Surviving As An Introvert In An Extroverted World

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  My name is Jody, and I am an Introvert. Sounds like a weird meeting for some off-beat support group right? If there were actually support groups for the 25% of the population who are Introverts, they would probably have few members, as us Introverts tend to shy away from social gatherings. In fact, we are drained by such events! Of course it is very difficult to avoid everyday noisy interaction, especially since even Introverts have to venture out into Extrovert territory sometimes. These occasions are usually referred to by Introverts as the ‘Big Drain’. That is how I feel most days, because I am an Introvert living in a world created by, and for Extroverts.

   What exactly is an Introvert you may be wondering? Well to put it simply, we are the opposite of an Extrovert. Extroverts tend to draw their energy from interacting with people, and come alive at gatherings and parties with lots of people. Extroverts thrive on change and new experiences. They truly adore the hustle and bustle of modern life. They should, after all they created it!

   Now as for us Introverts, well that is a different story altogether. We tend to be the quiet, unassuming folks you see blending into the background. We tend to draw our energy from within ourselves, and too much outside stimulation tends to drain us. That doesn’t mean that we Innies do not like people or enjoy their company. It’s just that we prefer to limit our exposure to smaller groups of people for shorter periods of time. However, Introverts are not your average wallflower. We are not shy, or antisocial by any means. We tend to have a very active inner life, and we create our energy from such activities as reading, writing, and just about any other solitary venture. Does that sound incredibly boring to you? If you answer yes, then I would wager a bet that you are an Extrovert.

    Before I go further, it must be stated that Introverts are not better than Extroverts or vise-versa. Both are merely personality types, with Extroverts making up approximately 75% of the population, and Introverts just 25%. Extroverts might be aptly classified as the doers, and Introverts as the thinkers. Thats not to imply that Extroverts do not think or that Introverts do not do. Both types just have different temperaments. It pretty much boils down to how each type generates their unique energy. Extroverts flit from as many social flowers as possible drawing their energy from them. Extroverts thrive on small talk and social gatherings. Introverts on the other hand, draw their energy from within themselves. I like to refer to it as ‘Inergy’. It has also been discovered that your preference to Extroversion or Introversion is an inborn trait. You cannot change it. Brain scans taken of Introverts show more blood flow to the temporal lobe region. Extroverts use a shorter pathway in their brains. For a more detailed analysis of this occurrence, I would highly recommend the excellent book titled ‘The Introvert Advantage’ by Dr. Marti Laney.

    If you happen to be an Extrovert, then you can rest in the knowledge that our hectic and fast-paced life was created by and for your type. It suits you perfectly. Of course if you happen to be one of the 25% who are Introverted, well all that excitement can be quite jarring to say the least. It is also very important that Introverts realize that it is unhealthy for them to try and be ‘more extroverted’. Of course most Introverts have no problem putting on a social mask when the need arises, for a short while anyhow. However even at the most exciting party or event an Innie is dreaming about going home and curling up with a good book. That is merely the nature of the Introvert beast!

   It has been said that to stay healthy Introverts need to spend at least half of their time alone, quite a difficult task in today’s world. If you happen to be an Introverted parent with Extroverted children, well finding that alone time becomes even more difficult. Thats when an Innie can take advantage of their almost legendary imaginations, and retreat inward as we are prone to do under stressful conditions. The best advice I can offer an Introvert to stay well in this Extroverted world, is to make it a priority to take time for yourself. It is not only ok, but normal for us Introverts to retreat into our proverbial shells when we start feeling drained. So if you are an Introvert, know that there is nothing wrong with you. You are among a small but completely legitimate group of folks who make the world a richer place by just being who we are!


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