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I enjoy being alone.
But I play the extrovert when among people
A trick I learned a long time ago ... if I ask open ended questions of other people ... it will get them talking ... and I can just listen ... and they won't ask me about myself.
That I am an extrovert. He is an introvert for sure, but he can strike up a conversation with random people anywhere. However, he draws his energy by being alone. I am energized by being around people, but I have a difficult time conversing with people I do not know. So, by his definition, I would guess I am an extrovert and he's an introvert, even though in public those roles are reversed.
If by 'introvert' we mean someone who is uncomfortable in social situations, or prefers to be alone, then I'd qualify as an introvert. My idea of heaven is an isolated cabin on the side of a mountain, with a few dogs, goats, and chickens for company.
My husband is Extrovert Extraordinaire. He is best friends with everyone in the room in about 5 minutes. We can't go anywhere without him running into a dozen people who have to stop and chat with him about something.
I decided in high school, for some reason, that I was going to conquer anything I was uncomfortable doing. Afraid of water and can't swim? I go whitewater rafting (and capsize, which is a very funny story). Afraid of heights? I go to Cedar Point and ride the Demon Drop 17 consecutive times. Afraid of public speaking and crowds? I took Speech, joined the Debate Team, and entered every academic dog&pony show available.
And I still turn beet red and get the shakes when I'm around a lot of people. I compensate for that by immersing myself in what my friends call my "Suzy Sunshine" persona. But I will never be a true extrovert.
I deeply hate motion sickness so I decided to do a ride on the Witch's Wheel at Cedar Point.... That was 1983 and I'm still dizzy.
I wonder if anyone has thoroughly studied the introvertism idea in relation to "forum participants" in general.
But there are problems with the whole idea of "introvert vs. extrovert." For starters, the concept was pretty much invented by Carl Jung around 1918, and his conception comes with a whole lot of baggage. (See also So You Think You're an Introvert)
Most people today use the term to refer to a person's basic inclination to interact with other people in unstructured social situations. But Jung was thinking more in terms of where "psychic energy" comes from... whatever that is.
But people also use the term to refer to a person's basic comfort level with solitude. I'm not sure that these three things (inclination to interact, psychic energy, and comfort with solitude) really have all that much to do with each other.
When it comes to "energy," being around people (in the "real" world) both raises my energy level and exhausts me, sort of like shoveling snow! Is that "energized" or "psychic energy"?
But I do like solitude more than most people I know.
In short the theory of introversion and extroversion has some kinks to work out.
Introvert/extrovert are definitely terms that illustrate how language and meaning changes over time. The dictionary definition of introvert indicates someone who is focused on themselves, not someone who is comfortable with or prefers being alone.
I also don't think that it's the same thing as being shy, which carries with it the connotation of being fearful. I'm NOT shy. I just want to be in a quiet room on comfy couch wearing my fuzzy socks reading a book and drinking a cup of hot coffee.
I also agree about the energy boost/drain of social interaction. I organized and attended a curriculum fair for our local homeschool group last night. I talked until I lost my voice. I came home totally wired and completely exhausted. It was a successful meeting so I feel very 'up' today.
That always bugged me. You hear teaching and preaching about humility, doing things in secret and allowing God to reward you, and then here comes the Awards Assembly with prizes and trophies for the most prolific 'soul winners', (probably called The Fishers of Men Award), those who exemplify Christian Character, boys who have Surrendered to the Ministry, and The Most Kids Packed Into a Bus Illegally (glory to God, His laws are higher than man's laws!).
That's sort of another thread, but it does illustrate how churches may value the extrovert whose work is often highly visible, while looking askance at the introvert as if their quiet nature is a sign that they aren't doing anything to further God's work.
Bro. Ed- I think there is a vast difference between what I described, and giving honor to whom honor is due.
But there is still the problem of the introvert operating under the radar, while the extrovert, often through no fault of their own (as in they aren't seeking praise), is in the limelight.
Ed - I have listened to that book 3 times at least. It was instrumental in allowing me to stop feeling guilty about hating crowds.
So, I've had a couple years to think over Susan's ideas, and I can see how certain things in my life have predisposed me to being an extreme introvert--
My dad was a salesman and he forced me to be in that role throughout Jr. High and High School, but I hated the fakeness of the whole enterprise. In my freshman year at FBBC I lost most hearing in my right ear, and a year later I lost all of my hearing in both ears. I was completely deaf for almost a year. The same illness was attacking my eyes, similar to pink eye, and I couldn't go out in the daylight. So that was a time of health induced super-epic introversion! But God healed me of my addictions to Foxnews TV and talk radio, so it was a good thing. Ever since then, I prefer being at home with my family, and also having my cochlear implant sound processors off. Silence is golden. I draw strength and energy from silence and meditation. I run dry very quickly in large groups of people. I'm also disposed to that because, with my CIs, I have to work really really hard to follow what is being said. It is much easier to just allow the background noise be background noise.