Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Introversion, or Why I'm Not Crazy

Lynn sent me this link, which talks about introversion. The site is to help counselors understand introverts and the different approaches they might use with introverts as compared to extroverts.

I was surprised to see that only 25-30% of the population are introverted. One out of four? How is that possible? I realize introverts tend to either a) stay at home or b) befriend likeminded introverts. It's reasonable that I think there are a lot more of us than there really are because almost all of my friends are introverted. Extroverts take too much energy.

I was thinking about introversion this past weekend while we were spending a lot of time with Andrew's brother and sister-in-law and our new niece. Andrew and I kept telling the new parents that they should feel free to tell everyone to go home if that's what they wanted. It occurred to me that perhaps they don't feel exhausted by having people around. I've heard, although I've never understood it, that some people gain energy by being around others. According to that website, apparently three-fourths of the population does this.

Huh. I wonder what that would be like.

On a slightly related note, I wonder what percentage of bloggers are introverts. I'm guessing that the percentage is much higher than 25-30%. Here we can think and think and think and write and edit and rewrite and edit again before we release our thoughts into the world. It's so much easier than talking. Sadly, you don't get an edit button for talking.

So, if there are any extroverts who happen upon this blog (although from the website's definition of an extrovert's understanding of the Internet that isn't very likely), here are some things to know:
  • Just because you make us tired doesn't mean we don't love you. We may love you very much.
  • That doesn't mean we want to spend all our time with you.
  • Not having something to say every moment we are together is not a crisis. I know that's hard to believe, but it's not. There is such a thing as a peaceful silence. Or, there would be if you'd stop freaking out that we're not talking.
  • We have many interests and hobbies. We are not all crazy cat ladies... although some of us are.
  • "Introverted" does not equal "shy." An introvert replenishes her emotional energy by being alone or with a very few, close friends. An extrovert replenishes her emotional energy by being with lots of people. Basically, extroverts are vampiric whereas introverts get what they need from themselves. I'm just sayin'.
  • It may take us awhile to get what we're thinking out of our mouths, but HOO BOY it will be worth it when we do.


  1. I am definitely an introvert :o)

    Came by care of Em.

  2. I'm for sure an introvert too. Some people just take too much energy to be around. I do like some people though. Came by way of Em, as well.

  3. I'm an introvert at my core, but I also get the need to be around people. I don't necessarily derive energy from other people, but they do add a bit of purpose and meaning to my life. When it gets to be too much, I just become a recluse for a few days and I'm good.

    Came here from Em too.

  4. Excellent post. I am an introvert all the way. I may just send this link to all my extrovert pals so they understand me better. LOL

  5. Great thoughts and post. In my last corporate role, we took the Myers-Briggs personality type assessment--it has a long history of pegging personality types. I tested as an introvert. This surprised a few folks I worked with, but those I counted as true friends, they had figured this out already. My job required, both "group" and "meeting" settings--I was able to get through most of it, but needed to "rest" afterward. Same with friends--I keep my circle small, and prefer it that way. Whereas, many of those I count as friends may have a wider circle to draw from, I don't feel the same need. It's complicated. But it's not like introverts can't cope in non-introvert settings--we can, but we need our space, too. We need friends in our lives who understand this, as well!

  6. "extroverts are vampiric"
    I'm sending this post to my extrovert spouse ;-) He just doesn't get it....

  7. I followed the link in your newer blog post back to here. I thought you'd like to hear some statistics.

    That 25%/75% number is quite old and completely meaningless. It was a *guess* made by Isabel Briggs Myers when she developed her test.

    The real number based on a stratified random sample of the US by the Myers-Briggs organization in 1998 showed Introverts 50.7% and Extroverts 49.3%. Pretty much dead even.

    I thought the rest of your article was interesting. It was obviously written by an introvert (As an extrovert, I swear we don't see you that way!)