Thursday, November 11, 2010

Clarifying What an Introvert Is

Biographical Note:
My name is Joshua and I’m a senior. I have 2 English classes this year (American Lit and Senior Seminar) so I’m getting a lot of writing experience. I’ve already written my college essay (which may be interesting to read. I’ll ask Mr P.) Hopefully the topics I write about will be interesting. It always feels good to just write in a quiet place and get all of your thoughts on a sheet of paper (or a document!) My hobbies include a love of all things video games, watching anime when I have time, and eating lots of pizza!  I also spend a whole lot of time on the internet so I know many MANY things that others may or may not know about. I may decide to write about it one day.

Clarifying What an Introvert Is

By Josh

On all the personality tests that I’ve taken in my lifetime I’ve always been declared as an introvert instead of an extrovert. If you don’t know what either of these words mean an introvert is someone who prefers to spend time alone and do activities in a quiet place while an extrovert is someone who wants to be with others and do loud activities. However I don’t feel that that definition of an introvert is really correct. It’s way too general and broad. I want to clarify what I believe an introvert is and how I reflect that definition.

Just because someone is an introvert doesn’t mean that they don’t want to go out and spend time with others. An example would be lunch time. Most of the time I’ll spend my lunch time working on school work in a quiet part of the school, but if given an opportunity (say advisory lunch for example) I’ll join in and laugh and joke with others. Some of you have firsthand experience of this while bonding on the senior essay writing trip. While I enjoyed thinking in a quiet place about what my thoughts are on a certain subject, my favorite moments include that 1 dinner when the girls were talking about certain “subjects” that can’t be repeated in public while the guys were sticking eating utensils in my afro that desperately needed a haircut while taking pictures. I still need those pictures by the way.

The best definition of being an introvert that I’ve heard of comes from the book Into the Wild of all places. Believe me I was not expecting this either. I hated that book. Anyway it was describing the main character’s personality and said that “Introverts aren’t shy, they just need to be away from people from time to time.” Another way of saying this is that Introverts have their energy drained by being around people while extroverts gain energy. This statement just resonated with me. This is what an introvert is. I have no problem with being around people and speaking my mind. I’m not really that shy either. I just needed a break from people. To recharge my energy so to say. If I’m constantly around people for a long period of time I get exhausted rather quickly. I need some me time to just chill and relax while doing whatever I want.

It may be that I’m too thoughtful and considerate of others. No I’m not bragging or anything. Listen to my reasoning before jumping to conclusions. I’m always thinking before speaking my thoughts. Rarely do I randomly spout whatever comes to mind (although whenever I do it tends to be extremely funny and inappropriate, but that’s for another time) unless I’m overtired or am extremely comfortable with the situation I’m in. Anyway I always think about others before speaking. I think about what a person says, what I feel about what they say, and if I say what I’m thinking how the person will respond. Doing all these steps over and over in social situations can really tucker a fellow out. This may also be a reason leading to my introverted personality.

All in all I like being an introvert. I feel that some people don’t understand the pleasure of being alone with your thoughts for awhile or having their “me time”. So just because I (or other introverts) don’t hang out with you or join in on discussions don’t think that I don’t like you. I was probably just tired from being around people for an extended period of time. And I believe that that’s perfectly fine.


  1. I have never been able to square myself with the division of introvert/extrovert. As a teacher, I clearly get lots of my energy from being around other people. However, Lyla's been in Washington to attend a conference this week so I have been alone. While she has been gone, I have very rarely attempted contact with others. Rather I have spent my whole week being gloriously alone, and I have received a lot of energy from that too. I don't know what I am.

  2. I think it gives a LOT of insight as to who you, Josh, really are as a person, and not only on the level of introvert/extrovert. This paper shows how self-aware you are as a whole. You really seem to know yourself extremely well, probably better than a lot of people at this age. Not only that, but your recollection of the writing retreat was spot on, and that really was the best dinner conversation ever (Note: Hartman coming in and screaming...hahaha).

    I'am incredibly extroverted, and it's true,I personally jump to conclusions about people who tend to be quiet, work alone, or whatever. I think the world pressures people to be extroverted, and so when someone isn't, people DO start to judge and develop ill-informed opinions. But this has really shed some light on the subject for me, and I'm going to check my own opinions from now on.

    PS: awesome job :]

  3. Andie, I think it's so important that you noted the self awareness evident in this paper. We can discuss the introvert/extrovert distinction forever because it is subject. However, Josh, your self awareness really comes through in your writing craft. Your careful selection of examples, your vocabulary, your pacing, it all reflects your deliberate nature. And deliberation and self awareness go hand in hand.

  4. Good job. This is an excellent paper. I think extrovert people are awesome and fun, but for an introvert person it can be exhausting. I guess I am probably more extrovert than introvert, though. Anyway, the paper was great!

  5. It's really cool to read someone else's thoughts on a subject that I've thought a lot about. I agree with Mr. AB and Andie on the self-awareness that we all see in your paper. Personally, I value the quality of introspection, because I find that the more self-awareness that a person has, the more independent, kind, and enjoyable that person becomes. I'm an introvert too, and I have noticed that I need the "recharging" time to allow me for the space to introspect. When I'm around a large group of people for an extended period of time, I become less and less self-aware. Usually I end up saying more and more stupid things (than usual haha).

    On a random note, has anyone heard of the Meyers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI). It's a pretty accurate personality indicator that factors in introversion/extroversion. For example, I'm an INFJ, the "I" standing for "introversion." I would recommend looking into it for anyone who is interested.