Because introverts are happy being alone, we don’t need other people to make plans, enjoy ourselves, or get things done.
Introverts live in a world where we’re often described, among other things, as shy, reserved, timid, tentative, and quiet — not exactly adjectives that scream strengths, right? I was the kid who preferred books to people, hated confrontation, and cautiously thought things through before making decisions.
Yes, we’re reserved. Yes, we may not appear to be the most assertive person in the room. But this is where we introverts can look inside ourselves, using our superpower of introspection. And we’ll see that, actually, we are strong. And that maybe we need to redefine what a “strength” means in the first place. In an extroverted world, being assertive, outgoing, charismatic, or outspoken is praised and rewarded. But what about introverts? We can still build a reputation without saying a word.
The world has started understanding what it means to be an introvert. It’s not a negative trait or something that needs to be fixed. But in addition to the world learning about us, introverts can also take the time to understand what we have to offer to ourselves and society at large. Because guess what? We have some introvert-specific strengths that make us who we are.
This list, by no means exhaustive, is drawn from what I’ve come to recognize as general strengths in introverts I’ve encountered — as well as in myself. And since introverts often struggle with confidence, it took some serious introspection for me to get to this point. Which brings me to the first introvert strength…
7 Strengths Introverts Can Recognize in Themselves
1. You’re introspective and self-aware — you’re content to sit quietly and think.
As introverts, we spend a lot of time in our own heads. We’re content to sit quietly and think. Our introspectiveness is an ability to turn inward and figure out what is (and isn’t) working for us. One of my own favorite introspection activities is going for a long solo walk while listening to music. Being in nature with a playlist that reflects my mood helps me clear my head, easing anxieties if I’m weighing a big decision or if I need to untangle emotions or thoughts.
Sometimes, we do need some outside help with figuring things out, whether through therapy, perceptive family and friends, or activities and self-care practices we may be involved in. But then we take in what we’ve learned to tap into our own powers of self-awareness even further.
We listen to, and trust, ourselves. And, on that note, we also listen to other people…
2. You’re an expert (active) listener.
Introverts’ listening skills are an oft-cited strength. In conversations, we like to sit back and let other people drive — we take things in and contribute when relevant. And if we’re trying to be a supportive friend, we’re not there to jump in. We’re there to hear you, ask questions, and be a sounding board — and we’re pretty good at it.
Personally, this is an introverted strength that I can always improve. Other introverts may sometimes feel the same way, because while we’re generally good at listening, we can also get lost in our own heads. If our inner thoughts have our attention more than what the other person is talking about, we may not be the best listener in that moment. I always feel guilty when I recognize that this is happening. But I’m also usually self-aware enough to catch myself when this happens, and refocus.
And if we’re not lost in our own thoughts, we’ll pay attention to what you have to say. Introverts are also genuinely interested in building deep connections with others — which we can’t do if we don’t listen. We may even be able to pick up on how others in the conversation are feeling, which brings me to my next point…
3. You’re sensitive and empathic, which allows you to pick up on how others are feeling.
Though introverts have a reputation for loving alone time, and we need it in order to function, we do care about others. It’s something I try to be aware of when I feel like I’m turning inward more than usual.
And while many introverts are aware of others’ emotions through things like their body language, some introverts are also highly sensitive people (HSPs), making them even more aware of how others are feeling. Whether we’re HSPs or empaths, a highly sensitive introvert can say, without words, that they see the other person and how they’re feeling. We do this through listening, facial and bodily expressions, and well-thought-out words. Because, well, we’d probably feel weird saying “I’m absorbing your emotions” to someone.
If a family member, good friend, or coworker is feeling down, a highly sensitive introvert can pick up on that and want to shoulder that emotion. Believing we’re capable of taking on someone’s feelings is a huge introvert strength. On the flip side, if someone is excited or happy about something, we pick up on that, too — which is nice if our own moods need a boost.
4. You’re patient and prepared for all kinds of situations.
Okay, as someone who can be impatient in everyday situations, like waiting in traffic if I’m in a hurry, I am not the world’s most patient introvert. But I’m talking about a different kind of patience, like not needing to be the first to speak or not feeling pressure to have an answer right away.
And yes, technically, patience and preparedness are separate traits, but for introverts, these two strengths often go hand-in-hand – so it’s tough not to group them together. We take the time to think about decisions and don’t like to be put on the spot. We like to be prepared, and careful planning and preparation takes patience.
We may not always be the one with a quick comeback or a spontaneous plan, and I sometimes fear that I come across as hesitant. But it’s only because I’m weighing all of the information I have before making an educated decision. Introverts can come up with solutions and answers after truly thinking them through. And I think others appreciate it more often than not.
And, speaking of coming up with ideas…
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5. You’re creative, whether it’s a work project or a personal one.
Creativity is one of the ways we introverts use our voices. While we’re rarely comfortable being the loudest person in the room, our voice may come through in paintings, novels, music, photography, crafts, poetry, or other media. It’s a way we can share ourselves with the world (without even having to speak).
It’s also a fantastic way for us to unwind and be ourselves. We’re not necessarily creating to share our work with other people; we’re creating because it’s what makes us happy.
Even if you’re an introvert who’s not into the arts, think about it — you’re probably creative in other ways. Weren’t you the one who solved that problem at work after looking at data in a new way? Wasn’t it you who had that idea to help your community during a difficult time? And didn’t you come up with dozens of ways to keep yourself entertained as a kid?
We have such vivid imaginations — even introverts who wouldn’t necessarily describe themselves as “creative.” Be proud of that imagination, introverts! It’s one of the ways we’ve made the world a better place.
6. You’re thoughtful — you’ll remember the author your friend likes and get them their latest book.
Because introverts are generally observant and good listeners — and even sensitive — we can also be thoughtful.
Think about the friend who remembered you liked a certain author and got you their latest book. The family member who always has your favorite snack ready when you come over. The coworker who put a musician you love on their playlist when you traveled somewhere together. Sure, some of these specific people you know may not be introverts, but these are the types of things that introverts pay attention to and remember.
Introverts may also notice something that isn’t immediately obvious, paying attention and having your back. (Remember that whole “sensitivity” thing?) We might be the one who waits for you if you’re running late, because we don’t really care about catching up with the rest of the group. We’ll leave a party early with you if we know your introvert battery may be drained (and ours may be, too!). And we’ll know when we need to give you space.
7. You’re independent — you’re happy to spend the weekend alone, following your own plans.
Out of all of the strengths on this list, this is one of my favorites. Because we’re so content with being alone, we don’t need other people to make plans, enjoy ourselves, make decisions, or get things done. We’re capable of finding solutions, tackling challenges, going on adventures, and forging new paths ourselves. (That’s not to say we never ask for help — we just work really, really well alone!)
We are, for example, happy spending an entire weekend alone making our own plans. We also love independent projects, and can be left alone for hours to get things done. And we might even pick up and move 1000 miles away, or even to another country, on our own.
Independence leads us to new adventures and an even stronger version of ourselves. It’s how we shine.
Shattering Preconceived Notions About Introverts
With this list in mind, let’s start by shattering any negative feelings we have about ourselves. Introverts can struggle with confidence, in part because of how out-of-place we feel in an extroverted world. So let’s appreciate our introverted strengths for what they are: human superpowers.
Don’t underestimate introverts. We will quietly prove you wrong pretty much every time. And if more people are aware of introverts’ strengths, the less we’ll be underestimated. Whether it’s our ability to be introspective and thoughtful, or our tendencies toward independence and creativity, when introverts have the confidence to recognize their inner strengths, we can have a positive impact on those around us — and ourselves.
Introverts, what are some of the strengths you see in yourselves? I’d love to hear in the comments below!