1. They are not shy or socially awkward.
The most popular myth about introversion is that it is the same thing as shyness or social awkwardness. Shyness is more related to social anxiety disorder. In general, introverts are not afraid of interacting with others; they simply prefer to spend time alone. Whereas extroverts “recharge” and feel at home when surrounded by people and external stimuli, introverts recharge themselves by quietly sitting at home and thinking.
2. They have fewer friends, but their friendships are deeper.
Whereas extroverts may have 5,000 Facebook friends, they also may have nobody they can depend on in an emergency. Being more analytical, introverts employ a sort of screening process when choosing whom to befriend. Once they carefully select a friend, you can expect an introvert to be the most loyal and dependable friend you’ve ever known.
3. They are great listeners and observers.
Because they are quiet and more focused than extroverts, introverts tend to be far more cautious and analytical. Whereas an extrovert may pretend to agree with everything you say just because they want to be liked, an introvert will actually hear what you’re saying and be more adept at offering objective and practical advice for whatever problems are bothering you.
4. Being introverted does not prevent them from being good leaders.
Although one might think that being introverted would prevent someone from having the necessary social skills to lead large groups of people, one study found that about four in ten CEOs test as introverts. Leaders and innovators such as Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, and Steve Jobs were all introverts—and they all changed society for the better, despite the fact that society may have deemed them to be “antisocial.”
5. There is a biological basis to introversion.
According to world-renowned psychologist Hans Eysenck, introverts have a heightened cortical sensitivity to external physical and emotional stimulation. So when they leave the concert or party early, they’re not trying to be difficult; it’s just too much for them to take in at once. They don’t choose to be that way; it’s the way nature made them.
6. Their brains’ pleasure centers process chemicals differently.
According to research by scientist Scott Barry Kaufman, the pleasure chemical dopamine is more active in the brains of extroverts compared to introverts. But according to author Christine Fonseca, introverts’ brains are more active in processing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which rewards the brain with pleasure when someone turns inward.
7. They tend to be gifted.
Extremely gifted people tend to be more introverted, as they immerse themselves in solitary pursuits that require concentration. According to research by Dr. Linda Silverman at Denver’s Gifted Child Development Center, a huge quotient of introverted children also tend to be extraordinarily intelligent.