The Social Preferences Of An Introvert

I read the post ‘Introvert Gamer‘ on ‘Missy’s Mojo’ blog a while back and I think it’s great being able to share and relate on the topic. I’m an introvert and for a long time I felt misunderstood. I later read a book called ‘Quiet: The Power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking‘ by Susan Cain and it helped me to come to terms with myself, forming in each utterance of ‘me too’ as I turned over the pages. Introverts tend to be heavy thinkers – dealing more with the inner self -, while extroverts are focussed more outwardly. One important thing to note is that the trait is on more of a scale rather than being a binary thing.

One of the main drawbacks to being an introvert is that I tend to fatigue really quickly during social situations. I can be pretty loud at the start, but will gradually wear down until withdrawing from much of the conversation. When the fatigue sets in I find it really difficult to follow what people are saying. From what I gather the key difference here is that introverts tend to be overly stimulated and so get overwhelmed pretty quickly and have to retreat to a quiet place to re-energize. Extroverts on the other hand are under stimulated.

I’ve previously seen introverts being described as seeming aloof or anti-social probably due to the fact that we sometimes prefer to spend time alone. Introverts can be mistaken for being shy, but while shyness is a fear of social encounters, introversion is not (although I can be a bit shy, just for the record.) I prefer to instead see it as a preference for the activities we enjoy and the ways in which we like to socialize. I actually really enjoy talking to people, but I tend to prefer smaller social groups and deep conversation. Developing trust and getting to know people really well is also important to me. In opposition to this my extroverted friends tend to enjoy going out in much larger groups and not really spending much time with any one person in particular.

Obviously any preference is valid, but sometimes they can cause misunderstandings. For example, from my perspective it can seem like the trust and focus I’m putting into a friendship is not being reciprocated, while I can understand why my need to withdraw at times can seem like I’m not interested in spending time with someone. ‘Quiet,’ gives a really good example that has stuck with me ever since; Introverts tend to prefer to avoid arguments (myself included) and during a disagreement will wonder – with hurt – why the other person is shouting at them, but to the other person the introvert’s submissiveness can seem like they don’t care enough about the issue. Like many matters in life, it’s just a matter of perspective and both viewpoints are valid in their own way.

So even with the difficulties that come from my introversion, I don’t see myself as being unsociable, I just have my own preferences for how I like to spend my time with other people. I’ve sometimes wondered how great it would be to be on the other side of the personality scale, but then I suppose that may also result in loosing many of the other aspects that make me who I am.

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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

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