THE ENIGMA OF THE CHATTY INTROVERT, Part 1

Two main personality types, extroverts and introverts, have unique ways of being energized and stimulated, as well as quite a different manner in which they interact with the outside world. Interestingly, 50-74% of the population is estimated to be extroverted. However, there’s more to this than meets the eye.

According to an online dictionary, an introvert is someone who ‘tends to shrink from social contacts and become preoccupied with their own thoughts,’ while an extrovert is ‘a person concerned more with practical realities than with inner thoughts and feelings,’ that is ‘someone interested primarily in the physical and social environment rather than the self.’ Bull. I know quite a few extroverts, none of whom fits the description entirely. Just because you’re big-mouthed, forthcoming and laid-back, it does not mean you’re an emotional cripple, incapable of introspection. In other words, our outward expressiveness and social cooperation do not make us skin-deep, one-dimensional pricks lacking intellectual depth and thoroughness.

Now, before I go any further, I’d like to share with you the result of a 2012 study by a Harvard psychologist that I recently came across, according to which ‘people who identify as introverts tend to have larger and thicker gray matter in certain areas of the prefrontal cortex, a highly complex brain region associated with abstract thought and decision-making. People who identify as strongly extroverted, on the other hand, tend to have thinner gray matter in those same prefrontal areas—which hints that introverts tend to devote more neural resources to abstract pondering, while extroverts tend to live in the moment.’

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Alright, let’s start from scratch. In the course of my self-analysis, I came to discover I am an extroverted introvert, even though my talkativeness and outgoingness subsided with time as I learned to value the intimacy of close-knit relationships. Still, regardless of the fact that I haven’t been in the mood for people lately and opening my mouth like I used to, I am certainly not a loner in the long run. I don’t mind being alone, though. Quite the contrary. I desperately need alone time. I don’t need people around me all the time to validate my own existence. Anyhow, today I’m presenting you with a seeming paradox of a talkative introvert, which was the case of my research in the past couple of weeks.

You see, I used to be a real chatterbox; in fact, I rarely knew how to shut up. In my youth, I was a very gregarious and candid person who enjoyed living in a flock (or a herd). If you want to make friends, you can’t keep to yourself, right? I was open, enthusiastic, carefree and naive and believed that all animals were equal. Little did I know that ‘some animals are more equal than others.’ Anyway, before I got a baby at the age of 39, I was a real party animal. I enjoyed going out, hanging out with my friends, getting to know new people and attending social gatherings such as music festivals, dance floors, concerts, movie theaters etc. I was no stranger to the club scene and would often hit buzzing bars, kicking on until dawn (and beyond). Nevertheless, although I took enormous pleasure in being surrounded by people and talking to them and about them for hours, I would be quite selective about what secrets to share, and seldom confided about things which had been bothering me, which made an apparent extrovert actually introverted. Mystery solved. Or not that easily?!

The thing is, even though I have throughout my life more often than not thrived on being around other people, and enjoyed social events, I have never found time spent alone less rewarding, nor have I ever been bored when by myself, unlike typical extroverts. They usually reach out for their phones to text or call someone as soon as they are alone. Not me. I’d rather reach for a book or the computer. Besides, I get worn out by extensive small-talk, which might have to do with age, though. If I don’t feel like talking, I will even physically step away from the chatter and seek a quiet place for myself, preferably another room. This is precisely what my late granddad used to do, being a classic introvert. Back then, I found it out of the ordinary, to say the least, now, however, absolutely necessary. If we happen to be outside though, what I’ll most probably do is shut off entirely or simply be myself (read: put on an act), nodding and smiling, pretending I’m actually there and having tons of fun. So, while I obviously won’t be able to pull out, I’ll make sure I change into a sleep or hibernate mode after a few minutes of inactivity. My sensitive generator has a sensor which will, once I start to get bored and wish to spend some time alone (but can’t), shut off by itself so as not to overheat. I know it’s hypocritical but I’m pretty sure you do it too, choosing not to waste energy that easily but rather save it for the things which require your undivided attention, right?

Now, typical introverts are generally thought of as reserved and reflective people whose energy tends to dwindle during interaction. Like most introverts, I don’t confide easily (reserved is too strong a word to fit the description). I am reflective and often derive happiness and enjoyment from rather solitary activities, everything but fishing. I know it’s a way of life and all that crap and I bet it’s a gratifying experience when you take an active part in supplying food for the table, but those who know me also know that when I get hungry I have to fricking eat NOW. Not later, not in an hour, not in 10. N.O.W. If not, you’d better stay out of my way or I’ll bite your head off. And I mean it. I know it’s not your fault, but since you’re in my way, somebody needs to take the blame…So, you go fishing to eat that fish you have caught eventually (that is, if you’re skilled and/or lucky), and in spite of the fact that it took you 5 hours to catch your lunch, it’s still rewarding in the end, I guess. By contrast, fishing for recreational purposes is really dumb since you’ll end up eating canned fish in nature. Just swell! Long story short, NO, I don’t consider fishing a challenge or a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. It does not and cannot make me more focused, relaxed and patient. When I feel like eating fish, I go to the supermarket/fishmonger’s to buy fish. Dead. Okay, enough with the fish already. I got carried away, which is BTW another common trait of mine, getting worked up over irrelevant matter. But, at least I acknowledged it (this time). My point with the whole fish thing is: I do not like such pastime when time seems to have stopped. I think I’m too much of an extrovert for that.

However, like most introverts, I delight in reading, writing, working on the computer (everything but games), or hiking for example. Speaking of which, I’ve always loved individual more than group sports. Tennis over basketball. Or take cooking. I guess the majority of extroverts consider preparing food with other people a nice way to catch up with their friends prior to eating. It is wonderful, I agree. You’re sipping wine, listening to music, laughing, and telling stories. Not for me, I’m afraid. I’m not the type. You see, I’m very confident in the kitchen. I love cooking and enjoy eating. But, I don’t like when it takes forever. An hour tops is the time I can and will dedicate to it. So, while I’m preparing food, so as not to be bothered and distracted, that is to get over with it quicker than I would with people around, I prefer it to be me and me alone in the kitchen. Trust me, this has nothing to do with not wanting to share granny’s secrets. It means what it says: don’t help me out, don’t offer to help me out, don’t pass me the salt, don’t fetch me a drink, don’t ask me where I keep the cutlery, don’t ask me questions. DON’T. I’ll talk to you later. Is that so hard to understand? So, I’d appreciate it if you could get out of the kitchen while I’m in it. I’ll come and get you when it’s ready. Pretty much as you’ll get me when you’re the chef. Didn’t I just say I love individual sports more? I don’t mind you doing the dishes afterwards, though. It’s actually expected of you. Because if you don’t, I’ll get grumpy again.

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For more proof why I’m not a typical extrovert, why I’m not a typical introvert either and why introverts rarely talk, JOIN ME NEXT TIME. You’ll also get the chance to find out why we shouldn’t mistake introversion for shyness and how come many extroverts are actually shy. In the meantime, talk to me (I’m not cooking).

Author: Blogging_with_Bojana

I'm diggin' Need to grow, have to push Flicking through vinyl and feeding the rush I dig for that one and I open the haunt It's takin' all day from the back to the front I'm diggin' and diggin' You know Sorry baby I'm gone diggin' www.bloggingwithbojana.com

57 thoughts on “THE ENIGMA OF THE CHATTY INTROVERT, Part 1”

  1. I hadn’t thought before about what sports appealed to me as an indicator of personality type but I see it now. I enjoyed athletics and swimming, more individual things, than football or rugby, cooperative team things. I cycle a lot now, and did in my youth. Some enjoy it as a great social activity with group rides and clubs but for me the opportunity to get out on my bike alone for a few hours is the whole reason it’s good!
    I am exactly the same with cooking… Turn around holding large knife, point it at ‘help’ offerer.. “I can chop everything myself.. eff off…”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lol. Don’t come near me when I’m holding a knife. I’m also a perfectionist, besides being a foodie who doesn’t like wasting time. So, it figures.
      As for sports, there’s a lot of connection with the two. I too prefer, not only tennis, but also athletics, cycling and swimming to all other team sports together.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So completely what you write!
    That’s why I hate these personality tests. It’s nothing but putting people in boxes.
    That’s why “just be yourself” just doesn’t make sense.

    I always thought I was an introvert in general. But would you have met me 5-6 years ago, you would think completely different.
    I simply had the opportunity to be “out going” and now I choose something more stable.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You’re not alone in “getting worked up over irrelevant matter”, I think it’s a dangerous trap with overthinking! A very thought-provoking post, and I really don’t think the whole introvert-extrovert dichotomy is too able to explain human behaviour, we’re too complicated for that. I read up quite a lot on this topic in my psych degree and found it fascinating. Like you, I’m probably more talkative and engaged in interactions than the ‘typical’ introvert, and yet I know I’m still a typical introvert in many other ways. I’ve changed over the years too, going from painfully shy (and 100% introvert!) to being far more open and confident. But I still find myself exhausted by interaction (even if only minimal) and needing time alone to recharge, I still keep to myself, I’m still very much a reader and thinking and abstract, and I don’t really do spontaneity or risk taking. Looking forward to the next post, it’s an interesting topic! 🙂
    Caz x

    Liked by 4 people

  4. During this last year of ‘self discovery’, I realized that I have NEVER been alone. The whole having a baby while I was still a baby, raising my children as well as most of their friends, and now starting to “parent my parents”. My youngest daughter moved out in August of last year and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I have always been a “mom” to everyone, and had never taken the time or had the time to figure out who I was. I am starting to believe that EVERYONE should have some alone time in their lives. ( not just 5 minutes here and there), but time in which they explore selfishness etc. This “alone” thing is new to me, and I am still adjusting, but am learning to appreciate it more and more. (when I don’t give myself a migraine from overthinking, or fall asleep because I took a few minutes to sit still).btw I also suffer from HANGUR (getting angry when hungry) and you bet your ass guests should at least offer to do the dishes…if they don’t lose them, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A blogger I love told me the same thing, that she was always with or around sb and not finds it hard to adjust. I think, after the initial shock, if you’re not used to it, you’ll eventually find it quite enjoyable and mandatory. I wish we could all sit down every now and then and simply BE.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s more like a spectrum between introvert and extrovert. You seem like you’re in the middle. I’m more of an extrovert but I love being alone. When I’m hungry, though, I am just like you: I don’t have any friends when I’m hungry 😆

    My husband is closer to the introvert end of the spectrum but like Andrea, he’s moved up (or down) the spectrum, closer to the middle.

    So much to think about in this post…

    Liked by 5 people

  6. “We are not but one thing,” some wise guy recently said. 😏

    I think the spectrum (as others have called it) of extroversion/introversion is meant more as a tendency-indicator than a box in which to trap us. I “tend” towards extroversion, towards “intuitive” learning, towards decisions based on thinking , and towards flexible (“perceiving”) expectations. ENTP on the Myers-Briggs continuum.

    But that is not me. Like you, I love my alone time. Often the best part of my day is the early hour when everyone else is still asleep, and Tom can be Tom alone. Just as often, the best part of my week is the center of a crowded table at a bar, cutting up with friends and including everyone in the room. Sometimes I want and need detailed learning. I make emotional decisions. I’m almost always on time (definitely a Judging trait).

    As someone above pointed out, we are complex beings.

    This is a fabulous introspective, and powerful analysis of human nature. One I related to in every manner, including the fish.

    When I was at my last family reunion (I am the youngest of seven and every couple of years we get the entire sibling family and extended families together for a week of Cummings mayhem, beer, and campfires), everyone decided Wednesday morning we were all going to fish. In the morning everyone got ready to go fish; that is, everyone but me. My brother, in front of the others, asked me “are you coming fishing?” and I responded “No thank you, I don’t enjoy it any more than the fish.”

    Not my thing. Any sport that involves the unnecessary infliction of harm upon unsuspecting prey is no sport of mine.

    Plus, it’s boring as hell.

    So, no, no fishing for this extrovert, even if it’s “group fishing.” I entertained myself introvertedly for a couple of hours.

    Even though I’ve more to say about this wonderful entry, I’ll stop there, lest this carries on til dawn tomorrow. 😉 Great stuff, Bojana, and I anxiously await part two!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Glad you liked it and thanks for the amazing comment, as always.
      7??? My God, how awesome is that?! Tell me,Tom, (another puzzle)-which one of the seven dwarfs are you? I want you to elaborate, so, while thinking, you could write a post about it. I’d really love to get to know them better, and what better way than through the eyes of introspective Tom.
      And one day we meet, do go NOT fishing together.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed. Fishing is O-U-T. I have three brothers and a sister who would hate that, one sister who would be non-committal either way, and another sister who might side with us once I explain the humane side of it to her.

        I just googled the psychology of the 7 dwarfs and started some analytical work of your puzzle. Quite a challenge! Analyzing my siblings won’t be the tough part (even if I cheat in their favor a little bit to pump them up; they will be reading, of course 😉 ), but trying to pigeonhole each of them into only one dwarf-state will be rough. I mean, we’re just about all a little goofy, most of us are happy, and at least two of us are docs.

        And WHOEVER I pick for grumpy ain’t gonna like it.

        But, consider the puzzle unboxed and in front of me Bojana, and know that I am currently working on finding the first few pieces that fit together. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I can definitely see you as a chatter box! You could be the life of the party so to speak! To me you seem to have a great personality with so much charisma! I have always been pretty chatty myself! Most of the time I am an extrovert! But as I get older, I really like my alone time when I do not need to engage in conversation! I enjoy quiet time alone when I can read or write! 10 years ago I would always have to have people around me or I would feel lonely, now I love those times! But I would not say that I am an introvert now just a quieter extrovert!!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. What I know for sure is that I am an introvert with a few extrovert qualities. When I was in my twenties, I was always out and about, but even then, as I sat in crowded, loud bars surrounded by chaos, I was lost deep in thought longing to be somewhere else. Not much has changed, except that I don’t go to bars anymore and enjoy quality over quantity – meaningful connections are everything.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I hadn’t gotten around to being able to sit down and comment on this one. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You have such a natural style that just dances so effortlessly across the page and off of it into me.

    I know I have always been an extrovert. I have come to learn that some of that was born of insecurities, but that is not the entirety of why it is in my DNA. I also know I need time to regain a sense of self through introverted thought processing. I think most people are all points on a line with varying degrees of which side they fall. I can, also, appreciate the desire to cook alone. I find it very zen-focusing when I do that.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Good morning my dear atypical extroverted-introvert ( or should it be the other way around?) I did like this article although I found two defects( in my opinion) The first one is that if you mention a specific article or book you should provide a hotlink to your readers. The second one is the length as sometimes your pen seems to wander away in pursuit of your great intellect. On a personal note, I love to cook and I often do it for my children and my “significant other” no matter how long it takes. However I have a stern rule for the ladies: I don’t provide desserts.
    Un baccione. Arrivederci!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you think this was long, longer ones are yet to come. The thing is, the topic is rather complex and difficult to break down (you’ll see). I do mention the books/authors there because it’s a different piece of writing/story.
      Thanks for commenting and have a nice weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I recently came across the concept of the introverted extrovert and I found it fit me perfectly. As did your own description of yourself. I think you and I are strikingly similar. Best line “I don’t need people around me all the time to validate my own existence”. This was a wonderful read thank you for another great post

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yep, you’re right. I’m an extroverted introvert. I’ll be social when I want to but when I’m home, leave me to my writing, my books and my laptop. I don’t want to be bothered. And while I am socialble, things that are really bothering me, I will not discuss. As a child, I was an introvert and became an extrovert out of necessity.

    Liked by 1 person

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