4.04.2012

the power of introversion

I grew up in a very introverted household. My mom, dad, brother, and sister are great conversationalists, but generally pretty quiet. We all did a lot of reading, and my friends always razzed me for being the only person to stay in on a Friday night instead of going to the movies. In comparison to my family, I actually felt like the misfit extrovert. But in reality, I was just the most extroverted of a family of introverts.


My mom recently sent me this book to read:


It was a great adventure in understanding myself and other introverts. I had a few skeptical moments while reading...moments when the author seemed overly critical of extroverts...or when I questioned whether she was validly interpreting some studies. But overall...I highly recommend it as a great read for introverts who want to function well in a world that tends towards the extroverted, or to extroverts who just.don't.get. introverts.


Here were a few of my biggest takeaways:
-For introverts, the creativity flows much better when alone. Working in groups to brainstorm or get more done can actually be less effective. We need to be able to hole up, and focus.
-"Low-reactive" kids (a tendency of extroverts to be less prone to anxiety) are less likely to learn right vs. wrong by the traditional method of parental disapproval. They thrive best with positive role models and plenty of opportunities to turn their confidence and courage into productive activities. (Good to know if you're an introvert who ends up with extroverted kids.)
-Psychological research is now identifying a minority of individuals who are "highly sensitive". Highly sensitive people will each have an individual range of sensitivities, but might be particularly prone to the effects of caffeine, be bothered by lights and noises, and be highly empathic, with exceptionally strong emotions and awareness of the emotions of others.
-Introverts often feel more comfortable expressing their true selves on the internet than in person.
-It's particularly important for introverts to pursue career and creative goals that are personally meaningful, because it helps them push through the requirements of the job that might be uncomfortable or evoke anxiety.


I am definitely a highly sensitive person...jittery after a cup of coffee, always asking J to turn down his computer volume...and sobbing through shows and movies with an ounce of happiness or sadness in them (yes, basically all of them).

I love people and I love great conversation. I just love being alone at the end of the day. And I think I love blogging because it gives me that opportunity to "be real" online, and connect with other people who find it a safe place as well. So I bet you'd find a higher concentration of introverts in the blog-o-sphere than you would in real life.

Are you highly sensitive? Are you extroverted or introverted? I would love to know!

13 comments:

  1. I'm an extrovert (ENFP what!) but I find that introverts and extroverts make the best of friends, partners, etc. they really balance each other out. just my two cents. what I think is important about this post is how you reference how introverts respond to punishment/role models, etc. I think sometimes bosses and parents or co-workers forget that they have to manage to the person at hand, not to manage or teach or lead how they want to be taught or led or managed. that's a really important lesson to remember.

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    1. Yes! My best friend in college was extroverted, and she did this amazing job of pulling me out of my shell. She just treated me like her best friend from day 1, and it made it so much easier for me to open up with her.

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  2. I'm an introvert, too! I need to get that book. Thanks for sharing, it's not everyday that we take a look at our personalities in this fashion. I'm extroverted with my good friends though, which I guess most are? And agree with Colleen, the balance b/w the two works really well!

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  3. This is a really great post and so thoughtful that your mom sent you the book. I'm not particularly an extrovert or an introvert but if you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have said introvert. I've been pushed out of my comfort zone with people and I actually don't mind it as much. It's confidence building and I'm now able to empathize with both sides

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  4. I am definitely an introvert, give me a good book and a cozy setting and I could spend hours, and I much prefer it over the hustle and bustle of going out! But I do love a girls night as well! Sounds like an interesting read, might have to make a trip to the BPL soon, I just checked out Bossypants!

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    1. That's next on my to-read list! After, of course, the pile of 6-7 books on my dresser...

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  5. I am absolutely an extrovert. I love being social in a crowd--Love being out and about, love parties, love meeting new people.

    I do love my alone time too though.

    I thought a lot about my first graders while reading this-- and it makes me more sensitive to their needs. I can pick out who's introverted and extroverted pretty easily, but never knew about the right vs. wrong/ role models. Very interesting!

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  6. I'm a raging extrovert, but I'm married to an introvert. I added this to my goodreads list hoping that it might help me learn a bit more about what's going on in that brain of his!!

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  7. This book seems so interesting! I would love to read it. Is it weird that I don't really know what I am? I LOVE my alone time, could quite happily spend a weekend by myself reading. Although, I definitely crave social interaction. I suppose I'm an extrovert in smaller groups? Sometimes? An introextravert?

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    1. Sounds like introversion to me, but it's definitely possible to be very balanced! I agree though...I still crave social interaction...it's just that after a certain point in the evening, I'm usually tired out, when my extroverted friends are sometimes just getting started.

      And one of the major characteristics of introverts is that they prefer smaller groups or one-on-one convos!

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  8. Sometimes I feel really lame for how much time I want/need by myself. I think that this may stem from that fact that I'm married to a relatively extroverted person. Sometimes I'm literally just can't have one. more. conversation with anybody until I spend some time recharging alone. Hah introvert to the max! What's really funny about this is my dad and I had a conversation about how I need to read this book yesterday. And now I'm reading this blog post today! I think it's a sign..

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    1. Ohmygoodness, if that's not a sign, I don't know what is!

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  9. this is so interesting! I'm definetly an introvert, love some groups of friends vs. crowds, sensitive and shy. I always have felt that I was being punished for being an introvert; when at work my managers would often tell me my work is just fine but I'm too shy- pshhh, it's who I am!

    thanks for the post :)

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Thanks for making me smile. =)