When people hear the term, they may often wonder, “what is an introvert?”
You might imagine an introvert to be someone who’s peaceful and insular.
Or perhaps a person who prefers to spend most of their time alone, avoiding social circumstances.
However, being an introvert isn’t actually anything to do with how much you like hanging around with other people.
In truth, introverts can have some of the inmost and most significant relationships.
What is an introvert?
The difference between introverts and extroverts is really biological, and it boils down to how they unwind after social situations.
Doctor of psychology Perpetua Neo says that in regards to their brain chemistry, introverts have a lower limit of dopamine sensitivity than extroverts (dopamine is a chemical associated with benefit because it makes us feel great).
Basically, the lower your dopamine threshold, the more quickly promoted you are.
“As an introvert, you are more energized by spending time on your own, or in very small intimate groups of people you trust,” Neo said.
“So when you are out in a social environment that is very highly stimulating, what happens is that while the extrovert gets more and more incandescent and magnetic, the introvert starts shrinking and shrinking away.”
Introverts have different brain chemistry
The path that an introvert’s or extrovert’s brain takes when they remain in social contexts differs.
While extroverts have a really short path, for introverts it is called the Long Acetylcholine Pathway.
It’s a lot longer, which indicates that a stimulus goes through lots of different parts of the brain.
One is the right frontal insular cortex, the part of the brain that notices errors.
Introverts discover all sorts of details, which makes them uncomfortable about the errors they are making.
Another is the frontal lobe, which examines results. This indicates an introvert has an actually busy mind worrying about exactly what’s going to happen.
They likewise tend to draw very highly from their long-term memory bank when speaking.
Essentially, for an introvert, an event is never simply an event.
While extroverts can simply instantly react and react to environments, introverts can not because a lot is going on in their head.
“That’s why they are vulnerable for being a bit more anxious in a social context, or what people might call a bit more ‘neurotic,'” Neo said.
“But that’s just because the brain is wired that way. So essentially what happens is after too much social stimulation, whether we’re talking about small groups, or a noisy overstimulated context, an introvert’s nervous system is overwhelmed.”
What is an introvert ‘hangover’?
Introverts have to hang out alone to withdraw and charge, known as their “introvert hangover.”
This isn’t to do with drinking though, so what is an introvert hangover?
This alone time essentially activates a different pathway in the brain that promotes the parasympathetic nervous system— responsible for “rest and digest” functions.
Introverts like this path due to the fact that it assists them to unwind when they’ve had a lot of cortisol and adrenaline has been flowing through them.
“When we can actually spend time recharging, whether its sitting at home, cleaning your house, or watching Netflix, or lying down and reading a really good book, your acetylcholine pathway kicks in,” Neo said.
“Essentially this calms your body down and makes you quite happy.”
How introverted or extroverted you are– and you’re likely to be someplace in the middle– is just your neurodiversity.
It has absolutely nothing to do with how shy or socially nervous you are.
“Social anxiety is where you have fear and this need to avoid social situations because you are so scared of how you are going to perform,” Neo said.
“You think you’re stupid, or people will laugh at you, or you’ll never measure up.
“So there’s a bit of that fraudster, imposter syndrome in that…
“Within that event itself, your brain is always looking for errors and scolding yourself.”
After the occasion, she added, a socially distressed individual will rewind the entire thing in their mind on a loop with all the important things they shouldn’t have actually done, or feel bad about, overlooking all the advantages.
This leads them to wish to avoid any future social interactions because it feels so exhaustingly uneasy.
“A lot of people conflate introversion with social anxiety, and that’s just not true,” Neo said.
“You can be an extrovert and have social anxiety, or be painfully shy, or socially awkward.
“The difference is an introvert will tend to recharge on their own and an extrovert needs busy surroundings and busy situations in order to recharge.”
Introverts dislike small talk
Introverts prosper on social interaction, just as many individuals do.
They simply do it in a various method to people who are more extroverted.
For example, a “social butterfly” extrovert may like to meet 50 individuals at an event and get a buzz from speaking with as numerous people as possible.
Meanwhile, what is an introvert most likely to aim for?
They would be more interested in simply meeting one or two new people.
However, they will want to foster the beginnings of a deeper relationship.
This is one reason why introverts typically dislike little talk.
Neo refers to this as “small-talk disorder.”
It likewise means they will be overwhelmed and require to rest afterward, often sleeping for up to 18 hours at a time.
Introversion is not an insult; it’s just a different way of living to other people.
And any place you are on the introversion-extroversion spectrum, the most important thing is finding out the best ways to use your distinctions to your advantage.
“When you spend time having fun or resting in your introvert hangovers, you can accelerate your professional and personal growth,” Neo said.
“The more comfortable you are with telling people: ‘I have an introvert hangover; this is the time for myself. I’m blocking these chunks of time dedicated to me,’ the more you are able to own yourself as an introvert — rather than thinking there’s something wrong with you.”