Monday, November 10, 2008
On Fast Turtles and Friendly Introverts
Since coming out as an unabashed introvert, I've fielded a raised eyebrow or two by a few people that know me socially from writing conferences. They seem surprised by this. “But you're so friendly!" Or, “Geez, you don't seem one bit shy!" And I must admit that when I first met Robin in an Adult Ed class, she didn't seem like an introvert to me. I was guessing she was a major E. She was talkative, friendly and even raised her hand in class the very first night! I was impressed.
Some introverts can be quiet, reticent, withdrawn, and some introverts may be talkative, outgoing and the first to cut up at a party. Or, one may be all those things! Just as I feel certain that there are extroverts who enjoy solitude and silent contemplation. We can be very "bi".
Intros and extros are functional, adaptive beings. Jungian type is a preference that shows itself early on, like right-handedness or left-handedness. But, it doesn't mean that we are completely limited to one style or the other. If I broke my right hand, you can bet dollars to doughuts I'd teach my left hand how to open a diet coke and work my eyeliIner pencil. (Though I might look scary for a while, and trust you all would be too polite to mention it.)
In a social setting, I may be Miss Chatty Pants USA. And, I won't be faking! I like people and I'm curious about them. I enjoy asking questions-- I'm a writer! That said, if I wore a visible battery charge device, at a large gathering you could watch my meter go from five bars to one to “Battery Low” to “Danger! Code Blue!” Much like Cinderella, I need to be home by midnight, or I will end up on the dance floor in the fetal position sucking the toe of my glass slipper.
The true test of introversion is-- what? C'mon, everybody, now! It is in how one gathers their energy. When spent, how do you charge back up? Do you go inside of yourself, or do you look to others to plug in? And this isn't something you can easily observe in others with just casual contact. You have to get to know them.
So, can turtles ride skateboards? You bet! Now and then it feels good to get out there and stick your neck out. But, when we've sailed some rail and blown our wad, for us, at the end of the day-- it feels best to just find a quiet corner and tuck in for a spell.
Your shy and friendly friend,
Originally posted April 2007