Picture a circle of chairs on one side of a generic, multi-purpose space such as a school hall or a lecture room. On the other side of the room there is an announcement board on one wall with tattered, faded business cards, advertisements and posters pinned to it. There is also a table with paper cups, bottles of water and snacks on it near the door. An urn hisses and bubbles, muttering to itself like an old man in his garden. The door is closed but noises from corridor filter in. In the chairs are seated a social micro-ism of people. The assortment includes the Breakfast Club stereotypes (oddly enough I was probably a combination of all of them – the jock, the nerd, the rebel, the emo, all except the Molly Ringwald character – the prom queen…I love that movie) but also includes the teacher and the janitor as well as a few others not appearing in the movie such as the housewife, the bum, the executive etc. So yes, a cross-section…and me.
Looking like a hippy who makes my own yoghurt, in my torn jeans, Lynrd Skynrd t-shirt and long, silver Gandalf hair, I push back my chair, reluctantly getting to my feet, and address the confessional group:
“Hi. My name is Andrew and I am an introvert”.
“Hello, Andrew”, they sing in unison.
This in way of my imagined coming-out moment as introvert, strangely so; and one feels no less shamed or reluctant to own the condition then if one were a drug addict or alcoholic. And this due to societal norms.
So, yes, dear reader, I admit it: I am an introvert. But apparently so are over a third of all humans so I am not alone (well, alone but not… but you know what I mean). Unlike the rest of the world who gain energy from the outer world we introverts gain ours from the inner world. Other famous introverts include:
I can be pretty social though, I am just very particular about who and what I socialize with.This is because small talk is the hardest form of communication for introverts. We are giving energy in a social situation therefore the most rewarding scenario will be one with purpose. A purpose being one after which I feel as if I have learned or shared something substantial or worthwhile or at least made a real connection. But generally humans drain me, encounters and exchanges with them leave me exhausted. This would manifest itself in days off school, Varsity and work as a result of an undefinable/undiagnosable malaise. Our society is uneasy with regards introverts, imagining that we are up to all sorts of evilness and depravities when we remove ourselves from it/them. But all it really is is about us recharging our energy, energy that the rest of society drains from we introverts,
This whole energy-based personality profiling is part of Jungian theory and is really super interesting and a nice foil to Freud’s theories. Research has found that the Big Five personality traits are significantly related to Jungian Typology (e.g. the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). In this MBT indicator I test as a INTJ type:
Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging
INTJs are very analytical individuals. They are more comfortable working alone than with other people, and are not usually as sociable as others, although they are prepared to take the lead if nobody else is up to the task, or they see a major weakness in the current leadership. They tend to be very pragmatic and logical individuals, often with an individualistic bent and a low tolerance for spin or rampant emotionalism. They are also commonly not susceptible to catchphrases and commonly do not recognize authority based on tradition, rank or title. Hallmark features of the INTJ personality type include independence of thought, strong individualism and creativity. Persons with this personality type work best given large amounts of autonomy and creative freedom. They harbour an innate desire to express themselves; that is to be creative by conceptualizing their own intellectual designs. Analyzing and formulating complex theories are among their greatest strengths. To test it’s validity I have taken the test a number of times over the past ten years with always the same result. So that’s me, an INTJ or social introvert.
There is an awesome cartoon on the net at the moment called Dr Carmella’s Guide to Understanding the Introverted. When I saw it I went , “No way! That is SO me!” So I thought I would share it with you, dear reader. Props to the creator! It really is wonderfully inventive, entertaining and also informative.
Read it and then proceed accordingly!