Retreat

Hello, I’m an intro­vert.

When going through Psychology 1101 to cov­er a required sci­ence elec­tive, I stud­ied the char­ac­ter­is­tics of intro­ver­sion and extro­ver­sion, but the mate­r­i­al nev­er real­ly res­onat­ed with me. As I saw it, there are vary­ing degrees of both, I fit some­where on the intro­vert­ed side of the scale, and this was the extent of the appli­ca­tion of such a sub­ject.

I can force myself to be social, friend­ly, cheer­ful (what Shirley and I call being on), but I can only do this for lim­it­ed amounts of time. Usually I can keep it going just a few hours for a par­ty or gath­er­ing, or as long as a few days as required if we’re out camp­ing or snow­board­ing, but nev­er longer than this.

The rest of the time I spend in my room, away from the world, because the social inter­ac­tions of every­day life are a huge drain on me. When I’m alone, I recharge in a way I can’t explain. I’ve spent years feel­ing guilty for this behav­iour. The North American atti­tude is that there’s some­thing wrong with being qui­et or unso­cial. The most strik­ing mem­o­ry I have of this was dur­ing frosh week, when oth­ers would con­stant­ly harass me to go drink­ing, or danc­ing, or par­ty­ing with a bunch of peo­ple I had nev­er met before.

Now there’s an expla­na­tion that makes more sense to me than a sim­ple degree on a scale. In a recent arti­cle, neu­ro­science researcher Marti Olsen Laney talks about the con­nec­tions between intro­ver­sion and biol­o­gy. “It impacts all areas of their lives: how they process infor­ma­tion, how they restore their ener­gy, what they enjoy and how they com­mu­ni­cate.”

I real­ize that there’s a great­ly sig­nif­i­cant cor­re­la­tion between the way I behave and my intro­vert­ed mind­set. Introversion is an atti­tude that affects almost every aspect of my life, deeply root­ed to a phys­i­o­log­i­cal lev­el. It isn’t some­thing I should be ashamed of or embar­rassed about.

And if I can come out of my shell every now and then, I’ll be alright.

4 comments

  1. Facinating arti­cle, thanks Jeff

  2. I under­stand this per­fect­ly. It’s just the way we’re wired.

  3. I’ve nev­er heard any­one offer­ing expla­na­tions or rea­sons or excus­es for being extro­vert­ed, yet those of us who tend to be intro­vert­ed often do those things, or worse, have those things done for us (to us?) by oth­ers, as if we or they had to offer up an under­stand­ing for what is “wrong” with us.

    There is noth­ing “wrong” with us. It is degrad­ing and a waste of time to offer expla­na­tions, and it is an insult for oth­ers to do that for us. Most intro­verts don’t both­er any­one. And some of the most obnox­ious peo­ple I’ve ever wit­nessed have been high-ener­gy extro­verts.

    Yeah, I guess you hit a nerve or some­thing…

  4. It appears that I’m not the only one. Makes me real­ize how many dis­play their intro­vert­ed behav­iours by not rais­ing any eye­brows, which makes it sur­pris­ing when some­one actu­al­ly admits to it.

    And I total­ly agree that some of the most obnox­ious peo­ple I’ve met are extro­verts. I think it’s because they draw their stim­u­la­tion from oth­ers, espe­cial­ly the opin­ions of oth­ers, and act like poseurs so that oth­ers will think of them in a cer­tain way.

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