By April Lynn Ray, Special for USADT.
Growing up, I didn’t have this “introvert”word that described my personality or at least I wasn’t aware of it. In fact, I found that I let others around me tell me who and what I was. Think about it… have you ever been called shy or better yet, too shy or too quiet, or reserved? I pretty much accepted that description of myself. But it’s funny because, people closest to me like my family and close friends, always described me as funny or super goofy!
So The Million Dollar Question Is… What’s An Introvert Really??
How do you define who is or is not an introvert? Traditionally, an introvert is considered someone that internalizes their feelings, needs time alone to re energize and tends to be quiet and reserved. This is a common way to describe us introverts, but may not be the whole truth.
So, what is an introvert? It turns out that the definition may not be so cut and dry.
Introverts and Extroverts
Definitions and stereotypes are used to easily categorize people and put them in neatly organized compartments. People are often labeled as either an introvert or an extrovert. Introverts are considered shy and solitary, while extroverts are often considered outgoing and gregarious.
But did you know that most introverts are not shy? And did you know that shyness is not a personality trait but an insecurity/ fear issue experienced by both introverts AND extroverts. That’s right! Introvert does not = shy! Thank you very much!
Embracing Your Introverted Personality
If you are an introvert like me, embrace it! You are awesome and have some pretty cool facets about yourself. Here are just a few:
- You work well with others, especially in one-on-one relationships.
- You maintain long-term friendships.
- You are super flexible, laid back and just plain cool!
- You are most definitely independent!
- You have a strong ability to concentrate
- You are creative; out-of-the-box thinkers
- You have remarkable analytical skills that integrates complexity
Being an extrovert is often encouraged in our overly talkative society, but having introverted traits is the bomb dot com!
Ask President Obama… Yup, he’s an introvert.
Here’s another cool factoid I’ve discovered… Various studies have shown that introverts commonly have more blood flow in the areas of the brain that are responsible for controlling logic and problem solving.
What??! I knew that extra, slightly bulging vein in my temple was there for a reason!!
The Drawbacks of Being an Introvert
Okay, so as fantastic as we are, we are obviously not perfect and neither are extroverts! Just like our personality counter parts, we do have our issues that can get in the way if we’re not conscious of them.
Some of us introverts may have difficulty forming new friendships. I can attest to this one. Especially now that I’m older, I noticed that…
1. I’m not that interested in being friends with everyone like when I was younger, and
2. Many times us introverts won’t speak unless spoken to.
Guilty as charged!
We may also feel uncomfortable when forced into settings with large crowds or a large group of unfamiliar people. In some social settings, this can make an introvert appear rude or anti-social, (been accused of this many times!) when in actuality – we would simply prefer to get to know people one on one.
As I said before, we Introverts are capable of building strong bonds and truly caring for the well-being of our friends, but sometimes we just don’t know how to get the ball rolling in the “new friend” department.
How Do You Know If You’re An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
If you’ve done any kind of research on the subject, you know there are many different ways to assess your personality, there are no shortages of online tests and books out there. However, is there really any benefit to categorizing yourself as one or the other? Instead of worrying over your classification or trying to decide whether or not you are an introvert, be happy with your life and focus on what you love.
If you prefer to spend time with smaller groups and dislike large crowds, then so be it. Introverts and extroverts are just labels – only you can decide exactly who you are or who you want to be.
But What about the Ambiverts?! Am-Bi- huh?!
OK, really quick…
Yet another classification, ambivert, is a term coined by social scientists way back in the 1920s. According to these smart guys, ambiverts are people who are neither extremely introverted nor extremely extroverted. A kind of down the middle sort of thing, ya know?.
I can dig that…
I get a lot of people coming to me saying that they can associate themselves with being both an “innie” and an “outtie.” I too have had moments of extroversion (I can summon it when I need to) and other times when I feel most comfortable just being in my head, in observation mode. Remember when I said people closest to me think I’ve conned everyone into thinking I’m this ultra reserved princess, but really I’m this super goofy chick?
It’s not uncommon for people to relate to both personality traits. You can probably say the same in your life.
The fact is, we are multi faceted beings and just like the Yin and the Yang in Chinese philosophy, the world would super boring and a bit off tilt without both introverts and extroverts playing in it.
OK, your turn! Are you a proud introvert? If so, what kind are you?
I’m a INTJ- Conceptualizer/ Director =)