Thursday, December 08, 2011

Are You An Introvert?

When I was in high school, I tended to be an introvert. Staying at home on a Friday night and working on my latest novel didn't bother me a bit.

That changed in college. I became quite the extrovert, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I met a lot of people, had some great experiences - I traveled to New Orleans with a group of people I didn't know and I also went to England on a literary tour - and soaked up life.

In the last few years, however, I have returned to my introverted self and at this point, I don't see myself changing. And you know what? That's ok.

As a writer, it's almost a given that you're going to be an introvert (though I know there are exceptions). I started thinking about this particular phenomena when I read this terrific blog post, 10 Myths About Introverts which then led me to this terrific site that's a home for introverts!

What are the traits of an introvert? According to Marti Laney, introverts have these characteristics:

  • Enjoy time alone
  • Consider only deep relationships as friends
  • Feel drained after outside activities, even if they were fun
  • Are good listeners
  • Appear calm and self-contained
  • Think then speak or act
Extroverts have these characteristics:

  • Like to be in the thick of things
  • Relish variety
  • Know lots of people, considers lots of people friends
  • Enjoy chit-chatting, even to strangers
  • Feel stoked after activity
  • Speak or act then think OR think while speaking
Based on these lists, I can definitely say I'm an introvert. The older I get, the more I loathe crowds. I can't stand to be in crowded malls, department stores, grocery stores, bars, or resteraunts. My instinct is to flee. Immediately. This is a switch from my college days when I adored being in the thick of things.

What's even more interesting to me is the science involved in studying introverts and extroverts. From Laney's book, The Introvert Advantage, blogger and writer Carl King says,

"A section of Laney’s book maps out the human brain and explains how neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place."
Now that's just plain fascinating.

At this time in my life, there's nothing I like more than to stay home, write, read, play games with my daughter, hang out with my husband, cuddle with my kitties, work on my art projects, and enjoy my home. That, to me, is bliss.

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?


  1. Oh, I'm definitely an introvert. That little list you put up? I checked every one of them. But I'm learning to be okay with that.

    Thanks for the great post! Merry Christmas!

  2. Well, I'm one of those anomalies...a writing extrovert. :)

    It would be totally awesome to get a book published and then star in the movie version of my book. :)

    yeah...keep dreaming, Kelley. Haha.

    Thank god for you introverts though. We need people who contemplate before blabbering.

    And I have less blood flow to my brain? Weird!

  3. L.T. - Yeah, I'm learning to be ok with it, too. Sometimes my husband will say, "Let's get out of the house" on the weekend and it's the last thing I want to do. He just doesn't understand because he's an extrovert!

    Kelly - Aha! An exception! Still, I like your idea - of starring in the movie of your book!

  4. Fascinating! I'm particularly intrigued by the wiring of the brain for each type!

    Definitely an introvert here, although "feeling drained after outside activities" depends on the activity. Only some activities leave me drained, but many others I love and leave me stoked (ie: kickboxing class, hiking, operas, classical concerts, going to the movies, etc... although those are mostly "loner" activities...)

  5. If an introvert is also known as a homebody, that would be me. I love my home, the peace and contentment of it, and am very happy to be in it any time, all the time :)

  6. Love your blog name.

    Very nice blog.



  7. I'm an introvert. Coincidentally I posted about being an introvert on my blog today too!

  8. I'm definitely becoming more of an introvert the older I get. I think most writers are probably introverts.

  9. "At this time in my life, there's nothing I like more than to stay home, write, read, play games with my daughter, hang out with my husband, cuddle with my kitties (aka puppies!), work on my art projects, and enjoy my home. That, to me, is bliss."

    That's my perfect life in a nutshell too Melissa! I am definitely an introvert!!

  10. DK - I'm the same way. After concerts or really good movies, I do feel very energized. But if I'm around people and have to interact with them, it's the opposite.

    Joanne - I completely agree! I am very much a homebody.

    Welcome, Elizabeth!

    Linda - Will visit your blog and read your post. :-)

    Debs - I agree. I think most writers are introverts - living in our own world the majority of the time is pretty important for creating our fictional worlds.

    Valerie - We are definitely kindred spirits!!!

  11. We did personality testing at work and I'm definitely an introvert. I always thought there were moments when I was an extrovert, but then they explained that for introverts those moments are exhausting and they are for me.

  12. Introvert as a kid and teen, extrovert in my 20s and 30s. Back to an introvert in my 40s, and very happy to cocoon in my house with my husband and noveling. And the returned kids and hummingbirds too.

  13. Patti - I think there are definitely moments when we are an extrovert - moments where we are completely comfortable in the situation. I have those times, but they are rare.

    Anna - Fascinating! It's just amazing how we change throughout the years.

  14. Definitely an introvert! Nothing exhausts me more than being in a crowd situation and having to make chit-chat, even if I know and like the people. I'm just not a good conversationalist, which is why I gravitate more to writing and online communication.

  15. Lifelong introvert. The hardest part is trying to convince extroverts that I really, truly don't like parties, and it has nothing to do with not liking THEM.

  16. You've confirmed my suspicions that I'm not using my brain quite right. And I thought it was just motherhood!

    I am indeed an extrovert. I leave parties and gatherings and I'm energized and want to do more. Sometimes it's a curse.

  17. That quote about the brain sure is fascinating. Wow! I tend to be an introvert, for the most part. Love being at home!

  18. I'm an introvert - most of the time. If I've been chained to my desk for days and haven't seen anyone, I do feel the need to get out and see the world. Two or three hours is always enough though and then I'm happy to be back in the solitude.

  19. Betsy - I am the same way! I find I stumble over my words and get very self-conscious when I try to make conversation.

    Christine - Oh, I completely agree. I will accept party invites or something and just dread it the entire time. Ha!

    RT - I can definitely tell you're an extrovert. :-) And yes, motherhood does screw up your brain. LOL.

    Lyn - My home is my haven. :-)

    Shirley - I'm the same way. I can stay at home a few days, then I have to get out and about among people. And you're right - a few hours is all it takes and I'm ready to go home again.

  20. Introvert all the way! Although by the grace of my sister and Mom, I DO know how to small talk.

  21. Catherine - I can do the small talk for awhile, but then I just have the insane urge to bolt from the room when there's that deadly silence in the conversation!

  22. I'm a bit of both. I was always an introvert, but since my husband died I've been doing so much more, meeting more people, and have become much more extrovert. I think it's to do with being a journalist, for which you have to be quite extrovert, and writing novels and walks and I need the introversion for that.

  23. I am 100% introvert too! I still love social activities, but once a month is fine with me and I have to stay home two or three days afterward to recharge! :)

    I was also more extroverted in college and for a few years after that. I wanted to get out and see the world! I still want to see places, but I love my home so much that it's hard to push myself out. I just wish I had cuddly kitties! Alas my four daughters mauling them have made them a little stand offish!

    Checking out your links and sharing one that I love, the Introvert's Bill of Rights at - she hasn't been posting much on introverts lately but her posts from earlier this year were very insightful.

  24. Flowerpot - I'm so glad you're getting out and about more and meetnig new people. And you're right - being a journalist is a perfect career for an extrovert!

    Margo - I was the same way! I wanted to see more of the world during and right after college. Ever since my last trip, in September, I am DONE traveling for awhile. I hope that will change because there's so much more of the world I want to see, but for now, I'm quite content to stay home. I've also heard of the Shrinking Violets blog. Will check it out!

  25. I think I have always been an introvert until I had my daughter and then I was forced to come out of my shell for her. I love being with people who are close friends but otherwise don't like it. I enjoy my time at home and like to think I am a good listener but do talk too!! I guess I am me:)

  26. Terri - I love it! You are indeed, you! :-)


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