Introverts, extroverts and the social world we live in

At university, I have been advised to be as sociable as humanly possible. Which brings me to this post’s main topic. I’ve noticed this year that many others of the Christian variety seem interested in aspects of personality, particularly the introvert v extrovert scale. I still don’t fully understand why, I’m sure there are spiritual reasons behind it, but for some reason this has rubbed off on me. Well it’s complicated and geeky so why wouldn’t it?

One link that inspired me to write this post is this: http://themetapicture.com/how-to-interact-with-the-introverted/. I came across it while procrastinating on Facebook, and it brought to mind how the concept of introversion v extroversion has become one of the latests “trends” on the internet (internet trends really are weird, aren’t they? I mean, LOLcat pictures, Gangnam style and introvert v extrovert wars…sorry, I digress.)

Anyway, as the article says, extroverts are the social types who gain their energy from being around people, while introverts find socialising draining and need regular time alone. I have mixed feelings about this article’s depiction of introverts.

For a start, I can definitely relate to the feeling of interaction being “expensive” and having to “recharge” when feeling drained. This may have become apparent to my parents on days when I would get home from school/college and, when asked how my day was, would just say “fine” before retiring to my room, only coming up with a more detailed account a few hours later.

Or in hindsight, this might have shown when, as a child, I would go into a quiet room to read during my own birthday parties. I don’t know. I also fully agree with the statement: Introverts get lonely, too! I spent a lot of time at school feeling both socially drained and lonely; it is not a good feeling.

What I disagree with is the bit about extroverts being “obnoxious predators”. In the social world it is the extroverts who do better socially, on the internet these days it is introversion that seems to be coming into fashion. My response to that: what is the point? We live in a world of trends, and however introverted or extroverted you are, you can’t fully change such a basic and fundamental part of your personality because the world says one thing and the internet says another. Besides, I know many extroverts who, I’m fairly sure, aren’t obnoxious predators. Or if they are, I clearly haven’t noticed it yet.

Another thing that bugs me is how the article implies that introverts need to be interacted with, and generally treated, in a special way. I know I am guilty of not responding well to small talk and keeping to myself when I could be talking, but that is for me to deal with – if I want/need to be more sociable I can, ditto if I really do need time to myself. As for “saying hello, being polite and relaxed and not pressing for gossip” – is that really introverted interaction, or just general good manners? No that wasn’t a rhetorical question, I’m really not sure.

Just a thought.

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