“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but like everybody else, it must be in my own way.” – Jane Austen
Growing up I had always believed there was something wrong with me because I was shamed for my introverted ways by some people in my family, mainly my father. I was the kid that didn’t quite fit in with the others, preferring to do my own thing, analyzing life around me or hanging out with just one or two close friends. I tried to push myself to become less introverted as I got older, but with less than impressive results to show for my efforts. I think it just came off as insincere or awkward.
I didn’t really want to change and change had always felt fictitious. I never really understood just how deeply introverted I was by nature, until I was forced into therapy at 28 years old by a tragedy in my personal life. There I was taught to accept and love myself for who I was, and that being an introvert was okay not an illness that needs addressing. There was no need to change, but just a need to embrace my authentic self.
For the sake of this blog post I’m going to ask myself a few questions to try and reveal the inner workings of this introverted personality. If you’re an extrovert maybe you can learn something and if you’re an introvert, maybe you can relate!
What’s the difference between an introvert and an extrovert?
Well, it all varies depending on the individual, but the major difference between introverts and extroverts is that introverts tend to recharge their batteries by being alone, whereas extroverts gather their energy from being around other people.
What’s it like to live with an introverted personality?
For me personally, I spend a lot of time in my head and I experience some social anxiety with others. I’m a bit shy but I also feel like I can hide that pretty well if I need to. Sometimes I can get distracted by my inner thoughts during conversations, especially in groups and it can make me seem aloof or disinterested. I’ve had to work hard on this over the past few years to maintain my focus, but my inner voice is loud and has a lot to say.
In conversations with others, I prefer to ask questions rather than to answer them. I’m not usually eager to share my entire world with others before I know them well. With the right person though I could spend hours spilling all of my deep thoughts and feelings. This is part of the reason why I found myself drawn to blogging in the first place, because there’s a large part of me that most people just don’t know about. I’ve even had family members tell me that they like to read my blog because it helps them to feel like they know me better. To some people, I can just seem pretty quiet and that’s fine with me.
What are my strengths as an introvert?
Being an introvert has it’s advantages. Since we enjoy more time spent alone with our thoughts, we can be pretty creative about coming up with solutions to complex problems. We are not afraid to be meticulous! At least, I know I’m not. I get off on filling my brain full of knowledge too. Documentaries, books, load me up. I love it. If I could get paid to go to school for the rest of my life, I’d probably do that. Nerd me up.
What are my weaknesses as an introvert?
That answer is simple. People. Dealing with people is an area of my life that, although I’m not terrible at it, causes me some difficulties. I have troubles sometimes accurately expressing myself on the spot when asked questions that feel important. My answers can be kind of slow to produce and follows a complex train of thought. This is why I tend to do more listening than I do talking with people that I don’t know too well. My answers feel more like I’m just thinking out loud and it takes me time to analyze my own thoughts to produce something simple and coherent. I also feel exhausted listening to others talk about themselves for too long. I start to miss living deep in my thoughts again after a while.
How has it affected my love life?
Well, let me tell you! I have actually had quite a few girlfriends and the funny thing is that most of them had ended up being pretty vigorous extroverts. Maybe I had found myself attracted to their strengths because they had traits in which I was lacking myself. This would work out great for a little while, a year or two maybe, but over time there was a continuous need for compromise because of the two differing personality types. This has led to complications in the past with neither person feeling completely satisfied with the relationship. I think I might hold out for a really cute introverted girl next time who likes to write and read, maybe that will work out better for me and we can send each other love letters from across the room.
Is dating difficult as an introvert?
It can be! Up until a few years ago, almost all of the girls that I had dated, I had met through friends or at parties. I was a bit too shy to just approach a random girl at the gym or on the street to make conversation and even if I did, I never knew how to go about asking for a number. It took me time to build a connection. Dating apps do make this a hell of a lot easier now days though, thank god, but online dating comes with it’s own set of problems. The majority of anxiety that I feel when dating someone new usually happens in the first date or two while I’m trying to figure this new person out.
What’s one piece of advice you could give to an extrovert looking to understand an introvert in their life a little better?
Ask them questions! Listen more, rather than speaking all the time. Be honest and open about your own life, then be patient, gentle and inquisitive about theirs. You’re going to have to dig deep if you’re ever going to want to really understand an introvert in your life. Introverts tend to be sheltered and don’t just open up without a little bit of encouragement, but we are human and do appreciate others taking an interest in us!
If an introvert feels that they can trust you, you’re going to be exposed to a very deep and interesting world which runs far below the surface. Over 90% of an icebergs volume lays beneath the surface of the ocean, and it’s kind of the same with introverts. So don’t just judge them based on what you see at the surface! They are treasures in their own way.
Discovering Your Own Personality Type
If you would like to have a better understanding of your own personality type then I would highly recommend taking this test on a website called 16 Personalities. After spending 20-30 minutes answering questions about yourself it will give you an 8 page summary of your personality type. It can be creepy how accurate it is. I’m an INTP, The Logician personality type just in case you were wondering.
Try it out and drop your results in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.