I’m not shy, I’m an Introvert

Instead of shy, that title could just as easily say rude, dumb, mad, scared or upset and be an accurate response to how introverts are often seen by those who are not.
I never gave much thought to introverts and extroverts until my husband (definitely an introvert) and I (mostly an introvert) started discussing our son and how he interacts with others. Now I find it a fascinating topic that I hope to research more in order to better know my son and nurture him.
I think it may be helpful to clarify what an introvert is. Probably the easiest way to do this is to list typical characteristics they have. These come from a variety of sources but mostly this website.
*Usually prefers solitary activities or activities that only involve a few people
*Has only a few close friends
*Prefers one on one interaction to group interaction
*Needs to be alone to reenergize, especially after socializing with a large group of people
*Prefers to observe and think about a task before attempting it
*Talks openly, and often a lot, to family members and close friends but not to others
The reason I think I am probably an introvert is because after discovering these characteristics my first thought was “well, isn’t this how everybody is?” I honestly could not imagine going to a big, crowded social event as not being exhausting. Now I know there are people that find that type of situation relaxing and energizing.
There is a lot you can read about introverts on the Internet. In my limited study I have found that most pieces by introverts about introverts can be a little harsh on extroverts. I haven’t actually found much written by extroverts on introverts but the little I have is usually an extroverted parent learning to raise an introverted child.
Apparently, about 1/4-1/3 of the population is introverted. This puts introverts in the minority. Usually with these kind of statistics, I glance over them and lightly chalk it up to people just being different and how good it is we have such variety on so many levels within the human race.
I still think these things are true, though now the matter is nearer to my heart knowing that being informed about the difference between introverts and extroverts could help my child to live a happier life. I want him to know that there is nothing wrong with him not wanting to participate in a group activity, though I’m sure I may have to butt heads with some of his teachers down the road.
I want him to understand and be able to interact with others but not feel like he is weird if he prefers to socialize or work one on one. I don’t want to think that I need to train him to be how most of the other little kids his age are. I want him to understand his strengths and build on them while still being able to recognize and appreciate the very different strengths in others.
Most of all, though, I don’t want to label him something he’s not or teach him to define himself only by what I think he is.
There is a great list of myths about introverts here that is similar to others I’ve seen. I think it helps illustrate the misunderstandings that can occur between introverts and extroverts. Just a note, I haven’t read any other page on this website so I can’t speak for anything else that is there.
There are also lots of online tests you can take to find out if you are introverted. Do I think it’s important to know if we are or aren’t? Yes. If only to further our ability to better understand ourselves and others and, in my opinion, to better love them…and ourselves.


One thought on “I’m not shy, I’m an Introvert

  1. Linda Whitehead says:

    When a person we both know and love was in grade school several teachers found his personality disconcerting and they wanted to attach labels to it and to him that were inaccurate. Our public schools are not comfortable with imaginative, creative, introverted personalities. You will butt heads with teachers down the road–know that your son’s happiness is worth more that a few bruises–and God appointed you to be his advocate–and to find the knowledge that will help you, to help him grow as God intends.

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