Life of an Introvert: What is an introvert?

(Graphic by Adele Palmquist).

Some of you may not have the clearest idea what I mean in my past entries when I refer to introversion and extroversion, so as I said in my last entry, this one is meant to (hopefully) clear any of that up! Also, my own experiences as an introvert may not be the same for every introvert. Take into account that there is no one way to define introversion, but that usually it describes someone though while needing social reaction (we all do), an introvert is someone who needs more time alone in order to have enough energy (literally) to continue socially.

I’m certainly no expert, but when encountering many sources that try to explain introversion, the best I thought I could refer to was a website that lists ten myths on introversion, which I felt explains it a hell of a lot better than I can!

On carlkingdom.com, you can find “10 Myths About Introverts” where Carl, the owner of the website, bases his list off a research book, while also incorporating his own experience as an introvert.

I won’t go into incredible detail, but some of the list consisted of many of the things I’ve talked about, such as the myth that introverts only want to be alone, are weird (I will admit I am, but I’m sure there are some “normal” introverts out there…), rude, don’t like talking — you get the idea.

As I went through the list I think what stood out the most to me was the last myth on the list: “Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts”. Though most of the typical things you read are introversion — or even some videos — will reply to this with a, “we’re all special and unique in our own way”. His response, however, bluntly informed that “a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers.” Though hilariously cheeky, he has a point!

Many sources imply that Albert Einstein and many other incredibly brilliant and incredible people were introverts. Now, I’m not saying only introverts do these things, and he certainly is not implying that these skills only apply to introverts — seriously, I cringe when I think of the nightmare that was math class — but more proves that there one is not better than the other. Introverts and extroverts are essential to society — we could have never come this far in society with education and technological breakthroughs if it weren’t for incredible introverts AND extroverts.

I can tell you of the many things about introversion that so far others have pieced together and how I interpret it, but ultimately I think for the individual it is always different. I understand introversion as something I cannot change.

Just as something physical about you is defined, so is being introverted or extroverted. Some people may claim to have been shy and grown out of it, so “of course you can!” But being shy does not mean introversion and introversion is not just being shy. Shyness can be a real fear of confrontation, socializing — some people get over it, some don’t. I would say it is more behavioural.

Introversion has to do with the way your mind works and processes. I kind of got into this last post, where I described how I have difficulty answering things on the spot because I like to think before I say anything. You may be quiet, but that does not mean you do not like to speak. Rather, that you are thinking before you say something, everyone does this to an extent, but for an introvert—or at least myself—it may be almost obsessive. I like to really think about what words to use, think of what I say deeply before I say it—sometimes thinking of a possible response after that.

When I told of my horrid experiences with small talk—trust me, they haven’t improved much—this is another way in which introversion may be significantly different than introversion. Because, like my physical stature and features are determined, I cannot change what I understand—or rather, don’t understand—about small talk. I can “fake it” and attempt small talk, but my mind will never understand its purpose. As Carl says on his website, introverts really value honesty, which I know for myself is a big thing. If I don’t really give a crap about your day, why would I ask? Now wonder some people think we’re “rude”.…

Introversion is something that is more complex the more you look at it. A lot of the times I try to explain it I feel I am repeating myself, or that I may be making explanations more complicated than they need to be. Often I get excited and ramble, so I guess this blog is really just me having a conversation—I get weird, random and…mostly random.

I suggest you check out the website for more information on what introversion is since I think I didn’t do it must justice!

 

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