Sunday, April 09, 2006

Introversion

Introversion

I have discovered I am introverted...I would never have known (although I might've guessed) until I made my recent voyage into another land (France) for the year long stay which is just about coming to a close. I came here as a part of a program to teach English in public schools (btw. if you want to do it all you need is a bachelor's degree - go to the French National Education Ministry site, and look under the teaching assistants program info section for more information. I'll write another post about it after this one if you interested).

But, so here I am in France, surrounded by, and roommating with, other Americans who are just not at all like me. It has been a unique experience. I am, what some might call, rather serious by nature. I enjoy deep, meaninful conversations, going out with small groups of people I care about, and having time by myself to do my music, or my poetry, or to stare into space or whatever, I'm not athletic but I like nature, I am emotional, I am sensitive, I am thoughtful....

And then there is my roommate - who, actually I am quite fond of - but may, in this way, be my exact opposite. She MUST be with others or she just wilts - and the more the better - she is not particularly discriminatory - she just likes to be with others. I love her to death and she is very likely to supply a good deal of fun wherever she is, but we are just so DIFFERENT.

And that difference drives me crazy! I need to be alone - she does not - and neither do the people we hang out with here. In the beginning I tried hopelessly to keep up with their practically daily outings (on top of my teaching three full days a week - not much, but still) and feigning interest in their clothing, their weight worries, their movie star crushes, but I just couldn't handle it after a while. Where had all the meaning gone?

Plus, I felt overwhelmed - I guess. I got sick. I got the flu for a week. And not from the partying, or the drinking, or the staying out late. I think I got sick because of the stress of being around other people that much - specifically other people with whom I couldn't show most of myself.

Not that I was hiding myself. I wasn't. Everything I could I showed, and I was always honest. But they clearly displayed no interest in my music, or discussing life and why we're here, or even playing a good competitive card game. We're just different.

Finally, I discovered why - I'm an introvert - they are very extroverted. They are genuine, loving, creatures - but to a greater or lesser extent - they do before they think; they are less sensitive; they need much more external stimulation; they love to have FUN (I find, that really, I don't really care if I have fun); they are energized by having other people around; they bond over doing things together - not, like me, over discussing things together. This is what I've found.

And it is exhausting for me. I am also a giving person. So, when I see a need, I have a hard time restraining myself from attending to it. I guess I'm just kinda complex so I think they don't really see my needs - and when they do they don't know what to do about them. I'm rather intense sometimes. But I feel like they're taking my energy and I need to go recharge.

But I'm coming to terms with my need for space - and learning that maybe I shouldn't even have a roommate - or that I should have a slightly introverted one. I need lots of time to be my quirky self - it is the time in which I'm my most creative, my most thoughtful, my most productive. I would not be me without it. And I love to read - can't really do that with a group of people - or not the same anyway.

The book The Introvert Advantage was very helpful for me in identifying myself as an introvert and then also helpful in realizing the benefits of this type of person - the site has some basic information on the topic.

To read/learn more about introversion, here are some links available on the net that I really like:

This article
Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted I found very interesting.

For something more humorous and basic I absolutely love, as I stated above, How to Care for your Introvert.

Anyway, that's it for this for now...but will be more later - basic points on introversion.

And it doesn't mean you aren't very social - my social skills are quite good - thank you - but they are that - social skills - they are not completely natural - although they come naturally after all these years of practice. :)

2 Comments:

At 5:10 AM, Blogger Katzy said...

I just read "The Introvert Advantage" and I am amazed! I get so frustrated trying to keep up with extroverts and I genuinely want to but realize I can't. Being that the world is 75% extroverts, it's a wonder that it's hard to explain introversion or find situations that support it.
I am so happy to know someone else is on my quest of learning. Now, I will go sit and read for a bit....:)

 
At 5:10 AM, Blogger Katzy said...

I just read "The Introvert Advantage" and I am amazed! I get so frustrated trying to keep up with extroverts and I genuinely want to but realize I can't. Being that the world is 75% extroverts, it's a wonder that it's hard to explain introversion or find situations that support it.
I am so happy to know someone else is on my quest of learning. Now, I will go sit and read for a bit....:)

 

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