Any regular reader of this blog knows by now that one of my passions is studying people's behavior, shedding light on why we do what we do. I get particularly excited when I discover explanations and validation for my own behavior. So when I recently read this article I knew I had stumbled onto something especially interesting!
Ever since I was little I have been labeled as shy, quiet, reserved and introverted. I am not sure at what point I really became aware of what these labels meant as applied to me, only that somewhere down the road I decided I was shy and that wasn't necessarily something to be proud of. I have never lacked for friends and enjoy and need people in my life. I like being social, I entertain often and love a good party. So what makes me an introvert? And why do I end up feeling this is a "bad" thing?
According to Jonathan Rauch :"Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world." He goes on to say that according to research introverts make up approximately 25% of the population. In other words I'm in the minority. Our society is geared for extroverts who require little to no down time and who do not understand the introverts need to regularly withdraw. This need to slow down and re-group is the fundamental difference between an introvert and an extrovert. While extroverts are energized by being with people, introverts need time alone to re energize after being social. For me, this goes along with how I process information. There is so much information for me to digest when I'm in a group that I just need that down time afterwards to process it all. I assume that saying something once is enough. I think before I talk, and even though I sometimes process out loud I have to feel very safe with a person in order to do that. I generally don't like small talk and find it boring. I'm working on this. I can see that diving into deep, interpersonal topics might scare some folks!
So yes, my name is Erin and I am an introvert. I am learning to accept and even love this about myself. After all - it's just another way to let my freak flag fly!!