Monday, January 9, 2012

On Behaving This Way

The following is a snippet from an an article that a fellow blogger pointed me to recently.

The introvert 'class' behave the way they do (quiet, shy, private, etc.) because they...
  1. don't know who they are


  2. intentionally want to hide who they are from others (because who they are is unattractive/offensive/etc. to others in perception and/or in reality AND/OR because they perceive some tactical advantage over others by not revealing their 'hand')


  3. are afraid of / don't trust others,

Sigh. When a person is this wrong about introverts (at least in my opinion), I then begin to wonder whether I should find another label to go by. I can only speak for myself here, but none of the three items above describes me. Instead, I would say this:
  1. I know very well who I am, and probably more so than most people. I could likely attribute much of this to the very fact that I'm an introvert, which has given me more time to be introspective and to evaluate who I am.
  2. If and when I intentionally hide from others, it's because it feels good. But the truth is that I'm glad to be selective about who I show myself to, and when I do open up to someone I tend to give all that I can of myself.
  3. It's not fear that keeps me away from others. It's that I desire something else. I think what people see as being "afraid" is really a projection of their own anxieties.

Sometimes, I wish I didn't know what people thought of my behavior. I'm not likely to behave differently because of it, and being judged so wrongly certainly won't persuade me to hide any less. If anything, I'll end up reinforcing the wrong-headed ideas because of my utter lack of desire to associate with them.

Behaving this way is right for me. But I suppose I'll have to accept that not everyone sees it the same way.



Unknown said...

I agree with YOUR ABC.. very much. I, too, tend to give all I can, when encouraged properly. Otherwise, no one knows me, either. I don't think I'm as extreme as you are, but I'm probably not too far behind you.. I just hide it better, as I'm probably older..LOL Irritates me when extraverts try to make out that we are "weird". Oh, well.. they can't stand their own company, and I feel sorry for them for that..

Zeri Kyd said...

Hi, Jean, it's good to see you, and thanks for the solidarity. About hiding it better: a part of me wishes that we could get better at not needing to hide it, instead. In an ideal world, anyway.

Anonymous said...

What about point B contradicts your prefererence for hiding?

"AND/OR because they perceive some tactical advantage over others by not revealing their 'hand'"

it feels good for you to hide, that's why you do it. you percieve a tactical life advantage by hiding, that's why it feels good.

unfortunately, that doesn't mean it's healthy (what feels good does not equal truth, that's the Jungian feeling bias). the introvert preference when you strip out the emotionally unstable introverts (shyness and/or social anxiety is about emotional instability not introversion), is about hiding. if you think exhibitionism (extrovert preference) is unhealthy to any degree, you have to see that the opposite (hiding) is also problematic. what's your check against subjective bias? introverts and extroverts are both narrow minded orientations. the introvert closes themself off to outside influence, the extrovert closes themself off to internal influence. both are foolish preferences. don't mistake orientation for identity and spend your free time defending your dysfunctional behavioral preferences.

"Sometimes, I wish I didn't know what people thought of my behavior."

oh no, scary external influences calling into question your sensibility.

"Behaving this way is right for me. But I suppose I'll have to accept that not everyone sees it the same way."

fixation, fixation, fixation.

Zeri Kyd said...

Anonymous, I should first say that, unless I'm using it in its most playful sense, "hiding" is not how I would describe what I do. The word hide implies secretiveness, or sometimes even falseness. If sometimes I am hidden, it's not because my intentions are suspect. I'm not concealing my "hand".

And if I ever speak of hiding here, it's usually in the sense that I enjoy solitude.

My exception with point "B" is the statement in its entirety. I don't crave solitude in order to gain any "tactical advantage over others." That attitude reeks of paranoia. I enjoy solitude because it's peaceful, because it allows me to recharge, and because there's a relief in it from stimulation; in essence, I enjoy solitude because it feels good. It has nothing to do with a "tactical advantage over others."

Being introverted isn't about hiding, as you say. That's merely what others perceive; it's how it looks from the outside. Being introverted is about the tendency to look inwards, and perhaps about being physically wired to enjoy the world a smaller piece at a time. Taking some alone time and being quiet are just side effects of introversion. To proclaim these behaviors as being what introversion is about is to miss the point.

I don't believe there's anything unhealthy about enjoying solitude. Nor about the tendency to be quiet. I don't think behaving as an introvert is problematic, and I certainly don't think it's dysfunctional. (For the record, I also don't see extroversion as unhealthy, at least not unless it's somehow doing harm; exhibitionism isn't harmful -- it's just not my thing.)

I enjoy quality time with people, and I enjoy quality time alone. I'm neither avoiding intimacy nor hating people. My introversion isn't a rejection of society, nor of any one individual. It may not define my identity, but introversion is certainly a big part of my makeup.

Just because I'm introverted doesn't mean that I'm closing myself off from external influences. I expose myself to the outside world more selectively, but I'm highly satisfied and rewarded by doing so. I don't find external influences "scary", as you say; rather, I find it sad, disappointing, and sometimes even disturbing to learn what others think of introverts.

Finally, I should note that this blog is a personal one. It's about my experiences and my thoughts on the subject of introversion. My subjective bias requires no check here.