Yes, Introverts Are Adventurous

An adventurous introvert

Because introverts are confident in their own company, they dare to do things that extroverts would never do.

The word “adventurous” brings to mind adjectives like “bold,” “spontaneous,” and “risk-taking.” Yet perceptions and dictionary definitions of introverts as reserved, perhaps even hesitant, mean that “adventurous” is not exactly the first word that someone thinks of when they hear “introvert.” 

Yes, we introverts need time to think decisions through, from how to answer a question to a major life change. We may seem less spontaneous than some of our extroverted family, friends, and colleagues. But does that mean that introverts, who need more time to process things, are not adventurous? No. Introverts are less likely to “jump in” to something, but that doesn’t mean we won’t do it. If we do something adventurous, it’s probably because we’ve taken the time to think about it — and we still want to do it.

Now, caveat. According to certain definitions of “adventurous” that include being up for daring activities, I am not the most “adventurous” person I know. I’ve never jumped out of a plane or hiked the Appalachian Trail or gone cave diving. Some introverts, however, would love those activities. Just because we’re the “quiet ones” doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of doing exciting things. So, how do we interpret adventurousness in relation to introverts? 

Independence: A Key Element of Introverted Adventurousness 

“You went to the movies… alone?”

“Yup.”

“You got on a plane… by yourself… and moved halfway around the world?” 

“Yeah, pretty much.”

In my early 20s, I learned two of my most important introvert life lessons. The first? I didn’t need other people to make plans, whether small (like going to the movies alone) or large (like moving abroad). The second? “Quiet” kids can be adventurous, too. Those realizations went hand-in-hand, but it took me a while to figure that out. I was adventurous. And I liked doing things alone

Since alone time is essential and precious for introverts, it only makes sense that we’d be up for solo adventures. Or even adventures with a small group (provided we can unwind at the end of the day, or during it). Independence is one of an introvert’s greatest strengths, and it lends itself to adventurousness. Independence consists of resourcefulness, self-reliance, and even confidence. Yes, confidence, a thing that introverts tend to lack in an extroverted world. 

What’s most important is that introverts are comfortable and confident with their own company. And because of that, introverts love going off and doing things alone. That thing could be a new experience considered adventurous, like going on a long solo hike or taking a long weekend to visit a new city alone — things that someone else (like an extrovert, perhaps) might see as brave or unusual for someone to do alone.

Sometimes, our ability to pursue activities alone (and our preference for it!) can shock people. Yet introverts’ independence makes doing adventurous stuff alone “normal” to us.

When, and Why, We Don’t Go Along With Adventure

So now that we understand one place where an introvert’s sense of adventure can come from, let’s look at a few reasons why we can come across as not adventurous.

  • We may want to plan ahead first to prepare for any (over)stimulation. Not to say introverts can’t be spontaneous, but this is one reason why we might hesitate. We won’t say “yes” today, but ask us again in two weeks or a month after we’ve had time to get ready for it. Don’t ask us to go whitewater rafting on a weekend that we planned to spend alone reading on our porch. (Okay, we might say yes right away. But odds are we want to ensure that we’ll also have room for quiet alone time that weekend, too.)
  • If we say “no” to a big group activity, like an overnight camping or ski trip with 10 people, it doesn’t mean we’re not adventurous. Chances are, we’d rather do that alone or with a small group. It’s not that we don’t like you, and it’s not necessarily because we’re shy (though we might be, and there’s nothing wrong with that!). We sometimes just get uncomfortable around a lot of people, all at once, in a big, loud group. 
  • Or, honestly, we could just be freaked out. Both introverts and extroverts can be afraid of, say, skydiving. So, on that note, give us a break.

So, extroverts, be patient with your introverted friends and family. Remember that kid in your neighborhood growing up who always wanted to sit under a tree and read rather than play a neighborhood-wide game of Freeze Tag? Yeah, that kid was me, and half the introverts I know. 

But after you’re done playing Freeze Tag and the other kids have gone home? Sure, we’ll climb that tree with you or build that fort. And as adults, we may not want to join you onstage for karaoke in a big, loud bar, but we’ll gladly have a dance party with you at home. We don’t hate people or fun activities; we just value meaningful interactions in smaller groups or one-on-one.

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Discovering Your Own Introverted Adventurous Side

Introverts, you are indeed adventurous, brave, resourceful, and independent. Take a moment to think about your own solo adventures. Make a list of the things you’ve done on your own that you think are cool, brave, or fun. Even if it seems silly, write it down. Then read it back to yourself. Yes, out loud.

  • “Went to the beach alone.” 
  • “Taught myself some phrases in Portuguese before traveling to Lisbon.” 
  • “Pitched a story to a magazine.” 
  • “Drove 1,000 miles by myself.” 

Those are a few things on my own list. I’m proud of doing all of them, and each strikes me as a form of quiet adventurousness. Remember what I said about independence and confidence? Be proud of your personal list. You were adventurous enough to do each of those things on your own.

Another introvert’s list might read: 

  • “Spent the weekend alone in the woods.” 
  • “Taught myself a new recipe for a food I was afraid to eat.” 
  • “Took piano lessons as an adult.” 
  • “Started my own small business.”

All of these are introvert-friendly activities and achievements. That’s not to say an extrovert wouldn’t do these things. But to introverts, the above lists are just… how we live our lives. Normal solo activities. And guess what? They’re adventurous, too.

Own your independent nature as a key to your adventurousness, and you’ll start to see just how brave you are every single day.

My fellow introverts, what’s something adventurous you’ve done? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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Written By

I earned my M.A. and PhD in History from Stony Brook University, and a B.A. in History and German Studies from Colby College. Since embracing my introversion and figuring out I’m an INFJ, I’ve turned back toward my artistic side to focus on fiction and creative nonfiction writing — which is really what I should have been doing all along. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and write over on SuziSwartz.com. Find me on Instagram @suzi.swartz and Twitter @suzi_swartz.