I am an introvert, and frankly, am quite happy to be that way. Western society however, tends not to value the inward looking personality of the introvert. It rather favours the out-going, fast-talking, people loving, outward looking and loud personalities. The ones that tend to go on to be the wonderful leaders of our society..
The dictionary would have you believe that introverts are shy and reclusive people. Some are of course, but these traits do not begin to define the introverted personality. Jung has placed the extraverted personality and the introverted personality on opposite ends of the same continuum and asserts that most people fall somewhere in the middle. A minority – about 25 percent – are considered introverts of varying degree.
What most people fail to understand – especially extraverts -, is that we are not anti-social, nor necessarily shy, nor reclusive, nor depressed, (although some of us might be some of those things sometimes), our psyches are simply tuned in a way that requires us to get our energy from within, as opposed to the external world. As a result, many of us have a preference for solitude as it allows us the space and time we need to introspect and recharge. In fact, quiet introspection is probably the most valued past-time of the true introvert.
The inner world of an introvert is extremely rich and dense, having been mentally honed to perfection through years of introspection, visualization, and imagination. I liken my introverted thinking mode to being in a warm, cozy, padded bubble. The bubble contains (almost) everything I could ever need. It’s a place to plan, ponder, and pollinate ideas and thoughts. A powerhouse for creativity, and a mental dock of the bay for sitting and daydreaming. My little bubble can provide hours of entertainment that the external world is hard pressed to compete with. That‘s because it`s custom-built to perfectly meet my needs.
Over the years, due to various societal pressures and work requirements, I have become quite adept at functioning amidst the extraverts of the world. I have developed a fair amount of tolerance and can enjoy the company of certain people, under the right circumstances, for a limited amount of time. Being a very private and territorial introvert, I tend not to feel very comfortable receiving large groups of people in my own home, having no control over the duration of the event. And, although I am very fond of the people who come to visit, I notice that my affection for them tends to bloom somewhat when they are reaching for their coats at the end of the night… 🙂 Notwithstanding the harshness of those words, it has nothing to do with being anti-social, and everything to do with a depleted battery charge. It’s a simple equation; the amount of time spent with people is equal to the amount of solitary time needed for a recharge. No self-respecting extravert could ever come close to understanding this phenomenon.
And here is another trait of the inward focussed : they do not do well answering questions on the spot or thinking on their feet. Everything first needs to go through an elaborate thinking process. That is, reception, mental digestion, analysis, and conclusion. This requires that the person asking the question be prepared to wait for the answer. Sometimes it can take a while, but if your not an extreme extravert and are patient, you will be rewarded with a well thought-out and complete response to your question. So next time you ask an introvert a question and get a blank stare in return, don‘t despair, there is something going on inside – just wait for it.
On an introversion scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is hermit territory, I consider myself an eight. That‘s not too far from hermit territory and in fact, I could probably be fine with that – if it wasn’t for the part about living in the woods.. alone.. in the dark.. I may be an introvert, but I’m also a chicken.
This is a link to great blog on extreme introversion.