Misunderstanding Introverts

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

So begins an excellent article called Caring for Your Introvert (HT: Br. Maynard) that describes the rich interior world of the introvert, and how difficult it is for extroverts to understand us.

As I am an introvert, I’ve wondered in the past about how to be an introvert in community. Perhaps something that would help is to get all the extroverts to read this article!

So, if you are an extrovert who has anybody in your community who fits the description above, read the article. If you are introvert, read the article for some good nodding material, and pass it on to every extrovert you know.

4 responses to “Misunderstanding Introverts”

  1. While making broad generalizations and emphasizing extreme cases a bit heavily, Brother Maynard’s article still has a few interesting points.
    Of course, in reality very few people fit so neatly into his little boxes, and his article/rant seems to come from a place of angry bitterness, or at best, severe annoyance.
    One wonders if his introversion has anything to do with being socially-challenged and a bit defensive about it. So maybe introversion is a way of excusing yourself from dealing with social situations, as though it’s a disability that should be accommodated.
    A few other points:
    – I would wager that many extroverts dislike small talk as well.
    – And yes, gaps in conversation actually are awkward to introverts, perhaps even moreso than to others.
    – Being an introvert is not equated with being a good listener.
    – Yes, other people are scary. Deal with it.

    . . .And I wonder. . . perhaps there is a higher percentage of introverts who blog? Nothing like internet communication to provide a safe distance while still having a voice!
    (And even more safe to use a pseudonym, brother).

  2. I’m coming forward as an INFJ. Whew, that was hard. I need to be alone, now.

    I think Jesus was an introvert, too. Look at his pattern of engagement and withdrawal.

  3. Matt, thanks for this. As an expressive introvert, commonly mistaken for an extrovert because of my interactions in public gatherings, I embrace the quiet, re-engerizing nature of the inner beast.

    Rise on, you.

  4. Thanks for your bravery Kathy. I’m a dead split between INFP and INFJ myself. That either makes me well rounded, or confused.

    Cheers Dan. We’ve got to stick together, by giving each other space!

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