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'You talk too much to be an introvert!' and other misunderstandings.

I'm an introvert.

People who don't understand the psychological terms used by Jung, and who have met me in person will be chuckling into their electronic screens right now.

I find that almost any time I tell people I'm an introvert, someone will have that reaction because introversion is so often associated with shyness and timidness. Say the word introvert and people tend to think of drab wall flowers who don't make eye contact and mumble their words.

One look at me will tell you I'm bright, bold and loud!

I do suffer from agoraphobia, which means I have threshold syndrome; I find it extremely hard to leave the house unassisted (psychologically). This is probably mostly related to having relatively low vision, but is also just a fear of taking up space and being a nuisance to other people if I have no specific errand to fulfil. Why I don't feel I have as much right as anyone else to just be out there is still a mystery to me - even after many hours of professional counselling.

But agoraphobia aside, I am an introvert - a brightly dressed figure you'll find no where near the wall at a party, the one you can hear even before you enter the room...

At last weekend's Trivia Night, I was the one dragging others to the dance floor (not the Grumpy Old Man - he has a gamy knee). I was the one who stood alone at the end of True and False game and took a theatrical bow after I received my prize.

At the school gate I draw attention to myself in my red and purple, or red and green, or purple and green medieval clothing choices...

I'm an introvert.

How can I possibly make this claim, you might be wondering?

The definition of an introvert in common dictionaries often includes the word shy, but this is a common misconception. Introversion and extroversion were terms used by Jung to describe where people found  their energies. Introverts tend to draw their energy from introspection and reflection. Extroverts tend to draw their energy from interaction with other people.

While I enjoy seeing other people, I find it exhausting - draining of my energies. One outing, or even an event at home where others come to see me, usually leaves me craving solitude to process all the stimuli. I need time to think about all that was said and done. Events like Christmas or extended trips away from home almost always leave me exhausted to the point of tears as the adrenalin leaves my body again.

Even in my own home, I 'hide' away from my family at my computer. I'm there, they come and find me and talk to me, but I can go several hours without talking to anyone. At night, at 7pm when the kids have gone to bed, and the Grumpy Old Man has taken Ari to bed - he usually dozes off with him - I sit in absolute silence, sometimes just staring out at the walls without seeing them and let my mind wander and pick up and explore the events of the day.

I love to talk and sometimes I do figure out what I'm thinking through talking it out, but mostly I prefer to be alone with my thoughts and nut them out in peace and quiet. Talking adds to the clutter in my head.

Now admittedly, having ADHD might have something to do with that need. Maybe without ADHD I might have been an extrovert. The fact is I'm not.

I'm an introvert - I rejuvenate my energy through time alone where I can process my experiences and reflect on them.

In the process of researching for this blog post, I discovered something I have never heard of before. The Ambivert. It seems on testing, the vast majority of people fall into the broad spectrum that is Ambiversion. These people do not fully identify with introversion or extroversion.

Image: source


Where do you fit into the spectrum?

Comments

Peter Prevos said…
Nice article. Measuring personality is a vexed issue. At Hypotheticorp we designed our own personality test with an interesting twist.

Where are you on the Forer Workstyle Index?

Peter
Sif said…
Hi Peter, I'd love to check out that test, but the link takes me to a Page not found message...
Peter Prevos said…
Oops! That should be http://hypotheticorp.org/wp/personality/
Sif said…
That was great, Peter, loved it! So many factors influence 'personality'! I think personality tests are - like any other labels (including ADHD, agoraphobe, introvert) privode the function of normalising how people feel in as much as the, 'You're not alone, this is how I experience the world, too'. That sense of belonging - even to a minority (and for some, especially to a minority) is very reassuring to human beings, I think.

If the tests are use to define a person and restrict their interactions with the world (I'm agoraphobic, so I can't ever be okay with going out of the house on my own because then I won't belong to that subsect anymore)' then I think they become dangerous and a threat to personal growth and development.
Jayne said…
I completely hear you! I too am an introvert, albeit one who enjoys social contact. Its a shame more people don't understand that an introvert gains energy from alone time whereas an extrovert gains it from socialising-rather than the stereotypical view the an introvert is quiet and retiring, while an extrovert is loud, gregarious, life of the party etc. We can be both or neither. I'm very interested in this whole ambivert idea!
I'm not sure what I am. Perhaps I am in the middle but on the introvert side. I dont really like others peoples company, although in saying that since having kids I really do love some adult company - other than huby- I need some other form of stimuli. Generally I am happiest when I am alone. I am only ever the life of the party if I've had a few drinks and that hasn't happened in over 3 years & I dont think it will happen again. Hmm, you've got me thinking now.
Sif said…
Courtney, sounds like you might be a bit ambivert-introvert, which I guess isn't surprising in that the wikipedia link (the ambivert link) describes introverts as, among other things, people who like to pursue solitary activites such as writing and being on the computer, lol. In fact, I would expect many readers and bloggers to lean towards introversion - even the biggest bloggers often say being on the net is so much more comfortable than large crowds of people irl...

Jayne, I hate it when I say I'm a certain way and other people argue the opposite based on what they can see externally - based on the mask! Being introverted is not the same as being shy! The other thing is, I'm definitely as person who needs to observe before lunging into social situatuons, but people don't notice the observing nearly as much as the lunging because it's a quiet passive thing. Can I help it that other people aren't very observant ;)...
I sway greatly from one end to the other depending on many things. Mostly I'm an extrovert and crave feedback from others but I do get very overwhelmed and anxious by being around people so then I regroup my thoughts on my own.
I have a post, using the wrong definitions mind you, coming up about this really soon, complete with pictures of me being an introverted extrovert from a very young age :P
Peter Prevos said…
Activation of a personality trait depends very much on the circumstances. Our personality is a fallback option. We can act against our personality because of social obligations, but when in stressful situations we always fall back yo our brain's natural tendencies.
Sif said…
That's interesting, Glowless, I look forward to reading that post!

Peter would you call acting against personality traits wearing a mask? I know, for example, that I'm naturally forgetful and retreating - I prefer to be second in charge, to support another persob's taking the lead, however, I have - through cognitive behavioural practices, trained myself to be more organised and to step up if the leader gap stays vacant to a point where it threatens the stability of a group or project... Or maybe I just have a Saviour complex, hahaha!

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