Do you sometimes feel drained after too much socialization? Would you rather spend the evening alone than out in a crowd? If so, you might be an introvert.

Many people mistakenly believe that all introverts are painfully shy, socially awkward, and hate to be around people. That’s definitely not the case, but it’s also true that some of us are simply hard-wired to think and feel differently.

Understanding your unique personality traits, and having a name to give it, can help you accept yourself for being the way you are. Once you’ve identified your own personal introvert traits, you can embrace them and work towards creating coping methods to make your life less stressful.

Here are ten of the most common signs you might be an introvert.

1. You Prefer to be Alone

Not only do you not mind spending an evening home by yourself, you actually prefer it. Whether you’re binging on Netflix, curling up with a good book, or indulging in your favorite project, you’re happy to do it alone.

Truth be told, you don’t actually have to be busy doing anything. Sometimes, you like to simply putz around the house, enjoying the quiet, solitude, and freedom to do your own thing. You enjoy activities you can do by yourself and spend as much time as possible doing them. If you have to be away from home for too long, it can make you start to feel resentful.

2. You’re Connected to Your Inner Dialogue

No matter what situation you’re in, there’s a constant silent conversation going on in your head. Your inner dialogue narrates what’s going on around you, analyzes your environment, and even replays conversations took place years in the past.

You can keep yourself entertained for hours thinking about how things could have gone differently and what the future might hold. Sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep because you can’t quiet your mind.

3. You Feel Lonely in a Crowd

When you’re surrounded by people, you start to feel disconnected from yourself. Crowds can make it difficult to tune into your inner dialogue, leaving you feeling lonely and stressed. You’re likely to feel like an outcast, even if you know everybody in the room.

When you do decide to socialize, you’re picky about how you do it. Intimacy and deep connections are important to you, and you’re far more willing to spend quality time with a few close friends than hang out with a large group of people.

4. You Hate Networking

Networking is important for most professionals, but if you’re an introvert, it doesn’t come easy. Hours of small talk with strangers is one of your worst nightmares, and you don’t particularly enjoy meeting new people.

You usually try to come up with an excuse to skip it, and if you’re not successful, you’ll have to psych yourself up before you walk in the door. You dutifully remind yourself of all the best practices, like making eye contact and keeping your handshake firm, but you still feel like a fake. When the event is over, you feel completely drained and in need of some quiet time alone to rest and recharge.

5. You Would Rather Write Than Speak

You spend a lot of your time deep in thought and use writing to explore what’s going on in your head. You have a powerful story to tell, but you prefer to take the time to craft your words rather than speak your mind. When you do have to express yourself verbally, you may find it difficult to maintain eye contact.

Some introverts channel their writing talent and make a career out of it. Others prefer journaling as a method of self-expression and personal discovery.

6. The Phone is Not Your Friend

When family or friends call you on the phone, you quickly hit the “decline” button. It’s not that you don’t want to speak to them, but you need time to mentally prepare. For you, a ringing phone is the equivalent of someone jumping out of the closet and shouting “Boo!” Your voicemail probably says you’ll call back later, but in reality, you’re more likely to reply by email or text.

You’ll always avoid the friend who calls to chat because she’s bored. You don’t feel comfortable making small talk on the phone for no reason. When you have some time to spare, you want to spend it in quiet and solitude rather than filling it with idle conversation.

7. Too Much Socializing Exhausts You

When you go to a party or social event, you’re more likely to spend the entire night with the friends you’re already comfortable with. Meeting new people, remembering their names, absorbing their words, and focusing on their body language is far too exhausting. These details over-stimulate you. Eventually, you’ll shut down, both physically and mentally. Sometimes you’ll even end up with an introvert hangover. (Yes, it’s a real thing!).

8. When You’re Passionate, Time Flies

When you’re working on something that really matters to you, you get into “the zone.” You have no trouble concentrating and blocking out distractions. Before you know it, hours will have passed by.

Instead of feeling exhausted and drained, you come out feeling accomplished and energized. You do your best thinking, and get the most work done, when you’re alone. If someone or something forces you to pull yourself out of the zone before you’re ready, you feel far more irritated than most people think you should be.

9. You Have a Small Inner Circle

If you’re an introvert, you probably have at most three or four close friends and consider everyone else an acquaintance. You choose your people carefully because you only have so much social energy to spend.

Once someone gains access to your inner circle, however, you become loyal and devoted. When people on the outside see you being open and boisterous with your friends, they might assume you’re rude because you’ve avoided interacting with them. This is rarely the truth, but rather a case of misunderstanding.

10. You Need to Have a Plan

Extroverts tend to feel comfortable flying by the seat of their pants, but that’s not your style. Whether you’re planning a vacation or running errands, you want to think things through. You know that making a plan helps ensure everything goes smoothly. You make lists, then make lists of your lists. You think through scenarios to figure out how things could go wrong, then do your best to avoid them. You don’t always handle an unexpected change of plans with as much grace as you could, which sometimes leads to stress and irritability.

Do You Think You’re an Introvert? You’re in Good Company!

If you’ve recognized some of the signs of being an introvert, take comfort in knowing there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re also not alone. Some of the world’s most famous introverts include Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and JK Rowling.

When examining your personality traits, remember that the scale between introverts and extroverts is a long one. It’s not unusual to fall directly in the middle or lean only slightly towards one end or the other. What matters most is that you recognize your differences, accept them, and find ways to embrace your needs.

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