What is an Introvert? Types, Signs & Everything you Need to Know

Mar 23, 2023

An introverted individual possesses characteristics associated with introversion, a personality type characterized by a preference for internal thoughts and ideas over external stimuli. They prefer spending time with a select few individuals rather than being in the company of large groups or crowds.


What is an Introvert?

An introverted individual embodies the traits of a personality type referred to as introversion. It implies they are at ease concentrating on their internal musings and concepts instead of external factors. They prefer spending time with a limited number of individuals rather than being in the company of large groups or crowds. Although some people may associate introversion with shyness, solitude, and reticence, this personality type encompasses much more than those attributes.


The Four Different Types of Introverts

Social Introverts

The most common type of introvert familiar with is known as a social introvert. Such an individual is strongly inclined towards solitude and will deliberately create opportunities for this. However, they limit themselves to a small circle of friends if they socialize. Social introverts adopt this lifestyle because they derive genuine pleasure from their own company and feel emotionally depleted if they spend prolonged periods around others. It is crucial to differentiate social introversion from shyness or anxiety, as it is simply a preference often misinterpreted as aloofness or indifference.


Thinking Introverts

A thinking introvert dedicates a significant amount of time to their thoughts. It is also referred to as a form of intellectual introversion. This individual enjoys contemplating everything they observe and hear. Given that they spend most of their time in their thoughts, it’s unsurprising that they possess a rich and intricate inner world. However, this is not necessarily a negative trait. The introspective type has an exceptional ability to self-reflect and is skilled in analyzing social dynamics. They are acutely aware of the impact they have on a given situation. Some people might wrongly assume that the introspective type is lost in their fantasy world, whereas in reality, they are deeply engaged in critical thinking.


Anxious Introverts

An anxious introvert is a person who faces genuine challenges in social interactions, sometimes to the extent of bordering on social anxiety. This individual’s actions revolve around their perceived inability to operate effectively in large groups. They frequently decline invitations to events not because they enjoy solitude but because they are acutely aware of the high anxiety levels that being around others will evoke. This type of introvert often finds themselves trapped in a cycle where they imagine their future experiences based on past interactions, reinforcing their low self-esteem. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can prove instrumental in breaking these negative thought patterns.


Restrained Introverts

The silent type is less well-known but is quite prevalent if one pays attention. This describes an individual who exercises restraint and takes time to “warm up” to people before revealing themselves fully. Such individuals are not afraid of social interactions; in fact, most of them enjoy meeting new people. However, they are usually selective about who they open up to, preferring to save the largest part of themselves for those who have earned their trust. It can give the impression that a reserved introvert is mysterious, but in reality, they observe from the sidelines before taking action. They always think before speaking; once they trust someone, it will likely last a long time.


What is an Introvert Personality?

A preference for solitude, introspection, and deep thinking often characterizes an introvert personality. Introverts mostly recharge their energy by being alone rather than engaging in social situations. They may be more reserved in social situations, preferring to listen rather than speak, and may feel overwhelmed by too much stimulation or noise.

Learn More about An Introvert Personality!

At Thrive Downtown Vancouver Counselling Centre, we believe it is important to understand and appreciate different personality types. Contact us.


Signs That You Are an Introvert 

introvert and extrovert

Less Interest in Sociability

Introverts are interested in social, family, and romantic relationships but do not rely on them as much as extroverts. In social situations, they typically withdraw and keep to themselves. Attending social events and parties can exhaust introverts due to the continuous interactions and atmosphere. Rather than a wild all-nighter, a calm evening at home might be more appealing to an introvert.


More Thoughtful Decisions

Not being at ease with or frequently making impulsive decisions or spontaneous actions may indicate introversion. Introverts typically plan and prepare for decision-making and take their time evaluating all options.

This careful consideration leads to better choices yielding long-term benefits when appropriately balanced. However, some introverts may struggle with being decisive in almost all situations due to their tendency to overthink.


Less Confident Communication Skills

In social situations, extroverts are easily recognizable due to their effective communication skills. They tend to speak loudly, frequently initiate conversations, use expressive hand gestures, and make more eye contact. On the other hand, introverts tend to speak softly, communicate less frequently, and restrict their body movements. However, introverts with their close friends in a small group may exhibit a more extroverted communication style, which could confuse determining their personality type.


More Introspective & Self-Aware

Introverts tend to turn inward and devote significant time to ponder about themselves, their requirements, and their circumstances. However, this inward focus does not necessarily imply that they are self-centred or egotistical. Rather, it signifies their quest for a deeper comprehension of themselves.

Besides reflecting on their thoughts and emotions, introverts also carefully contemplate how their actions might impact those around them. This quality makes them appear more considerate and selfless, as their decisions are often geared towards preventing negative consequences for others.


Some Common Misconceptions About Introverts

introvert person

Introverts Want to be Extroverts

While extroversion has several admirable qualities, not all introverts aspire to adopt this personality type. Introverts appreciate the advantages associated with their personality traits and may not want to become extroverts.


Introverts Cannot be Successful

Success can be measured in various ways, and introverts can be just as or more successful than extroverts, depending on the criteria. For example, introverts may be less popular in high school. Still, they tend to possess qualities such as thoughtfulness, good decision-making skills, and forming strong bonds with a few trusted individuals.

The myth that introverts do not value or excel in relationships is flawed. Although they may not have a vast social circle throughout their lifetime, introverts tend to be considerate and loyal in their close relationships.


Introverts Don’t Like People

Contrary to popular belief, introverts do not dislike people. They still value and gain benefits from close relationships with others, similar to most individuals. However, introverts tend to conserve their social energy and direct it toward those who understand and support their needs.


Introverts are Unhappy

The notion that introverts are unhappy may stem from the assumption that shy individuals are introverts. However, no evidence supports the idea that introverts are more prone to depression or anxiety than extroverts.


What Causes Someone to be an Introvert?

The cause of introversion is still uncertain, but it is believed to result from biological and unconscious factors. Studies have shown that introverts and extroverts have different brain functions, with differences in blood flow and neurotransmitters in certain brain areas being studied. 

The amygdala and nucleus accumbens have been found to play a role in introversion, as they are involved in emotions and reinforcement behaviours with dopamine. Brain scans show introverts have less dopamine response to new and exciting experiences than extroverts, resulting in a less rewarding experience. These differences in brain functioning suggest that introversion or extroversion is innate and not the result of environmental factors.


Introversion vs. Shyness: What’s the Difference?

Being shy and introverted can overlap, but they are distinct traits. Unlike introversion, shyness doesn’t relate to how you use and replenish your energy, so it is possible to be a shy extrovert. With time and familiarity, shyness can diminish as you become more comfortable in a new setting, such as at school. Moreover, continued support from others can also help alleviate shyness. In contrast, introversion is a more enduring aspect of one’s personality.


Mental Health Conditions Confused with Introversion

Certain psychological conditions can exhibit traits similar to introversion, such as social anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorder, agoraphobia, selective mutism, generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD, and schizophrenia. Only a mental health professional can distinguish between introversion and these conditions and provide proper treatment. In some cases, introversion may not be the underlying issue, but it could contribute to others. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of one’s psychological profile is beneficial for receiving the appropriate treatment.


Common Concerns that Introverts Bring to a Counsellor

types of introvert


Parents of introverted children may need to be aware of the significance of engaging with their child’s inner world beyond just responding to what they say. Unlike extroverted children, introverted children require different parental involvement to foster their inner world, and one-on-one feedback is essential for their development. Without this support, they may struggle with low self-esteem. Counselling can effectively promote this internal growth in cases where it needs to be adequately facilitated.


Disconnected from Self

Introverts can experience loneliness despite needing alone time. This may be unexpected, but introverts with low self-esteem may isolate themselves excessively, which can worsen the problem of feeling disconnected from others and lacking meaning or purpose. Connection with others is crucial to feeling a sense of purpose.


Wanting to Find a Romantic Relationship

Introverts often face challenges in finding romantic relationships. They may need help meeting new people or feeling comfortable in social situations. It often leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation from everyone. Counselling can help introverts explore their desires and expectations for a romantic relationship and develop strategies for building meaningful connections with others. By understanding their needs and preferences, introverts can find fulfilling relationships that align with their unique personality traits.


Managing Overstimulation and Irritability

For introverts, being in overly stimulating environments can be overwhelming and exhausting, leading to feelings of irritability and frustration. Introverts must learn strategies for managing their overstimulation and minimizing their irritability. This may include taking breaks from social situations or using calming techniques such as deep breathing or mindfulness practices. Counselling can also provide helpful tools and techniques for introverts to cope with overstimulation and irritability in their daily lives.


Disconnected from Others

Introverts often value alone time and can be perceived as enjoying solitude, but they can still experience loneliness and a sense of disconnection from others. This can be particularly true for introverts who struggle with low self-esteem, leading them to isolate themselves excessively. However, it’s important to recognize that connection with others is still vital to a fulfilling life. Introverts can benefit from seeking out relationships with people who understand and respect their need for solitude. Counselling can also be helpful for introverts who want to improve their social connections and overcome feelings of disconnection.


Dealing with Societal Pressure

Introverts may feel societal pressure to conform to extroverted norms, such as being outgoing, assertive, and constantly socializing. This can be overwhelming and cause them to feel like not being good enough, or that something is wrong with them. A counsellor can help introverts navigate these feelings and understand that their introverted tendencies are valid and should be embraced. Counselling can also provide tools for setting boundaries, saying no to social events, and managing the guilt or anxiety that may arise. Ultimately, introverts must prioritize their needs and values over external societal expectations.


Best Ways to Thrive as an Introvert

Thrive Downtown offers some tips for introverts to grow without sacrificing their personality. Any introvert can adapt to these tips and see the difference;

  • Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. Introversion is not a weakness but a unique way of functioning. Identify what you excel at and where you struggle compared to extroverts. This will help you appreciate your introverted qualities as assets.
  • Take time to recharge. Social events and meetings can be exhausting for introverts—plan breaks between these activities to recharge. You can use this time to meditate or engage in relaxing activities to restore your energy.
  • Customize your environment. Invest in noise-cancelling headphones to minimize distractions if you work closely with others. Consider arranging your workspace in a way that feels comfortable for you. You can also split your time between working in different environments, such as remotely or in a co-working space.
  • Connect with colleagues digitally. If in-person social events are different from your thing, try building relationships with coworkers online. Use video communication tools like Skype or Zoom to schedule virtual events or chat platforms like Slack to connect with colleagues remotely. You can also initiate your digital social group if your company offers none.
  • Practice challenging skills. If there are skills you need to improve, like public speaking or interviewing, practice until you feel confident. This will help you feel more relaxed and confident about these situations.
  • Set boundaries. Advocate for yourself and your boundaries, even if it means finding a new environment. Speak to HR about making your workspace more comfortable or leave networking events early if needed. Good employers will make accommodations for their employees’ well-being.


How Introverts Can Get the Most out of Their Counselling

The tips provided can be of great help to introverts who seek counselling. It’s of utmost significance to remember that everyone is unique; thus, these tips may have varying degrees of significance depending on the individual. However, as a whole, they can assist introverts in making the most of their counselling experience.

  • Bringing a notepad or journal to a session allows one to take notes and reflect on the topics discussed.
  • It’s also essential to speak up when needing more time to process or want to discuss a pressing matter. 
  • As introverts are known for being private, it’s advisable to let the counsellor know when sharing personal thoughts that typically no one else hears and when having trouble doing so.
  • Keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings can help identify patterns and progress over time. 
  • Additionally, reflecting on what occurred during the session, writing down what was learned, and jotting down new questions or concerns to bring up in the next session can be helpful. 
  • Asking for direct feedback from the counsellor and being open to trying new things that may not have been previously considered can also be beneficial. 

Finally, if one is struggling with isolation, considering the treatment goal of finding and developing new relationships could be helpful.



In conclusion, introversion is often misunderstood and frequently associated with shyness or aloofness. However, introverted individuals are simply people who prefer spending time with a select few individuals rather than being in large groups or crowds. Some signs of introversion include less interest in sociability, more thoughtful decision-making, less confident communication skills, and being more reflective and self-aware. Understanding and accepting introversion can lead to a better understanding of oneself and a healthier approach to social interactions.

Counselling can be extremely beneficial for introverts, as it can help them deal with common concerns, such as low self-esteem, disconnection from others, and managing overstimulation and irritability. Additionally, counselling can provide strategies for introverts to manage societal pressure and find fulfilling relationships that align with their unique personality traits. Understanding one’s psychological profile is crucial for differentiating introversion from certain psychological conditions exhibiting similar traits.

Thrive Downtown has a team of qualified professionals who can assist individuals with introverted personalities. Our secure and supportive environment can help you recognize and overcome problems, boost your self-esteem, and regain confidence. Contact us today to begin your journey towards an improved lifestyle.

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What is an Introvert FAQs


What is an introvert disorder?

Introversion is a personality characteristic, not a disorder or a mental health issue, therefore, there is no such thing as an introvert disorder.


Do introverts suffer from anxiety?

Anxiety does not specifically target introverts over extroverts, while introverts are not more susceptible to anxiety than extroverts, it can impact anyone, regardless of their personality traits.


What drains an introvert?

Excessive socializing, noise and stimulation can drain introverts, causing them to feel depleted and require alone time to recharge and regain their energy.


Is there therapy for introverts?

Therapy is a viable option for introverts who face anxiety, social skills, or other difficulties. A therapist can assist introverts in creating effective coping mechanisms and enhancing their overall health. Contact Thrive Downtown for any issues regarding introversion.


Is being an introvert a mental health issue?

Being an introvert is not a mental health problem but rather a common personality characteristic that is part of the natural scope of human behaviour.


Are introverts emotionally sensitive?

Although introverts may be more aware of their emotions than extroverts, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are more emotionally sensitive. Individuals of any personality type can experience emotional sensitivity.


How do I overcome an introverted personality?

It’s not essential or beneficial for introverts to eliminate their personality trait. They can enhance their social interaction abilities and handle social situations, but it’s not recommended to alter their nature fundamentally.


Do introverts get lonely?

Like everyone else, introverts can feel lonely, but introverts may find more satisfaction in having a small social circle and building deeper relationships with others.


How do introverts express emotions?

Introverts may have their unique ways of expressing emotions compared to extroverts. For example, they may find solace in artistic or creative channels, such as writing or art, instead of relying on verbal expression.


What is the biggest weakness of an introvert?

Introverts may find socializing or networking challenging, which is their major weakness, making it hard to create relationships and progress in certain professions.


Is introversion a trauma response?

While introversion itself is not a direct result of trauma, it’s possible for people who have experienced trauma to exhibit introverted traits due to their experiences.

Carson Kivari

Carson Kivari

Carson Kivari is the Founder and Clinic Director of Thrive Downtown, with years of experience helping individuals and couples overcome anxiety, depression, and burnout. He guides clients on a journey of self-exploration and trauma release to find purpose, connection, and safety. Take the first step towards healing and contact Carson today to schedule a session.

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