I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator many times. Each time, I’m unsure of where I truly fall on the spectrum from Sensing <–> INtuition or Thinking <–> Feeling, but I’m very clearly a Judger and not a Perceiver, and I almost always score at 100% Introversion. I’m proud of this fact; always have been. I had a grad school professor who explained the difference in a way that I had previously not heard it described: extroverts gain energy from being in a crowd, introverts lose it. It perfectly summed up the way I’ve always felt.
Sophia Dembling wrote an article a few weeks ago that highlights the traits of introverts. (You can read the article, “Nine Signs That You Might Be an Introvert,” at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sophia-dembling/nine-signs-that-you-might_b_2251932.html)
Dembling lays it out in a humorous fashion. My favorites?
Sign #2 that you might be an introvert: “You consider doing nothing doing something.”
“If during alone time someone calls and says “whatcha doin’?” I might say, “nothing,” because people don’t understand. But to me, doing nothing is doing something.”
I have this conversation with P nearly every day. He calls, catching me on my computer, reading and daydreaming. He says “what are you doing?,” to which I reply “nothing.” There’s no physical activity happening, but upstairs, the wheels are turning. When I was a kid, I could play silently by myself for hours. This weekend, I didn’t leave my apartment for over 2 days straight. Most of the time, I don’t even notice how much time has gone by. When I’m alone with my thoughts or a good book/blog/movie, I’m replenished.
Sign #7: “You prefer one close friend to 100 lovely acquaintances.”
Dembling explains of introverts that “We would rather know one person intimately than a dozen only slightly.” So, so true. I can’t do small talk, and I’ve never been good at pretending. I’m not even good at pretending to be interested in exchanging niceties with someone I’ve just met. It’s not that I don’t want to get to know him or her; it’s just that my desire is to skip over the basics and delve into the deep stuff–I’d much prefer jumping straight to the heavier details of your life during a first meeting than suffering the boring chatter that society deems appropriate. But because I’m not interested in the boring stuff up front, I never get past it and thus have no real close friends.
Sign #6: “You haven’t answered a ringing telephone in years.”
This one is bang-on, but I had never connected it to my introversion before.
“I rarely answer my telephone, often forget to check voicemail, and can take a shockingly long time to return phone calls… The telephone is intrusive, especially for introverts, whose brains don’t switch gears all that quickly… And we often give bad phone—awkward, with pauses. We struggle without visual cues, and our tendency to ponder before we talk doesn’t play well on the telephone. Being stuck on a too-long call makes me want to chew off my own leg to escape.”
This girl knows her stuff. My family (and friends from long ago) know not to expect to hear back from me if they’ve called (or even texted). If I get around to calling you back, great; if not, don’t take it personally. I never realized that perhaps this is also why I agonize for hours–days, even–when there’s a required phone call that I have to make. Calling the 1-800 number to set up my new retirement plan? Took me weeks to build up to it. Scheduling an annual doctor’s appointment? I’ll put it off for months. I put a phone call with my sister on my to-do list every other day for this past semester, and it probably happened three times. I can’t help it. And now you know why.