Today everyone knows something about being an introvert. But behind the Instagram meme material, the justifications for awkward social behavior and the honest embracing or diversity, being an introvert is a psychological reality worth looking into. In order to properly define what introverts are we need to first look at the distinction between two polar aspects of reality: the inner and the outer, the objective and the subjective, mine and everyone else’s. Following this paradigm, each concept, idea, each prospect, notion or thing simultaneously belongs to these two aspects of reality. In simple terms, being an introvert happens when a person is naturally more inclined to focus on the inner or subjective aspect of reality than the outer or objective one. As we all know, psychological theories and concepts are created as frameworks meant to show guidelines, which can sometimes prove to be problematic since the reality of the human psyche is that things are never strictly black or white. Therefore, I think it is crucial to keep in mind that none of us are 100% introverted. That would make the person completely incapable of perceiving or interacting with the outside world and with other people.
On the other end of the scale, being 100% extroverted would also render the person incapable of surviving as they would be completely unable to connect to what they are feeling or what they should adjust in order to assure social and biological survival. We are all, in fact, a mix of both introvert and extrovert features, blended in a unique mix. We are also ever changing and fluctuant in our personality. Ok, that got a bit too abstract but I promise to fix it in a moment. Take me, for example, I am usually an Introvert. My parents think I am an introvert. My MBTI test results say I am an Introvert. I am dating an Extrovert. These would be enough signs to safely say, that I am indeed an Introvert. However, there are times in life when I act, feel and express myself like an Extrovert. People respond to my behavior just as they would to that of an Extrovert. And my MBTI test scores shift from INFJ to ENFJ. Of course, that’s just me and everyone is different. A person who is predominantly introverted or really extroverted will have a hard time fluctuating to the other side of the scale in normal conditions.
Good Read: INTJ Struggles
So, if you are an Introvert or simply resonate with this brain wave here are a couple of ways to make Introvert life really work for you.
1. Forget About the Labels
Ok, yes, our brains need labels to function. Also, yes, the more we know the more power to us. But there is also a danger of hiding behind labels and diagnosis. You might be an introvert but that doesn’t mean that you are like any other introvert. Do yourself a big favor: take everything with a grain of salt and remember that your truth is your own. Just take the scientific approach and test things out; observe yourself, befriend yourself, trust yourself and don’t allow any external source to predict your behavior, development, and potential. In other words, remember that you are the only one who can decide and define what you can and be as an Introvert.
2. Come Out Of The Closet
No need trying to act like someone else. So you’re an introvert. That’s great! When it comes to personality types there is no such thing as desirable and undesirable, right or wrong, cool or un-cool. There is only the way we perceive ourselves and how we make the best of talents and qualities while learning to embrace our shortcomings.
3. Understand What You Bring To The Table
You are observant, right?! Why not use that. Examine your interactions and decide what you can improve and where your game is strong. What do people look for in you? Maybe you’re a good listener; maybe you always have sound advice; maybe you have a vast culture; maybe you’re just good company. This is not about comparing yourself to others for the sake of blowing up your self-esteem so there is no need to feel vain. It is, in fact, an act of honest evaluation where you reflect on your gifts, your shortcomings, your goals and your relationships.
4. Get Things Done
Ok, yes, you may argue there is no guarantee that an introvert is more productive than an extrovert. But the reality is that as an extrovert is always more likely to fall down the social rabbit hole and emerge hours later running after the night bus. As an introvert, you have the innate ability to do more for yourself. It’s not that you don’t want to share your inner world. It’s just that most of the time it’s easier for you to share it in solitude. Not because you have an issue with looking into someone’s eyes and telling them how you feel, but because writing, cooking or drawing for them allows you to feel energized instead of tired.
With this being said, why not work this to your advantage and spend your time and energy in ways that can later be used to showcase your talents?
5. Own Being Mysterious, Interesting, Unique, Wise
Yes, being outgoing is nice. We all admire the people who can thrive in situations where all eyes are on them. Loud and proud and apparently strangers to any kind of self-doubt, extroverts have us all thinking that being them is the best deal one can make with destiny. But if you were to look at things from an outside point of view things might look different.
We are who we are and we only have two options. The first one is to remain stuck in wanting to be like other people. The second is to work with what we have and turn that into a story that we would love hearing over and over again. Why not be involved in creating your own story. Why not make a commitment be proud about being a mysterious creature that is not easily accessible to everyone? Why not make a decision to be ok with being interesting, unique, wise and elusive? Yes, we all love outgoing people but we all end up being fascinated by those who are harder to reach.
6. Be The Master Of Moods and Atmosphere
As an introvert, your energy naturally goes inward. So in a sense, you are naturally more self-sufficient. You can have all the same emotional experiences an extrovert can without leaving your room. So, you are usually more inclined to treat yourself as the best company. From my introverted friends I have learned that they are the go-to people when it comes to achieving the perfect mood and atmospheres. An introvert will only play the right music, light the perfect amount of candles and it will all happen at the appropriate moment.
So, don’t be afraid to offer yourself the right set and setting of your story. Everyone will thank you for it.
7. Enjoy Surprising Those Who Get Close To You With Your Depth And Your Passion
They say that still waters run deep. From my experience that is a very real image when it comes to describing the introvert.
Because you are quiet and observant people might think that you’re calm and predictable. Even better! Allow life to reveal your true emotional nature, your depth, your complexities, your darkness and your passion to those who deserve it.
It might take a while but the result is priceless!
8. Know That You Are A Good Friend
We all love extroverts because they force us to have fun and interact with life. But we have introverts to thank for taking our hand and guiding us through to the depths of our emotions. It’s not that introverts plan on doing this. Introverts don’t people shop. They don’t fall in love with social projections and this makes them a lot more stable in their relationships. They will stand by the people they were able to connect with deeply and they will value that connection. They nurture their friendships and they are there for better or for worse.
Also, you can just be quiet with them and that’s amazing!
Good Read: Introverted Intuition
9. Get Involved With Extroverts
Being caught up in your own thoughts and preoccupations can be boring and even dangerous after a certain point. For the sake of balance and sanity, every introvert needs to befriend at least one extrovert. They will force you to have some fun and stop taking things so seriously. They will also get you out of your head because they just can’t help sharing what goes on in their life. This is also a good example for an introvert that can sometimes use a push in the direction of opening up.
Being close to extroverts is also convenient as you can benefit from their natural gifts without having to make an effort yourself. For example, extroverts can introduce you to new people without you having to go through the ordeal of “putting yourself out there”. Extroverts can prove to be your go-to source of networking and social entertainment.
On the flip side, you can also feel like your qualities and skills are actually finding the best outlet in your extroverted friend’s life. You are quiet and grounded in the relationship with yourself. Your habits and character will always show your extrovert another, more self-reliant way of dealing with life.
Yes, they might be tiring but trust me, you are tiring to them as well. As long as you have a good sense of boundaries you will thank your extrovert for shaking things up in your life every once in a while.
10. Be In Charge Of The Details
Because introverts are so more focused on observing than on interacting with the world they have a natural gift of spotting details that might slide by most extroverts. If you spot something that other people miss just put your keen senses to good use and let them know.
11. Go At Your Own Pace
Yes, sure, it’s great to mix it up once in a while and try to be more outgoing. Especially if you’re challenging your fears, more power to you! But, whatever you do, don’t try to be something you’re not. Why would you? There is only one of you in the world and that means something. Plus, you will never manage to out-socialize an extrovert. You’ll grow tired, frustrated, worn out and people will feel like you are trying too hard. This will eventually leave you confused, tired and in a deficit of trust in yourself and in the world.
Of course, we are very versatile creatures and we should always strive to improve. From my experience, once an introvert manages to prove him or herself that they can manifest as an extrovert, this realization usually causes quite a high. It is like, some sort of secret resource or facet has been unlocked and a whole new world presents itself. This is, of course, great. But there is also a danger in trying to maintain it artificially just so you can experience that high. This will leave you feeling burned out and disappointed in yourself. So, celebrate your breakthroughs, insights, and transformation. But allow things to follow their natural course and rhythm.
12. Try Working Alone
If you can earn your living working for yourself or being alone that would be the ideal scenario. It’s not that you don’t like people. In fact, most of the things that you do, express and get inspired by are created by people! But you work better in a space of controlled solitude that gets infused with your thoughts, feelings, and preoccupations. Working in a collective always means making an effort to communicate, get to know people, to tell them about your day and to hear about theirs. It also means forcing a relatively even level of productivity. Of course, many introverts are amazing team members. But they would still be more successful if they had a chance to focus only on their work instead of their persona.
13. Be Proud To Be Quiet
Why wouldn’t you? Listening and speaking only when you feel like what you are going to say is meaningful is a wonderful character trait.
Good Read: Intuitive and Sensoric Relationships
14. Go Out But Do It Your Way
Introverts like to go out and enjoy a nice Sunday morning just as much as extroverts do. What they usually avoid is a social context that will leave them feeling drained. Introverts prefer to hang out with people they already know. They feel like making room for new people into their lives is quite challenging. They will do it with pleasure if life blesses them with the encounter of a kindred spirit. Other than that introverts don’t feel the need to make new friends at all cost. They have a hard time going over the part where they need to “sell” themselves and have to politely listen to all the details of the other person’s resume, preferences, and political views.
So, if you dread going to noisy clubs or big festivals just don’t. Let your friends know where you stand and offer alternative ideas for a pass time. If you do decide to go to big events or crowded places make sure to stay as long as you’re having a good time. When you feel tired that’s your sign to exit the stage. And that’s perfectly fine!
15. Take Yourself On Adventures
Make a commitment to challenge yourself on a regular basis to go on adventures by yourself. This teaches you that you can feel good in your own company while bringing some excitement into your life. It also helps you become more self-reliant.
16. Being Alone Means Being With Everyone
As an introvert, the idea of being alone but not lonely is really powerful. When you’re alone you can channel and connect with absolutely anyone on an emotional and mental level.
17. Explain What You Need And What You’re About
It might not be in your character to be outspoken about what you need, want and stand for. You might find expressing all of these things difficult or unnatural. But, introverted or not, people need to hear you loud and clear when it comes to your boundaries, wishes, and needs. Don’t worry, the more you make a habit out of expressing yourself, the easier it gets.
18. Don’t Hide Behind Your Trinkets
When I go out I am always prepared to make the most of your time. I also have a habit of treating my possessions as close friends. Most introverts will make a habit of never going out without books, music, a notepad, a camera or their daily Sudoku. Introverts will enjoy being out or in a social setting but they will feel almost compelled to do the exact same thing they are doing at home. And that’s fine. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t let anyone tell you how to spend your time! However, make sure that you are not carrying all these things around with you just so you can hide being them and seem busy or unavailable. If you feel like you are hiding behind your books, your tablet or your phone it is time to make a conscious effort to stop.
19. Learn How To Make Yourself Heard
As I said before, competing with an extrovert is almost crazy. The frustration of simply not having enough energy or space in the dialogue can be enough to make you want to quit altogether. But there is no need. Sometimes you have to slow down so you can go fast. Believing that what you have to say is truly important is the first step. Then acting according to your conviction is the next. Do not put yourself in a situation where you can be cut off or taken for granted. Remember that it is perfectly ok to tell people that they are being rude.
Commanding attention and respect is an art form that doesn’t require being loud or out there. Refusing to stop talking unless everyone listens is a powerful method of establishing respect and making yourself heard. Of course, there are many others and some of them might need to be discovered by you.
Just don’t give up or settle. You have relevant things to say!