Communicating with people far away through the internet magic of social media may give you the illusion of having an active social life, but there are 5 signs that it could be turning you into an introvert. In this article, we will look at the signs that your online habits are contributing to you becoming an introvert instead of being having quality real life social connections.
5 Signs Social Media Is Turning You Into An Introvert
Just because you prefer to be at home clicking, posting, commenting and sharing doesn’t mean you’re an introvert, does it? There are different levels of social introversion and they range from socially shy to socially avoidant.
Some people use the word ‘antisocial’ to describe social withdrawal, but psychologists use this word to mean that a person acts against society, or does harmful things to others. In psychology, someone with an antisocial personality disorder is someone with one of a group of psychological problems like narcissism, sociopathy, or psychopathy.
The amount of social networking site usage varies from person to person. Some people stay connected on and off, checking several social media sites for updates throughout the day. Some people only use one or two social media sites and spend an hour or less per day online.
According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans use Facebook and 70% of those people are on the website daily. Other daily website usage for Americans includes 59% for Instagram, 38% for Twitter, 27% are on Pinterest, and 22% use LinkedIn daily. globalwebindex.net says that a 2014 survey of people ages 16-64 showed that we are online through a desktop or laptop computer an average of 4.9 hours per day and 2.5 hours per day on a mobile device.
But how much online social media usage is too much? Will you start to turn you into an introvert, and is that a bad thing?
1. You find it difficult to choose going out over staying in
It’s not necessarily a bad thing t0 be an introvert, but it could be bad for your health. In our recent article, we talked about how lacking a social support system as an introvert can negatively affect your immune system’s ability to fight off illness.
Excessive use of social media can lead to other negative consequences as well. According to British researchers being online too much can cause ‘a neglect of real-life social connections including the compromising of personal relationships, and a detrimental impact on academic and/or work performance.’
Researchers say that avoiding one opportunity to go out so that you can stay home and enjoy the quiet of your online activities makes you more likely to avoid the next opportunity for hanging out with friends also. This social isolation is particularly concerning for young adults and teens who are just learning about how to have productive social interactions with others.
2. You find more enjoyment from your online activity than you do going out
Researchers in the journal Developmental Psychology looked at problematic media like violent video games, gambling sites, or use of pornography online. They say that they could predict that a person who used these types of online activities would become even more socially withdrawn over the course of a year than they were at the beginning of the year.
3. Your online friends understand you more
If you feel like your online friends are a better support system than your real friends, social media may be turning you into an introvert. This is common, especially for those who have found a specific niche community online that they feel a significant part of.
For example, you could be involved in an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder support group online but are too shy to try to go to an in-person support group. The connections that you get online are meaningful to you, which is great, but it’s also keeping you shut in.
4. You feel anxious when you know that you will have to go out in public
In the past, have you typically been anxious when you go out in public, or is this something about yourself that has changed? Social anxiety is common for introverts, so feeling this way is a sign you are turning into an introvert.
You can improve your level of social interaction by practicing relaxation techniques before you go out, and while you are around others. For example, deep breathing and controlling fidgeting movements when you feel anxious can help you to enjoy the experience of talking with people more.
5. You look forward to going on social media
Eventually, you begin to get a sense of pleasure from being an introvert and focusing on social media. Whether you enjoy seeing your friends’ comments, likes and shares or you just enjoy the online sense of community, the pleasure and reward center of your brain has been activated and now you’re hooked.