Musings on Mormonism

Be Nice to Introverts

My sister at Mishtown recently posted a link to an article in the Atalntic, Caring for Your Introvert. It will probably remind you of people you know – or it might even end up describing yourself!

I liked the article and thought is was generally correct about a number of things. However, I think there is much more to personality than just introversion and extroversion (in fact, this is a dead horse I feel I have beaten again and again on this blog and in conversation, so I will try to make my comments here brief). Take myself for instance. Introverts probably comprise the majority of my closest friends, as well as probably three quarters of my immediate family*, and, while I have a surprising capacity for being friendly and upbeat, overall I am also an introvert (about 60%, I’d say). But it’s tricky – I really like people, and in the right circumstances I find interaction with them to be quite energizing, fulfilling, and fun. I also have a habit – which I’m sure many find perplexing if not annoying – of thinking out loud. Nevertheless, I think at my core I am an introvert. However, I do take some issue with the author’s assertion that introversion is an immutable orientation. Or rather, what I really take issue with is the temptation to conclude that, because introversion is innate, people are thus incapable of adapting and even changing**. And of course, this is very similar to the objection I most hear about these personality theories – that they reduce people into overly-simplistic caricatures incapable of adaptation and growth. I think this criticism is somewhat deserved, but I also think these theories (certain of them, that is) can at least offer some sort of threshold for understanding and appreciating the differences among us in the present. 

*Aside from Mom and Tiff, probably everyone, including spouses, huh?

**not that I am the undisputed life of the party, but you’d better believe I wasn’t always as outgoing and confident in social situations as I am now. My mission in particular did wonders for helping me become more outgoing, as did simply gaining confidence about myself and my abilities during my college years.


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  1. * Eleesha says:

    I think I might be an introvert. I recharge by being alone……

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Kristin says:

    Check again on those spouses… 🙂

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  3. * Bryce says:

    Eleesha, I think you are probably an introvert too. And that is nothing to feel bad about 🙂

    Kristin, do you think you’re more of an extrovert? If so, I think I can kind of see that. Certainly, between Scott and you, you are the more extroverted of the two.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  4. * Greg says:

    Man Bryce I love your post as much as I love you ❤
    Now that I got that out of the way I’m just gonna jump in with my two cents if you don’t mind Bryce. I believe to an extent that we are both ex and in troverted people. One being more than the other, I guess thats why we like our peace and quite, but we all have a part of us that wants to party hardy i guess. The challenge that lies ahead is finding that balance. The reason its so hard to find that balance is because we are a judgmental society that labels people off the bat, giving us little or no time to truly represent ourselves in the manner we want. For example, I’m a very outgoing person, always trying to meet new people and always a subject to controversy, never the less a good convo with me will always be a hoot. But no one knows or cares if I hurt or have a good cry or want to talk about something deep and meaningful. So in turn that force of nature makes me go into that introvert state as a way of coping. We will never know anyone else, we can get close enough to figure it out, but everyone is an enigma.

    on a lighter note I’m playing a blog tribute to you

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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