Life as an introvert can be tough: most people simply don’t understand the demeanor of someone who needs some solitude. But a California designer aims to tackle the complexity through introji – that’s emojis for introverts. Rebecca Evie Lynch has created more than 30 introji, which express solitary activities and withdrawn behavior such as reading, sleeping and sneaking off from parties. Lynch’s idea for the emoticons came up after she broke up with her boyfriend, when she heard from him that he needed some time alone. So, she created the introji to help introverts express how they really feel. Metro spoke to Lynch, who plans to bring her prototype designs on an app through a crowdfunding campaign.

How are introji different to regular emoji?

Most emojis depict social activities like going out for drinks, having parties, karaoke, dancing. These introji have lots of solitary activities like listening to music, reading, and spending time with pets. There are also icons to show when you need time to recharge or feel anxious about attending an event with many people. Introji are specifically aimed at those social situations that can be difficult to convey with the current emojis.

Do you think only introverted people can identify with these emoticons?

We are all introverted or extroverted to different levels and even from day to day each of us will have different needs. I think introverts are more likely to be drawn to and use these, but they're not meant to be exclusive – they're just one more option in our communication toolkit. I'd be delighted if people who identify as extroverts use them. And some extroverted people have actually written to me to say that they want to use these to help interact with an introverted friend or partner, and that's great, too.

Why do you think introji can communicate better than words?

Words are supremely efficient, and emoji won’t replace them. But they can be a kind of shorthand for something you don't really want to spell out in words. I hope these might have a special meaning between friends, so that just by using them you're saying in a short and sweet way, ‘Hey, I love you and mean this in the absolutely best way possible, but I just can't face going out tonight’. It's better than pretending to lose your phone charger until the following morning.

You’ve created over 30 introji. Are you continuing to work on others?

I’m still making new introji based on the feedback I've been getting through my Facebook page, which currently has over 8,000 followers from around the world. This has been an incredibly positive experience; people have been enthusiastic but also constructively critical about telling me which ones work for them, which ones they don't understand, and which situations they want to see depicted.

Some people find emoticons in general really annoying…

​​They do yes; for those people, they somehow represent the decline of society and language skills. But I personally think emojis show human beings being human beings – making pictures, creating images to go along with words, being as silly as they've always been. There are lots of introji because some of them will be useful to some people and others not, depending on personality, mood and situation.