Am I Really an Introvert?

When I was in my forties, I took the Myers-Briggs Temperament Inventory–the MBTI–for the first time.  I’ve taken it several times since .

If you’re not familiar with the MBTI, the only thing I can attempt to explain in one short blog post is the fact that the test is able to place each test taker in one of sixteen personality groups. Although there are exceptions, people are inclined to look at the test results with amazement–how could someone figure you out so well on the basis of  questions like those?

If you’ve never taken the MBTI, a version of it is available HERE. It’s well worth the few minutes it’ll take.

I’m an INTJ. That means Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging. The exact opposite of me would be an ESFP–Extrovert, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. Those eight letters can be combined into sixteen four-letter variations. You with me so far?

The significant letter for today’s post is the I. Introverted.

That word isn’t used the way most of us use it. Neither is “extroverted.” Those two words refer to whether being around a number of other people energizes or wears a person out. So “introverted” has nothing to do with shyness, but with the fact that an introvert enjoys the company of a small number of close friends, but is totally exhausted by having to spend time in a crowd.

The HR director who interpreted my first MBTI illustrated this way. She’s an I, and when she finishes teaching a class, she’s ready to return to her office and collapse. An extrovert is apt to rub his hands together and say, “That was fun. When’s the next class? Tomorrow? Do I really have to wait till then?”

Sometimes a person falls on the line between two categories, not being strongly an I or an E, an N or an S, A T or an F, or a J or a P.  When it comes to introversion, I am far on the I-side of the scale. So, not surprisingly, I don’t look forward to big parties or any type of large gathering. And when I have to attend such an event, I’m not only anxious for it to end, but totally exhausted long before the end.

Does that mean I don’t like people, though? Very definitely not! I really enjoy people who are close friends or family and in a group of limited size. So, if I don’t already know you, I would really love to meet you. But maybe it would be better if you don’t introduce me to all of your friends, family, and neighbors. Not all at the same time, anyhow.

But it does explain why I web programming, writing, and reading as much as I do.

Incidentally, just for the heck of it, I took the MBTI again a couple of minutes ago. If I recall correctly, I was originally on the line between intuitive and sensing. Now I’ve moved over into sensing.

How about sharing your MBTI type in a comment? If you’ve never taken the test, take a few minutes to do so and then leave a comment.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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When an Introverted Writer Needs Company

HappyGirl 005     HappyGirl 003     SleepingAuthor

I’m an introvert.

No, I’m not overly shy, especially when you put a guitar in my hands and put me in front of an audience.

I’m the kind of introvert who draws his energy from being alone or with a VERY small group of friends and gets extremely worn out just from being around more people than that. Especially for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

Computer programming was my perfect job for a number of years, because I worked in the solitude of my cubicle, coming out only for meetings and food.

That was then, but this is now.

I’m a published novelist. Once again I have the perfect job. Not only do I get to exercise my creativity and language skills, I get to stay home to do it. If I decide not to shave or shower one day, so what? My wife doesn’t object, and I have almost complete control over the number of people I’ll run into that day.

Most days start out at the Sonic fast food place that’s about a quarter mile from home. Brittney, Keyes, and Cassie (names misspelled to protect the innocent) know me so well I just say, “I’ll take my regular, please,” and one of them has my large diet cherry limeade ready by the time I get to the window.

I feel like I have a real relationship with those folks, even though I don’t actually know them. They seem to like me, though. If my wife finds three cherries at the bottom of my cup rather than the single cherry regular customers get, she knows Cassie waited on me. If there are five or six, it was Brittney.

All too often, my visit to Sonic is the extent of my week-day human contact except with my wife, who—unfortunately—still has to spend seven-and-a-half hours a day at work; at least she comes home for lunch. Wednesdays offer a break because I play guitar at my church’s nursing home ministry—that takes most of the morning—and participate in a Wednesday night Bible study. Occasionally, I run errands that take me elsewhere.

An extrovert—that’s someone who’s energized by being around people—would go crazy trying to live my life. Just as I would go crazy trying to live his.

But do I feel the need for company sometimes? Absolutely.

So what do I do? Call people or talk to them via Skpe?

Nope. My best company during the day is a white cat named Ashes (he had grey specks on his head as a kitten) and a miniature dachshund named Happy.

Although they entertain me at times, the best thing they do is to settle down near me while I’m writing. Ashes occasionally lies on the top of the section of sofa I’m sitting on—something that gives Happy fits because she wants to play with him.

But Happy provides the best non-human company of all. More often than not, she lies down beside me and rests her head on my Toshiba netbook.

Regardless of the keystrokes I have to undo because her chin touched a key, I’d be hard pressed to ask for a more dedicated companion. Man’s best friend during the day is definitely four-legged.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Because I’ve used up all of my songs, I revise and repost a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.

Best regards,
Roger