Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Introverts Unite!

I came across this article, Caring for You Introvert, by Jonathan Rauch, on a friend's blog today, and I thought it worth sharing. If you have the time, I would recommend reading it.

I learned a lot about both the friend who posted it (who is very much an introvert) and myself (yes, I too, am an introvert, it turns out...). I mean, I've kind of always known I was introverted (my family always called it "shy" though), and just last week I did one of those Jungian (based on the theories of Carl Jung) personality quizzes that told me I was introverted. So this isn't really news to me, so much as further realization of how to qualify myself. While I definitely have introverted tendencies, I am not an extreme introvert, because I do relish prolonged social interaction, and I don't really need time to recuperate from being around people in the same sense that the article illustrates. I have to say though, it was kind of eye-opening to read this, because for years I have tried to make myself more "outgoing." I've always thought that I needed to be louder or talk more or just be more exciting. Turns out, not being those things isn't a defect, it's just ME. 

I've been battling with myself because I have moments (actually quite a few of them) when I just don't feel like being around people because it's too much for me to deal with on a given day. Here I was, thinking that made me a jerk and a bad friend for not always wanting to "hang out" at the drop of a hat, when really, I just need some quiet time. I'm not trying to be a hermit.

That's the whole thing, I think. I LOVE PEOPLE. I love being around people, especially my close friends. And I love talking, when we're talking about real stuff. I am terrible at small talk - I hate it actually, which is probably why I'm generally awkward at meeting new people. I like new people, I just never know what to say!

Okay, enough analysis. Here are some of the quotes I found particularly enlightening (some of them I simply found entertaining) if you don't want to read the whole article.

"Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not."

"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.'"

"...many actors, I've read, are introverts, and many introverts, when socializing, feel like actors."

"As [Calvin] Coolidge is supposed to have said, 'Don't you know that four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?' (He is also supposed to have said, 'If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it.' The only thing a true introvert dislikes more than talking about himself is repeating himself.)"

"Female introverts, I suspect, must suffer especially. In certain circles, particularly in the Midwest, a man can still sometimes get away with being what they used to call a strong and silent type; introverted women, lacking that alternative, are even more likely than men to be perceived as timid, withdrawn, haughty."

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