Saturday, December 1, 2007

What is introversion? What isn't introversion?

Introversion is not shyness, timidness, or weakness. Let's establish those things right away.

Here’s what the Merriam Webster Dictionary has to say about introversion:

the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one's own mental life

Here's a few points to consider:

(a) Introverts think. We think a lot. We like to think. Sometimes we like thinking more than talking or socializing. Sometimes we like to think to much.

(b) Introverts can be entertained by their own thoughts. You might think of this as "intertainment".

(c) Introverts are not dependent on having other people around to keep themselves amused.

Now let's add a couple of other characteristics related to the definition of introversion:

(d) Introverts find interaction with other people to be tiring or draining after a period of time. Extroverts generally feel happy and energized around other people and they "wilt" without interaction with other people.

(e) Introverts usually need time to "recharge" their internal batteries after being around other people. Time alone watching TV, reading a book, listening to music, or otherwise contemplating things in solitude will refresh the introvert.

Finally, let's address a few misconceptions about introverts:

(f) Introverts do like other people, usually in moderation.

(g) Introverts do have feelings. In many cases they have very powerful feelings, but they may tend to process them in solitude.

(h) Introversion is not the same thing as shyness. Shy people are afraid of interacting with other people, probably due to a lack of self-confidence and comfort, but at the same time they crave love and affection. Introverts aren't afraid of interacting with other people and they aren't afraid to speak their mind when needed. As a general tendency, however, introverts tend to prefer small groups.

(i) Introverts are not all alike. Extroverts are not all alike. It's possible to have a mix of introverted and extroverted personality traits. It's possible to have a slight tendency towards one or the other. It's also possible to be strongly oriented toward introversion or extroversion.

Hopefully this article will give you a better idea of the characteristics of the introvert.

My challenge is to show you how introverted people can function effectively in society, the business world, and in roles that you would normally associate with an extrovert.

Time to go sharpen my pencil and start thinking. I'll need some time alone now...


hdar3415 said...

I am an introvert and I actually think it makes me a better person. I spend a lot of time by myself just thinking, usually not about anything in particular. Just whatever interests me at the moment. I like having my "personal" time but I don't mind being around other people. I'm usually the quite guy, just listening to everyone else and actually trying to learn something.

Mark Dykeman said...

@hdar3415 - thanks for stopping by! I think it's important to note that introversion is one end of a personality orientation continuum, with extroversion at the other end. It's possible to be at one end, the other, or somewhere in the middle! I tend to let my mind wander from topic to topic as well, somewhat intuitively.

Anonymous said...

I am so pleased to discover that there is name for the type of person I am and that I am not the only one. After years of being told that I'm antisocial or that I am a miserable, depressed person because I enjoy being alone, finding that I am normal is very refreshing.