Hello. My name is Mike. Allow me to introduce myself. I am an introvert. What does it mean to be an introvert? Well, let me first get into what it does not mean. Introversion does not necessarily mean quiet and boring, although I do prefer to stay at home and read rather than go out to bars and clubs. Introverts aren’t necessarily socially awkward, although I guess with the wrong crowd I could seem really shy and awkward. But somebody could just as well be socially inept and extroverted (being around those types of people drains me). Being an introvert does not mean I am a hermit who lives in a cave, shunning all human interaction, although I do enjoy sleeping alone in snow caves from time to time.
So what does it mean to be an introvert? Well it’s complicated. Because in truth there are many different types of introverts.
I recently took one of those Briggs-Meyer personality tests. The results surprised me. I tested as 100% introverted. Somehow I thought I was less extreme. Another thing that surprised me was that I came up as a thinking type rather than a feeling type. I remember testing as an INFJ or an INFP before, although I don’t remember the numbers, so they might have been pretty borderline.
I really didn’t know what any of those things meant, so I ended up spending a good portion of the day reading about them. I found attributes from all of them that seem to apply to me. Here are the ones that stood out to me.
INTP (from Wikipedia)
INTPs tend to be less at ease in social situations or in the “caring professions,” although they enjoy the company of those who share their interests. They prize autonomy in themselves and others. However, INTPs’ extraverted intuition often gives them a quick wit, especially with language. They may defuse tension through comical observations and references. They can be charming, even in their quiet reserve, and are sometimes surprised by the high esteem in which their friends and colleagues hold them.
INFJ (from Wikipedia)
INFJs are quiet, private individuals who prefer to exercise their influence behind the scenes. Although very independent, INFJs are intensely interested in the well-being of others. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups. INFJs have a rich, vivid inner life, which they may be reluctant to share with those around them. Nevertheless, they are congenial in their interactions, and perceptive of the emotions of others. Generally well-liked by their peers, they may often be considered close friends and confidants by most other types. However, they are guarded in expressing their own feelings, especially to new people, and so tend to establish close relationships slowly. INFJs tend to be easily hurt, though they may not reveal this except to their closest companions. INFJs may “silently withdraw as a way of setting limits”, rather than expressing their wounded feelings—a behavior that may leave others confused and upset.
INFP (from Wikipedia)
The polite, reserved exterior of INFPs can at first make them difficult to get to know. They enjoy conversation, however, taking particular delight in the unusual. When INFPs are in a sociable mood, their humor and charm shine through. Disposed to like people and to avoid conflict, INFPs tend to make pleasant company. Guided by their desire for harmony, INFPs prefer to be flexible unless their ethics are violated. INFPs are creative types and often have a gift for language. As introverts, they may prefer to express themselves through writing. Their dominant Feeling drives their desire to communicate, while their auxiliary intuition supplies the imagination.
Another good site is personalitypage.com. I read this today on the INFP page that cracked me up, because this morning it wasn’t until I sat in a round table meeting that I noticed a huge stain on my shirt… When it comes to the mundane details of life maintenance, INFPs are typically completely unaware of such things. They might go for long periods without noticing a stain on the carpet, but carefully and meticulously brush a speck of dust off of their project booklet.
Anyways, this ended up being a really long post, although most of it was not written by me. What prompted this post was the fact that I’ve been hearing from a lot of people lately that I’m really quiet. There’s probably a lot of truth to that statement. But I think part of it is that people who think that I’m abnormally quiet don’t really know me. Maybe this helps a little.