OK, I said it. I am an introvert. There. It's done.
A recent article I read called 'Caring for your Introvert' clarifies a lot about what it means to be an introvert, and more importantly what it does not mean to be an introvert.
First things first, introvert is not equal to shy. An introvert likes periods of solitude; a shy person would like to be surrounded by people, but is hesitant of socializing. Thus the two are often confused. For example, I would not be the most outgoing, 'we are best friends at the first meeting' kind of person. However, I am not necessarily shy either; I can quite easily make friends with new people, revel in the company of people I know. However, I love periods of solitude, where I can disconnect from the rest of the world, and read a book/my blogs, sketch ideas, work on some assignment etc.
Second, if you are an introvert, it is best to acknowledge it in a positive light. And care for it. Schedule time to reflect on things, to do whatever you like to do alone. I love to get up early on Saturday or Sunday mornings, as this is my alone time. Everyone in the house (other than the cat) is still asleep, it is relatively quiet, and I get to spend time with my laptop, a book, and a and nothing else.
Third, understand that extroverts would have a hard time understanding you as an introvert. You can be mistaken for being aloof, arrogant, shy or any combination of the above. The best way to avoid this is to stretch yourself a bit, and speak up whenever you have something good to add. Other things including engaging in small talk, and using your listening skills to make conversation interesting.
One of the best thing the article says 'Introversion is not a lifestyle. It's an orientation.' So accept it, embrace it and use it.