9 Things You Learn In Your 20s From Being An Introvert

A young woman sitting in a city park and reading a book
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I fought against being an introvert for years before finally accepting it and, dare I say, even enjoying it. In fact, there are things you learn from being an introvert that I'm not sure you'd learn otherwise.

For some reason, there's this misconception that introverts are the negative to the positive extroverts. Science has long discussed the myth of the superior extrovert, something that varies by culture. In many western cultures, for example, people tend to favor extroverted personalities. Introverts will feel pressured to be social butterflies, and they'll often be compared to extroverts — when in reality, the two are too different to ever compare side by side.

While introverts and extroverts differ in how they handle relationships, leadership, and more, making blanket statements that one is better than the other overall is both unfair and downright inaccurate. In particular, we need to debunk, once and for all, the myth the introverts are lonely and empty. We might not be perfect, but no personalities are.

If you're an introvert and have tried to change it, I say learn to embrace and enjoy who you are, because it's probably going to teach you at least one of these important lessons in life.


You Learn A Lot More Listening Than You Do Talking

Listening is an art that many of us don't really understand or grasp; but there are so many benefits to it — benefits that introverts often enjoy because they can be really quiet people. Listening is receiving information, while talking is giving it away. Listening is knowledge, and knowledge is power. Therefore, listening is power.

According to science, being good listeners could also help us have stronger relationships. Research has found that people with poor listening skills tend to have poor social and emotional skills in general. Learning by listening is something we're really good at, and it also makes us excellent leaders.


You Can Always Find Inspiration Within Yourself

Because you tend to be a lone wolf, you come to really rely and depend on yourself, in more ways than one. Such can be the case when you're looking for inspiration or motivation. This is great news, because all you need to pick up the momentum and get the ball rolling is little old you.

What's more, not only are you able to find inspiration within yourself, but looking for it elsewhere might not have that great of an outcome: science has found that our brains just aren't stimulated by things like extroverts' are. For example, it's been found that in the brains of introverts, there's no more electrical activity going on when we look at another person versus when we look at inanimate objects.

We are, quite literally, wired differently.


You Might Be Quiet, But That Doesn't Mean You're Shy

This is something I didn't understand about myself until the last couple years. I was always under the impression that introverts are shy. While some certainly are, I'm typically not. I can have a conversation with anyone. It's just that oftentimes, I choose to sit quietly. What gives?

This is a piece of the puzzle that people are often missing when it comes to introverts — even for introverts themselves.

Psychology Today explains that the difference between being an introvert and being shy is clear: the former is a lack of interest in socializing, while the latter is a fear of it. This explains why I can talk anyone's ear off but usually prefer just to do it to my fiance.

Furthermore, introverts are usually accepting of this biological and personality trait, while shyness can get to a place where it's so severe and debilitating that it'll be diagnosed as an actual mental health problem.


You'll Avoid Unnecessary Drama

Having a huge social circle and spending a lot of time around others certainly has its pros; but like everything else in life, there are drawbacks. One is that try as you might not to, you'll inevitably get tangled up in drama, even if it isn't your own. It happens: we're humans, we're flawed, and sometimes, we clash with each other.

This isn't to say introverts have zero drama in their lives. But as we tend to have fewer relationships, we thus often have less social drama in our lives. I can definitely vouch for this one: I always hear the stories about who said what about who, and who's fighting with who; but that's all they are — stories. At the end of the day, I go home where it's quiet and hang out with my dogs. End of story.


You'll Feel A Special Kind Of Security Knowing You're OK On Your Own

Doesn't it feel good knowing you don't need anything to get by? This isn't to say you don't want it. But here's the difference: I know people who would lose their minds if they weren't constantly stimulated by new things, new places, new people. Introverts, on the other hand, are just fine at home with a good book or our favorite TV show. Sometimes we go out and do fun stuff; but if we don't, we still know how to have a good time.


You'll Still Have Awesome Relationships

There's this misconception — which sometimes turns into a fear for introverts — that we don't and won't have any friends, probably because people only want to hang around extroverts. Not so. As Psychology Today explains, "The reality is that you are not competing with extroverts for attention. Extroverts and introverts are apples and oranges." Moral of the story? Be you, because people are attracted to people who are confident and comfortable with themselves. No, really: research has found that being confident is one of the most attractive qualities you can have.


You'll Value Quality Over Quantity

So, you learn from being an introvert that you will still have friends; but you know something else being an introvert teaches you? That quality matters more than quantity, when it comes to friendships. Introverted you doesn't want 50 friends, none of which you feel comfortable calling when you need a shoulder to cry on or want to have a ladies' movie night at home. You'd rather have five close friends who you can tell anything, be yourself in front of, and count on through thick and thin.

It might be a tough concept to swallow, especially in today's climate of social media, where quantity definitely matters more — more likes, more comments, more friends online. But valuing closeness above all else is good for the soul; in fact, research has found that when we feel close to people, we are four times likelier to feel good about ourselves and our lives.


You Might Notice A Lot More Of The Little Things...

When you're more quiet, more still, you see things that others might not. You're a little less distracted and better able to see the details. Maybe it's someone you work with who other people misunderstand, but you can see their true colors. Maybe it's a quiet Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and the birds chirping.


...And Learn To Really Appreciate Them

The tiny moments are not to be underestimated or overshadowed by the bigger things in life. As PsychCentral explains, these are often the stuff memories are made of, and the things we appreciate when we reflect on the past, especially when it's something that makes us feel good. We never forget the things that make us feel good, even when they're small.