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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

time magazine- the upside of being an introvert

I posted a bit on this in November

Time Magazine - 'The Upside Of Being An Introvert.' 

I hear others talk about being shy or how we must get out of our comfort zone, but I don't think they know the half of it sometimes. These things mean entirely different things to introverts and extroverts. Not that we introverts shouldn't try and get out of the comfort zone once in a while, but our culture is such that we are often expected to live outside of it- and the thought of being expected to go even further out of it sometimes makes me want to blow a gasket. Ok. More realistically, it makes me want to disengage.

Maybe I'll start with the quiz. Of course there is a quiz! 

Some of the items made me smile. You let calls go to voicemail. I hate to admit it, but can't deny that one. I don't do the phone thing unless I have to. 

Prefer writing to talking, enjoy solitude, etc. Of course! This is one of the main reasons this blog exists. The usual suspects when you're talking about introverts.

It was interesting to find that being "less concerned with wealth, fame and status" is a trait of introverts. I have spent a lot of time thinking about why these things are important and tempting to so many and why I am so uninterested in them (i.e. What's wrong with me?? Where's my ambition??). 

Dislike small talk, but enjoy talking in depth about what matters to me. 
This was a point of confusion I had growing up. I have been described and have even described myself as not liking to talk. This clarification (in the quiz) of this generalization is kind of perfect. 

Prefer to not show my work until it's finished. That one stuck out big time! I have thought I was a perfectionist, but sometimes that doesn't fit. I can relate to this whether it was school work, an informal note, or even this blog.

I feel drained after being out, even if I've had fun. 
This one is one that stuck out. It was hard for me to accept or took a long time to understand. I always wanted to love parties and social gatherings as much as everyone else seemed to. And easy solution is to not participate, but that can be lonely. And then you think it's your fault you are lonely because you made the decision not to go. This conundrum isn't recognized all that much. You either like people or you don't. Be decisive! 

I am reminded of when I was a teenager and my poor mom flipped out when I said out loud that I hated people. I don't think I meant that exactly. I was probably just frustrated with this supposed dichotemy and feeling like I was living in a world made for someone else. Why don't I like to have fun (as everyone else defines it) and why does no one value what I'm good at? I was made to question a lot of good traits I had/have (not just the typical good girl, good listener stuff) and I imagine I didn't articulate it well. Ok. So it did sound pretty horrible. 

I don't enjoy multitasking. Now there's an understatement. I guess I didn't really think of that as a trait of introverts, either. That probably got me in trouble at work more than once. :) I wonder what would be my perfect career. This isn't the first time I've wondered this. I would say law because I could pay attention to details and would have the passion to be a voice for the voiceless since I could relate. Then there's the public arguments and all that... An introvert (former) lawyer is mentioned in the article as having a personality not fitting the career, but I think there were parts that fit quite well...

 I said I'd start with the quiz, but I probably hit on some points of the article that struck a cord with me, so I'll probably just end with it as well. They also talk about a study that more of less predicted the introverts out of a group of 5 month olds. Interesting stuff.

Just after it is an article by Dr. Oz that is not worth reading at all. Well, he does eventually make the point that you shouldn't force your kid to be what they aren't. That's a good point. I'll give him that.

But, he concedes that it's ok to be an introvert in some cases, but shyness ("genuine maladaptive shyness" as he calls it) is usually a sign of disease (not enough blood to the brain), autism, anxiety disorders, OCD, etc. It's possible that's not what he's saying, but in a one page article, at least half, maybe more, was talking about these cases and ways to medicate. From the title (Charms of the Quiet Child), I guess I assumed it would be a little more on the benefits of shy/introverted personalities than about when one should worry or seek medical intervention.

And he generalizes that it's easy to cheer for extroverted athletes, but the introverted math and science inclined should be equally cheered on. I think he's trying to make a good point, but ends up being too specific. Maybe he's talking about his own family, but it came off like painting with a broad brush, like he doesn't get it.


  1. I was simply looking for that darn elusive Time article and trying to read it for free at the recommendation of a friend and I stumbled upon your blog and this post. WOW. I felt like I wrote was a great read....and I feel strangely better about myself, so thank you!

    1. I was looking for the time article too-
      Read a book- This one is worth buying. Trust me.

  2. I read the article this morning waiting for a doctors appt, I was really glad I made the effort to sift through the magazines and not just grab the one on top (nearly just settled for a girly mag as I was feeling awkward around the other people! ha!)

    Great article, made me feel good, and the quiz blew me away, I also liked the letting calls go to voicemail one, guilty! and not showing work till finished... wow, I am not alone!

    Thanks for writing up about it! :)

  3. Lifelong introvert here. You find your way, and life is good. Im signing this as anonymous - of course!

    1. I read this article in Time Magazine while at Indigo and found myself laughing out loud...not because it was funny, or silly, but because for once, something described me. I am not shy and always knew I was an introvert. I am 40 years old and to this day my mom still says she wishes I had a large group of girlfriends and would go out and do something fun. What she doesn't realize is that I am having fun...being alone. What she thinks is fun, makes me want to jump out of my skin! Great article Time magazine! Thanks for putting a real face to intoverts. I hope lots of extroverts read this in an effort to understand how we live in their world...however, maybe they are too busy talking??

  4. Wow. Just wow. Like Ida I was trying to access the Time article...without the subscription, cause I'm cheap like that :) So, I find your article and it's like holding up a mirror. I'm just sitting here, looking at the screen with this silly grin on my face, thinking 'this explains EVERYTHING'. Thank you for writing this :D