Introverts 101: Beginners Guide to Being an Introvert


Chances are you may have just discovered personality types. ENTJs and ISFPs and all that fun stuff. And you may have just discovered you're an Introvert. I didn't really discover I was an Introvert until I was 22. If I had known sooner I know my teenage years would have been a lot less painful. Knowing your own personality holds so much power and is so incredibly freeing.

So, you're thinking you're an Introvert? Well, you came to the right place.

Introverts 101

1. Decide which kind of introvert you are
Tests here and here. I'd take the test twice and find the two main types you resemble. I don't believe people can be categorized. You are completely unique, there is no one in the world exactly like you, and no test can tell you precisely who you are or what you need to be like.

2. Study your introvert type
When studying Introversion and discovering things that resonated with me I found it helped me build confidence in who I was. The more I found out the less afraid of being who I was I became. It's ok to have your own personality.

Books




The Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Elain Aron



Websites

3. Take the HSP Test
If you were particularly shy as a child or easily overwhelmed in new or boisterous situations, you might be a Highly Sensitive Person. Take a test here.

Just learning a tiny bit more about this helped me on a huge level. Simply coming to an understanding of what's going on in your head and why you feel the way you feel in certain situations is incredibly freeing.

The HSP was seen as unusually shy or sensitive. Change really shakes up their lives. And when someone else is uncomfortable in a physical environment they tend to know what needs to be done to make it comfortable. Sound like you?

4. Take Action - But First Reconcile
Don't just read about who you are. Once I found out who I was, that there was a reason I was the way I was, it changed me. I was still afraid a lot of the time, but I got tired of being afraid. I don't claim to be perfect, but it should change you, too. If you aren't building confidence, if you aren't pushing yourself to be better in situations that scare you, if you aren't plunging forward and trying to be a little more social at gatherings, then what was this all for?

But . . . BUT . . . you'll need some time. Trust me. You won't become unafraid right away. I don't want you to make this Introvert thing your crutch. I don't want to hear any of this: "Oh, I'm an Introvert I have privileges so I don't have to be nice and polite and social to that person if I don't want to." Don't hide behind your personality. You will never grow and become better if you're using it as an excuse.

Learn who you are and take the time to reconcile yourself to the fact. This does not mean you have leave to be rude or avoid people or do new things or be afraid because you're an Introvert.

Learn that you don't have to be afraid.

5. Help Other Introverts
Yeah, it involves a bit of talking. The biggest thing I had to recognize was that not even Introverts were created that same. Being an INFP I love freedom from conformity and being spontaneous, so I find INTJs/ISTJs just a little too on the methodical, plan-for-everything, organized side. But they are so entirely reliable and consistent I cannot complain too much.

So, that being said, one of the best ways you can help another Introvert is to find a way to connect with them. You can't always recognize an Introvert at first. Introverts can seem very Extroverted and lots of Extroverts may be shy and quiet around new people and places.
  • If someone in your office or school is struggling with the environment perhaps get to know them and share what you've learned about Introverts and Extroverts. It might help them, too. Like this. "Some people drive me crazy." "I'm an Introvert, so I totally understand where you're coming from. Have you heard of the Myers Briggs personality typing?" etc. etc.
  • Share the materials that have helped you, i.e. books, articles, websites
  • Have deep and meaningful conversations with them, Introverts thrive on deep conversations, and something other than the normal complaint or "Hi, how are you?" could make an Introverts day just a little less painful.
I don't consider myself an expert in the least on the subject of Introverts and Extroverts, but I do love reading and thinking about it. These are just some tips I've come across in my own life and I hope they are helpful to you.

Introversion and Extroversion can be viciously stereotyped. Beware. The partying Extrovert and the reclusive Introvert. American culture is steeped in the idea that to be successful you have to have a loud, aggressive personality. And sometimes Extroverts are put off by Introverts because Introverts can be hyped into some wise, intelligent Yoda type people who are better than Extroverts. But I'm here to tell you, both of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Neither one is better than the other. I didn't even have to study personality types very much to see that Introverts NEED Extroverts just as much as Extroverts NEED Introverts. More on that later.

Let's chat! What's your personality type? Introvert or Extrovert?
 Favorite and least favorite thing about it?

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