Monthly Archives: October 2012

What is Introversion?

-David Mein

I’m starting this blog to be a place for introverts to write about their thoughts on introversion and to hopefully start some discussion on something that there seems to be a lot of misconceptions about.

Because so many people have the wrong idea of introversion, I think it’s fitting for this blog’s inaugural post to be on what exactly introversion is.

“Introversion” is a term popularized by the psychologist Carl Jung. Introverts are often reserved and enjoy being alone. They are the opposite of extroverts, those who are energized by stimulation from other people.

There are a lot of misconceptions about introversion out there. Many people think of introverts as misanthropic, as weird loners, or shy. If someone is social and appears to be outgoing, it can be difficult for some to believe that person is an introvert.

There are a few things that people need to know about introversion. The first is that no one is completely one or the other. Introversion and extroversion exist on a spectrum and everyone falls somewhere in between. That means, of course, that some people fall further to one end and others fall further to the other end, but everyone possesses qualities of both.

The second is that introversion isn’t about being a loner or being shy (although there is a correlation). The main difference between introversion and extroversion is that an extrovert is energized by socializing, while socializing can be draining for an introvert.

To explain an introvert’s relationship to socializing, I like to use the analogy of exercise. For introverts, going to a party, for example, is like going to the gym. It can be fun and enjoyable, but it takes a lot of energy, and when it’s over, they need a chance to rest and recharge. Similarly, introverts know that socializing is good for them (sometimes), but they may have to force themselves to do it.

The final thing that needs to be clarified is the misconception that there is something wrong with introversion, or that introverts need to be “cured.” Introverts aren’t unhealthy; they simply have a different personality type. This means that they have their own strengths and weaknesses to complement those of extroverts.

We live in a culture that is dominated by extroverted values, so it can sometimes be difficult for introverts to understand and accept who they are. Lately, there’s been growing awareness about introversion and the unique strengths introverts have. One popular book on the subject is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain (here is her blog and here is her TED talk).

I hope this blog can be a part of this growing awareness, and a place where introverts and everyone else can discuss and learn from one another.