I’m an introvert, it doesn’t mean I’m shy, I just don’t want to talk to everyone

I’m an introvert, it doesn’t mean I’m shy, I just don’t want to talk to everyone

I love psychology and I find self-awareness and self-evaluation fascinating. Screening tools and surveys telling me more about who I am is right up my alley!  I could eat up all day with a spoon and still ask for more.

I have used StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI is an industry gold standard), and a slew of tools (not as scientifically validated, but still fun and eerily accurate) in my journey for further self-awareness.

My personality evaluations consistently say I am an introvert.

According to MBTI, introversion and extraversion addresses how you draw energy. “Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (Extraversion), or in your inner world of ideas and images (Introversion)? Everyone spends some time extraverting and some time introverting. Don’t confuse introversion with shyness or reclusiveness. They are not related.”

I am often met with utter confusion when I tell people I’m an introvert. They are aghast, as if it’s not possible. “But you’re so outgoing!  I don’t believe it!”

It’s worth repeating: “Don’t confuse introversion with shyness or reclusiveness. They are not related.”

Yes, I’m affable and I can easily chat with anyone from any walk of life. I appear to be a social butterfly.  Truth is I am introvert conditioned to thrive in our very social society where the number of friends you have is social currency.  This actually sounds like high school to me; do we ever leave high school?

As an introvert, I subsequently draw energy from my inner world.  I draw energy from some people (my soul friends).  Even so, I am happy being alone.

The best way I can describe my introversion is by being super selective about who I spend time with, and open up to. It’s not about being a social recluse and anti-social.  I am selectively social. I can certainly hang with just about anyone, but I only feel comfortable really letting my personality shine around people I connect to on a much deeper level.  It doesn’t have to be someone I’ve known for years, it could be a person I’ve just met and we just vibe.  Have you experienced this too?

Our society values gregariousness, charm and charisma. The quiet kid in the corner is often misunderstood, ignored or sadly bullied.  Being a perceptive individual, I noticed this at a young age and adapted accordingly to “turn it on” when called for.  Furthermore, I did a lot of musical theater, plays, choir performances, dance and piano recitals.  All this really helped me feel incredibly comfortable on stage and as the center of attention.  I can easily get up in front of a large crowd without breaking a sweat.  I really enjoy public speaking and performing because introversion isn’t shyness, it’s about how I personally recharge.

Amy Schumer wrote about this in her book (a fellow introvert), she knows how to turn it on and perform (to great success!), but then she needs to recharge.  We both need to go solo for a good chunk of time.  I am right there with you Amy (but not interacting with you, or even in the same room… just somewhere chilling quietly on my own).

It was not until I became an adult did I feel comfortable accepting the fact I just prefer to be by myself in quiet reflection than chatting with someone for the sake of chatting. I feel myself drained when I need to engage in social settings with people I don’t feel personally connected to.  Therefore, I value my alone time much more.  So I am not being anti-social or shy, I just do not want to talk to anyone and everyone.

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