Party of One: Understanding Introverts

introvert-man-sea-largeIntroverts are commonly misunderstood, and have been called “shy,” “stuck-up,” “boring,” and “insecure,” to name a few derogatory labels. But with nearly one-third of the population identifying as introverts, it’s important for us to stop believing these out-dated myths.

In her book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” Susan Cain aims to shatter some of these negative stereotypes. The main point of Cain’s work is this:
Introverts can do anything that extroverts can do. They just experience it differently.

It’s true, introverts can be great salespeople, friends, and even public speakers, as long as they have their down-time to recharge. You see, where extroverts get their energy from being around others, introverts fuel up by being alone with their thoughts.

The whole concept of introversion/extroversion was developed by the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, who believed that all of us fall somewhere between these two opposites. Many modern day scientists tend to forget that these traits occur on a continuum, which means that we are likely to possess pieces of both persuasions. But, still, for those who lean farther on the introversion scale, it can be difficult to get extroverts to understand their sensitivities.

There may be some diagnostic labels that fit an introverted person, just as there are some that fit extroverts.  Therapy techniques that work for an individual with autism or anxiety can help with adaptation, when necessary.  So, we are here to break it down for you.

Basically, when introverts are quiet, there is a world of activity fluttering inside those encapsulated brains. Since introverts tend to take in every detail of an experience, they can become saturated, or overstimulated easier than extroverts. While extroverts tend to approach situations at face-value, introverts are likely connecting the dots between their current situation, and past situations that are similar, drawing conclusions by the nanosecond. Further, the brains of introverts are less likely to respond positively to situations that include surprise or risk.

Part of the reason that introverts tend to be misunderstood, is because our society values extroversion to a troubling degree. The reason for this is because it’s harder to sell things to introverts since they spend more time focusing on their internal life than what is external to their experience. And since our society values monetary gain, we are taught from an early age to be “social,” and “play well with others.”

Think about it. How many commercials show a person sitting alone and enjoying themselves? Who would care what they are wearing, eating, drinking, or using as a cell-phone? How would they portray how unbelievably happy they are (due, of course, to the fact that they bought the seller’s product)?

Much to the advertiser’s dismay, there are now plenty of books and resources to help introverts understand that there is nothing wrong with the way that they process information. In fact, there has been so much buzz around what it means to be introverted, that there is even a pinterest board called “Introverts are Cool,” and it has thousands of followers! And, the true measure of success, naysayers, with articles like, “Can We Stop Pretending It’s Cool To Be An Introvert,” are popping up everywhere. (True story. That’s an actual article. I just can’t bring myself to put a link to it.)

So, if you are someone who needs some time alone in order to feel ready to engage with others, know that you are not alone.

Even if you might like to be.

But seriously, if you would like more information on being, or loving, an introvert, contact us. We are here to help.