Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Introversion... A beginning of my journey

For a year or so now, I've been dealing with the concept of introversion.

Not that I just became an introvert. But because I work in a place where our staff takes personality tests to better understand ourselves, team dynamics, etc. On one test (for the life of me, I can't even remember which one), I'm a 1. Whatever that means.

On the famous Meyers-Briggs test, I'm at INTJ. Along with, perhaps, a whopping 3% of the U.S. population.

Earlier tonight, as I was reading (researching) about this introversion, a passage made me think back. More than a decade ago, I had a roommate. We'll call her Charlotte. Charlotte was very concerned about being social and hung out at the local college bar scene at least once a week. Now, Charlotte and I were in a lot of classes together, so we knew a lot of the same people. However, we did have very different personalities. Whereas I would go home and get to my homework (she often did too, she was a good student), whenever the opportunity presented, she would go out. I never did, at least to the bars where she went. I had friends and a job, but the bar scene made me cringe. I remember, distinctly, standing on the front porch of my house at the time, listening to Charlotte criticize me for being "anti-social". It was a problem that I was going to have to get over. If I was going to be a "normal" person, I was going to have to get over this "anti-social" habit and go out to the bars and drink with the "normal people".

Fast forward to present day.

Sitting at dinner a week or so ago, a friend used the word 'introvert' when referring to some tendency of mine. There you go. There's that word again. And a friend who I see maybe only 1-2 times per month thinks the Introversion sticks out like a sore thumb. I can't remember the exact context, but he wasn't making fun of me. Merely just pointing out that I wasn't telling him what I actually thought. I so wish I could remember during which part of our conversation this reference was made. Memory isn't my strong suit either. *sigh* I know this friend cares; he tends to take care of everyone around him, always fixing things, solving problems, etc. He's a generally nice person, very intuitive and thoughtful. I've learned through many conversations with him that, when he is serious, I should listen. (Remember the commercials in the 1970s and 1980s based on the phrase, "When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen"?)

I really dislike labels and I try to not think in terms of them. But I think I'm going to have to figure out this label of mine. So here's a confession:

When people walk by me in the street and say, "Hi, Jen. How are you doing?", I have no idea what to say back to them. My first instinct is to run away.

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