1. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    Introversion or extraversion, what are you?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by TimHarris, Mar 6, 2013.

    I have been interested in personality types for a while now, mainly introversion and extraversion. These are the two main personality types amongst humans. Although most people are extraverts (about two thirds), most great thinkers, scientists and philosophers are known to be introverts.

    Just out of curiosity, I was wondering what personality type dominates the writing scene. Maybe this is the first time you have heard of these personality types, or maybe you are familiar. In either case, I feel like pasting the explanations from wikipedia so you can see which one you identify with before reading on.

    Both types can do very well in all fields. There are both introverted and extroverted politicians, musicians, actors and writers. Amongst those, Oscar Wilde is often seen as being an Extravert, while for example Isaac Asimov was an Introvert.

    So that leads us back to my question. What type are you? And do you think this gives you an advantage or a disadvantage in writing?

    Myself, I am an Introvert. If I am asked to describe hell, I may say that hell is having someone else at breakfast, or engaging in small talk, which I feel gives me nothing. Rather, I prefer discussing concepts, ideas or debating the nature of our existance, while my extraverted friends might prefer to discuss the latest soccer game, their friends wedding, or other such topics. I feel like I have an advantage in writing when it comes to complicated matters such as politics, warfare, keeping a water proof plot, and I generally find it easy to construct large and complex ideas for my stories that I can work on putting into words. My shortcomings are that I find it hard to write characters, especially outspoken social characters that like to think by talking, and I might spend obscene amounts of time constructing proper dialog for my stories.

    I'd like some input on this, and I hope I get can your views on this aswell :)
    You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraversion_and_introversion
     
  2. Revenant
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    Revenant Member

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    "Hell is other people." - Jean-Paul Sartre
    Your comment made me think of that. :)

    I would say that I'm introverted - although I am also shy. When I'm at home I love being alone. I barely communicate with my family, which my mother is constantly complaining about, preferring to read, write, crochet (which is a good thing to do with your hands when you want to have some thinking time), listen to music, etc. Solitary activities. When I'm in a place that I am not comfortable, where I don't know anyone, especially in big groups, I just kind of go off into a corner, or back against a wall. In those cases it's a relief when I can make a friend, because I don't feel so awkward and out of place. But I've always had small groups of close friends. Trust is a big thing for me. I've always had a thing about loyalty.
     
  3. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    You should take the Myers Briggs test. It will tell you more about your psychological self. Google it, its interesting. I don't know if you can find the test online or not, but you can learn more about it. I took it once, the results were interesting. I am an introvert by the way, but it tells you more about yourself than just that.
     
  4. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    I'm definitely an introvert, and can relate to both TimHarris' and Revenant's descriptions of how they feel. I have grown tired of the large social group dynamics and behaviour, but in truth I never really liked it in the first place. Now I have come to a place (at 43) where I prefer to keep a small network of close friends who I occasionally meet up with, and on my own get on with my own stuff. I have become the recluse that I think has always been in my heart. That's not to say I don't like any company at all, just that I'm very choosy about who I keep the company of. I even try to be self-employed whenever possible, so I don't have to deal with new people too often.

    I'm sure none of this is particularly good for writing stories, as I know that breadth of life experience can only add to the mix of inputs for ideas and stories. The lean social life tends to result in 'thinner' storytelling, more focussed on individual characters' solitary internal feelings and less on their activities with others.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm both, depends on the situation.
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think the whole concept is flawed because, to be honest, most people are a bit of both. I love people and gain energy from being around people if I've sat alone all day. I love being alone and get energy from just reading or writing and being quiet if I've been with people all day.

    My husband is a quiet guy who doesn't normally seek out people, but for hobbies he likes to network with geeks online for some gaming and he prefers tennis and badminton where he gets to play with people in pairs and teams.

    If I had to put a label of us, I'd be the extrovert and he'd be the introvert, but the truth is, we're both a bit of both. It's not so clear-cut and I don't think it needs to be. It's just people like clear-cut labels so it's easy to understand, but why put yourself in a box?
     
  7. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    I second the Myers Briggs suggestion, theres a website out there that does a basic test to give you an indication of what you might be. (I'll try and find the link)
    I'm an INTP, the thinker or the architect. This basically means I'm more intelligent than the rest of you!!! ;)
     
  8. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    No internet test or simple wikipedia explanation can lable personality. Psychiatrists run many different tests before they can make an assessment.
    Still, if I'd have to pick one, I'd say inrtoversion. Even if it really depends on the situation.

    This made me think of Donnie Darko, when Kitty Farmes aks the students to choose "love or fear".
     
  9. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    Whilst I agree with what you say, I kind of feel you're missing the point. The Myers Briggs/Type Dynamics mechanism doesn't even remotely attempt to define or label a persons personality. What it does do is highlight groups of people with similar traits, tendencies and internal dialogue. It's kind of like the different types of car, they share similar traits and are all cars but each one is slightly different. An SUV is a grouping of cars with similar traits, as is an RV but neither is an attempt to completely define.

    I was genuinely shocked by how similar the thought processes of other INTPs are to my own when I signed up to a forum dedicated to personality types. It was like meeting a bunch of clones or talking to someone who's been stalking me for decades and knows my every thought!
     
  10. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    It's not really about putting yourself in a box. I always thought there was something wrong with me when I grew up, as other people would constantly be more active than me socially, going out all the time, or spending their time between classes at school talking about all kinds of bullshit. I on the other hand, I would prefer to sit alone with a book.
    I guess you can say I was labelled as "shy", as I would have a small knit circle of friends throughout school, but that is far from the case. I am not shy, and I have never had any trouble talking to people, I just dont like it.

    When I started reading about Introversion and Extraversion, it was as if my eyes opened for the first time. Suddenly I knew more about why I felt the way I did, why I always felt exhausted when forced to be with a large group of people for an extended ammount of time, and why I would rather choose being alone with a book when others would want to go outside and party.

    My life turned around from there. Suddenly I viewed myself as having this great gift inside me, rather than there being something wrong. I made new friends, and stopped hanging out with those extraverts I previously so desperately wanted to be like. My life is simply much better now than it was three years ago.


    Bottom line is, I dont think it puts me in a box at all. I think those two personality types are very much real, but that it woks more like a sliding scale than being set in stone. So some people lean more to one side or the other. If you embrace your own personality type, you can understand more about how you as a person work, and that can really help you a lot in your personal life.
     
  11. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    The definition of Extrovert and Introvert in a Myers Briggs context is mainly that an Extrovert gains "energy" through social interaction whereas an Introvert expends "energy" in social interactions.
    Both types can interact at many and varying levels in social contexts, it is the way that their internal dialogue copes with the situation that differs.

    I'm an Introvert, social interaction with people I have no real emotional connection with is something I find exhausting. The need for small talk is beyond me, I don't give a flying f**k about such and suches nephew having a baby or Mr Salesman reaching his monthly target a week ahead of time!!

    On the other hand, being with my friends and loved ones is something I thrive on and enjoy. They keep me sane and grounded and stop me from getting lost forever in the myriad worlds that I've created in my imagination. Whenever my wife is away from home I drift off into my own world for a few days, I can't sleep properly, I don't eat properly...then when she is back I just click back to normal!!! Hope she never leaves me! LOL.
     
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  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm both, being at heart a hermit, yet able to get along with and influence others easily... i'm also equally right and left-brained, so that may explain it...
     
  13. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    Personality tests aren't very accurate. I've answered the questions as accurately as I can and still it doesn't get it right. Also, many questions cannot be answered with the given examples, or, in many cases, cannot be answered with a scale of strength because the strength for one question can, would, and does differ in real life situations.

    The Myers-Briggs one. I've got characteristics of many of those... INFJ and INTJ describe me the best but still not completely, and even they get some things wrong. That said, not one person is just one of those types. Categorizing personalities, and then, later, ascribing them to individuals, isn't exactly smart. One can know oneself well enough without knowing a strict type, in fact one can know oneself even better that way - no confusion, simply look at what you are like and there ya go.

    Personally I consider myself simply as a human. All these personality types, world views, and all similar, are accompanied by bias or have attached attributes. Many people think "Well, isn't that a fucking ..." or "Oh?! A ...? I like that one!" Unfortunately this is true. And all those "attachments" I do not want at all. I want people to consider me for who I am, not base their opinions of me after some preconceived notions they are biased toward.

    Either way, I've never considered myself belonging under some preconceived views. I've also never based my own opinions on some preconceived ideas. Because of this I can see things for what they really are, no bias. And loving it, but not what I see.
     
  14. musicjess2
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    I had never been one to really trust in any personality test at all, but I do agree that the Myers Briggs test is pretty acurrate. Here is a link if anyone is interested, since I know it was mentioned here before:
    http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
    A friend of mine who is a psych major made all of the incoming freshman in our class (okay, pleaded more than "made us" take it) for fun. I thought it was really interesting, and the more I learn about myself, the more I am surprised at how acurate mine was. There were defiantely questions that could have gone either way for me, but I took the test 3 different times this year as I felt I had changed a little bit, and it stayed the same haha. My letter scoring is "INFJ".

    I'm introverted - or at least I have always been growing up - but I've been challenging myself to be "more myself" in groups, especially my goofy crazy side, so I think I almost stand somewhere in the middle now because I'm definately more outspoken than I used to be. I definately think my introverted qualities affect the way I write/my creative process/way I think. I always have to think about the purpose in everything that I do and I don't really get anything out of social gathers where people are drinking, etc. In a new crowd of people where I am hanging out with them (not independent and on my own), I don't feel quite myself until I get to know those people better - and if I relate/like them - then I"ll start opening up more. I do TRY when I don't know people. But it's definately not always comfortable. You can really grow from getting out of your comfort zone though, so over the last few years I have definately been opening myself up to just that. :p
     
  15. Snicket
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    Snicket Member

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    I'm INTJ, people exhaust me. Being out and socializing is the number one most exhausting thing in the world. I really hate being out more than hour. I come home and it feels as if I have exercised for eight hours.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Categorizing people is anathema to a writer. Train yourself to see people as individuals rather than as members of a category.

    It's not easy, but it's worth the effort.
     
  17. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    I partially disagree. I think it is great to view people as individuals without handing out labels, to see their unique qualities, their personality and their quirks. I hate grouping people myself, but when it comes to personality type, that is more than just a lable. The brain of introverted and extraverted individuals is actually physically different in how it processes information, and that is worth not overlooking when trying to understand a person, which is why I think it's worth taking the time to learn about it.
     
  18. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    Mine came out as an INFJ, I thought the test described me pretty good. My wife took it as well, and it described her characteristics as well. I had to take the Minnesota test to work in a nuke plant once, but I didn't get the results from it. I think there were over 500 questions on that one.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I call myself an introvert. I like being alone. I get tired of people very easily, and large crowds spook me quickly. I don't like going to malls, crowded parks, etc. because the presence of so many other people hampers my style, so to speak.

    But there are certain people I need, and I worry that I don't get through to them enough. In one of the last conversations I had with my father before he died, I said I wished he'd spent more time with me when I was a kid. He said, "You seemed so happy when you were by yourself. I thought I was making you happy by leaving you alone." I almost cried then. It's sometimes very hard for an introvert to really connect to the people he needs to connect to.

    I won't take the Myers Briggs test. I don't like the idea of being summed up by four letters. Are there really only four dimensions of personality? From the point of view of a writer, I say of course not. Sure, I might behave in this way or that way most of the time, but what if there's a full moon? (I hope you know what I'm getting at.)

    Maybe most writers are introverts, and the reason they write is that they need to find a way to connect with others. It isn't as easy for them as it is with extroverts. Extroverts do it easily and naturally in social settings; a writer has to do it alone, hoping readers will find his books, hoping readers will understand the writer through them.
     
  20. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    I did a Myers-Briggs test a few years ago, I think I came out either INTJ or INFJ but can't remember now.

    Anyway, I think we need to remember that being introvert or extrovert doesn't preclude us from having friends of the 'opposite' version. I have friends who are extrovert, the only thing we have to do when getting together is remember each other's nature and take that into account. My extrovert friends tend not to be too hot on long and deep conversations (I think because their spouses/partners give them whatever they need from personal conversations so they don't really want a similar thing with anyone else), but I'm not good at group dynamic so when we get together we generally have varied chats that involve some depth but also with some small talk. I suppose it doesn't help that I'm single and likely to stay that way, which means I don't have a girlfriend/wife sounding board for my most personal feelings.

    Also, I think a common misconception is that introverts don't like being around people at all. That's wrong. It's that we need fewer people in our lives, but with far greater meaning and depth. I know I for one enjoy the company of close friends, and miss not being in a good quality relationship. However I'd rather stay single all my life than be in a relationship based on the shallowest of meaning.
     
  21. supportivemember
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    supportivemember Banned

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    ("...does it betray my age to say that I am an extrovert pertaining to all things that this dailylife offers and expects of me, while retaining an introvert nature towards that which is within me still..." asked the goblin of himself not too unaware, that since there was no escaping the settings around one, then perhaps it would be best to hide in full view by both doing and saying that which was expected of one instead, adding "...simply, I'm extrovert enough to escape their attention perhaps, and introvert enough to know that all is not this external here...")
     
  22. Just
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    I'm an Introvert of course, INFP to be exact.
    Many of the writers that I admire most hail from the land of INFPs, and I am proud to be one myself.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Frankly, I think that is bullshit, just as much as saying different races have physically different brains. Often, the only difference between an introvert and an extrovert is whether they have much in common with those who surround them.
     
  24. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had thought that extraverts were the kind of people who would volunteer to do karaoke and extraverts prefer to sit in the background and watch.

    I'm a DJ so would be considered extravert but I have a low tolerance of people - is that weird?
     
  25. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    The topic have undergone extensive research, and introversion and extraversion are generally accepted to be true measurable traits among humans, rather than physcological conceps. A quick google search gives several pages of results that will back up the argument. https://www.google.no/search?q=extrovert+introvert+brain+anatomy&aq=f&oq=extrovert+introvert+brain+anatomy&aqs=chrome.0.57j0j60j62l3.6019&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    As for the race issue. It is an extremely convtroversial topic. But just because it is politically incorrect to agree on anything other than all people being equal, it would stand to reason that there are differences between different races of people. Ten thousand years or more of geographical isolation separates some people around the world, giving evolution time to work on their genepools. Especially in cultures with completely different values and belief system, it would be that siexual selection have favored different mental traits over others.
    But I think it goes without saying that claims that some races are superior to others are just garbage. Some people may have advantages or a disadvantage in one field, while another might have an advantage or disadvantage in another. We are simply different, not better or worse.

    Kinda reminds me of one so called "academic" here in Norway who claimed the reason ethiopians and kenyans do better at running the marathon was because they had a culture of running. That I think we all can agree is not the case. So why this insistance that we are the same mentally when there are clear physical differences?

    As stated, this is a controversial topic where political correctness often end a debate before it gets started, but I find the subject interesting nonetheless
     

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