Discussion: Are You an Introvert?

Most of the people reading my blog are pretty well-read, be it fiction or nonfiction.  What I’ve noticed over the years is that most people who are big readers are introverts.  This could be for a number of reasons I don’t feel qualified to talk about, so I’m going to talk about my own introvert experiences.

I’m not the necessarily shy and socially awkward type of introvert that movies and television seem to portray.  I’ve learned to fake it because it’s not possible to behave like an introvert in my line of work.  I do enjoy the occasional night out, but stuff like that exhausts me.  Four or five hours out is pretty much my limit and that’s on a good day.  On an average day I can’t tolerate much more than two hours.  (This is on top of a full day’s work, mind you.)

So most Friday nights you’ll find me sitting at home watching TV or reading.  It’s not because I don’t have friends/a social life but rather because for the most part I prefer my own company.  Social stuff drains me and frankly I find most people to be boring and/or annoying.  (This is likely the side effect of living in a tiny community where I’ve known everywhere for my whole life.  Outside of my own community I do love talking to people and hearing their stories.)

Because I don’t really like to go out, I read a lot.  At the same time, I make time for reading because I really do enjoy it.  Is there a correlation between being bookish and introverted?  My anecdata says yes, but I’d like an admittedly slightly biased survey here on my blog.

What I want to know is this: Are you an introvert?  Can you describe your experience(s) as an introvert for any readers here who are extroverts?  If you are an introvert, do you find that you read more than your extroverted friends/colleagues/family?

17 comments

  1. cupitonians

    I don’t really know what I am because I am so great with people – I make friends easily, I have a huge group of adoring people who love to be around me and whenever I’m at a party, I’m usually the centre of attention. Maybe this is cause I’m a story teller but most of the time, you’ll find that I am trying to stay invisible. If I had the choice, I’d just stay home and read and pretend my backbone fits the shape of the couch perfectly. Sometimes you just need to be quiet and not indulge in “small talk”. I do find though, that I read more than the people who are openly extroverted.

    • Carrie Slager

      Everyone’s a mix between an extrovert and introvert to some degree. Some are more extrovert than others, some are more introvert than others. You sound like you have a lot more extrovert in you than I do and that’s okay too. 🙂

  2. Tammy Sparks

    I am TOTALLY an introvert! And I’m not ashamed to say so. I can also fake it really well when I’m expected to be in social groups, and I truly do enjoy hanging with people if I know them really well. But my favorite times are being alone. I have lots of friends that don’t understand that just because I’m doing something by myself, I’m not LONELY. I also am married with two kids so finding alone time is hard.

  3. literaryvittles

    Yes, I’m certainly an introvert, and I always have been. I suspect my voracious reading habits when I was a kid and teen have something to do with it. I got used to listening to stories inside my own head, interpreting plot developments and analyzing characters, and as a result I have a constant inner dialogue running. That inner dialogue no longer pertains to just books—now I have a dialogue running on just about everything. It’s not that this makes it hard for me to connect with other people, exactly—it’s more just that I can keep myself happily occupied with my own thoughts, and I don’t need a ton of external stimulation to be happy.

    • Carrie Slager

      I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Some people dread being alone in their house, whereas I can amuse myself quite well doing things alone like watching TV or reading. It really just depends on the person and there’s certainly nothing wrong with being able to amuse yourself.

  4. Phillip McCollum

    Definitely prefer to be an introvert but I can shift into extrovert mode relatively easily (also a consequence of my job). I’d say it’s an 80/20 split on how I prefer to spend my time. I think it’s probably good for us to occasionally turn on the extrovert switch, even when we don’t want to, because there’s a lot to learn about the world that comes from interaction with others outside of books/television/movies.

    • Carrie Slager

      You’re right about that. I do enjoy the occasional extrovert activity like my workplace’s staff party the other night. It was nice to turn on the extrovert switch, but I was more than happy to spend today with myself for company.

    • Carrie Slager

      I’ve actually been thinking of picking it up, so thanks for the second recommendation! I don’t think I’m wholly an introvert and I’m certainly not wholly an extrovert. Rather, I’m a little bit of both due to circumstances as well as my personality. I’d still love to read Quiet, though.

    • Grace

      Actually, my thought on Quiet was that every extrovert should read it. For introverts, a lot of what it says is common sense, but for extroverts, it explains a lot about why their introverted friends behave the way they do. 🙂

  5. Kelley

    Yup: introvert here. People around people wears me out, and so I do prefer to spend my time at home or in very small groups of people. But even going to a friend’s house — or having company over — can be exhausting too!

    • Carrie Slager

      You’re so right! I can spend much longer with good friends/company, but it still exhausts me. I don’t get energized by people like extroverts do so I can definitely sympathize.

  6. Rebecca Vance

    I worked in customer service and marketing for over 30 years. When I would get off work, my only thought was getting home and staying there, watching TV, reading, doing crossword puzzles, anything but talking on the phone! When I was younger, I was much more of an extrovert than I am now. You could say that I am an introvert, yet I can talk to anyone, in any circumstance, at the bus stop, at DMV, wherever. But when I am done with whatever it is that takes me out of the house, I just want to get back to my “me” time. I have a roommate and she is even more introverted than I am. She was an only child and although sociable, she stays to herself most of the time. We will visit one another, (we spend most of our time in our bedrooms) and we may watch TV or just chat. Other times we will close our door, and that is a call for privacy. Neither of us is offended when this happens. It is a great arrangement. My extroverted friends do not understand how I can stand it. They get bored unless they are surrounded by people. I am just the opposite. I am never bored with my own company. I enjoy occupying my mind or letting it go and just be creative. We should all listen to ourselves.

    • Carrie Slager

      That sounds like a great arrangement with your roommate. I can talk to pretty much anyone, but I don’t go out of my way to do so. Customer service certainly helps you with that ability, but I prefer my own company all the same. It’s just that now I can fake it better than I could a couple of years ago.

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