goes, isn't it FloraBreenRobison!! It's funny how introversion can turn to extraversion around the right group of people.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Very well written! Many people are very critical of introverts as though it's a choice. I wish that more people had this way of thinking about it!


BlissfulWriter profile image

BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

Nice video. Good to be able to put a face to the name that we see so often on HubPages.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

I loved the hub and the video, I voted ambivert as I love my own company and I also love being in the company of others and find both refreshing and stimulating.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Thanks for this simple explanation, Simone ... I classed myself as an introvert but when I went out with friends I suddenly became a limelight hogger, a complete diva once the wine was flowing. I was beginning to think I was schizophrenic but then Twilight came along as well and allowed me to be both.

Though I think I am withdrawing more from company than I used to ... my days as a part-time party animal are well and truly over and I long to go home and put my feet up in front of the fire. Great hub!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Were those feet the feet at the end of those amazing legs in the Old Crone hub? Take care of them... I guarantee they are a part of the National Treasury.

Toast them; don't roast them (The feet, that is) Take care of those pins, my friend.

Wingman

x


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Hiya, old bean, you ol' flatterer you.

Sadly the pins have gone west these days ... and some days I feel as if the rest of me is following, one bit at a time.

Lettice sends her love and possibly a new knitting pattern ...

It came home to me I was exactly what Simone described as I was at a party last night ... I really didn't want to go but just knew I would enjoy meeting some dear, old friends. After a couple of hours of trying to talk against 75 other people and some woman warbling over the sound system I was more than ready to race for home. How wonderful it was to walk in the front door ... and close it behind me.

xx


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Hello, Angie.

I know how you feel. I used to be the nuisance at many social gatherings, and often found myself dancing (and things) with the girl with the teeth and the "very expressive" ethnic moves. Perhaps you saw us.

Now I avoid going out, but not because I'm introvert or extrovert or mediovert... but simply because I'm the nicest person I know and can't think of anyone good enough to share my time with. (Yeah right!)

Another knitting pattern? Wow! Life in the fast lane. Thank you.

x


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Argh! I know randomcreative!! I hope that more introverts speak up so that this whole idea of introverts being disagreeable, asocial people gets squashed.

Hehee, thanks BlissfulWriter!!

And maggs224, your balanced disposition is most enviable!

I could totally see you as the life of a party, Angie Jardine! I bet you still are- but now you're just appreciating the peace and quiet of more solitary activities! I'm jealous of your ability to knit, that's for sure!

Hahaa Twilight Lawns... I hope that someday I might become the nicest person I know. Though being somewhat villainous has its amusing aspects...


Randy 4 years ago

I have been introverted ever since I was a kid...it brings me back to my childhood when I used to whip out paper and draw on them. My teachers would label me, my friends mocked me, and the rest of the kids because I loved Art so much. Now! As I have gotten better at socializing and getting out of my shell, for some reason I have been told from a few people that I creep them out LOL...Is it the way I look? Is it because I like to use big words? Whatever it is I don't mean to scare anyone off and I am just being myself.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

As long as you're being yourself, Randy, I say all's well! I'm glad to hear you're more comfortable socializing now, though. It sure is a learning process, innit? At least it has been in my experience.


mcaneny23 4 years ago

This is so true.

When my husband and I started dating we took the Myers-Briggs test;

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Needless to say, he and I met while I was tending bar at a local chain restaurant.

I would had thought that I would have been an "extrovert" because I worked in a bar setting where I was required to talk and socialize on a daily basis.

When I took the test I came back as an "INTJ"... I have taken the test 2-3 different times just to see if the day or mood I happened to be in that day would also change my grade. The only other difference was the "INFJ"...

I would assume that the "T" and the "F" would reflect my whereabouts during the "time of the month." ;)

With that said,I can say that I express my emotions best, alone. And I feel happier when I don't feel like I have to "entertain" people and their ideas(I get the sense of feeling drained when having to interact with others for an extended period of time).

So, GREAT post!!!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, mcaneny23! And it doesn't surprise me at all that you might be an introvert- many introverts are quite outgoing and are very social on the job (or off the job). It's interesting how that can all pan out :D


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Hi, Simone, I just watched the video again, and really liked it. I find it uplifting and so well presented.

Thank you.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Oh, I'm so glad! Thanks, Twilight Lawns!


Rahmad 3 years ago

I was actually an intrrveot before. I feel the pressure from the society and people around me, telling me to talk to be more social. But I figure out that the main reason why I was an intrrveot is because I was actually abused by my parents when I was young. So there is always a reason why people are acting as they are.Mark Sanders recently posted..

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working