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Let’s Talk About Introverts

June 25, 2017

I am an introvert, and that surprises a lot of people.

I’m not shy; I don’t find social situations painful; I can speak and perform in front of small and large audiences; I enjoy parties and can often be the last guest to leave.

So what makes someone an introvert?  Not a clue, really, because like any group, we aren’t all alike. I’m a performance introvert, like many entertainers. I’m a decent actor and director, and take pleasure in both.

But they wear me out. Acting and directing, parties, social situations, and even church can exhaust me.

I’m married to a different kind of introvert. She is the opposite of the second paragraph of this post.

Given our druthers, we would both elect to stay home. We find comfort in each other’s presence, which doesn’t always mean interaction. She can work on her things and I can work on mine.

Image result for introvert

This is why I don’t understand protesters.

In college, I was a theater major who accidentally earned three degrees. The one I value most was playwrighting. It’s funny, only one senior a year could graduate with honors in my program. A classmate was in the same situation I was, but focused more on acting than writing. She got the honors because I spent my time reviving New Playwright’s Theater, a program that showcased student writers. We mounted more than 30 plays over my four years in college. Many of us won awards for our writing. I coached about 50 students in writing, acting and directing; taught playwrighting classes to freshmen. But the extrovert got the honors. It sounds like I’m bitter, but I’m not. Ultimately she was the better bet to go on and make a name for herself.

As an introvert, I put others forward. I give credit where credit is due; I’ll promote others rather than myself, and in most jobs, that goes unrecognized. One of the things I love about the company I work for now is that they DO recognize it–and value–it.  The funny thing is our CEs and senior managers are extroverts. They also happen to be incredibly intelligent.

The biggest example of my introversion is when my family goes on  road trips while I stay home and work (they used to feel guilty about this, but they know better now). I have wonderful friends who promise to keep me busy while they’re gone. And they follow through with invitations and I pray they aren’t offended when I turn them down. I like being alone. I am sometimes lonely and I enjoy it.

Two of my kids are introverts, each in their own unique way, and the youngest is an extrovert. We drive her crazy. Completely up the wall. Our house is often silent. The tapping of keys, muted music, blessed stillness… until my extrovert can’t handle it anymore. Then it gets noisy.

I like individuals; I struggle with groups. My trick at parties is that to me it isn’t a group event, it’s a bunch of one-on-one encounters in a short space of time. If that’s not possible, I put on my observer hat and just watch. Extreme extroverts wind my clock down very fast. If I’m around them in the morning… torture.

What kind of vert are you? Intro-, Extro- Other-? Let’s talk about it.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2017 5:52 pm

    I love this, Rob. My daughter and I have had long conversations about this–she isn’t an all-out introvert because she’s like you, friendly and engaging, but it exhausts her. Having a job that requires her to be fully engaged with clients all day is a challenge and leaves her depleted at the end of the day.
    I’m an extrovert, but I still enjoy being alone and quiet. Maybe I’m a bothvert. How’s that? A new word to consider. It’s nice to be the life of the party or the quiet one in the corner. It just depends on my mood.
    I’m hoping others chime in on the discussion. Very interesting!

  2. Tara Schwab permalink
    June 25, 2017 9:12 pm

    I am a second or third generation introvert who married an introvent and raised a family of (mostly) introverts. We can all function in groups, tho we are content being at home or alone for extended periods. I always felt like I was an outsider look in on all the fun, but as I have gotten older I don’t mind so much being an observer who occasionally enters in and feel more confident doing so. Maybe I’ve made peace with the way God made me; I know that as my relationship with God has deepened, I am more secure in Him. Sometimes I need to push myself and reach out to others more. Still a work in progress, I guess.

  3. June 26, 2017 9:12 am

    I was not at all surprised to see this post pop up. I figured that after the discussion on facebook the other day, you would happily confine yourself to a quiet room and give us some more food for thought. As we have discussed, I am unsure about myself (a lifelong problem). I remember early in my Christian walk when everyone was figuring out what their motivational gift was, I struggled to figure out mine. It drove me crazy. Why is there such comfort in being able to label myself? (That question is definitely for another time, but feel free to put it out on your thought-provoking blog.) I have decided to declare myself a vert. Whey, I feel much better!

    • June 26, 2017 10:21 am

      Your motivational gift is Exhortation. (Mine too). It’s the best of all worlds. I’d guess you are a Performance Introvert.  Debit, I have always considered you a Reserved Extrovert. 🙂

      Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S™ III, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

      • June 26, 2017 10:03 pm

        Hmmm, I’ve never been called “debit” before! Although it could be considered my motivational gift–to Tom’s dismay. 😊 Thanks!

      • June 27, 2017 8:19 am

        Posting from my phone and spellchecker bites. Unwittingly witty, though. 😦

        Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S™ III, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

      • June 27, 2017 8:26 am

        Also, I did some research and discovered there is a name for people like me; I’m an ambivert. 😊

  4. June 28, 2017 5:52 pm

    Linda and I talked about this very thing this past week. We were camping with our families. We had a wonderful time(except the bugs, awful ). But the constant peopleness was so hard, exhausting beyond exhausted. If that’s possible.
    Both of us introverts. More so now then when we were young.
    We are each in our respective homes. Oh the peace. And. Quiet.

  5. June 28, 2017 7:36 pm

    Katie! You posted! I’m so honored! Our family has the same dynamic as mine. A bunch of introverts and Debbie, the sole extrovert (I’d suspect Dad was an ambivert, because he loved talking to anyone but also enjoyed his time alone).

    Another aspect of introversion is our expressions are not slaved to our emotions or thoughts. We generally smile for other people’s benefit. Some get away with this because their resting face looks pleasant. My natural expression looks like a frown, even though I’m rarely unhappy.


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