I’m an introvert. But I need people too.
Introversion has become a buzzword. I hate it. I don’t mean to be all down about it, but let’s be honest, this new “awareness” of introversion is doing more harm than good.
So many people identify as introverts because they don’t understand what it truly means. So you shower alone, or had spaghetti last Tuesday. Congratulations. You’re human. That doesn’t instantly make you an introvert.
Introversion has become the “cool” thing. If you’re smart, you must be an introvert. If you have any morals, you must be an introvert. If you like music, you must be an introvert. If you care about others, you must be an introvert. If you are creative or have ideas, you must be an introvert.
I’m sorry, but none of these are specifically traits of introversion. It bothers me that this introvert awareness movement is classifying people in this way. Being an introvert is no better than being an extrovert, just like being an extrovert is no better than being an introvert. We’re just different, that’s all.
The difference between introversion and extroversion isn’t about the activities you enjoy or the standards you have, but rather about how you gain energy.
Introverts are energized by being alone, and extroverts are energized by being with others–though, as Jung said, no one is solely introverted, and no one is solely extroverted. We’re all little bits of both. There are times that introverts will find energy around others, and there are times that extroverts will find energy by themselves.
And this is where MBTI adds more clarity to it. We all have four functions that we use (actually eight, but that’s more in-depth than this post will be). Two of those functions will be introverted, and two will be extroverted. We primarily rely on our top two. One will be extroverted, the other introverted. I’ll use the INFJ as an example, since that is my personality type.
As an introvert, my dominant function is introverted. In my case, it is introverted intuition (Ni). However, my auxiliary (secondary) function is extroverted feeling (Fe).
I am very much an introvert, but I need people too. There are some times when I just get so wrapped up in my own world and my own mind that I nearly drive myself crazy. That’s when I know that I really need a little bit of outside interaction to balance myself out again. In those cases, being around someone I feel safe with can actually give me the boost that I need.
I think that instead of shoving introversion down people’s throats, we need to be more open about personalities in general. Instead of putting people in a box, and labeling them one way, then making judgments of them based on it, we should be willing to see that being an introvert or extrovert does not fully encompass what a person is, or what they have the potential to be.
People are people. We all have bits of introversion and extroversion. We need to stop with the buzzwords and we need to stop spreading “awareness” with false information attached. We’re causing more confusion than anything. And what happens then? People throw in the towel because it’s such a mess that its basis is doubted entirely. We’re missing a huge opportunity to help others understand themselves, and perhaps we’re also missing the opportunity to fully understand ourselves.