Before we delve into Introverts 101, let me just reinforce how aamazing you are. For reals. Introvert discoveries, inventions, books, songs, and ideas are the reason the world hasn’t reverted to the Dark Ages. Yes, the majority of the population is extroverted. However, being the outliers of the bell curve only increases the value of your innate strengths and innovative abilities. Embrace your socially selective selves and celebrate the quiet genius that is YOU. In all of your awkward, misfit glory.
If you’re an extrovert reading this because you’re perplexed by your more subdued and enigmatic counterparts, keep going for some straight talk and fun facts. For all of our independence, it takes both of us to make the world go ’round.
If you don’t know what you are or understand any of this stuff, that’s okay…I wrote another article that explains the acronyms.
Introverts 101: Shedding light on myths and misnomers
We’re not antisocial.
No, really. Introverts are intermittently reclusive, which extroverts often mislabel as “antisocial.” Select individuals may be antisocial, but introverts are not.The majority of us actually like (some) people and enjoy socializing…on our terms. That makes us selectively social…which is an entirely different thing.
The true differentiator that defines introverts and extroverts is social energy flow direction. It has everything to do with physics and zero to do with how many friends we have or events we go to. Or how much time we spend alone. Extroverts draw energy from socializing, whereas introverts expend it to socialize. Put another way:
Extrovert = GAINS or generates energy
Extroverts get from being around others that is immediately injected into their fuel tank. Their energy needle moves to ‘F’ and they go home happy after a party or other social gathering.
Introvert = DRAINS or burns energy
Introverts deplete energy from our fuel tank as we interact with others socially and/or professionally. When our needle moves to ‘E,’ the introvert’s imperative is to retreat and replenish in solitude.
We get people hangovers if we overdo it.
We socialize on our terms because our ability to do so depends entirely on our fuel level. Our biggest social dilemma is wanting to be included and invited to things while reserving the right to decline or sit out if we’re too close to ‘E.’ Most of us learn not to socialize on empty the hard way: Best case scenario, we make ourselves go, but lack the energy to interact, leave early, and take twice as long to replenish. Worst case, we have an internal meltdown from sensory overload, a wicked people hangover the next day, and take three times as long to replenish.
This is why coercing, cajoling, or pressuring an introvert to socialize rarely ends well (if it’s effective at all). Plus, it dishonors our nature, so if you value us and our friendship, let us be who we are. (If you don’t, we’ll probably leave you at the curb.)
We’re not shy…we’re strategic.
Another misperception universally loathed by introvertsis that we’re shy. We aren’t. Not as a group, anyway. We are inwardly focused, but that’s because we’re busy wondering, innovating, assessing, analyzing, and strategizing. Because we occupy and entertain ourselves, seeking external stimulation isn’t a priority. Which is why we’re inclined to hang with a good book and skip the party scene. But lest ye doubt, we do know how to have fun. We also blend worlds and take books to parties sometimes, so don’t judge if you see us sitting in the corner reading.
We despise small talk.
We’d rather use our words for conversations about things that are meaningful or not at all. It’s one of the reasons our modus operandi in crowds emulates swimmers in a pool. First, we analyze the water off to the side before diving in, do a couple of laps around the room, and find a wall to rest against. When we’re ready, we take a deep breath, plug our noses, and repeat the cycle until our fingers are pruney. Then, we bolt when everybody’s busy doing something else.
Get us talking and we may not stop.
The gears of an introvert’s brain never stop turning. And because we spend a fair amount of time alone, we can have a lot to say when our “open mouth, roll words” switch is flipped, Like, a really lot. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to get an introvert talking about a topic that excites us, you may not be able to get a word in edgewise, so just go with it and listen up…you’ll most likely be amused, and you might even learn something (because we heart facts and books).
Other things introverts aren’t.
Repressed, socially inept, unintelligent, loners, misanthropes, arrogant, heartless, passive, narcissists, timid, oblivious, party poopers, negative, selfish, self-centered, villains, angry, clueless, wallflowers, evil, depressed, rude, shut-ins, insecure, or broken.
Introverts 101: You might be an introvert if…
If being around people drains or overwhelms you and/or you retreat to your quiet bubble immediately after socializing at a party, you might be an introvert. This is especially true if you tend to leave events early and need a day or three to rejuvenate before emerging.
Most introverts have an inner circle that’s not easily infiltrated and a small group of close friends because once they let someone past the velvet rope, they’re in for the duration. Those who violate your trust or deal-breaker boundaries cease to exist via methods like the INTJ door slam.
You feel revitalized by solitude and love your alone time, whether you spend it daydreaming, reading a good book, binge-watching Netflix, or dog hiking.
Environments that overwhelm or distract you are abhorring and find it enormously challenging to focus when surrounded by external stimuli, e.g., the mere thought of a cubicle farm has you reaching for a paper bag to breathe into.
Playing well with others is something you’ve (mostly) learned to do, but you do your best work independently.
Introverts tend to elevate RBF to an art form. And while it isn’t necessarily true, people frequently think they’re shy or aloof when they first meet them. They may also find you intimidating or tell you that you’re hard to get to know, even though you don’t think you have an intimidating bone in your body and feel like you’re completely exposed.
You’re self-aware, analytical, and probably overly self-critical at times. You think about and understand the what and why of your emotions, motives, and actions, and you prefer to learn by watching and practicing on your own vs. being put on the spot.
The Myers-Briggs introvert types.
The Myers-Briggs world consists of 16 MBTI personality types, eight of which are extrovert-dominant, and eight of which are introvert-dominant. Two of the introvert types are the rarest of them all, with the veritable unicorns of humans being INTJ females, who comprise just 0.5% of the entire world population, followed by male and female INFJs combined, with a 1.5% prevalence.
For the unfamiliar, the (brief!) gist of the MBTI Assessment is that it was created by Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers based on the work of Dr. Carl Jung. They wanted to make personality type theory accessible to everyone, which they did. Their intention was to help people become their best selves, and ultimately, make the world a better place.
The 16 types they defined are the possible combinations resulting from the emergence of a dominant preference in each of four opposing pairs. We all have some of both, but one is (normally) stronger than the other, sometimes by a bunch. It’s what makes you you.
The pairs are: Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I), Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N), Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F), and Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P). The types are ISTJ, ISTP, ISFJ, ISFP, INFJ, INFP, INTJ, INTP, ESTJ, ESTP, ESFJ, ESFP, ENFJ, ENFP, ENTJ, and ENTP. FYI, “Perceiving” means preferring to take in information, not being perceptive or having quick perceptions of people and situations; and Judging means assessing, not being judgmental…don’t be that guy and confuse these.
I’m an INTJ who’s an MBTI purist at heart, but I also love 16 Personalities. INTJs have our own little unicorn herd, but introverts generally share things we all bond over, like a love of sarcastic humor, so I like to write about things that apply to all of us.
16 Personalities introvert types, prevalence, and characteristics.
“The Inspector” (11.6%) is detail-oriented, realistic, present-focused, observant, logical, practical, orderly, organized, and judgmental, but tends to blame others and can be insensitive.
“The Crafter” (5.4%) is logical, action/solution-oriented, realistic, practical, easygoing, self-confident, and learns by experience. On the flip side, they can be difficult to get to know, dislike commitment, and can be insensitive, easily bored, or too much of a risk-taker.
“The Protector” (13.8%) is reliable, practical, sensitive to emotions of others, grounded, protective of tradition, has an eye for detail, and prefers reality and facts to abstract concepts, but avoids confrontation, dislikes change, and tends to neglect their own needs.
“The Artist” (8.8%) is very aware of their environment, practical, loyal to their values and beliefs, caring, considerate, reserved, quiet, and enjoys hands-on learning. Conversely, Artists have a strong need for personal space and dislike theoretical information, as well as arguments and conflict.
“The Advocate” (1.5%) is sensitive to others’ needs, idealistic, reserved, highly creative and artistic, focused on the future, enjoys thinking about the meaning of life, and values close, deep relationships. Dislikes confrontation, can be overly sensitive and stubborn.
“The Mediator” (4.4%) is loyal, devoted, caring, sensitive to feelings, interested in others, works well solo, values close relationships, and is good at seeing the big picture. They can also take things personally, become distant, or be overly idealistic and lose sight of little things/overlook details.
“The Architect” (2.1%) is analytical, logical, objective, self-confident,hardworking, big-picture oriented, and a good listener who enjoys abstract theoretical concepts, has high expectations, and can handle criticism. On the downside, INTJs are perfectionistic, dislike discussing emotions, and can seem callous or insensitive.
“The Thinker” (3.3%) is logical but abstract-thinking, objective, independent, loyal, and affectionate with loved ones, but difficult to get to know, prone to self-doubt. They can also have trouble expressing feelings, be insensitive, and struggle to follow rules.
That concludes “Introverts 101” so be sure to bookmark my blog and follow me on Instagram for more fun. 🙂 Grazie.