Throughout recent decades, psychology has become extremely popular among people of all ages across continents. Having started (in its modern appearance) as a radical theory proposed by the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud, it quickly became a remedy for a number of mental dysfunctions, neuroses, and inner conflicts. Freud’s ideas had been developed by his numerous followers founding new psychological theories, challenging and disputing Freud’s original conceptions.
One of such followers was Carl Jung, most famous for his theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious. Along with other important discoveries, Jung gave the world a classification of personality types, which is now perhaps the most popular and well-known among many others. He claimed that people tend to fall into two categories: introverts and extroverts.
Of extroverts, we seem to know a lot. This is because they are more numerous, and also because western culture is oriented mostly on an extroverted type of communication and activity. Most people tend to think of extroverts as the “doers”; introverts are less noticeable, and thus less comprehended, compared to extroverts. The popular misconception about introverts is that they are cold, unemotional, and reluctant book worms. This cannot be any further from the truth. Let us take a closer look at what typical features and personality traits introverts possess.
One of the most widespread myths about introverts is that they are unsociable hermits escaping any contact with other people whenever possible. This is due to the basic difference in the mechanisms of accumulating and spending energy introverts and extroverts have: whereas extroverts gain energy in social contacts and interactions and spend it when they are alone, introverts, on the contrary, gain energy in solitude, and spend it when socializing and interacting with their environments. In other words, introverts lose energy during communication at roughly the same rate as extroverts lose it in solitude. This is why introverts prefer being alone: not all the time, as many people believe, but for as long as they need to recover for new social interactions. While for extroverts, the best way to have a rest is to hang out with friends or engage in a fun and exciting activity, introverts replenish their inner resources by reading, listening to music, engaging in hobbies, or thinking about whatever they find interesting. So, “fully charged” introverts are not too different from extroverted people: they love socializing, having fun, and spending time with friends, but they need to take breaks, and tolerate prolonged periods of solitude better (Verywell Mind).
Speaking of friends: introverts are usually more picky and peculiar about their surroundings. This is not because they are snobbish or contemptuous; rather, introverts tend to seek deeper, long-lasting, and more meaningful relationships than extroverts. Introverts can get along with new people just as good as extroverts, but they are more careful about letting people get close to them, and prefer bonding only with people whom they truly trust (Collective Evolution). It is fair to say that introverts prefer the quality of relationships over quantity, so they tend to seek people with diverse interests and a deep inner world.
Introverts tend to be more productive and creative when they work on their own. Although interacting with a team of coworkers is usually not a problem, it requires an introvert to spend additional energy to communicate, explaining their ideas to the public, and defending their point of view, if needed. Rather than doing all this (and thus robbing themselves of creative capabilities), introverts often prefer to work on ideas alone, sharing only the results of their work (Collective Evolution).
In addition, introverts are extremely self-aware. They tend to dig deep into their feelings, thoughts, dim and unclear sensations—unless they figure out what lies underneath. This can be both beneficial and destructive for them, especially if they do not know how to deal with the discoveries they make about themselves.
Overall, it is important to say that introverts are not the egocentric and cold rationalists our society tends to portray them as. Their behavior is more about the ways they gain and expend energy: whereas extroverts (who make up the majority of the population) draw it from social interactions and communication, introverts recharge their batteries in solitude, spending their energy resources in social situations. Introverts also tend to be more self-sufficient, working and feeling better when left alone; on the other hand, they tend to have less friends and social contacts, and their tendency to dig deep into their inner world may sometimes cause them emotional stress.
Cherry, Kendra. “8 Signs You Might Be an Introvert.” Verywell Mind, www.verywellmind.com/signs-you-are-an-introvert-2795427.
Fries, Dan. “17 Misunderstood Characteristics of Introverts.” Collective Evolution, 12 Dec. 2016, www.collective-evolution.com/2016/09/12/17-misunderstood-characteristics-of-introverts/.
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