Monday, February 26, 2007

How to Tell if You're an Introvert

First off, don't trust an extrovert to tell you that you're an introvert or not. They are usually the first to point and say "wallflower," or as Elizabeth posted earlier, "anti-social." If you ask me to describe an extrovert, I might say He-Who-Won't-Stop-Talking. Especially after a long committee meeting. All of those descriptions are inadequate, judgmental, and off the mark. (And, a little snarky.) Those terms only describe some observable behaviors that don't really get to the true heartbeat of type.

Your type is innate, can be influenced, is not a box, is not an excuse, and indicates preferences, not skills. Type is a journey.

A person's comfort/discomfort level in a public setting doesn't give us enough information. Some extroverts enjoy being alone. An introvert might turn out to be a real live wire at a party! The truest and most consistent difference is in where the individual gathers their energy-- from within or from outside themselves.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the gold standard of assessment tools for type. These days, you can now take the MBTI on-line, though you'll need to pay a fee for scoring and interpretation. For free, though, you can go to and take an adapted version of type indicator. Click on Keirsey Temperament Indicator II.

Would love to hear back from you after you've taken it. Any surprises? Want to share?*

Stay tuned! Much more to come--


Mary Hershey

*If you have any questions about your results, that you don't want to discuss on-line, feel free to email me at


R.L. LaFevers said...

I'm an INFJ. I'm guessing that a lot of writers here (but not all by any means!) will be an INFJ or INFP. I think the Myers Briggs type assessments even refer to the INFJ as "the writer's personality" or some such since those seem to be the preferences so many writers exhibit.

I also know a lot of people who carry their Meyers Briggs "letters" like a badge. They find great comfort in knowing what type they are, that it's a legitimate personality "type," and that there is a whole group of people who also belong to that type, even if it is only 2% of the population, which INFJs are. My husband is a INTJ, a type which has a even lower percentage of the population, 1-2%.

Fascinating stuff, this!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary and Robin!

What a fun and clever site! I'm not sure if I could join the Introvert Club, although at junior high school dances I was always the Mother of All Introverts, and possibly (and painfully) even the Grandmother. But put a microphone in my hand and let me pace in front of an audience of 300 cheering kids, and I positively bloom. We're talking big, showy sunflower. Although, I don't much care for sunflowers. Could I be a large, frothy plumeria tree, instead?

I've never taken the Myers Briggs test, but I sampled the one at, at Mary's suggestion. I'm told I'm an Idealist. The description fit me pretty well. Kinda. Sorta. I kept arguing and haggling with the test. I mean, sometimes I could've agreed with both the statements, rather than choosing just one. I could've answered different ways depending on the time of day, my mood, when I last ate, what I last ate, the weather, what I'm wearing, whom I'm with, whom I just left, whether or not there's a cat on my lap, etc., etc. So does this make me an extrovert with introvert tendencies? Or an introvert with extrovert tendencies? Or maybe I'm a bi-vert? :)

Have fun with your blog! I'll come back and visit again. And I promise not to leave the back door open. You never know what kind of crowds might wander in.

Lee Wardlaw

Terry P. said...

Hi Mary,

This is cool. I just filled out the questionairre and found out that I'm a Guardian (sounds so official). I must be a cheap guardian though, because I didn't want to pay to find out which kind I am. Most of what it said made sense, but some of the test questions could have gone either way with me. I'm going to read on and discover more jewels from your site.