The Plight of the Introvert

Not so long ago, my friend Courtney and I met to have a girl’s day out together. Courtney is definitely the alpha female, and I let her plan everything. We spent three hours at a mall, hitting the shops and having lunch in the food court, where Courtney made conversation with everyone around us, a quality of hers that I enjoy and envy. After about an hour and a half there, I knew I was toast: I can’t be in a mall for too long before I feel like the colors, the noise, and the constant stimulation suck the life blood right out of me. We went back to her house, where we took a swim in her pool. She then wanted to hit some bars.

“Courtney, I can’t do the bars,” I told her. “I’m totally exhausted.”

“You always do this to me. I can’t tell if you don’t like people all together, or if it’s just me.”

I was speechless, as usual. What I should have said was: “No. I’m just an introvert.”

Extroverts outnumber introverts three to one, which means that if you qualify for introvert status, people may have been alienated by your “tendencies.” You may have been called “aloof” or “shy” more times than you can count, and have been told you “think too much,” too. We Americans like to think of ourselves as an outgoing and cheerful people who “get the job done.” Too much inner reflection may be considered by some to be “wimpy,” and the need to be alone may be construed as a form of elitism. The truth may be that you are not a misfit or a melancholic loner. You may in fact be an introvert, and rather than being energized by groups of people, you are sapped by them. And we have about as much control over this trait as our eye color.

Introversion does not have to be a disability, and with some self-acceptance, can become a valuable asset. With a little communication and understanding, introverts and extroverts can not only get along together, they can learn from each other. Imagine if a balanced team of introverts and extroverts built the BP oil rig that is now spilling crude into the Gulf? Introverts would have taken the time to ruminate and formulate contingency measures in case of an emergency, and extroverts would have the gusto and fortitude to make them a reality.

Are You An Introvert?

Carl Jung was one of the first people to coin the term “introvert” in the 1920s. The Meyer Briggs Personality Scale, which works like the Kinsey scale of sexual orientation, is a great way to find out where you land in the spectrum.

Extroverts are energized by connecting with others. They gather life force by being in the presence of people. Introverts gather their energy from within, and need to be alone in order to recharge.

Extroverts are achievement oriented, and learn through action. They will “act” through a problem without thinking it through first. Introverts learn through observation and think through the problem before setting out to resolve it.

Extroverts like to have many friends and move through groups of people, introverts prefer one-on-one situations and a few close friends.

Extroverts are not so tied to their emotions, whereas introverts can be quite intense emotionally.

Extroverts tend to react to stress by going into “action” mode, introverts tend to slow down and become still.

I Think I’m An Introvert. What Do I Do?

Look at the upside. You’re an amazing listener and thinker, and statistics tell us you are probably intellectually or artistically gifted.

Accept your energy limitations and create down time: schedule moments to be in nature or completely alone. Surround yourself with soothing images.

If it’s difficult to avail yourself in meetings at work, take advantage of written correspondence and e-mails after professional gatherings to give input.

With partners or spouses, openly discuss your differences in temperament. Leave notes of love and gratitude.

Don’t be afraid to say “no” to a social event if it seems overwhelming.

Avail yourself of books like The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olson Laney.

In truth, we are all a mixture of both introvert and extrovert, and in this incredibly fast-paced and over-stimulated world, perhaps it’s time for all of us to give our inner introvert her due.

10 thoughts on “The Plight of the Introvert

  1. silverfaery333

    I’m a bit of both. I can and will go out and have a blast with friends, then turn around the next night and feel just fine being home, reading, thinking and recharging that way. I’ve been told I’m weird because I can and do enjoy both things…..

    Reply
  2. hhcoyote

    As somone who used to be extremely introverted I can say that it is absolutely not true that once you are either intro or extro there’s nothing you can do about it. IMHO and experience, intros have a fear of interacting for some reason and that fear becomes ‘habit’. Most use the label to stay in that place. By the same token, most extros are afraid to look within and hide behind continually being ‘on’. It’s just a place on the path, but both can be addressed if the person is willing to ‘go through to get through’. Most think it’s all too scary to look at, but in reality is really not as scary as we think and very liberating. Most people want to hear what others have to say, especially if they care about them, and don’t really care if they make mistakes. We all want our friends and loved ones to be human, not perfect, and share themselves with us.

    Reply
  3. schmooeemoo

    Hi Im confused about this..as this is the first time Ive considered Im an introvert. I love to get out and have fun but I find myself home alone a lot. I love my own space and often struggle around others sometimes feeling agitated and nervous. Im always giving myself a hard time about staying in so much. I go to lunch a lot and have friends but find myself home at night nearly every night. I know this sounds really harsh but I often chime on about being a loser and having no decent social life…yes Im hard on myself…but if I am an introvert I think I need to change my thinking. I feel like Im a party girl but also an introvert..is it possible to be both?

    Thanks for the insight hopefully it will change my confused state and I can relax and be at peace with who I am..this would be nice.

    M:-)

    Reply
  4. misskrystalmisskrystal

    really verbena? not moody? lol no just kidding 🙂
    well then, let’s all strive for the balance…
    shall we?
    thanks,
    miss krystal

    Reply
  5. Faith ext. 9608faith

    Wonderful article Tracy. Yes me too, introvert extraordinaire! I relate to this article so well and to your comments Gina Rose, especially about the man part. (Guess it’s all that Mercury and Moon in Pisces I’ve got in the 6th). I would not be able to write or do readings or think and create really without quiet/alone time. I love it when I can confirm for someone in a reading that being an introvert is not only OK but advisable in order to receive guidance from your inner spirit.

    I’ve missed you guys … just got a brand new (‘fast’) computer which makes it so much easier to jump in here and read these wonderful articles.

    Verbena, I will definitely look for your article in the newsletter on Sat 7/17.

    Reply
  6. velvetoversteel

    Thank you for sharing a very personal article! & thank you Gina Rose for sharing your information too. I will get that information out anyway I can. So, so sad for everyone! My boys and I are Hugh animal lovers and want to help!
    Hugs to you all! ~ Coreen

    Reply
  7. misskrystalmisskrystal

    Verbena-thanks- I am going to look your article up.
    if a person does not feel that they are an introvert nor, an extrovert, what would they be??
    ….is there an in between? lol
    seriously?
    hugs,
    Miss Krystal

    Reply
  8. misskrystalmisskrystal

    Yes, I agree with Gina Rose, Great article. Great and interesting points that Gina Rose has added.

    Some introverts begin friendships, and then realized, they don’t want them-a lot of times they don’t have the need….Maybe they are getting needs elsewhere-ie pets, kids, hobbies and being at home etc…..We still have to consider other people’s feelings…..Instead of blowing someone off, such as a friend, there are polite ways to do this. For instance, consider writing them a letter or email, just saying that you really don’t have the time right now, or you are really busy with family stuff and to please not take it personal. Actually, you could also just say, “I am not really into friends, I am into my home and it is nothing against you, this is just who I am.” At least you showed some respect, and took the time to be polite. I realize that some peple do not care, but it could bother you one day, way down the road that you just “dropped” someone and they may have been hurt. Sure, they still may be hurt with the above suggestions, but at least you let them know…..It’s okay to be totally introverted, of course, but we still should show some tact…..Being an introvert doesn’t excuse rudeness, just the same as being an extrovert would not be any excuse to get right smack in someone’s personal space or face….We still need to remember people’s feelings, no matter what our personality types are.

    Thanks for such a great post. I loved it.
    Miss Krystal

    Reply
  9. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi,
    On another note, as an introverted animal lover…….

    The animals of the Gulf Coast need our help…..as many of you know I sit on the board of my local no-kill shelter in my area.

    Families in the Gulf Coast are having to surrender their longtime family pets to the local animal shelters in record numbers because they cannot feed or support them due to sudden loss in income.
    Many are fishermen and small business owners who are struggling to put food on the table for their spouses and kids now. It is NOT their fault….and with heavy hearts that these victims of the Gulf Oil Spill are giving up their family pets…..the shelters in the Gulf Region need help.

    The terrified faces and scared look in the eyes of these pets tell the story…..these family pets are missing their beloved families and don’t know why they were given up and are in cages and runs now waiting to be adopted or on possible termination if not adopted out.

    If you really are affected by the Gulf Oil Spill and want to do something tangible, now, to help…..then check out the link below.

    http://www.la-spca.org

    or call them at : 504-363-1333 or at 504-368-5191 ext.141

    or go to CNN news main page and get info from there.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

    This is one way you can possibly get involved and help with the crisis in the Gulf.

    Reply
  10. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi,
    Great article….I am the ultimate introvert/ hermit/recluse whatever you want to call it.

    My Mom introduces me, that is, on the rare occassion when I actually attend any function,
    by saying ” This is my daughter, take a good look at her because you probably will never see her again “. LOL !!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s not because I’m a psychic, I’ve been this way since childhood…..I am not miserable about staying or being alone…I prefer it, which is what many people, especially my extroverted family members, do not understand about being an introvert.

    I will say though, being an introvert does, for me, have its advantages. It allows me the time to de-stress, meditate, and focus soley on my work…which is giving psychic readings.

    I’ve been reading professionally now for 44 years…even my astrological natal chart screams the word introvert. Makes sense though to me,that my profession was Karmic by design, and as such, I was given the tools AND disposition to carry out my work.

    Introverts are generally nature and animal lovers as well……my animals are all the company I require…or desire.

    My favorite ” night out ” is sitting on my porch at midnight, after my last reading, watching the stars and moon on a balmy summer night.

    And introverts will generally run from drama, loud noise of any kind,and emotional vampire types,… we prefer tranquility, peace, and harmony. We usually like the work we do and can be perfectionists at our craft or hobbies and very detail orientated.

    Do not feel sorry for the introvert…..they usually are quite at peace with themselves.

    Great article…..first one I can remember reading about introverts.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply

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