Are You Actually an Introvert?

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“Hmm.” I replied clearly indicating how puzzled I was at my friends comment. Her eyes sparkled with intrigue and fascination, her body language indicated her deep engagement, and her energy levels were disproportionately higher than mine. She showed all the symptoms of a textbook extrovert. However she admitted, point blank, that she believed her-self to be an introvert. Her reason? “Because I need  alone time to recuperate after social interaction” she says. At this point my head swirled with disapproving thoughts. I thought of giving her a few of the words I wanted to say, but could not say for fear of appearing rude.

Introversion, you could say, is trendy. There is an endless supply of memes, mugs, shirts, and posters to appease your appetite for all things that say “go away.” To actual introverts, we are delighted that more people are beginning to understand how we feel. But do they really? Or do they just think it’s humorous? My friend showed an obvious lack of understanding for introverts by arguing that she was an introvert based only on the flimsy evidence that she needs alone time. Duh! We all need alone time! That isn’t introversion, that’s human! On a basic level, we all need alone time to maintain our fragile sanity. Instead, she probably claimed she was an introvert so she can fit in or appear as relatable as possible, even if it contradicted her true self.

Introversion can be found after asking yourself two questions. One, do I exhume the most energy/satisfaction from being alone or being with others?  And two, do I prefer introspection or extrospection? In other words, on an ordinary day, do I derive more satisfaction from thinking about things to myself or doing something to keep me out of my head (like talking to others)? While of course this isn’t the end all be all method for determining whether or not you’re an introvert, it is a place to start. However, introversion is more complicated than I or a personality quiz can judge. No one is 100% extroverted or 100% introverted. There is more of a spectrum of both. I can behave like an extrovert when I am with certain people, but I can’t keep that up for very long because engaging with others is too physically exhausting for me. I become sleepy, and my posture deteriorates as I begin to hunch over in exhaustion if any kind of social engagement drags on too long. If you cannot relate to this, your introversion levels are pretty low.

So why are so many people claiming to be introverts? One possible explanation is in regards to intelligence levels. Recent (rather half-assed) studies have come out claiming that there is a correlation between higher intelligence and introversion. So if you have fewer friends, hate social interaction, and prefer to watch Netflix instead of going out then you must be more intelligent. Wrong. This thinking is so very very wrong. Not only is it wrong, it’s delusional. As my LSAT prep has taught me, correlation does in no way equal causation. Sure intelligent people can be introverted, but who says they can’t also be extroverted too? In reality, we truly do not understand intelligence enough to confidently claim that intelligence = introversion. So extroverts, please lend me your ear! Be not afraid! For your extroversion is not a testament to a flaw or weakness in your character, instead it is a valuable personality trait that we all need to use at various points in our lives.

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