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People Who Were Introverted as Children Usually Develop These 11 Traits as Adults, Psychologists Say

In World
June 10, 2024

Introverted child being comforted by her mother

Although personality traits develop throughout our lifetimes, many of us seem to come hardwired to approach the world in a certain way. Take, for example, introversion, something that 56.8% of people around the world lean toward, according to The Myers-Briggs Company. And if you distinctly recall being predominantly introverted as a child, there are specific traits that may accompany you into adulthood. And guess what? These traits are positive, proving that, oftentimes, it’s good (and healthy) to be an introvert.

What Exactly Is Introversion?

Psychologist Dr. Jessica Ribeiro, PhD defines introversion as a personality trait characterized by a preference for quiet, less stimulating environments and activities.

“It describes how you gain energy and interact with the world,” she says. “Introverts typically are more inward-turning, focusing on internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking external stimulation. This doesn’t mean they dislike people, but social interaction can be draining and requires them to seek solitude to refuel their internal batteries.”

Dr. Ribeiro goes on to say that while society often values extroverted traits like gregariousness and assertiveness, the traits developed by introverts are equally important and beneficial.

“Introversion is a beautiful and valuable personality trait,” she says. “If you identify as an introvert, embrace your strengths. There’s no need to force yourself to be someone you’re not. Celebrate your quiet power and know that your unique perspective is a valuable asset to the world.”

Dr. Shira Schuster, licensed clinical psychologist at Williamsburg Therapy Group, echoes this sentiment, saying, “Introversion and extraversion are just different ways of being in the world. There are many great qualities associated with being an introvert. You don’t need to be an extrovert to be successful or happy in life!”

Related: ‘I’ve Been an Etiquette Expert for Almost 20 Years—Here’s the #1 Phrase to End a Conversation Without Making It Awkward’

What Would Cause a Child To Be Introverted?

Introverted children can grow up to be introverted adults, and there’s no single cause for it. Dr. Ribeiro says that introversion is believed to be influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental and developmental factors.

“Some children are simply born more sensitive to external stimuli. It can be passed down from parents to their children through genes. Introverted parents or a quieter household can also influence a child’s natural preference for calmer settings,” she says.

Related: Are You an Ambivert? These 25 Signs Will Confirm Whether You’re Both an Introvert and Extrovert

People Who Were Introverted as Children Usually Develop These 11 Traits as Adults

1. Thoughtfulness

“Introverts tend to think deeply about issues before speaking or acting,” Dr. Ribeiro says. “This can lead to thorough, well-considered decisions and a tendency to reflect deeply on problems.”

2. Preferring Solo Activities

Dr. Schuster points out that many introverts tend to feel comfortable being alone and may prefer to do solo work rather than working in groups.

“For instance, school-age kids might prefer to study alone rather than in study groups and prefer solo presentations to group projects,” she says. “In adults, these preferences will likely continue in how introverts operate in the workplace, both in terms of how they approach their work and in terms of the amount of social interaction they seek out with their coworkers.”

Dr. Schuster explains that introverts tend to get drained by being around large groups of people for long periods of time, and prefer to recharge their batteries by spending time alone.

Related: 12 Common Habits of People With High Emotional Intelligence, According to Psychologists

3. Empathy

Many introverts are also empaths. Dr. Ribeiro says that introverts frequently develop a strong sense of empathy, as they are often good listeners and sensitive to the emotions and needs of others.

4. Attentiveness

“Introverts tend to be observant and think before they speak or act, which makes them less likely to act impulsively or carelessly,” Dr. Schuster says. “They also tend to be good and empathic listeners.”

5. Creativity

Dr. Ribeiro says that due to their inclination to spend time alone, many introverts nurture their imaginative and creative sides, leading to innovative problem-solving and artistic expression.

6. Self-Awareness

“Introverts frequently have a great sense of self-awareness, understanding their strengths and weaknesses better due to introspection,” Dr. Ribeiro remarks.

Related: Don’t Identify as an Introvert or an Extrovert? You Might Be an Ambivert—Here’s What That Means

7. Decreased Need for Validation

If you grew up to be an introvert, you likely don’t need a lot of propping up from others.

As Dr. Schuster says, “Introverts tend to be self-reflective and may require less validation from others/external sources. In adulthood, this may result in more independent thinking and less need to conform to social standards.”

8. Focus and Concentration

“Introverts often excel at focusing deeply on tasks,” Dr. Ribeiro says. “They are less likely to be distracted by large social environments, making them effective at tasks requiring concentration.”

9. Strong Communication Skills

While it may seem a bit like an oxymoron, introverts usually excel at communicating, as children and as adults. Dr. Ribeiro says, “While they might be quieter, introverts often develop the ability to communicate effectively, especially in writing or in one-on-one conversations.”

Related: If You Use These 3 Phrases, You Have Higher Emotional Intelligence Than Most, Psychologists Say

10. Small Friendship Circles

Dr. Schuster observes, “Introverts tend to have a small number of friends with whom they are very close, as opposed to extroverts, who might have larger circles of friends of varying degrees of closeness. Introverts tend to prefer deep conversations and have a hard time with small talk. As a result, introverts and extroverts usually prefer to socialize differently.”

For example, as Dr. Schuster shares, an introvert might choose to socialize by going to dinner with a few close friends, while an extrovert might prefer to go to a big party where they can talk to and meet new people.

11. Loyal Confidants

“Introverts tend to form deep, meaningful connections,” Dr. Ribeiro says. “They value quality over quantity in friendships and offer unwavering support to their close circle.”

Next up, 16 Things People With High Emotional Intelligence Often Say, According to Psychologists


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