There are many different types of empaths, from earth empaths to intuitive empaths. But what does it mean to be an introverted empath?
Alongside having the ability to be highly in tune with other people, empaths are incredibly creative, supportive, and kind.
But does that change if you’re an introverted empath?
No – but life can be a little bit more tiring when you’re already sensitive to stimulation.
If you’re an empath and you’ve been wondering whether you fall into the introverted category, this is the article for you.
We’ll be looking at what makes an introverted empath, 15 signs that you are one, and some top tips for helping create a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
What is an introverted empath?
The term ‘empath’ has become quite mainstream and is used to describe people who are extremely aware of other people’s emotions.
Empaths are sometimes called sensitive or emotional, but in reality, they have a gift that can be great for people around them but not so rewarding for the empath themselves.
That’s because empaths often have poor boundaries in relationships and they struggle to put themselves first.
Their concern lies with everyone else and they try to do their utmost to help people around them; even if it means neglecting their self-care.
So what is an introverted empath?
Well, let’s start with what ‘introverted’ means.
Being an introvert is believed to be genetic, with some studies showing that:
“Introverts have a greater blood flow to the brain than extroverts. Blood flows to parts of the body that are stimulated, suggesting that introverted individuals tend to be more easily stimulated than extroverted individuals.”
This means that introverts prefer to spend time in smaller groups of people and they enjoy creative hobbies and calm activities such as reading or contemplative thinking.
Being in loud, hectic groups of people can tire introverts out and they often crave calmer settings with less stimulation.
So – putting the two together gives us introverted empaths; people who are highly in tune with the needs of others, but also prefer more intimate, quieter settings.
That’s not to say that the two always go hand in hand though. You can be an empath and not an introvert, or an introvert who isn’t an empath.
If you do fall into the category of an introverted empath, you may feel that you’re often misunderstood by others and wrongly labeled as shy.
If that’s the case, fear not – we’re going to work out whether you are an introverted empath, and if so, what you can do to make life easier for yourself.
Are there extroverted empaths?
Empaths can fall into either category, introverted or extroverted, but in general, they tend to be introverted.
This is because they’re already highly sensitive to stimulation and through all the emotions and energy they absorb from others, they need more time alone than non-empaths or extraverts.
But, in some cases, they can be extroverted. This means that whilst they can be very chatty and sociable, they still pick up on other people’s emotions and have a good understanding of others.
As explained on PsychologyToday on ‘extroversion’:
“The term refers to a state of being where someone “recharges,” or draws energy, from being with other people; the opposite—drawing energy from being alone—is known as introversion.”
Signs of an extroverted empath include:
- Being sociable but selective of who you spend your time with
- Up for going out but you prefer to do things that you like and feel comfortable with
- Your energy levels are unpredictable – sometimes it’s an internal struggle to decide when to go out or stay in
- You enjoy the company of other people but not in huge groups
- You’re open and proud of your creativity
These signs differ from introverted empaths, for example, they are also creative but more likely to keep their talents on the down-low.
Also, extroverted empaths have a higher tolerance for social settings, whereas their introverted counterparts will run out of energy much quicker.
15 signs of an introverted empath
Here are some of the top signs you’re an introverted empath:
1) You love to help others
Even if you’re an introverted empath, you won’t be able to stop yourself from helping others.
That’s because you’re highly caring and even when you’re out of energy, you still feel an obligation to help your loved ones.
Empaths are known for being caring, whilst introverts are known for being thoughtful, so put the two together and it’s no wonder you do everything you can for other people.
2) You listen because you want to help
Even when all you want and need is some alone time, you’re always on hand to hear out your friends and family.
When there’s a problem, you listen genuinely because you care and you want to comfort people around you.
The only downside to this is that sometimes you put other people’s needs above your own, and you can end up becoming exhausted and drained from listening and helping others.
3) The small stuff makes you teary
Whether it’s a kind gesture from a stranger or a beautiful painting or piece of music, you might often find yourself tearing up over things that other people don’t seem to notice.
This is because you can feel things so much deeper, and your emotions can sometimes get the best of you.
And you cry not just out of sadness, but also tears of happiness and joy. It’s your body’s way of releasing such a build-up of emotions.
4) You have no problem feeling other people’s pain
One of the main traits of empaths, introverted included, is that they can easily put themselves in other people’s shoes.
If your friend’s cat dies, your pain isn’t merely sympathetic; you feel their loss as if it was your own.
That’s why introverted empaths bring so much comfort to other people because their level of empathy is incomparable. They can understand feelings without any explanation or reason.
5) You’re highly creative
Do you find yourself most at peace when you’re being creative? If so, you could be an introverted empath.
Creativity is where you come alive and can express yourself without limits. Many empaths find it difficult to find the line between their emotions and the feelings of others, but taking time out to paint, dance, or make music allows them to flow freely and authentically.
6) Time alone is essential
All types of empaths need solitude because being around people all day can make you extremely tired.
As you can’t always avoid absorbing other people’s energy, you find it difficult to shut off and just be present in the moment.
So, it’s inevitable that you need more alone time than others because relaxing in a quiet space undisturbed lets you recharge your batteries and recenter yourself.
7) Nature comforts you
Nature is soothing yet powerful. It’s alive with sounds, smells, and colors, and an introverted empath can easily find comfort when in nature as opposed to loud, bustling cities.
Being around animals or in nature neutralizes all the emotions you pick up when you’re around people, and it can help you feel grounded and calm so it’s normal for empaths to seek out such places.
8) You’re passionate about what you love
Introverted empaths are extremely thoughtful and considerate. You’re not usually the life of the party, so you can quietly observe others and save your energy for things you’re passionate about.
From helping a friend in need to completing a project at work, you throw yourself into it and give it all you’ve got. You value its importance to others and this pushes you to try your best at whatever life throws at you.
9) Friendships are important to you
Everyone needs good, trustworthy companions in life, but as an introverted empath, you might rely on these friendships more than people realize.
Your introversion can make people think that you aren’t enthusiastic or very forthcoming, but people who know you will see that you care very much about your friends.
And even though you might not physically want to be around them all the time, when you are you put 100% into the relationship, which creates long-lasting friendships.
10) You’re sometimes misunderstood
Do you feel like people don’t ‘get’ you?
Are you called ‘overly sensitive’ or ‘shy’?
If so, you’re not alone. Many introverted empaths are wrongly labeled because people simply don’t understand what it means to be an empath.
Whilst they think you’re too emotional or too reclusive, they fail to see that you just feel things much stronger than they do.
And because of that, you also need more time to recuperate and regain your energy levels.
11) You feel taken advantage of sometimes
Feeling like people take advantage of your kindness is something a lot of empaths go through.
Think about it, you’re kind, caring, and thoughtful.
You don’t make a big fuss over things and you always put others first.
It’s your way of helping and looking after people, but unfortunately, not everyone has the same good intentions.
People posing as friends might take advantage of this kindness and drain you of your energy. They’ll push the limit, and because most empaths struggle with setting boundaries, you might find yourself feeling a bit used and abused.
12) You like to solve challenges
You’re persistent in things that matter to you, so giving up isn’t always an option. Especially if it means helping someone else.
You enjoy solving challenges and problems for people around you because it makes you feel good and you thrive off other people also feeling happy.
Your determination means people will often turn to you first for help because they know that you’ll do everything you can to solve their problem.
13) You’re a free spirit
An empath’s spirit can’t be contained. You don’t thrive well under lots of rules and regulations, because your spirit is wild and on a path of its own.
Adventures and being limitless are what make you feel alive, and even though introverts can seem reclusive, you still love to experience new things and have the freedom to do so.
14) People are drawn to you
Introverted empaths will find that even if they don’t go above and beyond to make new friends, people are still drawn to them.
The reason is simple; you’re a magnet for people who need a shoulder to cry on.
It’s both a blessing and a curse because although forming new friendships are great, you can find yourself being drained by people who demand too much of you.
15) You can read people’s emotions
Your ability to read people’s feelings means that you pick up on everything from their body language to changes in their tone of voice.
And, you can’t switch this ability on and off, so for good and bad, you’re always tuned into how other people feel.
Because you’re so in touch with other people’s feelings, you also pick up on deceit or lies. You’re sensitive to these signs so it can be extremely troubling when you sense somebody being dishonest with you.
Tips for introverted empaths
Being an introverted empath is a unique gift, but it doesn’t come without its problems. From having poor boundaries to a lack of self-care, you need to work on having a good balance when it comes to being an empath.
Here are a few things you can practice daily to build healthy relationships with others, and as a result form a healthier relationship with yourself.
1) Learn to say no
Saying no can be incredibly tough for an introverted empath. As you don’t want to let people down you often agree to things even if it means sacrificing your own time and energy.
Saying no also comes under setting boundaries. Once you have healthy boundaries set with friends, family, or a partner, you need to maintain them by sticking to your limits.
As explained by psychotherapist Tracy Hutchinson:
“Boundaries are basic guidelines that people create to establish how others can behave around them. For example, they may involve what behavior is okay and what is not and how to respond if someone passes those limits.”
Setting and sticking to these boundaries will allow you to have fair, equal relationships that are built on respect and understanding.
2) Practice earthing
As we mentioned above, introverted empaths need nature to reconnect with their spirit, and being around water or open green spaces can make you feel whole again.
Earthing is where you walk barefoot on the ground or grass and feel the earth’s energy moving up through you.
You can also lie down or submerge yourself in water to feel grounded.
Practicing this often can be a form of healing for you, so when times get tough or overwhelming, you can fall back on earthing to revive your spirit.
3) Make plenty of time to be alone
In line with setting strong boundaries, make sure some of these include time for yourself.
Whether you need to lie in a dark room with your headphones on or meander around the local art gallery, you must do things by yourself when your body or mind needs it.
Your significant other or family and friends need to respect your alone time. Put it this way – without it, you won’t be able to be the kind, supportive friend that people rely on.
4) Walk away from negative energies
Don’t be afraid to move away from bad vibes and energy levels, and if anyone questions why – be adamant that it’s your right and choice to walk away.
Non-empaths might not understand why you can’t be around certain people, or why a certain group of people makes you feel anxious or on edge.
But one essential trait that empaths have is a strong sense of intuition.
You know what’s going on by relying heavily on your gut feeling, so if it’s telling you something isn’t good, listen to it and remove yourself from the situation.
Don’t think of it as being selfish or reclusive, think of it as self-care.
5) Distinguish between different energies
A great question to ask yourself is: “Are these my emotions or do they belong to someone else?”
Getting into the habit of questioning emotions regularly can help you to stop mistaking other people’s feelings for your own.
Think about how much time and energy that would save you.
Lena Firestone writes for PscyhAlive:
“Because empaths quite literally feel what their friends are going through, they can become overwhelmed by painful emotions, such as anxiety or anger. Empaths have a tendency to take on the problems of others as their own.”
By making this distinction between your own emotions and others, you can have a stronger hold on your emotions and take better care of yourself.
Practicing the tips above can greatly help introverted empaths to keep control over their emotions and their relationships.
Your ability to care and understand other people should never be seen as a sign of weakness or over-sensitivity – you’re unique in being able to feel so deeply and thoughtfully.
But, it’s your responsibility to keep these empath traits in check.
Balancing your health and the happiness of others won’t always come easy, but getting into the habit of self-care will reduce how much you sacrifice your energy and emotions.
On that note, I’d like to recommend a resource that could help you form strong boundaries and understand your purpose in life.
Shaman Rudá Iandê has created a free masterclass on Personal Power to help people overcome their limitations and be the best version of themselves.
It’s not aimed specifically at empaths, but there’s a lot that can be taken away from his teachings.
And who knows, even by just having a better understanding of yourself, you might also learn to healthily harness and manage your introverted empath traits.