Introversion

If you are an Introvert your primary orientation will be to your own internal, private world and it is from here that you will draw your energy. This does not mean that you don’t like to socialise or that you are not a people person. It is just that, too much ‘extraverting’ will deplete your energy levels and you will need some “you” time to recharge. You will prefer to chew things over and your neurons will be processed inside your head so that when the answer comes out it is perfectly formed - and often the right one as it has been carefully thought through before being vocalised. The general chitchat of life is not where you are strongest or where you are at your most effective, preferring to think deeply about issues and also preferring to have a real purpose rather than just jumping in and seeing what happens.

Jung (an Introvert) described Introversion this way:

The introvert is not forthcoming…holds aloof from external happenings, does not join in, has a distinct dislike of society as soon as he finds himself among too many people. The more crowded it is, the greater becomes his resistance. He is not a good mixer. What he does, he does in his own way, barricading himself against influences from outside…has an everlasting fear of making a fool of himself…and surrounds himself with a barbed wire entanglement so dense and impenetrable that finally he himself would rather do anything than sit behind it. His own world is a safe harbour, a carefully tended and walled-in garden, closed to the public and hidden from prying eyes. His own company is the best. He feels at home in his world, where the only changes are made by himself. His best work is done with his own resources, on his own initiative, and in his own way.

CJ Jung, Psychological Types, CW 6, pars. 1-7

Jung may be being a little playful, and self-deprecating, but we can see the main message is a serious one, that Introverts need their space and time and too much time spent with other people will cause you to withdraw and re-energise in your own world and in your own way. It might sometimes be helpful, when engaging with your Extravert counterpart, especially those who don’t know you well, to consider just explaining how you work best. For example an Extravert will not respond well to silence and you require processing time when asked a question. So learning to just say, “I am thinking it through” or “I will think it through and I will get back to you” will help an Extravert better understand how you work best and ‘get’ you. As Susan Cain points out in her book “Quiet: the power of introverts” we live in a primarily extraverted world and much of the advice to Introverts is around how you can become more extraverted or, worse still, how you can appear more extraverted. This is not really possible or is it desirable. A far better way is to show the value of the difference and just some small hooks for the Extravert “I need space as I’m thinking” will show that you are both different indeed demonstrate the value of an argument or answer that has been carefully processed rather than verbalised.

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