Extreme introverts: How do you manage?

Extreme introverts: How do you manage?

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This is a discussion on Extreme introverts: How do you manage? within the General Psychology forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; Ever since I started taking the MBTI tests over a year algo, I've gotten almost a 100% in introversion versus ...

  1. #1

    Extreme introverts: How do you manage?

    Ever since I started taking the MBTI tests over a year algo, I've gotten almost a 100% in introversion versus extroversion. For as long as I can remember, I've needed insane amounts of alone time. I enjoy the social interaction (in fact, I need it) when it's meaningful to me in some sort of way, but generally speaking, I can survive for long periods of times with almost no socializing at all, and without feeling depressed (as long as I still feel I have someone I can count on, of course). Crowds and noise annoy me to no end, I can't stand them. I can't stand being in groups of people either. One-on-one conversations are my thing; even hanging with a group of 3 other people is already "too many people" for me.

    Suffice to say, this has made difficult for me getting the small doses of socializing that I do require. After all, I still like to think I am a healthy human being, and as such, I need people; just less than most people. In a society where it's almost an obligation to keep in touch with your friends and acquaintances on at least a weekly basis if you hope to keep such friendships, I've found myself losing friends over and over again throughout my life. I wonder, are there any other introverts like me out there? From what I've seen, even other introverts tend to seek way more social interaction than I do. If there are other extreme introverts such as me around here, how do you manage? How do you satisfy your inherent need for socializing every now and then, while still getting the alone time that you require? Have you been able to form close, meaningful and lasting relationships with people, while still being true to your introverted nature?
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  2. #2

    If it helps, I'm in the same boat. Perhaps seeking friends that are introverted aswell might help?
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  3. #3

    I am just like you described. I can and have gone for weeks without human contact and be just fine with it. The problem come up when people want mare socializing that I want. I do lose a lot of friends like that. When I withdraw they think I don't like them anymore and then will not associate with me afterward. That part makes it hard. But then I do find a few people that seem to at least tolerate my need to be alone and will continue to be friends. These are the ones I appropriate most.

    I have learned throughout the years that to be mentally and emotionally healthy I need this time to myself. I have tried the "Normal" socializing and that drains me to no end. Then I end up saying or doing something that ends the friendships anyway. So I find it better for me to live me hermit life the way I need to for my health. Then if my "friends" don't like it they can just go away. I take care of me first from now on.
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  4. #4

    I sympathise Hurting. Right now I am living at a residential college. I feel as if I am "trapped", surrounded by other people. Recently I have been taking steps in order to defend my mental well being. For example, instead of going down to the canteen I have occasionly been snacking/taking out instead. The fact people come up to me and demand an explanation for my absence after these meals demonstrates my point.

    It is curious that many introverts at my college seem to meet these social expectations. One lady, who I have much love for, has repeatedly approached me to talk as she is concerned over my little absences. Because she is friendly and understanding, I explained to her my true reasons, that I am an introvert, and I need to introvert in order to save energy.
    She listened, but she didnt seem to understand, she told me that in my life I would have to interact with people lots, so it is beneficial to develop my social skills now. She explained that humans are social animals. That humans need to socialise in order to function.

    I am too tired of these silly arguments to refute them anymore.

    *Sigh*
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  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Nancynobullets View Post
    I sympathise Hurting. Right now I am living at a residential college. I feel as if I am "trapped", surrounded by other people. Recently I have been taking steps in order to defend my mental well being. For example, instead of going down to the canteen I have occasionly been snacking/taking out instead. The fact people come up to me and demand an explanation for my absence after these meals demonstrates my point.

    It is curious that many introverts at my college seem to meet these social expectations. One lady, who I have much love for, has repeatedly approached me to talk as she is concerned over my little absences. Because she is friendly and understanding, I explained to her my true reasons, that I am an introvert, and I need to introvert in order to save energy.
    She listened, but she didnt seem to understand, she told me that in my life I would have to interact with people lots, so it is beneficial to develop my social skills now. She explained that humans are social animals. That humans need to socialise in order to function.

    I am too tired of these silly arguments to refute them anymore.

    *Sigh*
    It seems like your lady friend is an extrovert and don't understand introverts. In my younger years they used to say that to me too. As I got older (I am now 46) I learned that I just could not be like the extroverts for very long periods of time. They get energy from others and think that we do too and introverts just don't get our energy the same way was extroverts. You will eventually find a balance.
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  6. #6

    I changed my signature in honour of this thread.
    Latte, Space Cat and Shrubber thanked this post.

  7. #7

    I think it gets easier over time to stay in bouts of withdrawal. I've gone several weeks without that much contact with others and been fine. The thing about the people who stop talking to you if you don't talk to them all the time is they aren't your real friends anyway. I have a bunch of friends I can pick up with every 6 months and are fine with it. They kind of like the unexpectedness. The ENP types are great for this sort of thing because they get bored with people quickly and they move on to others so it works nice to have a few of them to reconnect with. It's neat how their extraversion causes them to disconnect from people while the introverts need to withdrawal causes them to do the same causing this understanding based on opposites. I also try to warm people up I haven't seen in a while by making a few jokes about life and what's been going on and I always talk to them like I had been the whole time anyway. It's easy enough. I find the other type of people who hold my withdrawals against me too clingy anyway so it works out well.
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  8. #8

    i tend to loose alot of friends that way as well. i used to drink too much all the time which made me seem very social. now i don't drink at all and in turn hardly socialize
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  9. #9

    Quote Originally Posted by markel View Post
    i tend to loose alot of friends that way as well. i used to drink too much all the time which made me seem very social. now i don't drink at all and in turn hardly socialize
    Ditto. A had a period of 1-2 years where I would drink a lot, and I found it ludicrously easy to make friends. But it wasn't me they were making friends with, just some drunk extrovert possessing my body for an evening. None of those friendships would ever last - they were doomed from the start.

    I'm very introverted myself (gauged at 89%, I guess) and feel like I'm in the same boat. I can sit down and have a really neat conversation with one person for 3 hours straight, but if there are 4 people then I start feeling like a 5th wheel - "why am I even here? They don't want to talk to me."

    This runs completely contrary to what I've recently begun perceiving to be the extrovert norm - extroverts thrive on the energy given off by a lot of people being around them, all talky-talky and happy-happy, but don't seem to much care about meaningful conversations. Usually when I talk to an "extreme extrovert" one-on-one, the conversations are only surface-level and very boring: "oh hey where are you from" "oh you know such-and-such place" ... Whenever I've had the misfortune to be stuck in a large party, I notice that a lot of people just have a good time because they're throwing inane movie quotes at each other, but not actually sharing anything important about themselves. This is the complete opposite of what I'd want in a conversation or a friendship.

    Unfortunately, society has gotten to the point where extroversion is widely regarded as the happy norm and introversion is generally viewed as some sort of perversion or disease. I've had people give me lots of "self-help" books about "how to win friends and influence people" (that's actually the title of one of them) and they're all basically guides about how to be an extrovert. I can understand the material, sure, but I feel I'm being fake when I try to put what's in there to good use. Not to say that the life of an extrovert is fake, just to say that it feels fake when I try to pretend to be an extrovert. It just isn't me.

    "Extroversion vs. Introversion" seems most like the "Quantity vs. Quality" debate. I dunno... there's nothing wrong with being extroverted, but there sure as hell isn't anything wrong with being introverted, either.
    Last edited by zwanglos; 02-06-2010 at 11:20 PM.
    infj123, Eliz, SVALP and 11 others thanked this post.

  10. #10

    svalp, i relate completely and your avatar's awesome. sans the appetite for murder, i feel like i am the female dexter morgan. and i score consistently at 100% introversion. it impacts every one of my relationships. admittedly, i even try to avoid dating whenever possible because i view it as an invasion of space and a time infringement. it's just easier and less stressful to be alone, and i'm actually happier alone for months at a time. still, i want connection, just rarely and on my own terms. i'll go through cycles of maybe two months or more without desire for human interaction before starting to crave it. even then, i only need maybe two or three days of socializing before i start to feel drained and want to retreat into my hermit cave again.

    with friends, i find it helps immensely to have either an introverted friend who understands your perspective or an EXXP friend who can deal with the drought while you're introverting and is flexible and able to pick up where you left off when you're ready. i'm fortunate to have an ENFJ and an ESTP friend who understand my need to just disappear from the radar for stretches of time so i have the energy to be 80% more awesome the next time we're together. both these relationships are profound, meaningful and long-term. generally, i'm happy as long as people aren't terribly clingy and the number of people i'm interacting with stays under three. parties give me heart palpitations.

    in other circumstances when people don't understand that necessity and think you're insane, i find it's sometimes worth the attempt to stir the activity toward something less socially taxing like maybe going to a film or small coffee house or anything that promotes more one-on-one and discussion. and where that's not possible, i'm notorious for inventing excuses to get out of social obligations. it's that desperate.

    places like this are a great solution too. :)
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