Introverts: To find peace, try just watching {Quote of the Week}

Extroverts like having places to go and people to see. A busy weekend full of plans is a thrill—in fact, staying home on a Saturday night almost seems like social failure. When they’re out on the town, often the more going on in their environment, the better. Loud music, bright colored lights, people and lots of activity all add to the fun. They don’t hesitate to dive right into the action and interact with whoever or whatever is available.

Introverts, on the other hand, do enjoy the occasional night out or wild party, but in general, we tend to take things slower than extroverts. In fact, a favorite pastime of ours is to simply observe our environment rather than interact with it. We take it all in—the conversations we overhear, the people we see, along with the colors, textures, sounds and smells of our surroundings. We might simply sit quietly in a busy place like a coffee shop or street festival and notice what comes up in our mind. If we’re lucky, we have someone else with us with whom we can share our quirky or novel impressions (but doing this alone can be a delicious form of introvert fun, too). Often the thoughts created from these peaceful moments are the most valuable part to us, and the activity itself can be a way to calm ourselves and get re-centered if we’re feeling anxious.

Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, explains how she likes to simply observe:

Sitting and watching is a complete feast for introverts’ supersensitive sensory perception. We take it all in . . . the way people walk, how they dress, snippets of conversation. We take the time to notice what a place smells like. I like watching the light change as the afternoon winds down. I try to imagine the homes people are hustling to, heads down, filled with purpose, at the end of the day.

We are happy to sit alone in restaurants, often carrying a book only as a deterrent against pitying looks and anyone who wants to chat. We are not impatient in airports because these are hives of human activity. Introverts who are not fearful enjoy traveling alone; some would have it no other way.

After spending time observing and getting our bearings, we introverts often do jump into the action. We strike up a conversation with someone nearby or join the crowd dancing in front of the stage. Introverts don’t dislike interacting—we just prefer to ease into it.

Do you find it peaceful to simply observe? Where do you like to observe?

Are you an introvert? What’s your personality type? We recommend this free, quick test from our partner Personality Hacker.

Read more quotes

Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. She also cohosts The Introvert, Dear Podcast and blogs for Psychology Today. For most of her life, Jenn felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways. She writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did.