Introversion is a topic I have been very interested in over the past few days. For the ones who do not know what introversion is; let me explain. It’s essentially a personality trait. You can be an extrovert or an introvert. Although, you should not see it as black and white as I just wrote it down, it is more of a spectrum, really. You can be a little bit of both even. An extrovert is someone who gets their energy from being in a social situation. An introvert on the other hand, gets their energy from being on their own and is actually drained of energy in social situations. Ofcourse, these are only textbook definitions meaning that it is different for everyone. Not every introvert is the same, just as not every extrovert is the same.
That being said, I think I can safely say that I am an introvert. Although, I also have social anxiety which sometimes makes it a little more complicated and therefore the line between my introversion and my anxiety is a bit blurry. Important to note, not every introvert is socially anxious! (or shy) This one is important to keep in mind. Loads of introverts actually enjoy being social and are really good at it as well. However, the question for me remains: Which behaviour comes from my introversion and which one comes from my anxiety? I still have not quite figured that one out.
However, just this morning I came across a video by Savannah Brown in which she talked all about introversion and also talked briefly about an article online. Apparently, there are four types of introversion. Those four types are really what I wanted to talk about today.
A brief description of the four types of introversion:
- Social: This one basically means that you prefer to socialize only in small groups instead of large ones. Or sometimes you even prefer to be all alone. Important to know; there is no anxiety here, it’s simply preference.
- Thinking: This one mainly focuses, not so much on the social aspect, but more on the thoughtful aspect of introversion. People who count themselves in this category are often introspective, thoughtful, and self-reflective. I liked how the article described it: “You’re capable of getting lost in an internal fantasy world,” “But it’s not in a neurotic way, it’s in an imaginative and creative way.” Think the dreamily imaginative Luna Lovegood, not the socially awkward Neville Longbottom.
- Anxious: This category is quite similar to the social one, however, this one is not so much driven by preference, but more by fear. Anxious introverts are uncomfortable in social situations and are often not confident about their social skills. Hence they seek solitude. However, according to the article, even when alone, the anxiety never really fades away due to over-thinking about what could possibly go wrong.
- Restrained: This one in particular I find rather difficult to really describe. I used to be best friends with someone who I would most definitely count into this category. I suppose another word for this category could be reserved. The way the article described it was pretty accurate: Restrained introverts sometimes seem to operate at a slightly slower pace, preferring to think before they speak or act.
With these four categories all explained and well, I think I can count myself mostly as a thinking introvert. Even before I knew of these four types, I had always described myself as introspective and thoughtful. For example, you know those long car journeys where you sit in the back, headphones in, and you just don’t want the car ride to end? You’re just comfortably sitting there, daydreaming and thinking. Also, I love to reflect on myself and my life. I suppose some would call this ‘being dramatic’ but I simply enjoy looking back on my life or on certain moments, thinking about it and taking some sort of life lesson out of it. It’s just something I do, I guess. Lastly, Luna has always been the character in Harry Potter I related to the most, perhaps now I know the reason behind that feeling.
The article also comes with a test. ‘Which type are you?’ Very interesting, and in my case, also surprisingly accurate for an online test. It said I was, besides the thinking type, also the anxious type. I think this is the link to my social anxiety. I’m simply not comfortable with my social skills and the way I act in social situations. Therefore, I like to avoid them as much a possible. Which I know I should not do, because I’m missing out on good times, but I can’t quite help it, I guess. Although, according to the test, I was also partly the social type. Which, again, I think is accurate. Sometimes I simply prefer to be alone. Not because I’m anxious or scared, just because I want to. I prefer sitting in my room painting or drawing or writing, instead of going to some wild party. And honestly, I like being that way.
In today’s society, introversion is often seen as a defect. Especially in high school where everyone seems to only care about parties, friends and social status. Being an introvert in these surroundings is hard. However, I wouldn’t want to change it in any way. I guess I simply am who I am. Introversion is not a defect, it’s a personality trait. Although, I also think that we should not see this as an excuse to accept anxiety. Anxiety should never be something that is leading your life for you. However, I am planning on writing a whole post focussing on anxiety, so more on this later.
The fact that I wrote this whole post only proofs that I am, for the most part, a thinking introvert; reflecting on myself and thinking about who I am as a person. I hope you found all of this information this just as interesting as I did. Are you an introvert, if so; which type are you? Or do you see yourself as an extrovert? Or are you somewhere else on the spectrum? Let me know in the comments! Let’s talk about this!