How familiar are you with the Myers Briggs personality types? As a psychology undergrad, I spent a lot of time studying personalities and took the Myers Briggs assessment at least a dozen times. The results were always the same, I’m an INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) all the way! While most people fall somewhere in the middle ranges for the different personality traits, I’m strongly skewed towards the introverted end of the spectrum. Being an extreme introvert, makes the likelihood of me suffering a meltdown from sensory and social overload very high if I’m not given my space and time to recharge. Unfortunately, some of the people in my life don’t understand that and take my aloofness, not wanting to hang out and talk on the phone all the time, personally. I recently had a extrovert/introvert clash that inspired me to write this post to set the record straight and try to help you bubbly extroverts understand us socially awkward (yet totally lovable!!! <3) introverted types!
1. Getting time to “recharge” is not optional for me.
I’m not necessarily a shy person, so some people have a hard time believing that I am actually an introvert. Yes, I will get on stage in the middle of a crowded bar and sing karaoke. Yes, I will talk to a group of total strangers. I’m not afraid of people and I don’t dislike people, quite the opposite! It’s just that spending time around a lot of people or in noisy venues is mentally draining for me. If I’m not given the time to retreat back into my own head, to “recharge” the batteries, I will start to get moody. If I’m forced to stay “on” for too long, a total melt down may occur. So when I ask for “me time”, please don’t take it personally! It’s for your own good just as much as it’s for mine!
2. I really value my personal space and can be annoyed by unplanned company.
Plan on just “stopping by” for a visit? Yikes, please don’t!! My personal space is sacred to me and nothing will feel more intrusive! Unless you catch me on a rare day, I’m probably going to be grumpy and frowning when I answer the door. Again, not because I hate you, but because you probably interrupted me in the middle of running on my treadmill, reading a book, blogging, or just laying on my couch staring at a wall pondering the meaning of life…Whatever it may be, it is something I deeply enjoy and have been looking forward to all day/week….Day dreaming about it even….while surrounded by people at work or a social gathering!
3. Going out on a work night is usually not happening.
If you invite me out for a happy hour, a concert, Tupperware party, *insert any non-solitary activity here* during the work week, there is a 99% chance I will decline. See #1, I need my time to recharge and my work days are spent in meetings or in my noisy, open floor plan office. I enjoy my job, I’m just drained at the end of the day. After 8 hours of being in social interaction mode, the idea of staying on for a few more hours is almost more than I can bear! I usually go for a run or solo work-out at the end of work day, then spend the rest of the evening vegging out.
4. I’m not angry, sad, stuck-up, ignoring you….I’m lost in my own world.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked if I’m O.K., been told I look mad, or been asked why I ignored someone when they said hello to me in the hallway…..Apparently one of the symptoms of my frequent daydreaming is chronic bitch face, and gives those who don’t know me the impression that I’m stuck up. I never deliberately ignore anyone and most of the time I am totally O.K….I just tend to get lost in my own thoughts and can be oblivious to the world around me.
5. It drives me crazy when people try to force me to talk.
I’m not good with small talk, and will usually not contribute to a conversation on a topic that doesn’t interest me. For some reason, extroverts get very uncomfortable/worried/freaked out by an introverts quiet nature. They assume something is wrong, or I am angry with them, or I’m plotting to take over the world….Muwhahahaha! I promise, I’m ok! My mind is a pretty interesting place and I am keeping myself entertained! And most of my thoughts are not diabolical in nature! 😉
6. I don’t like talking on the phone.
There are only three exceptions….I talk to my daughter, my mom, or my boyfriend on the phone all day! I’ll admit it, I’ve been guilty of ignoring a phone call, then responding with a text message. Text messages, e-mail, Facebook, and blogs are an introverts best friends and my preferred modes of communication. It allows me the time to think, ponder, and choose my words wisely (or try to) and time to get my thoughts out without having my train of thought interrupted (and lost). There is nothing more tedious and anxiety provoking for me than talking on the phone, simply for the sake of talking.
7. However, if you do get me started on a topic that interests me, I may never shut up.
I’m very obsessively, crazy, passionate about the things that I do like and will talk anyone’s ear off when engaged in a conversation that interests me. I also like to talk to people about life in general; their passions, motivations, trials, and tribulations….and have a great, non-judgmental ear. (Hmmm….I wonder what a judgmental ear would look life?) That’s why, if you can get past my quirky and sometimes moody introverted ways, I can really be a great friend!
So be patient with us introverts! We may not always be the easiest people to get along with, but if you take the time to understand and get to know us, I promise you it may be worth it!! Just let us have our space to recharge and explore our own minds from time to time and we’ll get along beautifully! 😉
Have you ever taken a personality test? What is your personality type? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?