Friday, July 8, 2011

An Introvert No More?

When I was a young child I was always shy and quiet. When I was a teenager I grew into social awkwardness. In college I learned that these tendencies were the result of something called introversion. Now, not all introverts are shy, quiet, and socially awkward, but it's not uncommon either.

I really liked being by myself or being with people I was extremely close to. Social outings with people that were only acquaintances or strangers were stressful and tiring. School was exhausting. Work was taxing. I always wanted more friends and social interaction, and I would force myself to do those things, but I was always most comfortable in my my own private little world. Big time introvert.

But then something changed. Maybe like a series of fortunate events. I became best friends with someone who raised my confidence in my social skills and in my value as a fun person to be with. My friendship with her made me feel more comfortable with being myself with a wider range of people and therefore I was more outgoing.

In addition to that friendship I went through several experiences over the course of a couple of years that pretty much forced me out of my comfortable introvert shell. Moving 2,000 miles from your hometown without a single person you know will do that to you.

I'm still not 100% clear how it all happened, but somehow I became less introverted. Almost to the point of wondering if I' extrovert???

If you're unfamiliar with all this introvert-extrovert talk, it comes from the Myers-Briggs. There are 4 categories:


I've always been an INFJ, but since I have been recently feeling less and less like an introvert, I decided to read the profile for the ENFJ. Overall, I think I'm still more of an I than an E, but it was interesting to see how many of the ENFJ qualities I posess.

Jung believed that the mature individual learns to develop the opposing side of their personality. All of the components are on a continuum, so you can be a "strong" or "weak" introvert, etc. The mature person who is for instance a J, should be able to explore and incorporate the P side of themselves. Perhaps that is what I have done. Perhaps as an introvert, I have moved down on the continuum, closer to neutral, and have learned to incorporate the extroverted side of myself into my personality.

Whatever it is, I am enjoying it. There's nothing wrong with being an introvert, and I still enjoy my introverteded tendencies to spend time in quietness with my thoughts or with my closest loved ones. But I am also enjoying the freedom of feeling like I can express and communicate my thoughts and feelings with others.

If you've never taken the Myers-Briggs Inventory, it's really fascinating and helpful in uderstanding yourself and others.

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