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Why Introverts Are Much More Than Just Shy & Awkward

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Introverts often get a lot of flack for being “boring,” “too quiet,” or “a downer.” But there’s a lot more to introverts than meets the eye!

When I was growing up, my mom quickly realized that I wasn’t going to follow in my outgoing sister’s footsteps. Instead, she described me as an old soul, a kid that liked to be alone, and spoke up only when there was something important to say. Rather than floating around with a crowd, I liked to read and spend time in my room. She knew early on what it has taken me quite a while to accept: I am, without a doubt, an introvert.

I take my personal privacy seriously, and find being in the spotlight overwhelming. I observe before I speak, I need time to deal with change, and I recharge alone. It’s not that I can’t be surrounded by people; I prefer to be surrounded by only a few people I’ve formed a real connection with.

Our world loves extroverts. Just think of the slew of leaders, business giants, famous TV personalities, and humanitarians who are outgoing and confident, and excel in the spotlight.

As a modern culture, we value people with traits associated with extroverts–people who are outgoing, open, and naturally social. But by placing these characteristics in the forefront of what’s important to us as a society, we put a great deal of pressure on introverts to adopt those traits.

We assume that all introverts are shy and lack charisma, because they don’t seek out the spotlight like extroverts. Yet introverts can become open and social in certain situations. If introverts feel comfortable, or feel the need to speak up, there is no reason why we wouldn’t.

Introverts aren’t always wallflowers, but they do find social encounters more draining than extroverts. In a sense, we need to choose the times and places we become outgoing more carefully, and we need to recharge after being in these situations. [Read: 10 motivational tips and tricks for shy people and introverts]

The best things about being an introvert

While introverts get a bad rep for being awkward, shy, and unlikable, they actually have some great qualities that are often overlooked in a world that loves naturally social people. Introverts have many hidden qualities that make them great friends, partners, and colleagues.

#1 Introverts take time to develop deeper relationships. Extroverts tend to surround themselves with a larger group of people, whereas introverts usually run in smaller circles. Most often, this means that they get to know people on a much deeper and more meaningful level. It’s the old “quality versus quantity” debate.

While extroverts have more friends and acquaintances, they can’t always be expected to know intimate details about these people. Introverts take the time to really get to know the people in their circle. They listen to people’s needs and wants, and take the time to support them. [Read: 13 charming ways to be more approachable without saying a word]

#2 Introverts observe first, then speak up. The loudest voice is not always the most reliable or valuable. Introverts can often be found on the outskirts of a conversation, observing and reading the situation. They don’t feel the need to chime in on every detail, yet if they feel there is something crucial they need to add, they will take the time to form a great response and deliver it.

#3 Introverts take the time to think, then act. Extroverts are known to jump straight into a conversation, and act quickly without thinking about the effects of their words and actions, whereas introverts take the time to process information, look at what’s in front of them, and then make a perceptive decision.

Yes, it’s true that people often think that introverts are slow to act, but their deliberateness is their strength. Introverts also have a knack for keeping calm in stressful situations and this is extremely important when something requires finesse. [Read: 15 easy conversation starters for introverts looking to socialize]

#4 Introverts excel at being able to focus. We’ve all seen extroverts at work, bouncing from one thing to the next, and trying to get everything done at once. While their energy is admirable, it can also be ineffective. Introverts can focus on a goal and deliver. They know how to harness their energy and concentrate on producing great results–whether in personal or professional relationships.

#5 Introverts are excellent listeners. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with an introvert, you know they are listening, because they’re not only talking less, but are taking in your concerns and coming up with something meaningful to say. Extroverts, though they can also be helpful, may sometimes seem like they’re listening, when in fact, they’re just waiting for their turn to speak.

Whether you have always known you’re an introvert, or are just coming to understand why you prefer to be alone, have fewer but closer relationships, and carefully choose the time and place that you come out of your social shell, don’t be discouraged. Being an introvert in a world that values naturally social people isn’t a complete miss. [Read: The introvert’s foolproof guide to dating an extrovert]

Introverts have many excellent qualities that extroverts lack, because of their always-out-there personality. We read situations carefully, and think before we speak. We can observe better than most, and focus on what’s important. We think before we act, and develop close relationships with the people who are important to us. Introverts aren’t just shy and awkward–we have our strengths that make us irreplaceable, and every introvert reading this needs to embrace that. [Read: The socially awkward person’s guide to flirting]

I always felt like I was destined to be on the outskirts of things, because I didn’t make the effort to be front and center, like my sister and so many other people that enjoy being in the spotlight. But once I realized there was a good reason to need all that alone time, or for always being the one to listen and offer advice people truly valued, I didn’t mind being labeled as an introvert. It wasn’t a negative thing to me anymore; instead, it was something I could own, and even be proud of.

[Read: 19 dating tips and tricks exclusively for introverts]

Being an introvert can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially when people all around you constantly push you to speak up or mingle with the crowd. However, introverts have their own set of strengths that not everyone has. Learn to embrace them!

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DISCUSSION

3 thoughts on “Why Introverts Are Much More Than Just Shy & Awkward”

  1. intro says:

    I feel it gets in the way of me forming meaningful platonic relationships. I wish I could jump to the point of having some close, reliable friends that I could call just to hang out or talk. Because it’s not that I dislike people and want to be alone all the time, it’s just that I prefer more intimate gatherings with select people than I do big, crowded social events. I’m the kinda girl whose best friend is her boyfriend, and I feel a bit pathetic sometimes for not having any other friends. I’ve tried putting myself out there at times but just struggle to relate to people so I tend to give up. I don’t feel that I’m missing out on life too much, in the sense that I still go to concerts, to the movies, out to the dinner etc, just always with my boyfriend. I feel like I’m missing out on the experience of bonding with others and sharing valuable experiences with different people.

  2. kevintoy says:

    Personally, I enjoy being an introvert. I’m a little weirdo, so being alone allows me to act unfiltered. I’m just so comfortable. My only problem is that I tend to get some social anxiety and now I’m always apprehensive about social gatherings and situations. I’m also so shy and I hate the idea of meeting new people. I also feel no guilt about making up excuses for why I can’t go to this party a friend is hosting or what not. People don’t think I’m an introvert because I’m so upbeat, loud, and friendly. Nope. That’s just how I deal with other people. Being silly with others makes me comfortable. Otherwise, I’m not having a good time.

  3. suddenly says:

    My SO is very extroverted, though she’d never admit it. It’s worked out so far for three years. It’s seldom a point of tension for us really. It’s helpful because she likes to chat with people and mingle, and I absolutely hate it. So when we’re in a social setting she can just do all the talking while I stand back and smile every so often. If we were both introverts we’d just be awkwardly staring at our phones, and if we were both extroverts I feel like we would be in competition with each other socially. But it sucks because I feel like she wants me to branch out socially. I really like being alone, reading, studying for school, redditing and playing video games. I would pretty much be content to do that forever. She gets lonely though, and if she’s left alone too long she starts to get a little depressed. I think she thinks I’m that way. That if I’m just pushed to go out and make friends, then I’ll suddenly come out of my shell and be happier like she is. I get really stressed out from social stuff. So if I’m overwhelmed I just want to take some time to recharge. Since she’s constantly making plans and snapchatting and browsing instagram, she doesn’t seem to grasp that concept. So that’s been an issue sometimes. But overall it’s not really the biggest thing. As with anything else in a relationship, communication is key.

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