Last night on facebook, a friend posted an article titled 10 Myths About Introverts. The article begins by summarizing some new research which shows that the tendency to be extroverted or introverted isn't a learned behavior or a strange intangible quality you're born with. It's actually the result of a reaction in your brain to the chemical dopamine. Your body naturally produces dopamine through external stimulation and adrenaline rushes. Extroverts' brains crave dopamine in large doses, while introverts can only comfortably handle small quantities of dopamine at a time. The article itself goes into more technical sciencey-sounding details, before listing off the author's favorite 10 myths about introverts.
Before you go on, click on the link above to read the original article, so we're all on the same page. It's not that long.
blog post about which of the 10 myths were most relevant to him. Be sure and read it, since his list is different than mine. (I include it to show my extroverted friends that, not only are we introverts different from you, we're also different from each other. So nyah.) The ones that struck me the most were #5 and #6
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Saturday night, we had (most of) SoldierMan's platoon over. The guys sat around and played xBox and the wives sat around and talked about babies. (FML) It was a lot of fun, a house full of people and TVs blaring Call of Duty and the puppies crying at the back door for 3 solid hours, wanting to be let in (they are just too rambunctious for little kids). It was a great evening and I think everyone had a good time. We both went to bed happy and tired.
Sunday morning we were invited to get together with friends for lunch. (Another blog post in itself) So we pull ourselves together and drive to the PX and Buffalo Wild Wings. We just happened to get there right as the Women's World Cup game began. So the energy in the room was already high. So, we're sitting in a restaurant with a dozen tv screens each displaying different media, and the volume of said screens so loud one had to shout to be heard across the table, and a table full of very fun people, in a restaurant full of rowdy soldiers and sailors enthusiastically cheering on the US women's soccer team....I'm getting anxious just thinking about it.
I need to emphasize for you extroverts who might not believe me: even though I was enjoying my time with my friends, I was - physically - wearing out fast. That's a lot of external stimulation.
So when it was suggested we all get together again for dinner that night, my social side which loves spending time with these friends liked the idea, but I literally felt my body begin to shut down. After having read the above article, I realize my little brain was probably sensing an impending dopamine overdose and shouting "No! Please! No more!" and shutting down my body in defense.
After such a fun but overstimulating weekend, I'm still recharging. I have a meeting to go to tonight and I am dreading going, only because I still feel like I haven't recovered from the weekend, and I know I need the recovery time before having the girls over tomorrow night. What? you say. That was Sunday and on Tuesday you still aren't over it? Welcome to the life of an introvert.
Now, granted, I may be more extreme in this way than other introverts. I told a friend of mine last week, if I go three or four days without seeing another person other than SoldierMan, I honestly don't even notice or feel it. I mentioned that to some girls at the party Saturday night and their eyes went as big as saucers. One girl said that when her husband got home from work, she'd ask to go to the gas station (they only have one car) just so she could see other people. Extrovert/introvert. I don't understand that, but she doesn't understand me, either. It doesn't make either of us wrong or weird, just different.
I think this is another reason I and so many other introverts are attracted to social media, like blogging, facebook or twitter. For one thing (as you saw in the article) introverts don't like a lot of prolonged stimulation, so the more quickly and efficiently we can share and absorb information, the better. Yay, internet!
But also, it allows us to get the social interaction we seek (and we do seek it) but on our own time, and without the extra stimuli. So it would be my guess that most of my regular BBs are perhaps more introverted than extroverted, since - let's be honest - extroverted people would rather be out in the world at the mall, restaurants and shops with people in person, not on a computer.
(Which is the main reason I don't take too seriously the articles and editorials lamenting the destruction of "quality" relationships due to the rise of social media. I bet they were all written by extroverts.)
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Does this sound familiar or foreign?
photo credit: calliope_Muse via photopin cc Text by me.
photo credit: One Way Stock via photopin cc
photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc
photo credit: dno1967b via photopin cc