March 08, 2006

Caring for your introvert

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Jason Kottke who seems to find just about everything that's worth reading on the internet, points out this fascinating article called "Caring for your introvert". (Actually, Jason is even more on the ball than that; what he's pointing out here is not the original article, which he linked to three years ago but a new interview with the author of the piece.

From the opening paragraph of the original article:-

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

It's a really interesting piece exploring the characteristics of introversion and noting, for example, that it's not the same thing as being shy, nor anxious or frightened in social settings. It's also fair comment, I think, when the author observes that extroverts don't really understand introversion and that the adjectives used to describe extroversion are typically positive ("vibrant", "warm", "empathetic") whereas those used to describe introverts are less generous; "guarded", "reserved", "taciturn". I'm not a huge fan in general of the concept of personality types (I didn't find doing a Myers-Briggs test especially valuable, for example), because I think they tend to be a bit axial. But this is a keen and well-written insight, I think.

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