Does Being An Introvert Make You Self Absorbed?

Does Being An Introvert Make You Self Absorbed?

We never like thinking about our faults, our flaws and our insufferable frailties as human beings.

How many of you actively ask the people around you: “well guys, what sucks about me today?” so that you have something to work on to better yourself as a human being?  Not many.

The truth is, we like running from the truth most of the time, especially when it involves us and our imperfect behaviors.

So if you’re ever, ever lucky enough to have a person who cares about you so much that they’re willing to tell you what stinks about you … and deal with the ensuing crap from you, be thankful.  They just saved you years of self-annihilating discovery – they just presented the cold, raw and painful truth to you, so that you won’t continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.

I’m lucky enough to have one such person in my life, and as a level-headed objectively minded thinker, Sol put things pretty straightforward: “as an introvert, I think you tend to be self absorbed”.  I’m paraphrasing of course, but the comment came after some thoughtless behavior I had carried out in the kitchen (possibly including eating another person’s food absentmindedly and not offering to make anything else for them once discovered).  It’s not much, but it made me curious and begin to question: are all introverts this way?

10 Signs of the Self Absorbed Person

How often do you as an introvert, make a mistake and sit dwelling on it and how bad you are … instead of actually actively doing anything to change it?  How often do you notice yourself dwelling too narrowly on how you think and feel, compared to how others will think and feel?  And how often do you place your “me time” above the people around you?

Funnily enough, Google seems to think introverts have some kind of self absorption complex as well.  Type in “define: introvert” and one of the first results that comes up is:

A shy, reticent, and typically self-centered person.

… not that I actually agree with that definition of introversion.

So, after doing a little research on self absorption, I came up with these signs, which may help clear the air.  (Note: like me, you probably aren’t all of these.  But see how many you are, and let me know below!)

#1  You put your needs and wants before any other person.  

#2  You’re overly subjective.  You fail to see the big picture and tend to focus too much on how you “feel” about things instead.

#3  You have an “entitlement” complex, and expect to gain things without putting in any work (basically reaping and now sowing).

#4  You don’t embrace people who are different from you.  There is always some “bad guy” in your life, whether your mother, boss, sister or the overly gregarious extroverts you meet.

#5  Your conversations mostly end up focusing on you … or else, you believe that most people you talk to are inconveniencing bores.

#6  You filter everything through “you” shaped glasses.  For instance, whenever you’re expected to do something for others, you consider how this will personally affect you first.

#7  You’re careless and don’t consider the impact your behavior may have on others.

#8  You spend a lot of time dedicated solely to yourself and what you want to do.

#9  You tend to be excessively self-pitying.

#10  You make a drama out of the tiniest things which don’t settle well with you (basically because you love the spotlight).

 

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What You Guys Said

Basically, the point of this article is to help you questions yourself.  So what’s the general consensus on whether introverts are self absorbed or not, anyway?  I went to Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo Answers to find out.  Here’s what you guys said, and as you can see, the opinion is as varied as a UN conference!

- No, it means you like your own thoughts so much that you don’t busy yourself with others all the time to drown them out.  ~Introverts Unite (Facebook)

- Ironically, I can be an introvert cuz people that are “extroverts” trivially talk about themselves – that’s boring to me.  ~ Toss (Yahoo! Answers UK)

- There are plenty of self-absorbed extroverts that would put your question to rest … I guess the greater question for you then is what “self-absorbed” means to you. I tend to need research for clarity.  ~ Carol (Twitter)

- I don’t think so. From my experience, extroverts are more than happy to talk about themselves. I’ve found it frustrating when I’ve had extrovert friends who suddenly disappear when I don’t want to listen to their problems for once and need to talk about me.  ~  Jane  (Facebook)

- What does “self-absorbed” even mean? It sounds like some altruist buzzword to me, to attack people who aren’t hopelessly dependent on other people to form their opinion. If that’s what self-absorbed means, then I’ll wear self-absorbed as a badge of honor.  ~  Nathaniel  (Facebook)

- Yes, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. So many are absorbed by careers, children , bills, and all manner of things. Nothing wrong with being self absorbed, because when it’s all said and done you came by yourself, you will leave by yourself, make peace with yourself.  ~  Kevin (Facebook)

- Yes somehow and not at all, it also make me more emphatic.  ~ Soile (Facebook)

- Maybe a little self-centered but not selfish.  ~ Sensitive INFJ (Twitter)

- I don’t know, I think it depends on your definition of introvert, extrovert, and what it means to be self-absorbed. I think introverts might seem more self-absorbed because we tend to keep to ourselves and are always in our own head. on the other hand, extroverts may not seem self-absorbed because they are always in everybody’s business but just because they are talking with other people doesn’t mean they are more open or appreciative of others.  ~ Grim (Yahoo! Answers USA)

So … what are your own conclusions?  Let me know below!

Photo by: Angelo de Mesa

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  1. Hannah says

    I’m an introvert and admittedly a bit self-absorbed. I believe this is partially due to my genetic temperament and partially due to growing up being an only child and home schooled. It’s hard to live as if the world doesn’t revolve around you when all throughout your childhood, your parents and grandparents acted like it did. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t spoiled per se. I didn’t get everything I wanted or get to be a brat without consequences. But I never had to share adult attention and rarely had to take other children into consideration.

    Now, I’m generally a “nice” person, not rude or loud or pushy. But I would much rather do things for myself, by myself than do things for other people. I like helping people, but if it’s going to interfere with my alone time and nobody is going to die, you can count me out. This is something I really don’t like about myself. In fact, I don’t like myself at all, inside or out. But I still spend tons of time thinking about myself and generally obsessing over myself, usually in negative ways. I’m sensitive, whiny, and prone to complaining. I’m lazy, I avoid doing anything hard and tend to pamper myself. Yet at the same time, my self-opinion is very low and I tend to feel incompetent, awkward, and ugly. I’m no narcissist.

    So this introvert is rather self-centered. But I would argue that not all introverts are like me, and there are plenty of very self-centered extroverts. Extroverts may SEEM more selfless, but sometimes this is a mask they use to get what they want. It just depends.

    • Hannah says

      Oh, and #1, #3, #6, #8, and #9 are the descriptions that apply to me, at least to some degree. I’m kind of on the fence about #1 and #3.

      • says

        It’s a mature move to confront these ugly sides of ourselves, and I congratulate you for that Hannah. Developing self-love in our lives actually requires selfishness, which is why the energy you are negatively directing at the moment can have powerful affects in your life if you take small steps to altering its path into a positive and constructive one. Without loving ourselves, we can never truly love other people. This is extremely important. Consciously deciding to internally evolve is something I refer to as Involution, which you may like to read about: http://lonerwolf.com/7-paths-of-involution/ Understanding where you stand will give you a better sense of direction to improve the quality of your life, and relationship with yourself.

        I appreciate your comment, and wish you the very best!

        -Luna

    • says

      Hi Sasha,

      Depends what you define as “self-absorbed” as everyone seems to have a slightly different definition. Some of the most selfless people I have ever met (according to my own definition) were extroverts, while many of the most self-absorbed people I have ever met were introverts (primarily concerned with themselves, their own interests, their own needs).

      Thanks for your thoughts,

      -Luna

  2. Richard says

    Does being an introvert make one self absorbed? no. I understand being self absorbed as only caring about and focusing on yourself. I have been an introvert all my life, yet I often do my best to help others as much as I can because I feel it is the right thing to do.

    • says

      Richard, I think it’s hard to generalize a group of people into one category or label. But certainly, there can be more of an occurrence of a certain trait or characteristic within a group of people; for example, German people tend to be very logical, spiritual people tend to be very non-linear minded.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      -Luna

  3. Indigo says

    #1 You put your needs and wants before any other person.

    #2 You’re overly subjective. You fail to see the big picture and tend to focus too much on how you “feel” about things instead.

    #3 You have an “entitlement” complex, and expect to gain things without putting in any work (basically reaping and now sowing).

    #6 You filter everything through “you” shaped glasses. For instance, whenever you’re expected to do something for others, you consider how this will personally affect you first.

    #8 You spend a lot of time dedicated solely to yourself and what you want to do.


    I copied and pasted what seemed close to what I do or feel.
    But next is the bits that (for me) explains why I do this or that, or admits that this is something that does seem to crop up a bit that I need to keep an eye on so thank you for putting it down so I could read it thoroughly and question myself. :)

    1. I do this sometimes. I have to work on maintaining the balance between attending to others’ needs (thanks to a mother who was VERY insistent on me knowing how to include others’ needs into decision making) as well as paying attention to my own needs (because if I don’t look out for my health when I’m the best person to know at any given moment what I can or can’t manage then who will?). I can seem more selfish at times because I have to pay a lot of attention to my energy levels due to the CFS-like (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome btw) symptoms that I have and the low (compared to others) energy level and very high recharging needs.
    (Honestly I think I fit the bill for Idiopathic Fatigue Syndrome since I don’t have certain parts of CFS and there’s no known cause… I am slightly unsettled by how many Old Souls seem to report low energy levels even debilitating at times and at young ages. I myself feel that I am a Old Soul and I have very low energy levels at only age of 19… Why the odd causation of the two? Old Souls and low physical energy levels?)
    2. I’m not so sure about this one but I do know I work to balance my thinking and my feeling, to include and incorporate my feelings, gut instincts, sensing, intuition, and emotional and energy states into the decision as well as the logical expectations, outcomes, mental energy and mental capacity, whether it feels “right/true” for me or not, how much I want to do it compared to the other events that I may need to save up energy for instead. I don’t know if you’d call that “big picture” or not. Its part of the rigorous decision-making I must regularly do in order to accommodate what I can and are not able to do into my life.
    3. I’m not so sure about “entitlement” but I sure as hell wouldn’t mind getting things without working towards it. xD Who doesn’t like free things? xD I’m not sure if I expect to gain things without putting in work for it however, or if its more of I WISH I could get away with it… Those seem like two very different things. xP
    6. I have to do this. Note the decision-making process I mentioned above. I weigh the effects, considerations, factors, needs, wants, expectations, logical reasons for and against it, pros and cons, benefits and energy costs, priority levels, emotional/mental/physical states and needs, feelings, intuition, wants and intentions, outcomes of this and what to do for this and how and when and by what day, and on and on and on. People do tell me I think too much sometimes, but it helps to make my life easier overall, more manageable and do-able, and to cut ties with things that don’t work or hold me back, or to even just work on increasing the positive benefits and decrease the negative side-effects too.
    8. I can seem to do this to others, I think. I just dearly need the downtime like nothing else though. Just the sweet sweet bliss of sitting in my bedroom while drawing, daydreaming, reading, writing, or learning about more spiritual things. Oh that rejuvenates me like nothing else. Its vital for my wellbeing and helps increase my overall happiness and enjoyment in life. I WANT an easy life of just staying home, creating and learning, reading and dreaming, and possibly getting money for that, and that’s all I really desire on the spirit/soul level. Sharing my knowledge also would work but that involves other people, and that inherently complicates the situation and drains my energy chunk by chunk. Sharing online is easier in the energy demands than travelling to meet the people face to face. Even then I am very good at keeping the bulk of what I know to myself for understanding that many people are simply not ready and not able to know or comprehend it. If I sense they’re open though, willing to learn, then I slowly and gradually build up the knowledge base, find out what they do learn, use metaphors when I can to help make the process easier on them, and then after a time finally be able to start to talk about the things that I experience in my day to day spiritual life (and essentially the whole spiritual/spirits side of life that is such an important and integral and necessary part of my life and existence) without talking completely over their heads by accident and thus resulting in reactions from them that span from head-scratching to outright upset and disbelief and venomous accusations of mental instability or possessed or whatever else they can think of that fits with their belief system. I do not need to personally experience those reactions and accusations to know, I only need to see how people react to others who try to share something that does not fit with the people’s belief systems and world views. Therefore I keep shut and talk only about what the person is willing and ready to hear and talk so well that they tend to be clueless that there’s anything more in my life for me.
    …I will stop my tangent and stop the babbling now. -///- Namaste! :)

    • says

      Indigo, I love reading your introspective deliberations :P They remind me of the journals I’d keep every day for almost 10 years, and my thoughts looked something like what you’ve written above (except with a lot more angst!) I too suffer from chronic fatigue, and I tend to think it’s a mind/body connection issue. If you’re old in mind, you tend to feel old in body as our bodies are very suggestible to our unconscious thoughts and feelings.
      Thanks for sharing so much about yourself Indigo! It’s amazing how much I relate to a lot of what you’ve written, and I know others will be able to as well! ~L

  4. says

    Most of the characteristics above do not fit me. I worry constantly that I am not giving enough attention to others, so I feel I am fairly conscious of others. I do ask for time to myself because I need it to soothe frayed nerves and gather complete thoughts.
    I spend a lot of time listening to other’s life stories.
    I would love to banish the image of introverts as self-absorbed. I don’t believe it’s a fair assessment

    • says

      Thanks for commenting space2live! A lot of your comment sounds like self love, rather than self absorption. We protect and nurture our needs because basically … we need to, in order to function! I guess a better question would be … does too much introspection make you self absorbed? Seeing as introverts are inherently focused on their inner worlds of thoughts and emotions and passions, doesn’t that make them self centred? I’d love to hear why you don’t believe it’s a fair assessment :)