Do you know someone who needs hours alone everyday? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or idea's, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in small groups and inept at small talk?
Well then you probably have an introvert on your hands. Introverts are hugely misunderstood.
Extroverts are highly energized by people and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves; leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and they'll be reaching for their cell phone. Introverts on the other hand, after being socially "on" for a few hours need time to recharge by being alone.
Introverts are usually seen as shy, this is not true. Shyness means being anxious or frightened or disapprove of one's self. This is rarely the case with introverts. Introverts are often seen as arrogant, this is usually because of our lack of small talk, which to extroverts means; I don't like you. Introverts make up approximately 25% of the population. However, Introverts are a minority in the general population, but a majority in the gifted population. The reason for this is introverts are more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts.
Extroverts tend to think by talking, whereas introverts think before they talk. The original meanings of the words invented by Carl Jung in the late 20's are;
Extrovert - finds meaning outside themselves. Introvert - finds meaning within themselves.
Extroverts are highly unlikely to understand introverts. All you have to do is look at the words used to describe introverts; guarded, loner, reserved, self-contained, private and narrow. These are all ungenerous words that suggest a narrow personality.
For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping and as nourishing as eating.
The worst part is I don't think extroverts realize the torment that they put introverts through. Having to listen to their 98% content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even listen to themselves. I can't wait for the day when it won't be impolite to say, "I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you, but for now, please shush"
So what to do with an introvert? First recognize that it's not a choice, it's not a lifestyle, and it's an orientation. Second, when you see an introvert in deep thought, don't ask them what's wrong? Or, are you alright? Third don't say anything else either. Fourth when they're done with their deep thoughts ask them what they were thinking about.
Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.
Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to "recharge."
When introverts want to be alone, it is not, by itself, a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or that they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with, can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.
Being introspective, though, does not mean that an introvert never has conversations. However, those conversations are generally about ideas and concepts, not about what they consider the trivial matters of social small talk.
Introverts make up about 60% of the gifted population but only about 25-40% of the general population.