I just finished reading this article on the Huffington Post: 23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert. While not 100% accurate (for instance, I’ve been called an “old soul” since I was 8, not 20), I’m not sure I’ve ever read an article that described me more. Two points, in particular, caught my attention.
10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.
Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you’ve been out and about for too long? It’s likely because you’re trying to conserve energy. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they’ll need to go back and replenish their stores in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.
More than one person has remarked about how “all of a sudden I get quiet” at parties, or other social situations. It’s not because I’m upset. It’s not necessarily because I’ve gotten sick after eating too much cheese. It’s often just because I’ve had to be “on” for too long.
Interestingly enough, it isn’t just limited to social engagements (where the dreaded networking or small talk is required), it also happens when I’m working. As some of you know, I do extra work from time to time in order to pick up cash (in the last three weeks I’ve shot Castle, Parks & Rec and Rizzoli & Isles). This means not only going into a new environment each day, but having to be “on” and around people for long stretches of time. And this has nothing to do with the actual people– the casts and crews of those shows are all lovely, hard-working people. The other extras I’ve met have been very nice. But it’s work for me to be around people and engaging for that long. Luckily, having a book on set is the norm, so when I feel myself shutting down, I can go to my spot and read. Still, by the time I get home at the end of a set day, I’m exhausted– not from the work, not even from the early call times, but because of all the energy it has taken to get through the interactive part of the day.
16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.
“Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” says Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later.”
Yes! And my inner monologue is hilarious much of the time. It’s also often covers more than one topic, so when someone asks me “What are you thinking?” after I’ve zoned out, often I can’t tell them. It’s not because I don’t have any idea what I’m thinking, it’s because I have no idea how to explain that my brain just went from “I have to get the oil changed’ to “unicorns!” without skipping a beat.
You can also see this happening with me during disagreements. Unless pushed to an extreme degree, I don’t fight. I don’t yell. I often don’t emotionally engage at all in that type of situation. I want to be able to go to my own corner, work out all the arguments for my side, and then come back and present them. My ex was the same way. I tell people that we never had a fight in all the years we were together. And that’s true because we would go to separate corners, work out what we had to say, and then, when really pressed, try to have some sort of rational assessment of the issues at hand. I’m not saying it worked– a lot of hurt was never really addressed, but it was the way we both dealt with conflict.
Needless to say, it became very frustrating to me when I learned that not everyone works that way. In a confrontation, I’m going to say nothing– not because I don’t care, but because I think first and talk later.
Or because my brain has skipped back to unicorns.