Introverted in an Extroverted World
What is an Introverted Personality Type?
One of the most liberating points in my life was when I learned what an introverted personality type was.
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A term popularized by Carl Jung, it is estimated that 25-40% of us are more introverted than extroverted. What is meant by that is more than a quarter of the population is inward focused (our thoughts and moods) rather than on external stimulation (socializing). As a result, introverted people need more downtime to be truly happy and energized, while more extroverted people thrive in environments with lots of stimulation.
Introverted in an Extroverted World
If you are introverted like me then you probably ran into people growing up that did not understand why you were always quiet, why you would rather go home and read a book than hanging out. That is because extroverts outnumber introverts 3-1. We live in an extroverted world in many ways, from the way school activities are conducted, how offices are set up and how we’re expected to act to be successful.
Often times we’re confused for being shy or anti-social but this misconception is just a result of the personality type being misunderstood. According to Hans Eysenck’s theory of personality, introverts are more sensitive to high levels of arousal (excitation) than extroverts are, so we seek activities that allow us to escape, such as our hobbies. It has nothing to do with hating people or being scared!
Read More: Perfect Career Choices for Introverts
When I was a young adult there wasn’t a lot of attention in the media given to the two personality types. I was often conflicted by my need to pull away and keep my friends happy. I did not understand why I did not like being out all the time like other people. A lot of my friendships actually ended because I was miserable trying to make others happy and they felt I wasn’t being a good friend. Sound familiar?
Years later, I learned what introversion was. My past relationships and the way I preferred to spend my time suddenly made sense to me, which raised my self-esteem.
Introversion in the Media
With the attention given to mental health today, I believe psychologists are also talking about the introverted personality type more. You see it in news articles, Facebook memes and published books. With a better understanding of this personality trait, we can learn how to appreciate each other better, collaborate and work together in ways that use our different strengths to create the best outcome.
Susan Cain and “Quiet”
Susan Cain is a great resource and inspiration to learn more about this personality type, our strength and how we can use them in a successful way rather than continue to feel shadowed by extroverted people (or act like an extrovert ourselves).
For more check out Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
Why the World Needs Us
1. Our attention to detail
We often spend more time thinking and becoming hyper-focused on a project. If you see us sitting quietly working on a project you know we’re giving it our best effort and won’t miss anything. Introverted personality types are also very observant, nothing gets past us.
While introverts might fall short if put on the spot when given time to think we can contribute amazing ideas. While an extroverted person might share the first idea that comes to mind, an introverted person will gather all the information and go over imaginative scenarios in their head until the best solution is formed. Give us time and we’re your best ally.
3. Great writers
Introverts make great written communicators. We have time to think, it’s a quiet activity and it doesn’t involve speaking which can be intimidating. In my own personal experience, what I have a hard time explaining in words I can explain if I had the opportunity to express my thoughts in writing. If only more people understood this.
4. Great listeners
When we’re not in our own heads introverts can make great listeners. This is because we tend to listen and think before responding. The only problem is introverts find small talk draining but thrive on a deep conversation!
Introverts tend to be more creative because creativity thrives in solitude. Being able to think inwards and spend time alone creates the perfect environment for creativity.
Introverted people make great hobbyist and experts because we enjoy immersing ourselves in something to escape the outside world. If you’re interested in a subject you’re likely extremely knowledgeable about it because you’ve read many books on the subject.
As Susan Cain explains in her book if given the opportunity introverts make great leaders. Unlike an extrovert who may impose their ideas on a group, an introvert’s leadership style would allow ideas of other team members to come up. An introvert’s leadership style is more of a collaborative style than a controlling style.
Over the years, through experience, reading books on the subjects, infographics that showed up in my Pinterest feed or cute videos in my Facebook feed, I learned to appreciate my personality type and embrace it.
I no longer felt like I had to act like an extrovert to fit into what society thought people should act like.
This revelation was liberating and led to greater happiness.
If you get anything from this blog post I hope it is a better understanding of yourself. If your “quiet” (or someone you know is), I hope you find the confidence to not let anyone try to change you.
The extroverted personality type might seem like the preferred type. Those type A personalities that succeed as business leaders and lawyers. However, that is only because society expects us to act.
Understanding our strengths and how we can navigate the extroverted world as an introvert is the greatest tool we can have.
Are you an introvert? Let’s connect (I promise I won’t intrude on your personal space)! Follow my Pinterest board “Introverts Guide” for resources and follow me on Instagram if you’re interested in bookish photos, vegetarian food and reducing waste for the environment (sometimes I post a picture of my cats too)!
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