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Introversion is a personality type not everyone understands quite well. For that reason, introverts have been unfairly stereotyped as odd and socially avoidant. The negative labels are even worse for an individual regarded as an “extreme introvert.”
I’m sure you have a good idea of what I mean if you think you’re one and have been called an “odd potato.” If it’s someone else, like a partner, friend, or family member, who you suspect is severely introverted, then familiarizing yourself with the signs or personality traits can help you understand and relate to them better.
This article will explore what an ‘extreme introvert’ is, whether it’s a personality disorder, and signs you’re more than an average introvert.
What Is an Extreme Introvert?
An introvert is a person with a personality type that causes them to remain mostly socially withdrawn. This and other peculiar traits are more pronounced in those described as extreme introverts. Other names they’re known by include ‘super introverts’, ‘true introverts’, and ‘hardcore introverts’.
Those landing on the extreme side of the spectrum of introversion have traits that make others think something is wrong with them. For example, locking themselves away for extended periods, avoiding almost all social interactions, and doing practically everything by themselves.
Thinking introverts and anxious introverts may more likely turn out to be extreme introverts since they have a higher tendency to experience social anxiety.
As such, they’ll socialize only when they can’t avoid it or around familiar people. Immediately after, they’ll withdraw to cope with the discomforting mental effects of human interaction.
Is Being an Introvert a Personality Disorder?
When it comes to introverts, human interaction just isn’t their thing, although they face unfair criticism for being themselves. They’re labeled as ‘boring’, ‘antisocial’, ‘weird’, awkward, ‘abnormal’ ‘socially inept ‘, or a ‘misfit’.
It’s unfair how completely misunderstood they are by society. Nothing is wrong with them, and neither are they suffering from a personality disorder, says Mental Health America.
Extroverts, the opposite of introverts, are people who like to be the center of attention and constantly in your face. So, if introversion is a disorder, then so is extroversion. Not everyone likes to be subjected to the excessive rantings of extroverts.
In reality, extroverts are celebrated as “normal” people. You might agree that this isn’t fair to us introverts.
17 Telltale Signs of an Extreme Introvert
Introversion and extroversion are measured based on a spectrum ranging from extroverted to extremely extroverted and introverted to extremely introverted. The more introverted a person is, the farther they are away from the point where extroversion begins.
The following signs can help you identify where you fall on the spectrum and why you act the way you do. Remember some of your characteristics and behavior are similar to regular introverts, it’s just that yours are more drastic.
#1. Very Quiet
Extreme introverts are far quieter than typical introverts. People often mistake the trait for shyness.
Their quiet demeanor is usually motivated by the need to carefully take in and process what others are saying and doing around them. They prefer to think carefully before responding and are not likely to jump to conclusions as extroverts do.
The more complex the information is, the more time they require to reply or act. So, if someone rolls their eyes at you for not responding as fast as they expect, it’s because they think you’re moving slowly.
#2. More Aloof and Distant
At a glance, an ultimate introvert can be mistaken for someone with an avoidant personality because they often appear emotionally distant.
Avoidants are people who avoid social settings due to being extremely self-conscious, feeling insecure, and having a high sensitivity to negative criticism. Their avoidance is also linked to a special kind of attachment style.
Introversion is a personality type. You choose to remain aloof in unfamiliar settings, sometimes to cope with social anxiety. Like other extreme introverts, you easily open up and engage with people you know well.
#3. Severe Anxiety in Social Settings
Anxious introverts, in particular, are known for experiencing intense anxiety symptoms in social settings. Since many extreme introverts are also anxious introverts, they will avoid interacting with people at all costs.
Their avoidance is more than the normal level seen in other introverts. Whereas those individuals may get a little nervous around people, true introverts experience more severe anxiety symptoms.
For example, sweaty palms, shivering, stammering, panic attacks, temporary speechlessness, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea.
#4. Very Easily Overwhelmed
Whereas the typical introvert can deal with some level of activity in their surroundings without feeling stressed, extreme introverts get super overwhelmed and very easily burned out.
You’re unable to focus in the least noisy setting. Water dripping, a clock ticking, and even white noise are all agitating.
Talkative people also overwhelm you. Even though you tolerate others speaking out of courtesy, you start shutting down due to a quick depletion of your mental energy.
For these reasons, you intentionally avoid people and situations that create stress or sap your energy.
#5. Always Prefer Small Social Gatherings
Extreme introverts don’t hate people, as is the word on the street. They just try to limit human interaction to what’s necessary. When the time comes for you to get socially involved, you prefer to do so in small, intimate settings.
Usually, those at the gathering are a few familiar people, e.g., friends and family members. They understand you. You also understand them and are more relaxed and willing to chat. Certainty in social environments is important for you. Otherwise, you’ll get easily overwhelmed, panicked, and feel like you’re losing control.
#6. Need More Alone Time
Introverts, on the whole, cherish time alone. However, the need for solitude is exaggerated in your case. Not only that, you need a lot more emotional space from others, including loved ones.
Most of the time, you retreat to your room and may stay there for lengthy periods. Those on the outside looking in believe you have cabin fever or some kind of mental health issue. If they only knew you’re introspecting, thinking, and happily doing something creative, they’d be utterly surprised.
#7. Prefer Your Own Company
The concept of introversion and extroversion relate to how individuals get their energy. Introverts harness energy from solitude, while extroverts get theirs from being around people.
During their extended alone time, extreme introverts are able to sit with their thoughts without interruption. This means you can remain hidden away from the world for weeks or months without getting bored, lonely, anxious, or depressed.
And it’s not like you don’t like people. You are a loner who simply enjoys your own company over chatting with others. You make a conscious decision every day to minimize social activities to help preserve your energy and reduce mental stress.
#8. Keep Secrets Even from Everyone
Can you keep a secret? These individuals take keeping secrets to the next level. You already know that. You are your best friend and ally. Falling at the extreme end of the introvert spectrum means you have a hard time trusting or confiding in others.
Your family members and best friends can forget about you spilling your secrets. In fact, you’re so secretive that you refuse to store private information on your computer or in a diary. Those secrets are going to the grave with you!
#9. Don’t Say Much in Conversations
Even though they can tolerate small, intimate gatherings for a short while, extreme introverts usually don’t talk much.
People easily dismiss you as shy or lacking in intelligence. On the contrary, you have a lot to say and can engage in intellectual conversations quite easily.
You open up more readily to intelligent people since you find meaningful conversations stimulating. However, if someone tries to involve you in gossip or small talk, you’ll probably give them an ear and a few nods. That’s it!
#10. Prefer Journaling Over Talking
Journaling is a great way for introverts to externalize their thoughts without speaking to others. I’m sure you have piles upon piles of notebooks, diaries, or journals and are always writing something down. How could you possibly have so much to say when you hardly speak?
Well, since you’re not really interested in conversing with humans, you need a way to express your thoughts, feelings, and emotions–but not your secrets. So good luck to anyone who goes through your notes looking to uncover some deep dark secret.
#11. Online Shopping Makes Your Day
Those who are highly introverted hate shopping in local stores with a passion. I rather suspect that whoever came up with the idea of online shopping must be an extreme introvert. I mean, what better way is there to avoid people than buying whatever you need online?
Getting almost anything delivered at the front door is the best part. Trust me, I know you don’t even come to the door to receive the packages directly from the delivery person.
You’ll peek through the blinds to ensure the person leaves before sneaking out to haul the packages inside.
#12. Keeping Phones in Silent Mode
You almost never answer your phone. We’re still discussing extreme introverts. It’s obvious, but I’ll still explain why. Answering the phone involves talking to people. You definitely won’t answer if the person calling is an energy sucker or a gossiper.
You usually send your calls to voicemail or let them ring out. You may or may not return the call depending on who it was. The phone is just a means to an end when you need to get in touch with someone. It’s a one-sided affair, and while it bothers your friends and relatives, you’re quite happy maintaining the status quo.
#13. Texting is the Best Way to Get You
“I rarely take calls. Text or email me if you need to reach me urgently.” That’s something an extreme introvert will typically say. Text messaging provides a more effective and less nerve-racking way for you to express yourself than talking.
Of course, the vast majority of people opt for messaging over call, but not texting 99% of the time, as extreme extroverts prefer. Okay, I exaggerated a tad bit, but you get the point. Even though that’s not surprising to me or other fellow introverts, it certainly appears a bit strange to others.
#14. Fast Food Drive-thru is Your Thing
As an extreme introvert, you’ll avoid one-on-one interaction as much as possible. No wonder you relish the fact that you can simply order your food from your car window. Somehow, I think this innovative way to get a meal was designed with you in mind.
Regardless of how long a fast food drive-thru line is, you will wait. Somehow, you have the patience of Job when it comes to waiting for something you want if it lets you bypass humans.
#15. Rather Live Alone or with a Quiet Pet
Super introverts constantly yearn for their personal space. What better way is there to satisfy that need than living alone?
I’m almost certain living secluded in absolute solitude is something you also desire even more intensely as an extreme introvert. No noise, no interruptions, and no domestic squabbles.
Finally, you can engage in human interaction on your own terms rather than being forced into it. No humans, but a tranquil pet, such as a cat, will do.
#16. Prone to Overthinking Things
The brain of an introvert is constantly preoccupied with ideas, thoughts, and fine details extroverts tend to miss. There is a lot of thinking, analyzing, processing, and linking of information going on.
Constant thinking continues whether you’re in an active or resting state, according to Psychology Today. That can make being a hardcore introvert an exhausting thing. As an extreme introvert, excessive thinking isn’t something you can stop.
Your brain is wired that way. According to research, that happens because introverts tend to process more information than extroverts per second. This is probably why they are prone to overthinking things.
Nevertheless, some experts who studied introverted personalities see the ability to quickly take in and filter information as an introvert’s superpower.
#17. It’s Been Years Since You Attended a Big Social Event
True introverts rarely go out in public and are wrongly accused of being hermits and recluses just for preferring to remain indoors. If you ask them, they more than likely won’t be able to recall the last day they socialized in a big way.
Super gatherings such as weddings, birthday parties, graduations, and family reunions represent overwhelming situations. Unlike extroverts, partying, loud music, and endless chattering negatively affect your mood.
The chance of experiencing severe anxiety symptoms is greater, so you won’t risk going. For all you know, you would miss your own birthday party planned on your behalf. There are just too many ‘moving parts’ and you aren’t wired to cope in such hectic environments.
Final Thoughts on Extreme Introvert Signs
Even though introverts are everywhere, and even though so much information on the personality type is out there, there are people who still look at introverts suspiciously.
Being an extreme introvert isn’t a weakness or a disorder. Remember that people don’t need to accept you.
The only thing that counts is accepting and loving yourself just as you are. Do you have trouble recharging after social contact? Perhaps reading 11 Introvert Hangover Signs & How to Fix It might help.
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.