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Understanding introverts

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2005

Thomas at Liberty Corner linked to a wonderful 2003 Jonathan Rauch article about introversion by saying simply, "Jonathan Rauch understands. Just read it, please." I’ll just say, "ditto."

Rauch, a self-confessed introvert, is alternately amusing and enlightening. The article might even help the rest of you understand those of us who genuinely enjoy time alone:

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: "I’m okay, you’re okay—in small doses."

How many people are introverts? I performed exhaustive research on this question, in the form of a quick Google search. The answer: About 25 percent. Or: Just under half. Or—my favorite—"a minority in the regular population but a majority in the gifted population."  
Are introverts arrogant? Hardly. I suppose this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts.

Read the whole thing. Even if you’re an extrovert, you’ll enjoy it. For those like me, with a Myers-Briggs Type of INTP or INTJ, it’s not just amusing and enlightening, but affirming.

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One Response to “Understanding introverts”

  1. Jan from Denver said

    I loved the article! I am a proud INTJ who needs lots and lots of quiet time.

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