Caring for Your Introvert
According to the recent interview with the author of the essay, Jonathan Rauch, “Caring for Your Introvert” is the most popular piece ever on the Atlantic Monthly's website. With good reason.
I'm willing to bet you'll either identify with the characterization or else forward it to someone who will.
Indeed! I related to the article personally, but I'd say most people tend in both directions, just usually to one more than the other
Definitely can relate. I remember studying this concept in college and the idea of having a high or low "need for sociability" made sense to me. Mine's low. The most annoying thing about extroverts (Dan!) is that they will constantly try to make you more like them because they just don't believe that anyone could possibly be happy as an introvert. However, I kind of disagree with the author of this article. While sometimes annoying, I view this tension as being good for me.
this article basically said verbatim everything i've ever read on social anxiety. i prefer the label 'introvert' vs. 'person with social anxiety'!
I'll admit I haven't read alot on this topic, but I think there's a big difference between introvert and social anxiety. I have some introverted tendencies, particularly the part about finding small talk and meeting people tiring. I have no anxiety whatsoever about these situations, but I don't find it a very stimulating exercise. I'm perfectly good at being social when the situation requires it, but I have very little internal drive to do so.
Perhaps that's why the internet/blogging and online gaming has suited me so well for filling social needs...something that some of my friends probably don't quite get. It's community and sociability on my terms on topics I want to be communicate about. Hell, maybe that's just being self-centered. You could argue that too.
I feel that equating introversion with social anxiety makes it sound like introverted tendencies are something that need to be repaired or addressed in your personality. I don't agree with making that equation.
Wow - I really do believe that no one could possibly be happy as an introvert. Sorry about that, I guess.
On the flip side, wouldn't you be oppressing me by ever leaving me alone?
I relate to everything Jason said. For me, it's like I run out of things to say sometime around 4:30 in the afternoon. I've found that I've been happier since I realized that my introversion isn't likely to ever change or "repaired."
Shy and introverted are definitely different things, and I think it is possible to evolve from one to the other (I have, I think, mostly at least). The line in the article that captures the dynamic most clearly for me is, "After an hour or two of being socially 'on,' we introverts need to turn off and recharge." That says it all for me.
I do disagree, though, that an introvert doesn't necessarily find meeting new people stimulating. It's great, but at a certain point, I'm done for the night, thank you very much, and I hope to see you again soon.
One interesting flipside, though, is the number of people who are extroverts but terrified of public speaking in front of a group of any size. I know people who could strike up a charming conversation with a carjacker, or a tree, or someone who only speaks Farsi, but put them in front of 20 people and ask them to talk and they turn pale gray and pass out. I know plenty of introverts - shy people, even - who are skilled and comfortable as public speakers.
I totally related to this article! This weekend a former classmate of mind from out of town had a get-together at a bar Saturday night, so I had to gear up for an evening of socializing. It's not that I didn't look forward to it, or didn't enjoy other people's company. It's just that after about two hours of this I felt spent. I met some nice folks, and caught up with old friends, but after a while I just couldn't pretend to be "on" anymore. That was my signal that it was time to go.
I've always known I was an introvert (Myers-Briggs personality type: INTP - same as Al Gore - see http://www.slate.com/id/90167/ ), but I felt badly about it, as if my disinterest in staying up all night at bars and dance clubs made me abnormal. The article confirmed for me that Iím not the only one bothered by having to repeat myself, listening to foolish prattle or having to engage in superficial small talk, when I would prefer not to. Itís nice to read an article by someone trying to educate obnoxious extroverts that shyness does not equal introversion, and that perhaps they would do everyone a great service by sometimes shutting the F up.
Also interesting to me is the fact that the author is both an introvert and gay, so heís a double minority.
I tried a different test listed on one of those links which says I'm INFP. I think the description fits me better.