ISFJ and INTP. Those are the combination personality types that describe me. Introvert. Actually I used that linked version of the personality test so I could match myself up with my Star Trek homies! I got these two:
What's an introvert, I mean really? Actually the dictionary does a pretty crappy job of defining introversion. Let's look to the epitome of truth, Wikipedia, for some characteristics of introverts:
- more reserved and less outspoken in groups
- take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, using computers, hiking and fishing.
- likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though he or she may enjoy interactions with close friends.
- Trust is usually an issue of significance: a virtue of utmost importance to introverts is choosing a worthy companion.
- prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate, especially observed in developing children and adolescents.
- more analytical before speaking.
- easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement
There you go.
I'm here to talk about introvert problems. You've probably seen the funny lists that HuffPo or Buzzfeed have put out listing introvert problems, characteristics, etc. I want to share some of my own observations.
I get very nervous around crowds, loudness, parties, or any occasion where I need to be the center of attention. Many a party, including wedding showers, required a lot of soothing tea beforehand. (Disclaimer: I was incredibly thankful and humbled by the wedding showers given for me and Jeremy. I do not mean this to indicate otherwise in any way!) Nevertheless, my idea of a party is watching star trek at home in my pajamas.
I hate networking. It's not that I'm not friendly. I think I'm fairly friendly. But walking up to a stranger in order to talk shop is so difficult! I wrote a blog for work about how I've dealt with this, but anxiety prevented me from efficiently networking for a long time. It comes down to faking confidence and making yourself do something you dread.
I get anxious when plans change. If we say we're going to dinner, then Target, then Home Depot, then home, an unplanned stop can make me really anxious. Like, heart pounding anxiety. WHAT, WHY DO WE HAVE TO STOP HERE??
I dislike large groups of dancing people. (Rereading that sentence makes me giggle). I've always come up with a reason not to go dancing anywhere. I can only imagine the breakdown I'd have in a club. I've danced at weddings. A couple dances. When forced. Like at my own. :) It's not that I can't dance. I just prefer not to.
Reading is how I gain health, in video game terms. Going to movies can be fun, but it usually requires psyching myself up for the crowd, the noise, the traffic, the being out...I'm a fun person, really. Hang out with me!
I have always bonded with fewer people. I like a lot of different people and have different levels of friendships, which is perfectly normal. We all have that. But I never had huge groups of very close friends. When I choose you, not that that means a ton to you, but it means a lot to me. I choose purposefully because it's hard to "let people in."
When you see an introvert sitting alone, reading, being quiet, of course it's nice to ask if they want to be included in something, but don't think that anything is necessarily wrong. And if they decline, that probably means they're happily engaged in thought or their book.
My friend Alicia has discussed this a bit on her blog as well. Her big thing is realizing when you need that time to recharge so you don't implode. And also helping others understand that you need to just "chill" for a while. "Cave time," she calls it.
Now, having said all that.
It's easy to let myself get away with something in the name of being an "introvert." It can be an excuse if I let it. Like with networking. Sure, I could sit there and never talk to anyone, but that'd be stupid. How will I get anywhere that way?
Or I could never go to parties, but what kind of friend would I be? And how ungrateful would it seem to not go to a party someone throws FOR ME?
At the risk of sounding harsh, sometimes, whether introverted or extroverted, it's just not all about us. Pushing ourselves a little is OK.
Alicia and I both play DnD in our own separate campaigns. I play here in Greenville with a group of friends who all have very different personalities. My character is a paladin. Um, hello high levels of charisma! For my non-DnD friends, that means as I act out the story arc as my character, I'm supposed to show those high levels of charisma. I'm a spokesperson. A defender of good and punisher of evil. A Captain America! But... I just took the "Which Avenger Are You?" quiz and I got Hawkeye. So, we live and learn. And drink tea. And cuddle with cats. And read.
These are the times that try men's souls....