Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life As An Introvert: Be Frank To Survive

I read those bunch of articles saying that being introvert is a bad thing. A lot of people seem to think so, judging by the number of articles about how to "cure" introversion. In response to these articles, I took a reference from Pick The Brain; why introverts should to strike back! The writings argued that:

Introverts can't become extraverts
They shouldn't particularly want to

Let us get clear the main topic what we are talking about. According to the MBTI, introverts get their energy from the internal world of ideas and images, and they feel drained if they spend too much time with people. On the other hand, extraverts (no, I am not typo, because according to MBTI, that IS the correct spelling as used in it, extrAverts) get their energy from the external world of people and things, and if they spend too much time alone, they'll go crazy. It really has nothing to do with social skills. Kindly note that.

At first you may choose whether you prefer the internal world or the external world, but the preferences is fixed. You can force yourself to act out of your element, but an introvert can't become an extravert and vice versa. I doubt tips like "say hi to mooooreeeee people"will do the trick.

Introversion certainly has its advantages. For example, introverts make up a slight majority of the upper levels of government, the military, and the corporate world, despite being only 30% of the population. I am not here to debate whether it's better to be an introvert or an extravert. It's not the main point. The fact is we should interact with both types every day. Regardless of which type we are, we can improve our relationship to everyone by learning to get along better with people of the other type. We learn. Always.

When an extravert sees the introverts reading, writing, or maybe just thinking, they might assume that the only reason you would do this is because you don't have someone to talk to. So they think they're doing you a favor by striking up a conversation, when they're actually interrupting. YES, they're interrupting. To prevent this, I always make sure to give indication that I'm in the middle of something and aren't looking for socialization right now :) e.g. close the door or verbal sign by saying sorry I'm in this thing to get done. Just be frank and say, "If I don't make eye contact or respond to you, I apologize. I'm not trying to be rude, I just have a lot of things to do. Thank you for your understanding. We can talk later."

However, as great as our internal world is, don't forget that external world is also good in moderation. Be sure to set aside some time to spend with other people, and take advantage of social opportunities that present themselves to you. And, when you're around other people, make yourself fun to be with! You can re-charge your energy later on. Don't worry.

Well, my life as an introvert will be continued.