27 February 2014

How I Know I Am An Introvert

One of the major milestones in my recent life was coming to terms with the fact that I am an introvert. It actually changed my life considerably. It explained so much!

Since discovering this, I've been keen to embrace this aspect of my personality, to ensure that I am not acting contrary to my own nature. I've made friends with some fellow INFJs, many of whom are Christians like myself. My son has also done some work on this, realising he is also an introvert. I wish I had known about this topic when I was his age. It would have saved me so much heartache in my teens and twenties, trying to be someone I am not.

There is quite a good article about this here. The article mentions that there are often as many as 23 tell-tale signs that a person might be an introvert. It's more than just needing time alone.

So, how do I measure up?

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.
Tick. I blogged about this in depth a couple of years ago. Here's the link. I do find this difficult but I am working hard with techniques to help overcome this problem.
2. You go to parties – but not to meet people.
Tick. I'm not a party animal but will go if I am invited, but usually end up working - say, in the kitchen washing up. I'd much prefer to have a job to do than stand there 'exposed'. Or you might find me chatting in the corner of the hallway, far away from all the noise...
3. You often feel alone in a crowd.
Tick. Very often!
4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.
Tick. I find it very hard to network in the modern way - it just seems so false! Ugh! Incidentally, I have just been listening to a podcast on this very topic - some good ideas here for introverts. Check out Episode 20 of 'The Introvert Entrepreneur' here.
5. You've been called 'too intense'.
Tick. Or does that mean these people are just too shallow?
6. You're easily distracted.
Tick. Aren't modern offices such noisy places? Thank goodness for a day filled with complex spreadsheets or lengthy data input - I can get away with putting in my headphones and shutting out the hubbub from the others.
7. Downtime doesn't feel unproductive to you.
Oh, tick. I need to recharge! I love those mornings that I allow myself time to just 'potter' around the house. Or to sit down with a pile of (real) books. Bliss!
8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.
Tick. Remarkably true. I tend to keep myself busy after a large church gathering, even if I am not participating. Meeting so many people 'one-to-one' is positively exhausting. I try my best.
9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench – not in the middle.
Tick. I laughed out loud at this one. You see, on a train journey, I'll usually sit on the seat that will allow contact with the minimum amount of people. A two-seater is the ideal.
One evening I took the train home and sat in a carriage where all the lights had fused. Pitch black. Nobody wanted to sit in there. I did; it was great!
10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.
Tick. I find that I can push my own boundaries quite a way before things start going awry, however I admit to 'zoning out' when I push myself just a bit too far. Trying to save the world gets costly...
11. You're in a relationship with an extrovert.
Tick! Have been married to Christine for over two decades now. We complement one another...
12. You'd rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.
Interesting, haven't really thought much about this one. Most bosses try to get their staff to be a 'jack of all trades', so that they are useful in all areas of the workplace, not just one. Guess there might be something in this.
13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.
Tick. Horrible prospect!
14. You screen all your calls - even from friends.
Tick. Thank heavens for Caller ID on phones! Sometimes I do refrain from picking up a call (even from someone that I like!) if I am not in the mood for it at present. It's even worse when someone knocks at your door, 'dropping in' unannounced, just waiting at your doorstep expecting to be welcomed in. That's often where I need my wife to screen them for a while until I can get my head together...
15. You notice details that others don't.
Tick. And it's amazing how many people get annoyed about this - I've been accused of 'nitpicking', when all I was doing was using my 'keen eye for detail'...
16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.
Tick. Do I have to explain that?
17. You have low blood pressure.
Wow, are you sure? Apparently a Japanese study concluded that introverts tended to have lower blood pressure than extroverts. :)
18. You've been called an 'old soul' - since your 20s.
Really? I was called a 'silver fox' last week...
19. You don't feel 'high' from your surroundings.
Parties aren't really my thing, so Tick I guess.... I do find a busy environment to be draining rather than stimulating...
20. You look at the big picture.
I suppose so. I'm interested in the idea, in the overall concept. I do work well with details, but I need to agree with the whole concept if I need to 'buy in'.
21. You've been told to 'come out of your shell'.
Sadly, yes. Tick. I've had it drummed into me for many years that there was something wrong with me because I'm not as outspoken as others. I'm just differently gifted.
22. You’re a writer.
Tick. Welcome to my blog!!!! I used to write short stories when I was younger, reams of articles for a science fiction newsletter, and now have found blogging as an outlet. I cannot not write (if you understand that)...
23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.
Tick. I love to be busy, filling every spare part of my day with things to do. However, suddenly I find I am simply too busy and desperately seek time on my own. Sometimes I will simply work through my lunch hour - other times I can't wait to get out of the office for some down-time. Haven't quite worked this aspect out yet.

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