By Beth Clark • March 20, 2019
Introverts, this week honors the uniquely quiet genius that is YOU...in all your awkward, misfit glory. The world may be overwhelmingly extroverted, but that only makes your innovative problem-solving abilities more valuable, so embrace your socially selective selves and celebrate your innate strengths. Extroverts, keep reading for some riveting facts about your enigmatic counterparts!
Introverts are unconventional in many ways, but the most basic differentiator is that unlike extroverts, who draw energy from being around people, introverts expend energy when they socialize. Which is why they retreat…they need alone time afterwards to replenish themselves.
Introverts aren't antisocial, they're selectively social...big difference. They socialize on their terms since their ability to interact with others depends on where their fuel gauge is. The conundrum for introverts is wanting to be included and get invited to things but reserving the right to decline or sit out if their tank is too close to “E." FYI, coercing or cajoling an introvert to socialize rarely works or ends well and it dishonors their nature, so let them be who they are if you value them and/or their friendship.
Most introverts also aren't shy, which is another misperception. They're inwardly focused, as opposed to seeking external stimulation. They're far more likely to hang with a good book than hit the party circuit, so naturally, we encourage that. They conserve energy, especially in conversations, and generally loathe small talk, preferring genuine conversations about things that are meaningful to them. At events and gatherings, they typically observe from the periphery before diving into the core. Once there, they'll actively engage others and participate in conversations.
One method you'll see them use is the "lap and rest" technique that emulates swimmers in a pool...they'll do a couple of laps of the room, make their way to the edge, rest, and repeat. The gears in their brain never stop turning, so when the "on" switch is flipped, they have a lot to say sometimes. If you're lucky enough to get an introvert talking about a topic that excites them, you may not be able to shut them up. (Just roll with it…all that thinking means there's a good chance you'll learn something or be amused!)
Other things introverts aren't by nature: loners, arrogant, heartless, passive, timid, oblivious, party poopers, villains, repressed, wallflowers, depressed, rude, shut-ins, insecure, or broken.
Those familiar with Myers-Briggs know there are 16 personality variations within the MBTI world, eight of which are introvert-dominant, and two of which comprise the rarest of the rare among the population—INTJ females (0.5%) and INFJ (1.5%)—the veritable unicorns of humans. For the unfamiliar, MBTI is based on the work of Carl Jung, and there are four sets of two opposing components. Everyone has a bit of each, but one trait from each set is dominant, which is what determines your personality. The traits are Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I), Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N), Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F), and Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P). (Judging as in assessing, not being judgmental.)The different MBTI introvert types and their key characteristics are:
ISTJ – The Inspector (11.6%): Detail-oriented, realistic, present-focused, observant, logical and practical, orderly, organized, judgmental, tends to blame others, can be insensitive.
ISTP – The Crafter (5.4%): Logical, learns by experience, action and solution-oriented, realistic, practical, easygoing, enjoys new things, self-confident, difficult to get to know, can be insensitive, easily bored, risk-taker, dislikes commitment.
ISFJ – The Protector (13.8%): Reliable, practical, sensitive to emotions of others, eye for detail, grounded, prefers reality and facts to abstract concepts, protective of tradition, avoids confrontation, dislikes change, neglects own needs.
ISFP – The Artist (8.8%): Very aware of their environment, practical, enjoys hands-on learning, loyal to values and beliefs, caring, considerate, dislikes theoretical information, reserved, quiet, strong need for personal space, dislikes arguments and conflict.
INFJ – The Advocate (1.5%): Sensitive to the needs of others, reserved, highly creative and artistic, focused on the future, values close, deep relationships, enjoys thinking about the meaning of life, and idealistic. Dislikes confrontation, can be overly sensitive and stubborn.
INFP – The Mediator (4.4%): Loyal and devoted, sensitive to feelings, caring and interested in others, works well solo, values close relationships, good at seeing the big picture, can be overly idealistic, takes things personally, distant, can lose sight of little things and overlook details.
INTJ – The Architect (2.1%): Analytical, logical, objective, enjoys abstract theoretical concepts, big-picture oriented, has high expectations, good listener, can handle criticism, self-confident, hardworking, perfectionistic, dislikes discussing emotions, can seem callous or insensitive.
INTP – The Thinker (3.3%): Logical, objective, abstract thinker, independent, loyal, affectionate with loved ones, difficult to get to know, can be insensitive, prone to self-doubt, struggles to follow rules, has trouble expressing feelings.