I’m an Introvert! There, I said It.
Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to this article by Jonathan Rauch, called “Caring for your Introvert.” It links to several related articles including, “Introverts of the World, Unite!“, “The Introversy Continues,” and “Jonathan Rauch comments on some of the feedback he’s received for ‘Caring for Your Introvert’…” They are a great collection of article on what it means to be an introvert and how the rest of you should deal with us, to keep from driving us crazy.
I’ve known I’m an introvert since at least early medical school, but the signs go back much farther. During my first year of medical school, I took the Myers-Briggs personality inventory as part of leadership training for an organization I was involved with. I’m an INTJ, and at that point my Introvert scale was almost pegged to the extreme. We spent most of an afternoon discussing our different types, what they meant, and how we would work best together. That was when I first started understanding that introversion is not the same as shyness.
I may be a little shy at times, but introversion means other things:
- I need time by myself to recharge and re-energize, even if I can do fine in a social situation.
- Getting up and giving a presentation in front of a large crowd is less draining than a small party.
- Extroverts think out loud. Introverts think inside, and when we finally get around to saying it, you should listen. We’ve thought it out and mean exactly what we’re saying. And we may not say it again if you steamroll over us.
- You may not notice we’re an introvert, especially if you’re an extrovert who hasn’t shut up since we met.
After Admitting It, the Next Step is Accepting it.
Over the last 18 years (Yes, it’s been that long since I started medical school), I’ve gotten less introverted. My last Myers-Briggs test had the scale much closer to the middle (but still an INTJ). But, I still consider myself an introvert. The last two weekends, I spent Friday night at home, alone. I’d been out every night during the weeks, and just needed some quiet time to read, watching a movie, and not talk to anyone. I didn’t feel guilty about it. I’m an introvert. I don’t need to be out every night of every weekend.
Now, Learning to Live With It.
In, “The Introversy Continues” (see link above), several readers wrote in to discuss romantic pairing between introverts and extroverts. Been there. Done that. The last two long-term relationships I’ve been in were with extroverts. That was part of the attraction, I’ll admit. They were outgoing, so easily social, talking to anyone, anywhere. Even though I’ve admitted an introvert, I still — at times — envy the extroverts. But there was such a difference in us, that it was often a cause of friction. “Do we have to go out, again?”, “Can’t we just sit at home quietly, staring into each other’s eyes lovingly, while watching reruns of the Golden Girls?”, “Do you know everyone, here?”
From here on out, I’m looking for a guy who’s just a little extroverted. Maybe I do have a tendency to spend to many nights at home, so it’s good that someone’s encouraging me to go out. But, don’t push me too hard.
Time to get ready for work. Go on! Read the articles! We’re out there. We may blend in at first, but once your introvert-dar is working, you’ll see us. And now, you have no excuse for not treating us better.