Introversion and Me

You can’t be both introverted and an actor…. I read that on facebook this week. (Hurry, someone tell Meryl Streep that!) But I’ve also heard that you can’t be both introverted and a blogger. I’m being bombarded on all fronts. Apparently both my hobby and my profession are wrong for me. Shit.Β 
I have been a lifelong INFJ according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality. Some people’s “type” can change throughout their life. Mine has not. Did anyone else’s school counsellors make them take introvert/extravert quizzes in 6th grade and then talk about their feelings? Β Maybe that was just my school…

I’ve always come up as an introvert to the surprise of quite a few of my friends who know how bubbly, enthusiastic and talkative I can be. How can I be an actor, blogger and an introvert? Bloggers share so much of their lives and that’s not something an introvert would do. And why do so many bloggers claim to be introverts? How can you get up on stage with all eyes on you? That’s not something an introvert would do.

on the shore

Well, if you believe these things there may be a flaw in your rationale for it; introvert does not equal shy. In fact, shyness and introversion are hugely different. Introverts are fully capable so talking with and interacting to a large group of people, they just tend not to relish all aspects of it. Here’s a quote I find very applicable, “Many introverts could easily go out to a cocktail party and talk up everyone in the room — and they may enjoy themselves doing it. But at the end of the day, they’ll look forward to restoring their energy by coming home and reading in bed with a cup of tea.”

Which is true. I like doing things with other people; I enjoy it. But afterwards I feel drained. I need some time to recharge before plowing on to the next social occasion. The longer I spend being “social” the more time I need to by myself to feel myself again. Whereas Sam could spend every single night of the week with friends over for dinner, out for drinks, meeting for coffee and it would never phase him. It’s his bread and butter.

When it comes to public speaking introverts are fine with it! What they need more than their extraverted friends is time to prepare and think and plan out what they are going to say first, where as an extravert would be more comfortable improvising. I love speaking in front of people. If I didn’t then I’m surely in the wrong career- but I am only truly comfortable doing so when I am fully prepared. When I am acting, I am assuming the life of someone else, someone else that I have put a lot of effort into and am fully prepared to speak as them by the time an audience might see it. When I am blogging I have all the time in the world to gather my thoughts; to articulate them in just the way that I want. In short, I can control what I present to the world when I blog. And that’s something I find incredibly seductive about blogging.Β 

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  • I think i’m both but more so an introvert and I’m not shy at all I just don’t feel the need to be around people 24/7, it is in fact draining for me. I think blogging actually describes introverts perfectly. They have a lot to say but they don’t do it by physical interaction. Makes perfect sense. It’s an interesting subject and I think maybe introversion vs. extroversion has a lot to do with how guarded someone is in terms of privacy vs. how open or outgoing you are towards others. But there are so many other factors too.

    • There are SO many factors. I guess I just don’t think blogging necessitates you being a certain “type” of person. I also think it’s really difficult so say there’s a hard and fast way that people are supposed to act just because they share one element of their personalities. x

  • I agree with all points mentioned. I would consider myself as an introvert too. I was really shy when I was younger and couldn’t speak to people I didn’t know. Now that’s no problem anymore but I still need some alone time every now and then. I can’t be around people 24/7. And I need to plan everything and be prepared before I held a speech too. I used to write a speech down and learn it by heart. It’s not that bad anymore but I need at least a few notes…..

    • Sometimes, if I need to make an important phone call, I try to plan as much of it out ahead of time as I can. Haha for some reason, being on the phone makes me especially anxious! x

  • I am an INTJ and for me I really really just like to be alone. I can spend a week in our apartment before I realize that I should leave it or I can be alone all day and then when Fredrik comes home still want to be alone. Luckily he understands when to push me out of the house or otherwise I fear I would never leave! The thing is though that I love doing public speaking, performing, and basically acting silly in public but I do not know if it is just that I have lower inhibitions than other people or that when I do those things I do not have to really interact with another individual and is still a very solo act for me. I also think that I am not shy in the traditional sense but very private which does seem to clash with having a blog but like you said I can control what I put out there and once again it is a solo act to have a blog and then I can control how much I interaction I have with commenters.

    • I like doing things a lot. But sometimes I like doing things without needing to be social at the same time (if that makes sense). Sam and I have definitely had to adjust our schedules to the other person a bit. If left to my own devices I’d stay in loads more often and vice versa. But I think it’s good to have someone who’s fairly opposite to you to encourage you to do something different sometimes. IE, its good as an introvert to get out, and it’s good for extroverts to have some chill time. x

      • I remember in either one of my sociology classes or American Studies classes we talked about how people who are more shy, quiet, introverted etc prefer living in big cities because you can get that balance of being in public and getting the feeling of being social but still being alone and an individual. It has always stuck with me though because I love that, you can be in a busy cafe or bar and almost feed of the energy but no one will bother you if you do not invite the attention yourself.

        • Hmm… this is such a good point! And it makes a lot of sense. I do sometimes like the feeling of being in crowds alone but not lonely, if that makes sense. x

  • Thank you- this is so true! As a fellow INFJ, I am soft-spoken and dislike being the center of attention in social situations. However as a performer it doesn’t matter if you are intro or extro– acting is acting! When I’m onstage, I have a performance prepared and I give it and become a different personality… something which has shocked many friends the first time they see me sing. It’s actually fun to shock people though this way, I get a kick out of it πŸ™‚

    • Yes! That’s exactly what I meant- it’s a performance that I’ve prepared. Even if it’s as truthful and honest as I can possible give, it’s still a performance… (If that makes sense?) x

  • I think people believe there are black and white rules for being an introvert and an extrovert, but there isn’t, and what works for some doesn’t work for all. So you keep on doing what works for you πŸ™‚

  • Deanna Herrmann

    So interesting that you shared this. I always thought I was ENFJ, but actually I’m INFJ. And that combination they say, is confusing because we actually appear extroverted when we aren’t. I was reading that it sometimes causes issues in relationships when people don’t understand our need to recharge since we seem so social. Great post!

    • Exactly! Very few people would guess it on the surface! I love being social- but it can take a lot out of me sometimes. Occasionally, when I come home I have to have time just by myself before I tell Sam about my day. x

  • I’m also an INFJ! We’re a rare breed! No one was more surprised than I to discover my personality type. I thought I was an extrovert and spent a lot of time not really understanding my need for solitude and time alone. I think with many introverts, it comes down to expectations and managing your time. I expect that my job is going to be challenging with colleagues requiring my assistance constantly but heaven forbid somebody tries to cut into my lunch time alone time!

    • For me I love being social- but I like having it planned, when exactly and in advance. I’m not a huge fan of spontaneous parties, dinners. (Which makes me sound really boring, right?) But neither will I shy away from being at an event if I’m there? INFJs are one of the most rare, I believe? And known for people thinking they are extroverts on the surface! x

  • Me too!! And everyone else leaving comments….who are also bloggers πŸ™‚ I always tested on the verge of I and E so that was always confusing to me….what am i?!?!? So I did the logical thing and got a psych degree to try and figure myself out haha!! I think blogging allows us introverts to have the exact amount of interaction that we want to have with others without actually having to be in a room full of people. Love this!

    • Ha, I’m sure with a Psych degree you are much more qualified to weigh in than I am as well! I don’t mind sharing- I like it- but I also like having the control over what I do…. (Maybe that means I am also a control freak…) x

  • I think it’s crazy to get hung up on labels and use that as a guideline for what someone can or can’t do. I guarantee the people who said that introverts CAN’T be an actor/ blogger are extroverts, otherwise… they’d get it. I actually spoke with an astrologer earlier this year and we spoke about how introverted I am although most people would never know it (and how the majority of performers/ actors are introverted).

    Just because I need time to retreat by myself in order to “refuel” doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of functioning in a social or public environment. I just approach it differently than some people. Just like everyone else approaches it differently. We should be celebrating our uniqueness rather than casting judgement.

    • I’m the same way about “refuelling”. I also think it’s really difficult so say there’s a hard and fast way that people are supposed to act just because they share one element of their personalities. Not all introverts are going to be alike, and neither are all extroverts.

      Amongst all my actor friends, I think it’s a pretty even split between extroverted/introverted. And that aspect of their personalities has nothing to do with talent or comfort on stage. I think creativity doesn’t correlate to anything on a personality test. But of course, I am no psych specialist πŸ˜‰

  • I don’t see why you can’t be an introvert and a blogger… surely the whole point in blogging is that you can do it while sitting at home along with a cup of tea? It’s not like being surrounded by people where you HAVE to interact and be social… on my blog, I can wait three days before replying to comments if I don’t feel like interacting right now.

    I’m not actually sure whether I’m an introvert or extrovert… mostly I’m just socially incompetent!

    • Hahaha, I guess since I’ve only interacted with you online, I never would have guessed that you even consider yourself socially incompetent! x

  • I think a lot of people don’t realize what you said about “recharging.” You’re right that people assume introversion = shyness. I’m an extrovert, and that’s something I didn’t realize about my friends who called themselves “introverts.” Most people would have no idea that my husband,who is very talkative and friendly and passionate at work and parties comes home and doesn’t talk to me for a little while so that he can rest and recover. And it took me a little while to realize that he wasn’t being rude to me, he just truly needed that time alone. I’m glad you wrote about this topic – I think more people need to be educated and understanding about the differences of personalities with their friends. πŸ™‚

    • I’m the same way with Sam- sometimes I just need to sit down and have some space to myself before I tell him about my day. And I do think that was really hard for him to get used to at first. He always used to think that I was upset or something was wrong when I just needed to unwind quickly! I guess it just comes down to being respectful! (And that people can’t be defined by one aspect of their personalities). x

  • Awwww.. I think I would definitely lean towards being an introvert, for sure. I didn’t really know exactly what it meant until now. But it sounds like me too. I like visiting with people but I definitely don’t want to be doing it all night every night, that’s for sure!

    Blogging is the nice +5 part of being an introvert like you said because you choose what and when to post! (That 5+ above was from Alina.. she wanted to say hello…)

    • I giggled when I read this- hi Alina!!!! (I like that interjection on her part)

      Obviously it’s just an online quiz so it doesn’t mean a whole lot but there are a few Myers Briggs that you can take to get a vague idea. x

  • Not just your school, mine too! We did all sorts of quizzes to work out our personality, what careers suited us best, which study techniques were most suitable for us etc. Except I always thought about each question too much and never had enough time to finish! Maybe that says a lot about my personality! Anyway, after reading about the Myers-Briggs Indicator personality test on another blog I took it and I am ISTJ, with 89% introversion.
    I am surprised you read that blogging doesn’t suit introverts. I have always thought that blogging is a perfect form of communication for us introverts.

    • The argument I read was that bloggers tend to put up lots of photos of themselves, details of their lives which is not “introverted” (which is why I think there’s a big distinction between “shy” and “introverted”). I’m glad to hear that someone else’s school experience was as filled with quizzes as mine was! x

  • This is a great post Amanda! I couldn’t agree more. I identify as an introvert but that often surprises my friends and family because I’m not shy. But I definitely can’t do back to back social occasions as I need time to just chill and be quiet and by myself! This post really spoke to me!

    • Thank you Carly! Your comment really made me happy- it’s great to get feedback that other people can really identify with my posts at times! xx

  • I’m currently reading ‘Quiet’ which is about introverts! I always tried to stay away from calling myself an introvert, but after reading parts of Quiet I realized exactly what you said in that quote. Introvert doesn’t mean quiet. It just means you enjoy time to yourself with your thoughts a bit more. I love going out and being social, but I find it exhausting and always look forward to being at home curled up with a good book or TV show.

  • I forget what I am on Meyer’s Briggs, and it’s been years since I’ve taken it, but I’m one whose results changed! I went back and forth between an I and E every time, and whenever I took it, I only received 50% in it. If I recall, that’s the percentage of certainty that you are that letter.

    Anyway, I’m very social and love hanging out with my friends! I gain energy by being with Beau or with my best friends, but I definitely use up energy being with my family or a large group or with acquaintances. For my introversion, I feel like I have a small circle of people who are close enough to me that being with them is the same relief or recharging that being alone is.

    Like last week, I was stressed to the max being around my parents and my in-laws, getting ready for my reception on Saturday. On Thursday I just left everyone without saying anything and closed myself in my parents’ bedroom (so I could watch TV while I worked on my laptop–my childhood bedroom is sans TV). But on Saturday, I had a brunch with my best friends, and then a few of them came over to my parents’ house to help me make corsages. I felt so relaxed and refreshed. By the time we went to my reception, I was so energized and ready to be social with 100 people!

    • Personally, I think that in actuality very few people are clearly introverted or clearly extroverted. I also think it’s really difficult so say there’s a hard and fast way that people are supposed to act just because they share one element of their personalities. For example, your comment shows “clear” elements of both.

      I find the Myers Briggs test really interesting just to take for the sake of taking but I try not to put much stock into it.

      What I do think is really interesting is that it is common for people’s “type” to change as they get older or during certain situations in their life, and so far mine hasn’t yet. Maybe that means stubbornness is one of my own personal, defining traits…. x

  • Haha, exactly! The way you described being social is how I feel- balance is key! There are definitely times I can be shy, but I wouldn’t say that shyness is a distinguishing characteristic of mine. x

  • Thank you for sharing! Recharging is also important for me. You are are right, I need longer depending on how long I’ve been out

  • Great post, I think I am a little similar. as much as I need time with my friends and family, I do relish time to myself, without friends/family/kids around… I definitely need both!

  • Love this! I am so with you, I need my alone time to recharge!

  • oh, i thoroughly agree with this! i love that quote:-) i’ve always hated it when people mistake me being an introvert for being shy, or think that the fact i don’t talk much means that i don’t know how to. when in reality i just enjoy my time alone. being an introvert doesn’t limit one at all, or make one unsuitable for being a blogger/actor/anything! x

    • So much all of this! I can shy or not, depending on the situation and it’s completely separate from my introversion! x

  • I relate to this post on so many levels, even with the acting part. I love being with a large group of people, but I absolutely NEED that alone time after.

    • I’m so glad to hear that you can connect with this post! I share more with Sam than I do with anyone else, but I sometimes need time to sit by myself and not talk about my day before unwinding for the evening. x

  • I am also surprised to know that you’re an introvert! You seem like an extrovert to me!
    I am an extrovert, but sometimes I’m introvert too, in that I actually hate speaking to strangers. I hate small talk. I only enjoy talking to my friends. I don’t even like talking to relatives that are not my immediate family.

    • Hahah I don’t know why but this comment really cracked me up! I also feel very similarly! But Sam says that I can be a grump so…. maybe that’s part of it! x

  • I’m an INFJ also! Always so fun to find other bloggers who are because it’s such a rare type. Thank you SO much for posting this. I can’t tell you how many people I know say “You’re an introvert? No way. You’re so good with people!” And I feel the need to differentiate between a hermit and introvert. Haha But it is one of my favorite parts of blogging, being by myself, sitting with a cup of tea and taking my precious time to think and put my thoughts on paper, something a small-talk conversation could never capture. So glad you feel the same about blogging as an INFJ! πŸ™‚

    • Hurray like minded bloggers! I wonder why it is such a rare type. I haven’t done much research on that fact, have you? I just dislike when people insist that my personality type should dictate what things I enjoy x

  • I feel the same way. I used to be an extrovert as a kid, but somehow have become more of an introvert as an adult. I can go to parties or have conversations with large groups, but after a certain amount of time, I’m done. That’s why I love blogging, because I feel comfortable and safe behind my words. I’ve made many friends through blogging and have been able to step outside my comfort zone in different ways through blogging.

    • I think that blogging can be great at pushing people out of their comfort zones no matter what type of personality they have! In fact, of course blogging has it’s negative side but I also think that it has so many lifelong benefits! x

  • I’m another INFJ blogger πŸ™‚ honestly, I think that being an introvert and blogging go together perfectly! you can share what you want, no more and no less, and [at least for me] I find the idea of divulging personal details to strangers on the internet less intimidating than face-to-face conversations with acquaintances. my type has always wavered between INFJ and INTJ, which means I am more of what people think of as an introvert than most INFJs. having alone time and recharging after draining activities is essential for me… things can get ugly otherwise. I’ve read that INFJ is actually mistaken for extroverted quite often. my husband is an INFJ and is a teacher – another career where public speaking is your job description – so I think there’s nothing wrong with your acting! honestly as much as we can all find similarities through personality types, each of us is still unique and able to make our own choices. besides, if it’s good enough for Meryl… πŸ˜‰

    • Hehe exactly. Yes, other people have mentioned that INFJs can masquerade as extroverts. What do you think makes you waver between INFJ and INTJ? Is it circumstantial? (If that’s not too private to ask, of course!) x

      • maybe just my mood when I took the test? ha. the last time I took the test I was 51% F and 49% T but I think it’s closer to 60/40 or some days 70/30. we are always growing and changing and moving across the levels of the characteristics, and I think because my T and F have always been close to balanced it tips my “type” to the other side sometimes. [it also causes some conflict for me!] I’ve been more and less introverted at times when I’ve taken the test but even with the range I’m always on the introvert side. I find it interesting because two INFJs can actually be quite different depending on which characteristics they are strongest in.

  • Amy @ the tide that left

    I have no idea what I can because I can never be bothered to complete the tests. I wonder what that says about me. I would have guessed that I was an extrovert, but I do need my private time too so maybe I am more of an introvert. I’m all for a load of reflection (at the same time as having zero patience to take personality tests – we’re complex beings, eh?!)

    • Haha so true! Although now I am really curious as to what your type would be if you did take the test. However it’s not a breezy buzzfeed test, it actually takes a fair bit of time to complete so I guess I wouldn’t recommend it for you πŸ˜‰ x

  • That test is the first thing Eliisa made me take when I moved in…and we’re the exact same personality type not surprisingly, ENFP. I just told her yours and she said we’re perfect partners for you haha! You should have Sam take it cause I bet he’s the same as us too, since you guys are just perfect partners. It’s interesting stuff…though I can never remember what the letters means and I just end up shouting to Eliisa to ask cause she knows all of it! x

    • What?! Sam IS an ENFP! How crazy! It’s like you are a witch! (Or Eliisa is?!) How weird is that?! I didn’t even know the two types were compatible, but I really like thinking that we are all some crazy great team of people who are mentally structured to work in sync together. x

  • I’m in marketing, and everyone says that about my job too. Lifelong ISFJ right here, so I guess we’re incredibly similar. I actually find that a lot of people who write (whether as a career or part-time) are introverted. They share details, but they’re doing it in a solitary fashion.

    And I totally get what you’re saying about being fine talking to people; I’m the same way. My friend Barb describes me as an “outgoing introvert,” and I think that’s very true. Seems like you may be the same.

    • I think “outgoing introvert” is really applicable to me as well! (In fact, I might borrow it to describe myself from now on if that’s alright.) x

  • It seems like a ton of bloggers are Introverts, but I think that makes a lot of sense because you control your level of interaction and you have plenty of time to process your thoughts and feelings in this medium. It is a common mis-conception that introverts have to be shy; it is more about how they interact and process thoughts/feelings. I think that blogging as an Extrovert is challenging, I’m an ENTJ. You don’t have that immediate interaction that can drive extroverts. It is much easier for me to communicate where I can feed off of the other person reactions. I think we Es tend to be much more off the cuff and like to draw people into our excitement in the moment. Writing is a much more delayed/controlled form of communicating. Great post. BTW -I had a whole class in grad school that was just talking about and taking personality tests….I find it quite interesting.

    • Do you find it frustrating to deal with that level of delay/intermediate interaction? Sam’s an extrovert as well so I’ll have to pick his brain on this later today. What do you think was one of the most interesting things you learned in that grad class? (Which sounds extremely interesting, by the way!) x

      • I would be interested in hearing your husband’s take. It is just a very different way to communicate- maybe a bit frustrating. It is more of an adjustment as you can’t rely on that immediate feedback to fuel the thought or conversation. I think where Introverts say “wait I need a minute to think it over”, Extroverts say “lets keep the ball rolling”. Just a thought πŸ™‚ It was really interesting to see how the different personality tests line up and you really see your core personality. It is also interesting to see how it really does impact group dynamics and how people communicate when you reveal those personality traits in a group setting.

        • We talked it over a bit. He did say that he feels, as an extrovert, that his posts would tend to be things that he’d already said in real life as opposed to “newly minted thoughts” if he was a blogger. x

  • I love Myers-Briggs! I think it’s really insightful in some ways. I’m INTJ, which explains so much…

    • I agree! Myers-Briggs is the most insightful “personality” test I’ve ever taken for sure! x

  • It is because when you’re acting, and out eating Thai with other bloggers, you’re putting a face on? I do it – I’m actually incredibly shy, but there is something that makes me switch over (luckily it’s before I meet with people, you wouldn’t believe some of the hand-wringing that goes on…)

    • Ha, when I am out doing things (as myself) I don’t have a mask one, but I don’t always feel like doing that. I’m the kind of person that might say no to a dinner or outing, not because I don’t want to see that particular person, but just because I need some alone time to recharge. If I don’t have that time and plow on (there’s a lot of hangwringing before hand) and it usually results in fairly stilted conversations. x

  • I’m an introvert AND shy, but I still thrive on interacting with people! I just get anxious about it and I need time to recharge.

    • It just goes to show that personality types don’t actually influence people’s preferences through and through πŸ˜‰ x

  • I read once that most people that make a living off youtube/blogging/internety things are introverts. Sitting alone in a room, sharing your thoughts with the world; it’s perfect. (:

  • I feel very similar. I’m confident around friends but if I don’t know someone I can be quite shy. It also took me a while to decide to do the blog and I was a bit embaressed about it to start with but now quite enjoy telling everyone about what’s going on in my life!

    • I still get a bit weird about telling people in my “real life” about my blog. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable still but I am gradually getting more and more used to being out of the blogging closet. x

  • I enjoy interacting with people, but at the end of the day I have to have my quiet time at home haha

  • haha I’m one of the “wait, you’re a blogger and an introvert?!” people. I guess it’s hard for extroverts to understand!