In the Loop

In the Loop: July 12, 2007 Archive

Being a loner can be exhausting

Posted at 12:00 PM on July 12, 2007 by Sanden Totten (8 Comments)

I often find parties exhausting. Does that ever happen to you? You're at a shindig. There's a ton of people talking, laughing, smiling and after about five minutes you just want to curl up in a corner and nap?

If so, you may be a closet introvert.

Psychology Today (my new favorite pop-sci mag) published an article on the neurological differences between introverts and extroverts. In it they point out that introverts aren't just shy people waiting for their chance to shine . . . introverts process the world in a fundamentally different way than a social butterfly does.

From the article: "While outgoing people savor the nuances of social interaction, loners tend to focus more on their own ideas—and on stimuli that don't register in the minds of others. Social engagement drains them, while quiet time gives them an energy boost."

In fact, past research suggests that wallflowers get pleasure from their own internal life of the mind, much like extroverts do from working large crowds. So it's not that introverts are afraid to engage with people. It's more that they don't need as much going on in their life to keep them occupied. They get pleasure from small details many extroverts would overlook. But when they are thrown into a busy environment, like a party, they are totally overstimulated by all the small cues and end up feeling wiped out. Nap time anyone?

The article speculates though, that loners can make good friends in times of need, since they are good at reading subtle details about how a pal is doing.

So what do you think? Do you know any notorious loners that seem to fit this description? Does any of this ring true for you?

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