What does Introvert mean?

Want to know more about what the word Introvert Means and how it feels to be Introverted?

What’s in a label? Generally I’m not a great fan of putting labels on people. They can be so limiting. However, knowing the right word to research can open up a whole new way of looking at things.

We need the right words to describe our similarities and differences so that we can get to know ourselves better.

What does introvert mean? Well first of all you wont get much help from a dictionary. It seems to be generally accepted amongst society that introversion and shyness are the same. That’s wrong and it’s also not helpful.

Shyness is a condition that develops due to circumstances. Introversion is actually an innate temperament. It’s an inbuilt part of who you are and isn’t something that can be changed. Nor should it be thought of as something to be “fixed”.

The Introvert/Extrovert Continuum: No one is 100% introverted in all things. Instead it is more of a sliding scale with Introversion at one end and Extroversion at the other end. People are at different points along the scale. People at the opposite ends of the scale will react very differently to the same circumstances.

Most people will find that where they are on the scale changes slightly depending on circumstances – so they will be more extroverted at certain times and more introverted in other situations.

Differences between Introverts and Extroverts: There are three main things that distinguish introverts and extroverts:

  1. Where they draw their energy from
  2. their response to stimulation
  3. their approach to knowledge and experience.

Energy Source:



Get energy from Internal World = thoughts, ideas & impressions Get energy from External World = activities, people, things and places.
Hold on to Energy Spend Energy
Easily overstimlated by external world – feelings of “too much”.Need to limit socialising so they don’t feel drained. Long periods of quiet, internal contemplation or being alone or with just 1 person will feel understimulated.
Must balance alone time & outside time or else miss out on other perspectives and connections. Must balance doing time with being time or can lose themselves in too many activities
Some positive aspects: perseverance, ability to think independently, focus deeply & work creatively. Some positive aspects: express themselves easily, concentrate on results and will get a lot done.
Are like rechargeable batteries – need alone time/rest to re-charge. Are like solar panels – need to be out and about, talking to people and doing things. Are like wind-up radios – need external input, other people and movement.
Need quiet reflective place where they can think things through and recharge. Refresh themselves easily by doing something in the outer world.

Response to Stimulation:



Like to know a lot about what they experience. Like to experience a lot of different things.
Internal world of thought causes a lot of stimulation of its own, so when things come from outside as well, this raises intensity level quickly. Like to be where the action is.
May need regular breaks in a quiet space away from outside stimulation. If in a quiet/not very stimulating situation will need regular breaks to find stimulation – e.g. during quiet working will need regular tea breaks.
Will often research & need to fully understand something before rushing out to try it. Will often try something without any pre-planning.
Energy is drained by crowds or noisy environments Increased energy gained from crowds and noisy environments

Approach to Knowledge:



Generally like depth of knowledge and experience. Generally like breadth of knowledge and experience.
Like a few very close friends Like lots of friends
Like to know a lot about a few topics – a specialist Like to know a little about a lot of topics – a generalist
Delve deeply into a topic and look for richness. Grab the highlights and then move on
Will dwell on a conversation long after it’s over & hate being interrupted. Variety is simulating and energising

If you found this helpful and you want more information about what being an Introvert means, there is a collection ofinformation, resources and links to useful sites that I’ve gathered together over here: www.the-inner-net.com/squidoo-introverts

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