9 signs you’re not really an introvert (you just prefer being alone)

by Brendan Brown | October 11, 2023, 2:43 pm

Pop quiz: You love your alone time, but you also thrive in a group setting. Are you an introvert? 

Not so fast! There’s a group of folks out there who simply recognize the power of solitude but still get that buzz from social interactions. 

I’m talking about extroverts who value personal space. 

Let’s dive into the signs that maybe, just maybe, you’re one of them.

1) Group settings energize you, but alone time refuels you

Ever walked into a party, felt the energy surge, and thought, “This. Is. Amazing!”? 

But then, after a night of fun, you can’t wait to get home, put on those comfy PJs, and have some ‘me time’? 

It’s not that you’re shy or drained by people. Quite the opposite!

The social buzz excites you, but you also deeply value the peace and rejuvenation that solitude offers.

It’s like having your cake and eating it too, in the best possible way.

2) You often find yourself deep in thought when alone

I’ll never forget about one summer evening, sitting on my porch, lost in thoughts about life, dreams, and my place in the universe. It was so mundane but it enriched me.

I wasn’t retreating from the world; I was simply taking a moment to connect with myself

If you’re like me, and these solo deep dives are a regular occurrence, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an introvert. It just indicates a profound appreciation for self-reflection. 

And when you come out of these introspective moments? You’re more than ready to jump back into the social whirlwind.

3) Social events on your calendar don’t induce anxiety

Let’s be clear: preferring alone time doesn’t equate to dreading social gatherings.

If seeing an upcoming party or event on your calendar gives you a thrill rather than anxiety, you’re likely not introverted. 

Instead, you’re someone who simply values the balance between ‘out there’ and ‘in here’. 

You look forward to the laughter, the shared stories, the dance moves (maybe even showing off a few of your own). 

Yet, at the end of it all, you cherish the quiet drive home, where you can process and relive those delightful moments in solitude.

4) You’re the go-to person for organizing events, but you also love solo vacations

A few years ago, I took the leap and went on a solo vacation. No itinerary, no companions, just me and the open road. 

And you know what? It was magical. 

But here’s the twist: I’m also the one my friends rely on to organize get-togethers and parties. 

Just because you’re adept at rallying the troops and love the buzz of a group doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your own company on a serene beach or mountain top. 

Celebrating with others and basking in solitude aren’t mutually exclusive.

5) Self-talk is essential for you

Starting a conversation with a stranger at a cafe or in a bookstore? Bring it on!

But when the day winds down, and it’s just you, your thoughts, and perhaps a glass of wine or a cup of tea, that’s where the real magic happens. 

Engaging with others and sparking connections comes naturally to you. 

Yet, you deeply recognize the importance of those quiet moments where you converse with yourself, pondering life’s mysteries, planning your next adventure, or simply reflecting on your day. 

You’re not shy about reaching out, but you also understand the value of reaching in.

6) You thrive in team projects but crave solo tasks for deep work

Remember those group projects in school? While many might groan at the memory, you thrived on the collaboration and exchange of ideas. 

The group dynamic, the brainstorming sessions, the combined energy – it all felt exhilarating. 

Yet, when it came to tasks that required deep concentration, you preferred the sanctity of your personal space, where you could dive deep, undisturbed. 

Not because group settings overwhelmed you, but because you recognized the potency of solitude in fueling your most profound thoughts.

7) At parties, you’re both the life and the observer

It’s a scene I find myself in often: At a lively party, one moment I’m in the thick of it – laughing, sharing stories, maybe even taking the lead in a silly game. 

But then, there’s always that moment when I retreat to the balcony or a quiet corner, not out of exhaustion, but to soak in the beauty of it all.

If you find joy in being both an active participant and a silent observer, cherishing the moments of active engagement and quiet reflection, then you’re not just an introvert in disguise. 

You’re someone who understands the dual beauty of involvement and introspection.

8) Your recharge isn’t about escaping people, but connecting with self

There’s a misconception that needing to recharge is exclusive to introverts. But here’s the deal: extroverts recharge too. 

The difference? It’s not about escaping from the overwhelming presence of people but about reconnecting with oneself. 

After a bustling week, you might spend a weekend reading, journaling, or even taking a long walk. 

It’s less about recovery and more about self-connection, gearing up to face another week of spirited interactions.

9) Solitude is a choice, not a necessity

Being alone, for you, is not a desperate need but a conscious choice. There’s a difference. 

While some might retreat to solitude out of necessity – feeling drained from social interactions – you choose solitude because of its intrinsic value. 

It’s like this: imagine having a sumptuous meal with friends at a bustling restaurant and then choosing to enjoy a dessert alone at a quiet cafe.

Not because the meal was exhausting, but because the dessert – the solitude – is just as delicious.

It’s about savoring both experiences to their fullest.

Why some extroverts prefer being alone

For an extrovert, choosing to be alone may seem contradictory. After all, aren’t extroverts supposed to be the life of the party, always seeking social interactions? 

Well, life’s a bit more nuanced than that.

In essence, while extroversion might be a facet of one’s personality, it isn’t the sum total. Every extrovert has layers, experiences, and choices that make them unique.

Let’s dive into some compelling reasons why many extroverts consciously choose solitude, even if they love being around people.

1) Bursting the bubble of misconceptions

The image of an extrovert often conjured by media and pop culture is someone constantly surrounded by friends, always up for a party, and never wanting a quiet moment. 

But real life isn’t a sitcom. Just because someone enjoys social interactions doesn’t mean they’re immune to the allure of introspection or the charm of a quiet evening. 

Being an extrovert doesn’t chain one to a perpetual social carousel; it just means they enjoy the ride when they’re on it.

2) A personal history that values solitude

Everyone has a history, and for some extroverts, their past may have had episodes where solitude was a sanctuary. 

Maybe it was those childhood afternoons spent reading under a tree, or teenage years experimenting with art in a quiet corner of the house. 

These formative experiences can embed a love for solitude that remains, even as one blossoms into an extroverted adult.

3) The conscious choice of quality over quantity

Let’s face it: not all social interactions are enriching. 

Being around people doesn’t always equate to meaningful connections. Some extroverts gravitate towards solitude because it offers a break from superficial banter. 

In solitude, they can reflect, dream, and engage in deeper conversations with themselves, ensuring that when they do seek out company, they’re bringing a richer self to the table.

4) The empowerment of self-dependency

Relying on oneself, standing tall in moments of challenge, or simply being one’s cheerleader are valuable life skills. 

While extroverts may find encouragement and energy from those around them, many also understand the importance of being their rock. 

Solitude can be a training ground for this, a space where they learn to lean on their own wisdom and strength.

5) Breaking away from labels and expectations.

Living in a world that loves to label can be exhausting. 

“You’re outgoing; why are you dining alone?” Such questions often arise from societal expectations. 

Many extroverts choose solitude as a silent rebellion, a way of saying, “I’ll define my own path, thank you.” 

It’s not about proving a point but about living authentically, beyond the confines of labels.

The power in choosing to be alone

A couple of years back, I found myself in Paris, a city I’d dreamt of visiting for as long as I could remember. 

Friends knew of my plans and had flooded me with a list of must-see places, bistros to eat at, and people to meet. The City of Love, they said, was best experienced with company.

On my third day, after a whirlwind of group tours and social gatherings, I stood atop Montmartre, gazing at the vast cityscape. At that moment, I felt a pull.

Maybe you’ve felt it too—a magnetic pull towards solitude amidst the clamor. 

That day, instead of diving into the crowd as my extroverted side often would, I chose to carve out a pocket of serenity for myself. 

The point is, every now and then, there’s an inexplicable beauty in choosing to be alone, even when you thrive in the company.

It’s in these moments of self-chosen solitude that we often find our most profound reflections.

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