Hi. I’m Sonya. And I’m an introvert. (Now you say, “Hi, Sonya.”)
Dictionary.com defines introvert in a couple of ways. The first definition it gives is “a shy person”. I happen to disagree with this definition, especially since it defines shy as “easily frightened away”, “suspicious”, “distrustful”, and “reluctant”. The second definition offered is “a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings.” I agree with the second definition more than the first, although the second one kinda makes it seem like introverts are self-centered. Normally, dictionary.com is my friend. But sadly, it has failed me this time.
Honestly, the first time I’d ever even heard the word “introvert” was when I was subjected to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment (MBTI). It wasn’t until later that I actually learned that I was stricken with this “ailment” called introversion.
If the creators of the MBTI were still alive, I would want to meet those chix in a dark alley somewhere and drop-kick them and have a conversation with them about how, albeit unintentional, they’ve made life harder for introverts. It is amazing to me how people STILL make a strong distinction between the character or personality traits of introverts versus extroverts like it really matters. People act like the results of the MBTI are real medical test results. They begin to develop a “treatment plan” for you if your results yield any letter combination that begins with an “I”. Introverts get a bad rap! Meanwhile, extroverts get off scot-free like they’re the normal ones! Did you know there is a manual on “How to Care for Introverts”?? No joke. There is also an introvert’s guide on how to make it in the business world, an introvert’s guide to test-taking, and the list goes on and on and on. Just google “introvert” and see what comes up. I wonder if my health insurance plan covers introversion…I might call and ask them (and document that conversation for a future blog post…)
So let me clarify some things and dispel a few misconceptions for you…
What being an introvert means:
1) I am quiet. Generally speaking. Not necessarily shy—quiet. There is a difference. I observe, non-listen, reflect more, and talk less. Generally speaking. I don’t have a problem talking to you, or in front of you, IF I have something to say. If I don’t, I won’t talk for the sake of talking.
2) I don’t get my energy from you. I am quite a handful, if I do say so myself. Therefore, I’m able to self-generate all the energy I need. Thanks.
3) I value my alone time. I guess this is kinda the same as #2, huh?
What being an introvert DOES NOT mean:
1) I dislike you. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.
2) I’m afraid of/intimidated by you. Similar to the saying, “Don’t take my kindness for weakness”, please “Don’t take my quietness for fear.”
3) I’m anti-social. Au contraire mon frère. It’s just that a conversation with me will go a lot quicker. I value efficiency. For example, if I were an extrovert, a conversation with me might go something like this:
“Hey, Sonya! How was your weekend?”
“It was good! I did hot yoga, saw a movie, had dinner with some friends, did some shopping, got my hair done, went to church, got some gas, wrote a couple of blog posts, baked a cake, checked the mail (<–this may or may not be a lie), and got a massage. What’d you get into?”
“My parents came in town and we all went hiking up Mt. Wutshisface Saturday and had a picnic.”
“That sounds interesting. I’ve been saying for a while now that I wanted to hike Mt. Wutshisface.”
“Yeah, it’s really beautiful. You should check it out.”
“I will! What’d you do Sunday?”
“We rode bikes around the Mall and went to like seven of the Smithsonians. Then we hit up the Farmer’s Market and volunteered at a soup kitchen. After that we rescued a cat from a tree.”
“Cool! Talk to you later!”
But since I’m an introvert, the conversation will likely go something like this:
“Hey, Sonya! How was your weekend?”
“It was good, thanks!”
*Cuts light off and exits room. But then returns to cut light back on after realizing that you are still in there.*
See how much more efficient that was?
So the next time you pass an introvert in the hall or on the street, give ’em a hug and tell ’em you understand. Or don’t. Cuz that would be weird.
All the introverts in the house STAND UP!! I wanna hear from you! Sound off in the comments. And, I wouldn’t mind hearing from an extrovert or two as well ;)
And BTW, I’m on Twitter now! Follow me at @foolishmagnet.