The truth behind the introverted personality

Beyond the stereotype

Story by Lauren French, Copy Editor

I was a loud, boisterous child. Remember that bossy kid on the block who rarely paid attention to authority, didn’t understand “inside voices” and always had to choose the game?  That was me.

My dedicated parents bought a book called “Raising your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic” to responsibly nurture my strong-willed personality.

So take a guess: am I an introvert or an extrovert?

Popular assumption would label me as an extrovert, and it’s the wrong answer. I’m definitely an introvert, but not for reasons usually associated with the personality type. Introverted personalities are stigmatized as shy, unconfident, lonely people who don’t like to socialize.

While a few of these traits may hold true for some introverts out there, I don’t identify with this archetype.

I like to socialize, meet new people, go out and keep a busy schedule. Social interaction doesn’t make me nervous and I never really feel shy.

I think the real distinction between extroverts and introverts is the length of time we can go before we crave quality alone time.

The Myers & Briggs Foundation, facilitators of the personality test Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, defines introverted personalities as those who gain their energy by looking inwards and spending time alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain their energy by being around other people, actively participating in events and energizing others.

In short, extroverts gain energy from social interaction with large groups of people while introverts expend energy.

Think of an introvert as a car that runs on quality alone time instead of gasoline.  Social outings are road trips – they’re fun, exciting and help form new memories and relationships. However, you need gas for a road trip.

Nobody likes to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere on a road trip, just like introverts don’t like to be caught in the middle of a high-energy event when a cup of tea and a good book wait for them at home.

This does not mean introverts dislike socializing. Introverts just need time to recharge on their own.

Myers-Briggs data said approximately 50 percent of the population are introverts. If every single introvert fit the stereotype, half the population would be quiet, unconfident, shy and antisocial.

Personality types aren’t as black and white as they seem – introverts can be loud, confident, and even bossy.

Let an introvert charge up and they might just be the life of the party.