Monday, June 29, 2015

Understanding more Introversion

I came across a blog post that briefly summed up some habits of introverts.   I think it was very well written and to-the-point.  Here are some of those points.   I hope this will help anyone that is close to an introvert and wants to understand them more, or perhaps there are parents that have an introverted child who is unaware of themselves,  but have some of these habits. Introversion is much more then a mere personality trait, it is a neurological setting.  Introverts can't be "fixed" or "changed" so understanding them and respecting their way of doing things is the best way to show your respect and appreciation.   The original post of this is here. 

1. The need to take two cars to any social event in case either of you wants to duck out early. Not every introvert is shy, but most introverts derive energy from being alone -- and not from being around a large group of people at a party. As Susan Cain writes in her landmark book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can't Stop Talking "Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating." Introverts may be OK with crowds -- but only in small doses.
              1a. If you don't have two cars, the need for a private signal in case your introvert wants to make a quick escape. "Introverts are excellent listeners and not big minglers, so at parties, we're sitting ducks for chatterboxes," Sophia Dembling, author of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After told The Huffington Post. "And while extroverts have a talent for flitting from person to person at a party, introverts are not always good at extricating ourselves from conversations that have gone on too long."

2.  An introvert's inclination to think through an issue before opening his or her mouth, even though you may like to talk everything out. As Cain says, "Introverts are careful, reflective thinkers who can tolerate the solitude that idea-generation requires." Introverts are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams.

3. An introvert's need to decompress after a social event.  Whereas extroverts might get antsy spending time on their own, introverts actually need to be alone in order to feel rejuvenated again.

4. The importance of routines. Chaotic environments seem to sap the energy of the introverts. Routines, though, eliminate the need to make choices, freeing up an introvert's brain for more important things, but also not putting the pressure on to think on the spot. It is very difficult for an introvert to think clearly during chaos.  The more routine, the better.

5. An introvert's irritation when you keep asking "is everything OK?" every few minutes when you're with other people.  I think this one is self-explanatory.   If you see an introvert sitting alone, quietly, their ok.  It's irritating to be checked on, like we can't take care of ourselves.

6. That when an introvert says, "I need to be alone for a while," he or she is not being rude. It's just the way they recharge his or her battery.  A 2010 study shed light on another reason why introverts sometimes prefer being alone. The study found that human faces may hold more meaning for extroverts than for introverts, which could be why extroverts are more likely to seek the company of others,  and introverts are not as concerned with that.

7. An introvert's ability to speak in front of a crowd, even if he or she doesn't want to make small talk afterwards.  Research shows that introverts can sometimes make better leaders than extroverts. For example, Cain described Bill Gates, one of the world's most successful businesspeople, as an introvert. He's quiet, but able to speak in front of a large audience.

8. Springing last minute plans on an introvert.   It's a big interruption in our routine.  Don't do it.

9. The need to do things their way. It may seem selfish, but we have carefully thought through how to do something, probably 6 or 7 times before we actually do something,  going over every detail that we can think of.  And there probably isn't anything that we haven't thought of.

10. The struggle is real and we sometimes struggle just to say hi.  Not for fear of talking to people,  but because there may be small talk to follow.  We would much rather get to a deep conversation and saying "hi" often means small talk.

I truly hope that this helps extroverts understand a little more about the introverts in their lives, whether acquaintances,  friends, or family members or perhaps your trying to figure someone out and you think they may be an introvert.   These are typical in most introverts,  but to varying degrees.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Why you can't "fix" an introvert

There have been many studies to prove that introversion is an actual phenomenon of the brain.  Here is an article I found that sums it up pretty good.

"The introverted brain

Introverts’ brains work differently than extroverts’. For one thing, introverts have more blood flow to their brains than extroverts. According to Marti Olsen Laney, that indicates more internal stimulation and sensitivity. The blood in an introvert’s brain travels longer, more complicated pathways and focuses on parts of the brain involved with internal experiences like remembering, solving problems and planning.

Introverts’ brains still use dopamine but are more sensitive to it and too much of it will cause over-stimulation. The more dominant neurotransmitter found in the introvert’s neuro-pathways is acetylcholine. Acetylcholine affects attention and learning, influences the ability to stay calm and alert, utilizes long-term memory and activates voluntary movement. Not surprisingly, acetylcholine stimulates a good feeling when we think and feel.

Acetylcholine acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter when it activates our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us calm down and conserve energy when stimulated. The sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) has the opposite effect. It is characterized by activity and mobility and employed more by the extroverted brain."

A lot of people that don't understand introversion think it's just a personality thing and it's because introverts don't want to or haven't "broken out their shell".  Telling an introvert that they need to "change" or be "fixed" an introvert will probably leave them very upset and irritated.  The best thing that can be done is to understand them, simply because this is an actual chemical and physiological design of our brain.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Social Nuance of Introversion

I've always known that I'm introverted, it has only been recently that I've gotten familiar with that term.  This realization doesn't make things easier, except in the sense that knowing that people may start to understand through these blogposts.  It's frustrating when you can write these things out, but get flustered in conversation and It's been a long and arduous road so far, being ridiculed for being "shy" or "anti-social".  I only know that it's been by God's grace that I've put up with it. 

I'm excited, though, because I've recently moved to a different state and have met some really cool people and really enjoy being "social".  To others, it may not seem at all that I'm being social, and therein lies the conundrum of the introvert.  An introvert being "social" usually does not look at all like their having fun simply because an extroverts definition of fun is that you should look gregariously involved and talking to everyone they contact, laughing and perhaps making jokes and being popular and maybe the center of attention.   A lot of introverts like to go to social gatherings and be around people, for a limited time.  It's just that they may seem very aloof and seemingly shy, but they are having as much fun observing and processing everything around them in their heads.  Along with that is usually the anxiety of going up to people and talking and trying to keep the conversation going, (and that's another story) but most fun for an introvert is found in their own head.

This is why a lot activities that we find fun are thinking activities.   It may take us a long time to start to talk to someone,  but the real fun for us is the thinking that is involved.  Of course, there are many types of introversion so this isn't true for every introvert.