For some reason I have been doing pondering on introversion. I think the thing that surprises me the most is how dead-on descriptions of introversion can be. Most personality trait descriptions usually leave me going, “Mmm, kinda. Sorta. Not really. I guess I suppose you could put it that way.” Not so descriptions of introversion.
Get energy from inside themselves. (Get energy from interaction outside.)
Real world is the inner world of ideas, understanding and meaning. (Real world is the outer world of people and things.)
People of ideas and abstract invention,difficult to understand, often shy. (People of action and practical achievement, easy to understand, often sociable.)
Have a public and private self. (Are the same in public and in private.)
Intense and passionate, tend to bottle up emotions. (Expansive and less impassioned, unload emotions as they go along.)
Feel drained by people, need privacy. (Feel energised by people; feel drained by being alone.)
Have a few close friends. (Make lots of friends easily.)
Quiet in large groups, fear humiliation. (Outspoken in groups, take risks.)
Can concentrate intensely. (Can be distracted easily.)
Mentally rehearse before speaking, need time to make decisions. (Think out loud, make decisions quickly.)
Learn by observing, live life only when they understand it. (Learn by doing, understand life after they have lived it.)
Go from considering, to doing and back to considering. (Go from doing to considering and back to doing.)
(found here.) Actually, the article begins by saying: “Western civilisation today is dominated by the extravert viewpoint. This is because extraverts outnumber introverts 3 to 1, are more vocal than introverts and are more understandable than introverts.
However, while introverts are a minority group in society, they form the majority of gifted people. Moreover, it appears that introversion increases with intelligence so that more than 75% of people with an IQ above 160 are introverted.”
This is in some ways amusing to me, because the majority of people that I know are most definitely introverted, so I can only surmise I hang out in an exceptionally gifted crowd. It was actually a good article, and while there was occasionally a few things I didn’t 100% agree upon, I would really recommend reading it. You’ll likely either have an eerie sense of someone describing you, or you’ll have your mind blown that someone could really be that different.
It’s just that it kinda amazes me how some introverted lists seem like they were written up by someone watching me. Like this one:
10) Party Poopers
7) Lacking Social Skills
6) Won’t Talk
5) Don’t Like People
10) Work Well With Others, Especially In One-to-One Relationships
9) Maintain Long-Term Friendships
6) Strong Ability To Concentrate
3) Creative, Out-of-the-Box thinking
2) Analytical Skills That Integrate Complexity
1) Studious and Smart
It’s interesting how it is said that Introverts “Consider only deep relationships as friends” whereas extroverts “Know lots of people, considers lots of people friends.” It makes me wonder if some of the difference between “lots of friends” vs. “a few friends” is taken up by a huge difference in what we consider friends. You extroverted people out there may only have a few friends, too, if only we were using the same definition of friends.
This article was a good deal more flighty, but I thought it was interesting that they noted physiological differences. “Introverts’ personality traits include increased blood flow in the frontal lobes, anterior thalamus, and other regions associated with remembering events, making plans, and problem-solving. An introvert’s brain is literally wired differently than an extrovert’s!” Der. . . you think? Gee, gosh. To put it in a much less flighty way, check out this article linking introvertedness to sensitivity.
“Sensory perception sensitivity (SPS), a personality trait characterized by sensitivity to internal and external stimuli, including social and emotional ones, is found in over one hundred other species, from fruit flies and fish to canines and primates. Biologists are beginning to agree that within one species there can be two equally successful “personalities.” The sensitive type, always a minority, chooses to observe longer before acting, as if doing their exploring with their brains rather than their limbs. The other type “boldly goes where no one has gone before. . .”
. . .Stony Brook researchers Elaine and Arthur Aron had already found that those with a highly sensitive temperament are, compared to others, more bothered by noise and crowds, more affected by caffeine, and more easily startled. That is, the trait is about sensitivity. Further, they proposed that this is all part of a “sensory processing sensitivity.” In other words, the simple sensory sensitivity to noise, pain, or caffeine is a side effect of an inborn preference to pay more attention to experiences. . .
. . .For example, a number of researchers are finding that children who are highly sensitive and raised in a stressful environment are prone to anxiety and depression, which are the components of neuroticism, and to shyness, which is sometimes the cause of introversion. However, when raised in an enriched, supportive environment, those with this “differential susceptibility” are actually happier, healthier, and more socially skilled than others. In both outcomes, it seems that sensitive children are paying more attention to subtle cues indicating, for better or worse, what others are thinking and feeling.”
There are various “self-affirming” introverted sites out there. . . the one thing that is hard not to share with them is the desire to make everyone read the “proof” that we are fundamentally different creatures and can we all please be okay with that? But the majority of published introversion is also rather hostile to extroversion, which is NOT something I share. Extroverts crack me up. Extroverts sometimes drag me out of my shell. Yes, extroverts can be very muchly accustomed to making noise for the sake of making noise, but I can tune them out when they’re being moving-air-machines and I figure they have as much right to make noise as I have right to go hide away in a corner. I’m not hugely annoyed by meaningless chit-chat, and I don’t really think the world would be suddenly be a better place if it were ruled by introverts instead of extroverts.
I actually made “friends” with a grade-A, pure, undiluted extrovert (she, being extroverted, would say friend. I, being introverted, would say we’re on friendly terms), simply because I stuck up for her right to be extroverted, to think out-loud, to be silly and sociable. I think my introvertedness scared her. I think it was a bit of a shock to her that I, the penultimate introvert, didn’t have any issues whatsoever with her extrovertedness. Once she no longer felt like I was disapproving of her personality with my own quietness, seriousness, studiousness and withdrawn nature, she was a million times more relaxed around me. I don’t think she “gets” my introvertedness, but I think that she’s willing to accept me on my terms the way I take her on hers.
And I guess that’s why I wanted to write this post. I think there should be introverted voices out there sticking up for extroverts. Extroverts can be some pretty awesome people sometimes, and sometimes extroverted people can really help to balance out my introversion. Yes, I’m a party-phobe. Yes, I’ll smile quietly in my corner while you all make a ruckus. And, no, I’m not going to tell you all to shut up and be like me. I get that you’re a fundamentally different creature than me. And I’m sorry if you find me confusing, hard to understand or rude, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the majority of extroverts don’t have anything against introverts–besides the fact that they really don’t understand introverts. They have so much fun being extroverted, all they can think is that introverted people don’t like to have fun. Meanwhile, us introverts see the lives of extroverts, and think living like that must be some kind of living hell, and how can they stand living like that?
I suspect that introverts, being those thoughtful, analytical type people, are more able to sit there and deconstruct the personality of extroverts and say, “okay, these people are different beings than I am; good for them.” I suspect that extroverts, not being as inclined to lay awake at night pondering these things, are wildly confused by introverts. Since they can’t be introverts, they can’t really understand them.
They say that extroverts like practical applications, not ideas. I can’t give you much advice, except:
1. Visit with me one on one. You’ll be shocked at how much more I open up.
2. Be patient. If you are the most wonderful, fantastic person I’ve ever met. . .it could still easily take me a year or so to start really opening up. Sorry. I know it’s hard to wait that long, but you should at least know that it’s me, not you. It’s not that I don’t like you, it just that it takes me a long time to open up. Don’t give up.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask me serious questions, but be prepared to wait longer for answers the more serious the question is.
4. Stop asking me what I did. I know you’re trying to be friendly and find common ground, but most likely, I didn’t do. Most likely, being part of society for 8 hours wore me out, and I went home and hid in a quiet spot to re-coup and get ready to face another day. If I did do something, it was probably something you would call boring. Don’t feel sorry that I did “nothing;” I like doing nothing. Doing nothing makes me feel better.
I doubt that this will be read by anyone anyway, but it is interesting to me to try to see it from the other side. If I was extroverted, introverts would seriously weird me out.