Thursday, May 28, 2009

There's a word for it!

There's a word for why I don't always want to go out and party, why if someone shows up two hours early for a get together, I'm likely to run out of steam before I planned, and why my mom is always telling me to make sure I have my own space. There's a word for why I find craft fairs as exhausting, and turn grouchy at the thought. There's a word for why I totally panicked when I realized what exactly this Study Abroad adventure would entail.

"Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?


What is introversion? In its modern sense, the concept goes back to the 1920s and the psychologist Carl Jung. Today it is a mainstay of personality tests, including the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast." Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: 'I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses.'"

Caring for your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch as discovered on Barbara's blog.


Tina M. said...

LOL Yup, my husband is also an Introvert. Believe it or not... I'm BOTH. Seriously. I know you might not believe it, but when I'm out, I'm out and I'm ON. When I'm home, I'm home and I'm OFF. I like very much being OFF, almost as much as I like being ON.

I'm a Gemini. Enough said.

BetteJo said...

I totally relate. I hate all forms of communication that allow people to intrude on me when I do not choose to invite them to. The phone - ACH-H-H!! The doorbell?? I don't THINK so! Email? Yes, that's more my speed. I can read it but answer at my leisure and it doesn't interrupt me demanding to be answered.
I just like being with me.


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