Thursday, August 22, 2013

On Being an "Innie"

Enjoy this little musing while I continue to upload and organize vacation photos! (Also, I need to collect the good pictures from our friends with the real camera. Ha.)

This morning a friend posted this article from the Huffington Post on being an introvert. It was not the first article I've seen--in fact, there seems to be an influx of information about the elusive introvert.

Google "introvert" and you'll see definitions, personality quizzes, and articles like the one linked above. Introverts are becoming "cool."

This strikes me as insane.

On my brief hunt of the interwebs for more about introverts, I came across this, which describes my feelings on the sudden surge of introvert popularity very well.

I'm, without a shadow of a doubt, an introvert. I used to be debilitatingly shy; now I just value my quiet time and need some solitude to recharge my batteries.

Now, here's the thing: I'm outgoing and friendly, I love my friends and spend a lot of time with people. I have no problem speaking in front of a large audience, and I'm totally functional at big social events. Heck, we even host a couple of them each year.

But, introvert as ideal? Perish the thought!

See, as the second article points out, there are plenty of upsides to being an extrovert. My extremely extroverted husband and I balance each other out well, and I can totally see the benefits of his natural tendency toward people.

Where I value deep connections and meaningful conversations, I really struggle to make good, lasting friendships because it's very difficult for me to leap that chasm between introducing-myself-to-a-stranger and actually discussing things that are important to me. Dan? He makes friends at the drop of a hat. That small talk is incredibly useful in forging a path from acquaintance to actual friend.

I have no problem talking about my skill set or job qualifications (in fact, I think I interview pretty well) because it's performance me. But once I've got the job? I really hate asking for letters of recommendation or networking my way to a better job. It's that leap from professional to personal that is really difficult for introverts. That doesn't mean that Dan is a cutthroat guy who takes advantage of people in the workplace; quite the contrary. But he's perfectly capable of networking in a very positive way.

And all that quiet time for meditation and reflection is great...until it's the middle of the school year and I don't have two seconds to put together for quiet me time. Or the converse, where all those deep thoughts and solitude during break spiral me downward until I get lost inside my own head. My extroverted husband can settle in for hours of his favorite TV show and not waste a brain cell worrying about that email he sent last week that wasn't worded quite right (alright, that might be because he's a better writer than I am). He can also take endlessly busy days in stride without stressing at all.

All this to say, I'm comfortable with who I am as an introvert. But, it's certainly not the be-all-end-all, and I think there's something inherently twisted in saying that one personality type is "better" or "cooler" than any other. We need all kinds of people to make the world work.

What do you think? Would you call yourself an "innie" or an "outie"? Sometimes I'm jealous of people who are genuinely refreshed by spending time with others! Parties where I don't know anyone are completely exhausting to me.