The introverted personality is one of the most interested in the fields of differential and applied psychology as well as popular culture. Many people feel identified with the category of “introverted” from the assessment they make of the way they relate to the environment and with others.
What exactly is it to be an introverted person beyond that notion that has something to do with shyness? Let’s see it starting, first, by the most basic question of all.
What is introversion?
Introversion is a concept originally coined by Carl Jung, known among other things for being one of the disciples of Sigmund Freud who ended up distancing himself from his master. Jung created the categories of introversion and extraversion to refer to a duality of mutually exclusive psychological traits (although every introvert has something extraverted and vice versa) and that were based on a main idea.
“This idea was that introverts tend to focus their psychological activity on private mental processes and only indirectly related to the environment, while introverts tend to look for external stimuli in the present, constantly.”
Over time, the psychodynamic paradigm from which both Jung and Freud left was losing strength, but in the second half of the twentieth century, based on a psychometric approach, differential psychology researchers maintained the dialectic introversion-extraversion in force because they saw it describe well the way in which a part of the human personality distinguishes us and explains the tendencies of our behavior.
Specifically, both Raymond Cattell and Hans Eysenck, two of the main references in the field of differential psychology, have used this category in their personality models. And they are not the only ones.
Its relationship with shyness
Although it is very easy to confuse introversion with shyness, and that in practice it is very easy for these two characteristics to occur at the same time in people, technically they are not the same, and it is not uncommon to find introverted people who are not shy , although the opposite case is more strange.
The main difference between introverted and timid people is that the former do not have to worry about giving a bad image, and they do not have to have any respect for the situation of relating to people they do not know. Its connection with the “private” sphere of one’s mind is not the result of fear, but rather the way in which information is processed in real time.
Characteristics of introverts
When describing the typical features of introverted people, the most common are the following.
1. They avoid being constantly in changing and complex environments
Introverted people feel a significant psychological exhaustion if they have to be constantly involved in events that take place around them and that present a relatively high degree of uncertainty. For example, if they must carry out work facing the public full time.
That is why they need to “regain strength” away from that kind of context.
2. They need time alone
Another characteristic of introverted people is that they actively seek to reserve a time and a place to be alone. This not only has to do with the need to rest, but, by their way of being, a good part of the activities that they consider more motivating and stimulating are based on introversion and therefore try to have environments that do not present distractions.
This is something that especially affects relationships, and something that can cause problems if it collides with the expectations of the other person, who can interpret this as a distancing or as a sign that the love bond is weak.
3. Tendency to relate to few people
This is another consequence of the way these people’s mind works. As they especially seek stable environments and do not appreciate situations that are uncertain, introverted people prefer to relate to a rather small circle of friends, and not rely on many other face-to-face interactions with those outside of that set.
As a result, they are not usually very talkative or assertive people, since they prefer to keep a low profile in their social relations so as not to lengthen them too much and keep them simple, without complications.
4. They prefer the practical to the striking
For introverts, social capital does not have much value beyond those people with whom they have a strong emotional bond. Therefore, the idea of wanting to draw attention does not make much sense to them, and this even tends to reflect on their way of dressing, chosen not so much for its striking aesthetic as for criteria of practical use, such as its comfort.