The Course of Introversion

Being an introvert makes me different than many others and, many times, it makes me misunderstood. My behavior, my statements, my way of interacting with the world is not always interpreted in the best way by others. Today, I received an email that’s caused me to look at how I relate to the world. I’ve always been an introvert and I’ve always been one to speak somewhat bluntly at times. It’s made for many misunderstandings yet I believe I was created and formed this way for a reason.

People don’t outgrow introversion, so this introverted adult was once an introverted child. What is true of one is true of both. Contrary to popular opinion, introverts are not asocial, nor are we friendless loners who lack social skills. We simply have different social needs and preferences.

It is not easy for introverts to make new friends because getting to know someone takes so much energy. However, we don’t need a wide circle of friends. We prefer one or two close friends, even though we may know many people and have a large number of acquaintances. In spite of this preference, we’re frequently criticized for not making an effort to make more friends.

Introverts need a lot of personal space. We like being in a room alone with the door closed and those who don’t understand introverts believe this desire to be alone is abnormal. However, for introverts this behavior is normal; it is not a sign of withdrawing from life. Being around others is tiring for us so we need time alone in order to regain some of our energy. Being alone also gives us a chance to think and figure things out uninterrupted. Introverts don’t enjoy large parties and if we have to attend one, prefer to spend our time with just one or two others, talking about what we all know a lot about.

Introverts enjoy activities we can do alone or with just a few others. It’s not surprising, then, that so many introverted gifted children love to read. We also tend to prefer activities that allow for creative expression, like creative writing, music, and art. Introverted children also enjoy quiet and imaginative play. When presented with an opportunity to participate in a group activity or game, introverts prefer to hang back and watch before we join in. Many people see this as shyness, but it’s not. We feel more comfortable with situations that are familiar to us and we are simply trying to become familiar with the activity before we join in.

Introverts tend to be quiet and subdued. We dislike being the center of attention, even if the attention is positive. It’s not surprising, then, that introverts don’t brag about our achievements or knowledge. In fact, we may know more than we’ll admit. It may be the introverted gifted children who are more at risk for “dumbing down” since they would be more likely to want to hide their abilities.When introverts are tired, in a large group, or if too much is going on, we may show little animation, with little facial expression or body movement. Introverts also have two distinct personalities: a private one and a public one. That can explain why we can be talkative in comfortable settings, like home, and quiet elsewhere.

While introverts may appear to lack social skills or be antisocial, neither is true. Our style of social interaction is simply different from that of extroverts. We tend to listen more than we talk. We are attentive and will make eye contact with the person we are listening to and rarely interrupt. When we do talk, introverts tend to say what we mean and may look away from the person we’re talking to. We dislike small talk and would rather say nothing than something we feel is insignificant. Although introverts are quiet, we will talk incessantly if we’re interested in the topic. We also dislike being interrupted when we talk, or when we’re working on some project.

If given a choice, introverts would rather express our ideas in writing than in speech. When we do speak, we need time to think before answering a question. Sometimes we even feel the need to mentally rehearse what we want to say before we say it. The need to think before speaking often results in the introvert being slow to respond to questions or comments.

Introverts become emotionally drained after spending time with others, particularly strangers. We don’t like crowded places and introverted children can even become grouchy and irritable if they’ve been around too many people for too long. Even when introverts enjoyed a party or activity, we can feel drained afterwards. Introverts are also rather territorial. We dislike sharing space with others for too long. Introverts also have a hard time sharing their feelings and feel deeply embarrassed by public mistakes.

Introverts can concentrate intensely on a book or project for a long time if we find it interesting and like to explore subjects deeply and thoroughly. That may be why introverts don’t like to be bothered when we are reading or working on a project. Introverts are highly aware of their inner world of perceptions, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and feelings. We are also highly aware of our surroundings, noticing details that others don’t see. However, we are not always quick to discuss our thoughts or observations. We may, for example, wait days or weeks to talk about events. Introverts also favor consistency over change, and cope with change best when we know ahead of time what to expect and have enough time to prepare for it.

Being an introvert has complicated my life at times. It’s made it possible for others to criticize me, misinterpret me, and misunderstand me. Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. I believe I was created this way in order to fulfill the purpose for which I was born. Thank you, Father God, for making me who You want me to be.

Best quote ever for introverts:
Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that is where I renew my springs that never dry up.

Pearl S. Buck

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2 thoughts on “The Course of Introversion

  1. Thank-you for explaining introverts so completely. I am a true introvert and have been labeled unfriendly, stuck-up,.conceited, to name a few…
    I wish everyone would read this blog. Thanks,Debbie

  2. Sandy says:

    I’m glad it spoke to you. 🙂 It’s something I’ve always struggled with as well.

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