Understanding Introverts

I’m an introvert.

Most people might not think that of me, especially if they see me around other people, but it’s very true.  Sure, I can hold up my end of a conversation with just about anybody, and yes, I’ve gotten more comfortable speaking in front of people, but if you saw me at a party, you’d notice that I tend to sit off in a corner chair or couch, quietly observing the activity going on around me.

Sandra Parshall, a fellow author, recently discussed being an introvert as well, and how she was always criticized or scolded for being that way.  It’s unfortunate that people who enjoy all sorts of interaction find it weird that others do not.  In Sandra’s post, however, she talks about a new book that’s come out that will hopefully help by letting the introverts know we’re not “weird,” and by giving enough insight into our psyches that extroverts have a deeper understanding and acceptance of us.

There was also an article on Huffington Post, recently, that discussed this.  Sophia Dembling has written a book titled THE INTROVERT’S WAY: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World , and apparently writes a blog about being an introvert, but it’s her post at Huffington that I want to discuss today.

In there, Sophia outlines nine ways to tell if you’re an introvert or not.  I found it very interesting because of the accuracy of many of her points, at least where I’m concerned.  I’ve known for quite some time that I’m an introvert, but it wasn’t until I read her article that I realized how much so.

I’m going to briefly touch on her points and how they relate to me here, but feel free to read the entire article yourself, it’s quite enlightening.

  1. “You rarely think ‘the more, the merrier.'”
    Definitely.  I’d rather attend a small dinner party of 8 people or less, where we can spend some quality time talking and visiting, than be stuck at a party of 30 or more, where the best you can hope for is small talk.
  2. “You consider doing nothing, doing something.”
    I’m torn on this one.  While I love to have lots of what I call “down time” or “me time,” I wouldn’t say that I “do nothing.”  I’ll generally read a book, or play a video game, or maybe write in a journal or some other solitary activity.  The key word is “solitary” though.  I need time to decompress, as do all introverts, I’m sure.
  3. “Sometimes you feel like your head might explode.”
    I’m going to let Sophia’s words speak for themselves here:  “. . . a full day without a solitude break, or several consecutive days of interaction, can make us feel like our brains have been overfilled . . . and liable to blow at any time.”  AMEN!
  4. “You hide in the bathroom sometimes.”
    I haven’t taken to actually “hiding” in the bathroom, but I will admit that I enjoy the peace I find while on the throne.
  5. “You are ready to leave parties shortly after arriving.”
    Absolutely.  In fact, I generally arrive at a party right at the starting time (or a few minutes before), so that I can help out the host/ess, and get some quality time with him/her before the rest of the crowd arrives.
  6. “You haven’t answered a ringing telephone in years.”
    I’m torn on this one, too.  I don’t give “bad phone,” or avoid answering it, like Sophia suggests–my mother taught me proper phone etiquette, thank you very much–but I do find a ringing phone intrusive and distracting to whatever I’m doing.  In fact, my cell phone is on vibrate 24/7 and usually sits in my purse, even at home.  Which means I often don’t hear it buzz.  And that’s just fine by me.
  7. “You prefer one close friend to 100 lovely acquaintances.”
    Any day of the week!  Being an introvert means that I take my time getting to know someone and letting them know me.  I find it much more fulfilling to have a few intimate friendships with people that I truly like, and you can’t get that when you have hundreds of “friends.”
  8. “You can’t imagine what all those people find to talk about.”
    This goes right along with point number 6.  I love to talk to people about nearly any topic, but I don’t understand the current mentality of being “connected” all the time.  Being that attached to my phone would drive me a little batty . . . Make that a LOT batty.
  9. “You actively avoid anything that might involve audience participation.”
    This one isn’t entirely true for me.  While I don’t enjoy being the center of attention, I won’t shy away from it, if I’m put on the spot to be.

So there’s a bit of insight into my personality, for those of you who might have been interested.  Maybe some of these points hit home with you as well, or maybe they remind you of someone you know.  If you’re one of “us” take heart; we introverts are getting some air time right now, and it’s wonderful to realize that–even though we enjoy solitude–we’re not “alone.”

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maddy
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:33:02

    I learned that my introversion is connected with shyness. Then I learned a different perspective by chance = that being shy can mean you’re so obsessed with yourself that you think everyone is looking at you and therefore you’re an egomaniac. That more-or-less cured me of both introversion and shyness…at least on the outside.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:41:42

      Hmmm, two interesting & different concepts, Maddy. In Sophia’s article on Huffington Post, she mentions that introversion & shyness are often confused, but are, in fact, not really connected. I’d be interested to hear the perspective of the person/group who believes shy people are egomaniacs. Just based on that, I don’t agree with it at all, but it would be interesting to see where they make that connection.

      Reply

  2. Dana Fredsti
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:23:47

    I consider myself on extroverted introvert. I do love interacting with people, but if I’m not in the right frame of mind, too much interaction and too many people in one space just makes me feel drained, and I then need my solo time to re-energize. Dave is the opposite – he thrives on big crowds.

    Maddie, I went through a shy phase in high school and people thought i was stuck-up, so I relate to what you’re saying.. And Alyx, I’d be interested in their perspective too having been at the end of that particular viewpoint.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:56:33

      I can see that about you, Dana, the extroverted introvert. And I was called “stuck up” in school too, but I know that was just my defense mechanism coming into play, because I didn’t want to let my peers know how much their animosity hurt me. I actually had a friend in school who told me she’d thought I was so snobbish until she got to know me.

      Oh, the protective shields we put up.

      Reply

  3. Eileen Magill
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:42:41

    Alyx, the article nailed me. Most people think, though, that I’m a social creature. But in reality, it is very hard to be in a crowd. I have a limit of what I call “social niceness.” When it starts running low, I know I’d better get away before my evil twin emerges.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 18, 2013 @ 15:19:52

      LOL It’s good that you’ve learned when your “evil twin” is about to emerge, Eileen.

      I think many introverts are perceived as “social creatures,” which is sort of true, but just in smaller groups/doses.

      Thanks for visiting today.

      Reply

  4. Camille Minichino/Ada Madison
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 12:21:31

    Interesting that Introverts are “getting air time” — how do they feel about that? :=)

    I fail the introvert test. My theory is that because my home was not pleasant (scary in fact), I sought comfort and safety outside (in school, with friends) and that attitude has stuck.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 18, 2013 @ 15:22:39

      LOL I didn’t think about how introverts would feel about getting air time, Camille. I was just thinking it’ll be nice when we’re not thought of as “weird” for not wanting to spend NYE at Times Square, or some other huge function.

      I’m sorry that your home life was a scary one, but I’m very glad that you found the comfort with your friends. And there’s no “failing” an introvert test. The world needs extroverts, too, Camille. 🙂

      Reply

  5. Jake Levandowski
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 14:38:17

    This doesn’t give me an “Ah Ha” moment, but more of a [slap to the forehead] “I could’ve had a V8” moment… So, true and gives me a further reason to say I’m sorry, and wished that I had understood this many many years ago. My puppy dog center of attention mentality would have been able to give you the alone time you sought.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 18, 2013 @ 15:25:34

      Jake, hon, if I’d understood this about myself years ago, I could’ve explained it better, too, & saved us both the anguish. This is one of those things that we learn about ourselves the more light gets shed on it. We’ll call it good & move forward from here, yes?

      Thanks for visiting, by the way. It’s nice to see you here. 🙂

      Reply

  6. Craig
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 21:15:27

    The article nailed me too. And in the Huffington Post article, I’m one of those that enjoy karaoke. But I’ve been known to take my book to the bar, and sit by myself reading until it’s my turn to sing. One area that’s really tough for us introverts is being an artist in today’s job market. Everything and every job opportunity seems to be centered around ‘networking’. Which is Hell on us introverts, since it involves chit-chat with near strangers. Hopefully ‘air-time’ means that we’ll find some other way of connecting on the job front.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 19, 2013 @ 05:04:38

      You’re right, Craig, that marketing yourself as an artist is harder for introverts. The thought of putting yourself on “display” for acceptance by strangers sounds about as much fun as getting your wisdom teeth extracted without the aid of knockout juice!

      Reply

  7. Kerry
    Jan 22, 2013 @ 17:32:51

    Wow, guys, all things. Yes, and. I identified with 8 of 9 of these, too. You can go ahead and laugh, shake your head, and I agree: I’m still an extrovert. I’ll help my introverted friends network by approaching people first, bringing in new topics and making connections for y’all. But! I also get overwhelmed, and overloaded with too many people and activities…then I need the solitude. I attribute that to being an artistic type, and taking in more information to synthesize all the time (and being sensitive). I was called stuck up for being…extroverted. I find it interesting that everyone is so stuck up here! 😛

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 24, 2013 @ 10:15:32

      You’ve just proven, Kerry, that labels are mere generalizations. I can see how extroverts can get overwhelmed with all the hullabaloo. That’s weird that you were called stuck up for being an extrovert, though. Hmmm…maybe we’re all stuck up & we just don’t know it. 😉

      Thanks for visiting.

      Reply

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