Being an Introvert

It's funny how sometimes concepts and themes can follow us around. I've heard that we are always surrounded by recurring themes, it's just that once in a while one jumps out at us on one day and then we start to notice it elsewhere. Whatever the cause, the theme that has been prevalent for me lately is introversion.

Turns out I'm a pretty introverted person. I know quite a few people don't think I am. Particularly those I work with have a tendency to think I'm an extrovert because I turn on such energy most of the time while working. What they don't see is the crash that happens most nights. The thing about introversion vs extroversion is that it means our energy comes from within, rather than from the people around us. So an introvert can be social all day, but then probably needs to 'recharge' at night. On the Myers-Briggs I am an INFJ, one of the rarest types. Though not quite as reserved as that article might suggest, I definitely need my recharging time.

One of the ways that I recharge is by reading. Constantly. I fly through books. So one of the things we decided about the new house was that I should have a spot for my reading. We decided on a couple of wingback chairs in the living room, to allow me to be social and near people, but also be my spot. I picked fabric for my chairs tonight, and will definitely post pictures as soon as we get them :)

And then there is this article. They interviewed the author on NPR today and I thought her perspective about needing to leave room for introverts in the workplace was really interesting. She said that a lot of our most creative work happens when we are alone, rather than when working with a group, because we get influenced by the reactions and inactions of the people around us. Fascinating, and if you think about it, totally true.

When was the last time you had a truly productive brainstorming session? How many times do people say 'oh man, another meeting.' or 'ugghh I hate group projects! Meeting with the group is always such a pain!?' Very common. Not that it's bad to want to work with groups, I just think there are a lot of people out there who would rather do some of the work on their own. There's a reason everyone listens to music in their offices - we need to create our own space to do our best thinking.

Anyway. Those are my recent thoughts on introversion. Chris is out of town this week, so I will have plenty of time to spend by my quiet self, doing my quiet things, until my (ok ok maybe not so) quiet husband comes home to keep me company.

2/1 update: I found this interesting article, "An Introvert's Guide to Networking," which pretty much describes my philosophy about how to handle networking. I would add to this that when you bring together a group of people who don't know each other at all, it can be great for the introverts if everyone stands up and says their names and what they do. That way we can seek out the people for whom we might have an actual purpose to converse, rather than having to just start random conversations.