: a typically reserved or quiet person who tends to be introspective and enjoys spending time alone
Introverts love being alone. This has become common knowledge in the last few years. Thankfully, today’s world is a place where being an introvert is no longer seen as a negative trait. However, there is still so much to explore when it comes to the true nature of introverted individuals.
So, why do introverts prefer solitude rather than socializing?
What makes them so hooked on silence and isolation? Let’s find out!
How do you feel when a friend calls to cancel your plans for the weekend? If you feel relieved, then you might be one of those remarkable beings we are discussing in this article. And if you feel bumped out, maybe that friend who canceled is the introverted one in your circle, and they didn’t want to hurt you by saying they simply prefer to spend some time alone instead of hanging out.
Frankly, spending time in their own company is the way introverts unwind. Being alone with their thoughts and spending hours of cogitation helps them keep connected to themselves and appreciate what truly matters in their life.
On the contrary, after spending far too much time socializing, introverts feel emotionally drained and overstressed. Most of them find social gatherings extremely overwhelming. They experience something Jenn Granneman, author of the book The Secret Life of Introverts, describes as an “introvert hangover.”
But why does socializing make introverts feel anxious and mentally fatigued?
According to psychology professor Colin DeYoung, one of the reasons introverts love to be alone is the way they respond to rewards, including money, social status, and affiliation. Sex and food can also be considered rewards., depending on the situation.
Naturally, introverts respond differently to rewards than extroverts. They are less excited, less motivated, and even less energized. But that’s not because they don’t feel gratitude. Quite the opposite – introverts simply require less stimulation.
Granneman explains this by giving an example of two friends at a party. One of them is an extrovert, while the other is an introvert. The extroverted one sees an opportunity to explore new friendships, deepen old connections, and elevate their social status. In the meantime, you can for the introverted one in the corner, feeling absolutely exhausted by the social chaos around them.
While the extrovert may spend the whole night chatting to everyone at the party, the introvert would probably head home early, looking forward to opening their favorite book and reading for hours in the company of a glass of wine. (Or a bottle – no one’s judging.)
What does science say?
According to science, introverts are incredibly sensitive to dopamine – the “feel good” neurotransmitter which helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. With that in mind, it is only natural that people with extroverted personalities have a built-in, active dopamine reward system. Therefore, they have larger amounts of tolerance to the emotional tiredness they feel after a long session of socializing.
On the other hand, those with introverted personalities get overstimulated when exposed to too much dopamine. Since they don’t need as much of the “feel good” chemical as extroverts do, they show higher levels of sensitivity to it.
In the book The Introvert Advantage, Dr. Marti Olsen Laney explains:
“Introverts are hardwired from birth to focus inward, so outside stimulation-chitchat, phone calls, parties, office meetings-can easily become ‘too much.'”
What’s more, Laney emphasizes that introverted individuals have a slightly different brain pathway. Instead of dopamine, they prefer acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter tied to long-term memory, perceptual learning, and the ability to stay calm and alert. This could be amongst the reasons why introverts love spending time on their own, as this particular chemical is capable of producing feelings of joy in times of cogitation.
Are you an introvert? Do you agree with the abovementioned reasons why introverts love spending time alone? Let us know in the comment section!