Thursday, January 16, 2014

The "Extreme" In Extreme Introversion

Most of us are wary of the extremes. Extreme extroverts are as questionable as extreme introverts. In either case, we might ask, "What kind of drugs are you on?" For extreme athletes, we might attribute a death wish. Look up the word "extreme" on Google, and one of the related searches you'll see is "extreme couponing". Enough said.

It's easier to understand the common ground than it is to venture towards the edge.

Last year, I was asked how I know that I'm an "extreme introvert". I thought it was an interesting question. What makes my introversion extreme? And how do I know that's what I am? These are two very philosophical questions, but I'll try not to get too deep while answering them.

Part of the reason that I use the phrase is because more and more literature is finally being published about introversion, and the topic is described in an overly generic way. It's written about in such a manner as to include most of the world. Evidently, up to fifty percent of the population falls somewhere on the introversion spectrum, meaning half of us have at least some introverted tendencies. When you consider this, you can see why I -- among others -- would try to make a distinction. I classify myself as an "extreme" introvert because my introversion seems to be amplified. It's the difference between having mild tendencies versus being very clearly introverted. Simply put, the word introvert is overused; so I've added a modifier -- if introversion means "turning inwards", then extreme introversion means "turning inwards with gusto".

But how do I know that I'm on the deep end of the introversion spectrum? There's no exact formula for measuring these things -- it's guesswork, at best. There are tests online (e.g., the Meyers-Briggs test) that tell us how introverted we are, as a rough percentage, but the best test is experience. I know how I am in comparison to others because I spend time with people. I put myself in situations that allow me to make comparisons. I socialize now and then. You might say that I experiment.

How do I know? I know because I've tried being like everyone else, and I've also allowed myself to stop trying and to just be me. The difference is huge; in fact, the difference is extreme.

 

10 comments:

Mei said...

According to Meyers-Briggs I am INTJ. I'm not sure what that makes me. I suppose I am satisfied to be who I am. I am not able to envision me any other way. I am not convinced it would be better.

My idea is be satisfied with who you are. As the saying goes, "Those who matter do not mind and those who mind do not matter."

Zeri Kyd said...

Hi, Mei, I can see that, I suppose. You are somewhat analytic. But you're right -- you can't be boiled down to a label. You're just yourself, and that's as it should be.

burningcandles said...

I also think that I am an extreme introvert, just from observation of how others interact and socialize. I simply do not feel comfortable socializing a lot. I am a loner and an extreme introvert. Even when I am around quite a few other people, there may be a couple of people with whom I feel comfortable enough to socialize with for a while, but that's it.

Zeri Kyd said...

Hi, burningcandles, and welcome. You may be right, and if so it's good that you know it. It seems to make life easier when we accept who we are and aren't struggling to be something else.

Kerry Jackson said...

Zeri, have you taken the Meyers-Briggs test? what's your type?

Zeri Kyd said...

Hi, Kerry, yes, I'm told that my type is INFJ.

Kerry Jackson said...

Thanks for responding. I'm INTP. Most of what you post seems so identical to most of the internal dialogue I have with myself. So it's good to not feel so odd about feeling how I feel at time as I navigate throughout life.

Zeri Kyd said...

And thank you for the feedback, Kerry. I should probably write more and quote less, but there is so much good reading. Recently, I read about a term that's becoming more popular, "asociality", which touches on "extreme" introversion; maybe I'll write about that soon.

Niharika said...

could you please publish a list of your favorite books?
-same anonymous girl who said it was comforting to know that you exist.

Zeri Kyd said...

Hi, Niharika, I would provide that list, but only for a list of your own favorites in return. :-) Send an email if you like.