The "shyness spectrum" and you.

In my search for truth, I stumbled across a most interesting website, with some (literally) mind-blowing claims about extraversion/introversion.

http://www.shy-in-the-firelight.com/personalitytypes.htm

http://www.shy-in-the-firelight.com/introverted.htm

For our purposes we can place shyness within a spectrum of personality types, ordered from top to bottom in terms of decreasing levels of sentient awareness, self control, and innate mental stability:

Schizoid
Introverted
Extroverted
Psychopathic
ASPD
Autistic

The schizoid and the introverted are the shy personality types. The extroverted, psychopathic, ASPD (anti-social personality disorder) and autistic personality types are decidedly not.

I have my reservations about some of it, but it's at least worth looking through the entire thing.

It's true/scientifically proven that extroverts have a low innate cortical arousal, meaning that they need higher levels of external stimulation. They get energy from their environment, especially people and highly stimulating physical experiences. Extraverts are dopamine junkies. And so are those with ASPD/psychopathy, they need constant stimulation. Yet I've known a fair few extroverts who seem extremely perceptive and very self-aware when it comes to social situations.

Most people believe that an extrovert is a person who is friendly and outgoing. While that may be true, that is not the true meaning of extroversion. Basically, an extrovert is a person who is energized by being around other people. This is the opposite of an introvert who is energized by being alone.

Extroverts tend to "fade" when alone and can easily become bored without other people around. When given the chance, an extrovert will talk with someone else rather than sit alone and think. In fact, extroverts tend to think as they speak, unlike introverts who are far more likely to think before they speak. Extroverts often think best when they are talking. Concepts just don't seem real to them unless they can talk about them; reflecting on them isn't enough.

Not so sure about the place of autism. Yes, those with it are often highly sensitive to their environment, overstimulated. They also possess a high latent inhibition, but weak central coherence. Those with extreme autism are definitely less self-aware, but those with higher functioning autism/asperger's? A big question mark hangs over that one, but I can see what it's getting at.

And, as we know, humans are much more complex and diverse creatures, without that being a cop-out. There are just so many dimensions to personality and behaviour, you can't narrow it down to one spectrum. There are people with autism and schizophrenia, when the two are sometimes thought to be mutually exclusive spectrums. I'll elaborate on that if you like, but there is strong evidence that schizophrenia is related to an overactive theory of mind - schizotypals are known for highly developed empathy; whereas autistics definitely have an under-developed theory of mind, empathy processing, etc. Schiz/Autism shouldn't logically co-exist, perhaps sufferers are just misdiagnosed. But that's going on a tangent, so I'll shut up about that.

What do you think? Where would you "fit"? (And please, no half-baked answers from people who can't be bothered to read the articles.)

It seems this is not the appropriate subforum for a response; could a mod please move it to R&P? (Ta.)

Might be more introverted, than the other. Always depends on the environment that you are in. My friends are around, I am social and friendly. Of course if I am around strangers, then it might take me a little longer to get there. Sure as hell flip the switch into friendly town if they are nice. What I can't stand are the people that are doushbags right out of the gate. I don't mean they are bad people, they think that the best way to break the ice is by making fun of you in a playful manner. Nothing makes me shut down more than that. Eventually you start to think about all the people that you have met in life, that have no idea how you really act most of the time.

Ratties:
Might be more introverted, than the other. Always depends on the environment that you are in. My friends are around, I am social and friendly. Of course if I am around strangers, then it might take me a little longer to get there. Sure as hell flip the switch into friendly town if they are nice. What I can't stand are the people that are doushbags right out of the gate. I don't mean they are bad people, they think that the best way to break the ice is by making fun of you in a playful manner. Nothing makes me shut down more than that. Eventually you start to think about all the people that you have met in life, that have no idea how you really act most of the time.

I find it hard to deal with many extroverts, since they have a different understanding of personal boundaries, which are very important. But of course, there are different types of extroverts, some are nicer than introverts. Those who are douchebags out of the box, it's those sorts who have no understanding of shy peoples' needs - perhaps because those conflict with their own.

MammothBlade:
In my search for truth, I stumbled across a most interesting website, with some (literally) mind-blowing claims about extraversion/introversion.

If you're interested in this, I might recommend you read "Quiet" by Susan Cain, which is a book about introversion and introverts, although with particular reference to the fact that Western society or components of it seem to be more heavily geared to extroverts. Although this might not be a surprise, as around 2/3rds of people are extroverts.

I am quite far along the introversion scale. I'm pretty handy in social situations as I forced myself to learn, although I find it exhausting to be around people I don't know well for long periods of time.

Agema:

MammothBlade:
In my search for truth, I stumbled across a most interesting website, with some (literally) mind-blowing claims about extraversion/introversion.

If you're interested in this, I might recommend you read "Quiet" by Susan Cain, which is a book about introversion and introverts, although with particular reference to the fact that Western society or components of it seem to be more heavily geared to extroverts. Although this might not be a surprise, as around 2/3rds of people are extroverts.

I am quite far along the introversion scale. I'm pretty handy in social situations as I forced myself to learn, although I find it exhausting to be around people I don't know well for long periods of time.

Thanks, I'll give it a look.

Introverts expend energy in social situations, so it's not surprising. And being introverted does not mean being withdrawn, either. There are people-oriented introverts, they just need to recharge in private.

This is a highly complicated subject matter and I think the site does at least some good in highlighting how much of a spectrum can already be classified as introverted - however I'm very much not happy to have to deal with a site that cites not a single source, is obviously the blog of some unnamed person who I couldn't find out even via whois and then has gems like this...

Schizoids and introverts can certainly be classified as sentient beings and they exhibit a high level of sentient awareness, whereas extroverts and those below them in the shy dimension are - how shall we put it delicately - closer to the animal kingdom!

I wouldn't trust the claims on this page by a long shot, despite that most seem reasonable enough.

Either way, do I describe myself as an introvert? Certainly. I do tend to need my quiet days after spending too much time with people around. Then again, I like talking to people and getting to know them or speak to audiences. On the other hand I also tend to quietly observe things before I speak my mind and am generally reluctant to approach others I do not know. Make of that what you will.

Chromatic Aberration:
This is a highly complicated subject matter and I think the site does at least some good in highlighting how much of a spectrum can already be classified as introverted - however I'm very much not happy to have to deal with a site that cites not a single source, is obviously the blog of some unnamed person who I couldn't find out even via whois and then has gems like this...

It's written by an experienced professional, and I've read a lot of this stuff before. The claims about cortical arousal, and mirror neurons, those are definitely valid, but I'm sure a neurologist would put them to the test. It's not so much an academic article as an exposition of this person's own extensive knowledge.

The site's creator probably covered their tracks, they used "Domains by Proxy". They don't want to be found.

I wouldn't trust the claims on this page by a long shot, despite that most seem reasonable enough.

That did throw me off a bit, the author is likely Schizoid with some contempt towards extroverts, etc. That is a rash statement, they don't put their own claims under enough scrutiny. Yet understandable for those who are deeply uncomfortable with social intimacy.

The extrovert, the psychopath, and the ASPD are closely related. These types exhibit a poor level of self-control, so that they are likely to make rash decisions that are not in their own best interests. Of the three, the ASPD has the poorest level of impulse control, followed by the psychopath, and then the extrovert. This poor level of self-control leads to criminal behaviour in the case of the ASPD and, usually, in the case of the psychopath.

These personality types exhibit low levels of sentient awareness-they have a reduced awareness of what is happening around them. They also exhibit a low level of innate mental stability, so their reactions to events are often extreme-someone knocks over an ASPD's drink in a bar and receives in return a broken glass embedded in his neck. When events do enter into consciousness the level of self-control exercised is poor-the immediate gratification of desires is the norm.

Maybe sentient awareness is the wrong word, but certainly, most are less socially inhibited.

I'm also really sceptical about the statement that extroverts don't have the same depth, subtlety of feeling, and empathy as introverts. Needs more elaboration.

MammothBlade:
That did throw me off a bit...

Aye that was too harsh a formulation I guess - the author seems to know what she talks about and she stated that she was a professional, however the contempt about extroverts is visible a few times which might hint at a bias and I'm also not comfortable that the author never states who she/he is or what academic justification there is for those definitions cited. However, I do concur in that some of the claims made I've heard in a similar fashion elsewhere so that's that. Still it's nothing I'd trust, though I did find her classification of the shizoid type especially interesting.

Also how did you identify the author as a shizoid type? My money was on the introverted type, with all the flashy, deep quotes all around and the general self-help-guide-y like feel of the page.

Chromatic Aberration:

MammothBlade:
That did throw me off a bit...

Aye that was too harsh a formulation I guess - the author seems to know what she talks about and she stated that she was a professional, however the contempt about extroverts is visible a few times which might hint at a bias and I'm also not comfortable that the author never states who she/he is or what academic justification there is for those definitions cited. However, I do concur in that some of the claims made I've heard in a similar fashion elsewhere so that's that. Still it's nothing I'd trust, though I did find her classification of the schizoid type especially interesting.

Also how did you identify the author as a shizoid type? My money was on the introverted type, with all the flashy, deep quotes all around and the general self-help like feel of the page.

It's the general way she(?) frames it, notice how many subtypes of Schizoid they mention, compared to other personality types. It seems like only a Schizoid could understand a Schizoid on that level. There is more than a hint of Schizoid superiority weaved into it. And Schizoids can express themselves lucidly, poetically.

Chromatic Aberration:

Aye that was too harsh a formulation I guess - the author seems to know what she talks about and she stated that she was a professional, however the contempt about extroverts is visible a few times which might hint at a bias and I'm also not comfortable that the author never states who she/he is or what academic justification there is for those definitions cited. However, I do concur in that some of the claims made I've heard in a similar fashion elsewhere so that's that. Still it's nothing I'd trust, though I did find her classification of the shizoid type especially interesting.

I am deeply skeptical that introversion/extroversion exist on a scale with schizoids at one end and the autistic at another.

This suggests that all conditions have been assigned values according to certain criteria, and ranked accordingly. However, it is not clear that these are necessarily optimal criteria, and there is no reason to assume that what causes people to come out at a certain are part of a common reason. By which I mean for instance, whilst schizoids might be in many ways extreme introverts and autistic extreme extroverts, it could in fact be different psychological / neurological causes that just happen to have similar ourcomes. If this is the case, putting them all on the same spectrum is in many ways unsafe.

Agema:

Chromatic Aberration:

Aye that was too harsh a formulation I guess - the author seems to know what she talks about and she stated that she was a professional, however the contempt about extroverts is visible a few times which might hint at a bias and I'm also not comfortable that the author never states who she/he is or what academic justification there is for those definitions cited. However, I do concur in that some of the claims made I've heard in a similar fashion elsewhere so that's that. Still it's nothing I'd trust, though I did find her classification of the shizoid type especially interesting.

I am deeply skeptical that introversion/extroversion exist on a scale with schizoids at one end and the autistic at another.

This suggests that all conditions have been assigned values according to certain criteria, and ranked accordingly. However, it is not clear that these are necessarily optimal criteria, and there is no reason to assume that what causes people to come out at a certain are part of a common reason. By which I mean for instance, whilst schizoids might be in many ways extreme introverts and autistic extreme extroverts, it could in fact be different psychological / neurological causes that just happen to have similar ourcomes. If this is the case, putting them all on the same spectrum is in many ways unsafe.

I guess what they were getting at is the very low self-awareness and severely stunted theory of mind. Many autistics are shy, socially anxious, and afraid of people, but that's often through negative social feedback. It isn't a scale of introversion vs. extraversion so much as a scale of emotional latency.

They stated so much themselves, there are different types of autistics. Autistics seem to share a lot on the surface with introverts, many overlapping features such as the need to be alone, tendency towards social anxiety. Yet below all that, their neurological structure is very different.

But you're right, you have to look at it from other dimensions, too.

Chromatic Aberration:

Either way, do I describe myself as an introvert? Certainly. I do tend to need my quiet days after spending too much time with people around. Then again, I like talking to people and getting to know them or speak to audiences. On the other hand I also tend to quietly observe things before I speak my mind and am generally reluctant to approach others I do not know. Make of that what you will.

I'm a bit confused myself.

Both my mother and I are basically the same type of person, whatever that is. We are both very good with people and enjoy (I would say I need) to talk about things in order to cement them in our minds. For example: when I want to revise for my exams, I find the best way to do it is to read up on the subject and then attempt to explain it someone who doesn't know anything about it, in the presence of another student who knows as much as I do. We both spend a long time introspecting ourselves, and eachother, when it comes to emotional issues.

We both love public speaking, and we both think before we speak. We have no problem approaching people, but do not get bored or depressed when alone. We can get lost in books/our minds/games/walks/radio etc... Being alone isn't a problem, but we do enjoy company.

Neither of us are consciously aware of our social skills as we exercise them, but we often talk about the absolute minutiae of previous interactions. Kinda analysing ourselves and others after-the-fact, and then apply (some) of that knowledge to future interactions. I don't feel like my social persona is contrived, though. It doesn't go that far. I don't need to think about it as I do it.

We're both, by default, in that state of 'contentment' or feeling of being at east with the world. There's the occasional blip for a week or so, but I'd have to honestly say that I spend most of my time being quite happy.

We don't display many emotions in public (we won't cry or flip out for example), and we are both very good at being our
own shrinks.

So what on Earth are we?

Not much of a spectrum, most of those descriptors have sliding scales of their own.

Danny Ocean:
snip

So what on Earth are we?

Based on what you mention here, I'd say you are mild introverts

Yes,yes, I know, the term is often confused with being shy. But it has more to do with perspective and energy, some of the most outspoken people I know are introverts. The key factor here is that your focus appears to be internal. You approach social engagements from a slightly analytical POV, and don't feel a need to be around others.

Exceptionally introverted, though not to the point of being anti-social. I fully accept that I will need to interact with people at least 50% of the day, and that there are very few jobs which are out there that I could do all by myself. So I've learned to deal with people. Drains the hell out of me some days when I'm partnered with a talkative extrovert, and I have to explain to them that I'm willing to talk a little bit while I'm working with them, but I much prefer to work in silence. Given that Mrs. Makt is much like me in that regard, I've begun to bookmark "How to deal with Introverts" for when Baby Makt begins school - schools are really pushing through the "Teamwork!" angle to learning, and I'm pretty sure I would have dropped out of school if I had been forced to work in teams for much of my education.

I wonder if I should read through the page at a later date; from the comments, it sounds like the page is rather biased and not reliable.

Well, whoever wrote that page seems to have a very high opinion of schizoids and a very low opinion of anyone who is dependent on or enjoys the company of other human beings. Seriously, I am not more highly evolved because I don't like to be in crowds that much. I also don't get how autism would fit on the scale at all. I'm pretty certain you can be any of the other categories while also being autistic.

As for which of them I am, I'm definitely introverted. I enjoy the company of others, and my social skills certainly aren't bottom of the barrel bad, but I do find most social situations to be somewhat frightening and draining.

Edit: Also, whoever wrote it doesn't seem to understand that a psychopath is a person with a specific type of ASPD. In all actuality though, psychopath simply isn't a term that is still used in psychology or medicine anymore, and was grouped up with a number of other personality types to form the different ASPD conditions, though I may be remembering this wrong.

Edit2:

Some may think it unfair to place the extrovert in the same category as the psychopath and the ASPD. However, observation reveals that there is a basic similarity in behaviour, the only difference being that the extrovert usually keeps his behaviour within the law: the extrovert may come out of a nightclub rolling drunk, shout at the top of his voice, and make rude gestures at the passers by; the ASPD may do the same, but he will also kick in car doors as the mood takes him and will relieve himself through someone's letterbox when nature calls. The dividing line between the two is that between behaviour which is a nuisance and that which is criminal. However, the underlying personality traits are essentially the same.

Seriously? This person appears to have a ridiculously inflated ego and a very thorough hatred of all the "sheeple" and "jocks." What the fuck is wrong with them? I know plenty of extroverts who are not "nuisances." Whoever wrote this seems more like a crazy parody of Spock with no grasp of our human emotions than an actual person.

Danny Ocean:
snip

You and your mother might, of course, be "ambiverts". My partner is probably one, in that whilst she's certainly not an extrovert, she's considerably less introverted than me. Being an introvert doesn't mean you are socially inept or shy. Some may act gregariously and exuberantly in social situations, although they tend to be more reserved.

How do you generally feel if you've spent a plenty of time with other people (particularly ones you don't know, and larger groups)? If you feel pumped and ready for more of that sweet, sweet socialising - extrovert. If you feel worn out and want shut the door on the world and get some peace and quiet - introvert. Similarly, how do you generally feel if you've spent a long time on your own? Fine, happy to carry on - introvert. Bored, irritable, lonely, itchy to speak to others - extrovert. And if it's about evens or no strong feeling, you're somewhere in the middle.

I feel that sometimes people take classification, pigeon-holing and overanalysis too far. "Shyness spectrum"? What's next, a Bubbliness Index, or an Ambivalence Quotient, or a Pedanticity Rating?

A lot of human behaviour is probably innate. Some again is learned. But isn't a lot of it context-specific and therefore impossible to quantify? Take shyness. Am I a shy person? It completely depends on the situation. How I feel buying bread and milk from the corner shop, or at a party where I don't know most of the people, or giving a speech in front of dozens of people, are all different situations that I'd have to assess case-by-case (are the people children? A board of investors? My in-laws?).

I suppose I could commit to saying "When I'm within my comfort zone I'm happy and sometimes extrovert, but when I'm out of my comfort zone I tend to get tired by the interactions more quickly and sometimes retreat into introversion", but isn't that true of almost everybody?

Revnak:
Well, whoever wrote that page seems to have a very high opinion of schizoids and a very low opinion of anyone who is dependent on or enjoys the company of other human beings. Seriously, I am not more highly evolved because I don't like to be in crowds that much. I also don't get how autism would fit on the scale at all. I'm pretty certain you can be any of the other categories while also being autistic.
[...]
Seriously? This person appears to have a ridiculously inflated ego and a very thorough hatred of all the "sheeple" and "jocks." What the fuck is wrong with them? I know plenty of extroverts who are not "nuisances." Whoever wrote this seems more like a crazy parody of Spock with no grasp of our human emotions than an actual person.

Yeah, it's a downright ridiculous assertion, and I'm speaking as someone who was, for a while, actually nicknamed 'Spock' for being rather coldly rational, phlegmatic, and introverted.

The author evidently has some serious biases of their own, and the premise itself seems suspect. Just because Autism (which is itself an extraordinarily varied spectra of traits) has some physiological similarities with APSD (which also varies considerably) doesn't mean they're closely aligned conditions.
As an analogy; both pleasure and pain travel up nerves, that doesn't mean that you can compare the two in terms of sensation, and the reaction you'll induce in the person experiencing them.

OneCatch :

Revnak:
Well, whoever wrote that page seems to have a very high opinion of schizoids and a very low opinion of anyone who is dependent on or enjoys the company of other human beings. Seriously, I am not more highly evolved because I don't like to be in crowds that much. I also don't get how autism would fit on the scale at all. I'm pretty certain you can be any of the other categories while also being autistic.
[...]
Seriously? This person appears to have a ridiculously inflated ego and a very thorough hatred of all the "sheeple" and "jocks." What the fuck is wrong with them? I know plenty of extroverts who are not "nuisances." Whoever wrote this seems more like a crazy parody of Spock with no grasp of our human emotions than an actual person.

Yeah, it's a downright ridiculous assertion, and I'm speaking as someone who was, for a while, actually nicknamed 'Spock' for being rather coldly rational, phlegmatic, and introverted.

The author evidently has some serious biases of their own, and the premise itself seems suspect. Just because Autism (which is itself an extraordinarily varied spectra of traits) has some physiological similarities with APSD (which also varies considerably) doesn't mean they're closely aligned conditions.
As an analogy; both pleasure and pain travel up nerves, that doesn't mean that you can compare the two in terms of sensation, and the reaction you'll induce in the person experiencing them.

There's a point to be made that attempting to simplify psychology removes it too much from human experience to be at all useful. Combine this with her bias and you've got something very off indeed.

For one, I don't think schizoids should be praised for being schizoids. What they are is different. A member of a traditionally social species that sees no need to engage in social activity. If you were a zoologist you would find such an individual interesting, but not necessarily better than their peers. As a matter of fact, you might not find them in nature at all because they probably die due to being a social creature with no pack to protect it if it gets sick or injured. In our society, so long as you aren't pissing in the mailbox, don't forget to feed yourself and have a job, you and all of your quirks can live just fine.

WouldYouKindly:

OneCatch :
Yeah, it's a downright ridiculous assertion, and I'm speaking as someone who was, for a while, actually nicknamed 'Spock' for being rather coldly rational, phlegmatic, and introverted.

The author evidently has some serious biases of their own, and the premise itself seems suspect. Just because Autism (which is itself an extraordinarily varied spectra of traits) has some physiological similarities with APSD (which also varies considerably) doesn't mean they're closely aligned conditions.
As an analogy; both pleasure and pain travel up nerves, that doesn't mean that you can compare the two in terms of sensation, and the reaction you'll induce in the person experiencing them.

There's a point to be made that attempting to simplify psychology removes it too much from human experience to be at all useful. Combine this with her bias and you've got something very off indeed.

For one, I don't think schizoids should be praised for being schizoids. What they are is different. A member of a traditionally social species that sees no need to engage in social activity. If you were a zoologist you would find such an individual interesting, but not necessarily better than their peers. As a matter of fact, you might not find them in nature at all because they probably die due to being a social creature with no pack to protect it if it gets sick or injured. In our society, so long as you aren't pissing in the mailbox, don't forget to feed yourself and have a job, you and all of your quirks can live just fine.

Yeah, that's a pretty good example of the bias alright!
The author seems to have a somewhat romanticised notion of what they regard the introvert/schizoid side of the scale (though I've yet to be convinced that such a link exists, let alone throwing autism and ASPD in there as well), at the expense of the other. 'Introverted' quotes like, and I'm not making this up: "The destiny of the extrovert is to become assimilated into a Borg-like collective" aren't subjected to the same critical analysis as supposed extroverted actions are.
I can empathise with a desire to stress that introversion/shyness isn't the social dysfunction it's often portrayed as, but coming up with all kinds of pseudo-psychological cataloguing bollocks to argue the point is a step too far (and detracts from the argument anyway). It quotes Silence of the Lambs for chrissakes!
Even approaching the issue from a perspective of innate praise or disapproval is itself a flaw - in the same way that most of the assorted DSM controversies/piss-taking stem from a perception that it passes that kind of moral judgement.

God, I loathe this kind of thing.

MammothBlade:
Most people believe that an extrovert is a person who is friendly and outgoing. While that may be true, that is not the true meaning of extroversion. Basically, an extrovert is a person who is energized by being around other people. This is the opposite of an introvert who is energized by being alone.

Extroverts tend to "fade" when alone and can easily become bored without other people around. When given the chance, an extrovert will talk with someone else rather than sit alone and think. In fact, extroverts tend to think as they speak, unlike introverts who are far more likely to think before they speak. Extroverts often think best when they are talking. Concepts just don't seem real to them unless they can talk about them; reflecting on them isn't enough.

I mean, seriously?

Noone is inherently "energized" by being around other people. Noone is inherently "energized" by being alone. Emotional states are more complex than keeping your resevoir of mystic Feng Shui "energy" topped up. People are people, they're not the Sims.

I like taking the odd day off from social contact to read or play games or do other stuff I enjoy on my own, but if you stuck me in a room with a stack of fishing magazines I wouldn't be "energized", I'd be bored. I enjoy spending time talking with people I get on with and like, but again if you stuck me in a room with a bunch of random people talking about stuff I wasn't interested in, I'd be bored. This isn't a matter of being an "introvert" or an "extrovert", it's a matter of what you actually enjoy doing. If you like hobbies which are solitary, you'll spend more time alone. Noone inherently enjoys being alone any more than anyone inherently enjoys other people. I don't see why that's so hard to figure out.

People may have different tolerances, some people may be able to fake enthusiasm or enjoyment in social situations better than others, some people may be able to deal with their own company for longer than others. Again, this is not a function of who you are, it's about strategies for dealing with social interaction or with boredom.

If you genuinely are sitting in your room on your own all the time, then no amount of deluding yourself that you're a special class of person who needs that in order to live is going to make it more bearable than it is. Likewise, if you're a human being with a relatively broad lifestyle and social contacts (even if it's just a small circle of close friends) you don't need to apologize for taking time on your own now and again. There's no magic species of really shallow, semi-sentient morons out there to whom you can feel better by comparing yourself, there are just people who know basic social skills, have consideration for other people's feelings and have more confidence, which are things almost anyone can learn and develop and which usually arise as a natural consequence of experience rather than welling up from some deep inner personality trait.

In particular, comparing yourself (or other comparatively typical people) to those with serious mental health or learning difficulties in order to vindicate yourself in not seeking to learn or develop these things is despicable.

I know you don't actually buy into this, so that was just a random rant. This stuff has just been cropping up a lot for me lately and I find it intensely annoying.

evilthecat:
God, I loathe this kind of thing.

MammothBlade:
Most people believe that an extrovert is a person who is friendly and outgoing. While that may be true, that is not the true meaning of extroversion. Basically, an extrovert is a person who is energized by being around other people. This is the opposite of an introvert who is energized by being alone.

Extroverts tend to "fade" when alone and can easily become bored without other people around. When given the chance, an extrovert will talk with someone else rather than sit alone and think. In fact, extroverts tend to think as they speak, unlike introverts who are far more likely to think before they speak. Extroverts often think best when they are talking. Concepts just don't seem real to them unless they can talk about them; reflecting on them isn't enough.

I mean, seriously?

Noone is inherently "energized" by being around other people. Noone is inherently "energized" by being alone. Emotional states are more complex than keeping your resevoir of mystic Feng Shui "energy" topped up. People are people, they're not the Sims.

I like taking the odd day off from social contact to read or play games or do other stuff I enjoy on my own, but if you stuck me in a room with a stack of fishing magazines I wouldn't be "energized", I'd be bored. I enjoy spending time talking with people I get on with and like, but again if you stuck me in a room with a bunch of random people talking about stuff I wasn't interested in, I'd be bored. This isn't a matter of being an "introvert" or an "extrovert", it's a matter of what you actually enjoy doing. If you like hobbies which are solitary, you'll spend more time alone. Noone inherently enjoys being alone any more than anyone inherently enjoys other people. I don't see why that's so hard to figure out.

People may have different tolerances, some people may be able to fake enthusiasm or enjoyment in social situations better than others, some people may be able to deal with their own company for longer than others. Again, this is not a function of who you are, it's about strategies for dealing with social interaction or with boredom.

If you genuinely are sitting in your room on your own all the time, then no amount of deluding yourself that you're a special class of person who needs that in order to live is going to make it more bearable than it is. Likewise, if you're a human being with a relatively broad lifestyle and social contacts (even if it's just a small circle of close friends) you don't need to apologize for taking time on your own now and again. There's no magic species of really shallow soulless Stepford Wives out there to whom you can feel better by comparing yourself, there are just people who know how to smile and nod when other people are talking bollocks.

Let me emphasise that this is all relative, but these relative, scientific generalisations cannot be ignored. Of course extroverts, and people with autism will find objections to being branded somehow "less sentient". There are better and less subjective terms they could have used. Yet many of the more objective arguments are not without foundation. If individuals' behaviour and disposition are in some way dependent on their neural structure, then why object to their study?

The biggest point, for me, is that personality, preferences, behaviour, the whole works, are a mixture of environment and brain structure. And introverts and extroverts, schizoids and aspies, tend to work very differently on the inside. There has to be a systematic explanation which isn't a cop-out such as "it's just too complex".

Seems like "pro-shy" propaganda.

I'm quite shy. I'm getting less shy over time, as my degree (medicine) requires me to actually talk to people and take histories and so forth. My medical class is made up of all types - introverts, extroverts, atheists, theists, liberals and conservatives. They're all pretty bright, generally. The smartest person in my PBL class (problem-based learning class, composed of roughly 9~10 students who meet twice a week) is quite extroverted. This idea that extroverts aren't as intelligent or are more "animalistic" is downright insulting.

That website is basically just saying "I'm not crippled emotionally or socially! I'm a more advanced life-form!", which is hilarious and egotistical and oh-so-very arrogant.

Reminds me a bit of the "activist" asperger's patients (or autism-spectrum disorder as it's now called, I guess) who advocate that they are "more human" than the "neurotypical" people who they perceive as being "less evolved". Yeah, because Einstein had Asperger's right? And so did Watson and Crick, huh? Oh wait, that's right - they didn't! And Einstein, and Watson and Crick weren't particularly shy either. Richard Feynman, a brilliant physicist, was a notorious extrovert who loved smooth talking the ladies.

Yes, some very intelligent people are shy. The smartest person in my High School year was a very shy, socially awkward girl. But one of the smartest people in my medical class is an extrovert, gym-going, pub-crawling, touch-football playing bloke.

You can't judge someone's intelligence based on whether or not they are shy.

MammothBlade:

Agema:

MammothBlade:
In my search for truth, I stumbled across a most interesting website, with some (literally) mind-blowing claims about extraversion/introversion.

If you're interested in this, I might recommend you read "Quiet" by Susan Cain, which is a book about introversion and introverts, although with particular reference to the fact that Western society or components of it seem to be more heavily geared to extroverts. Although this might not be a surprise, as around 2/3rds of people are extroverts.

I am quite far along the introversion scale. I'm pretty handy in social situations as I forced myself to learn, although I find it exhausting to be around people I don't know well for long periods of time.

Thanks, I'll give it a look.

Introverts expend energy in social situations, so it's not surprising. And being introverted does not mean being withdrawn, either. There are people-oriented introverts, they just need to recharge in private.

Here's Susan's TED talk if you're interested, along with a cartoon inspired by her book.

Just like the cartoon pointed out, a lot of introverts are accused of being dull, lazy or stupid and most of my family accused me of being this way for most of my life growing up. I learned to laugh at myself and roll with the insults though because I always knew that I just preferred to entertain myself through daydreaming and examining things in a much slower and thorough way. The second video I posted up there was the first time I've had positive reinforcement for being like that.

A bit late to the party, been 9 days since last post, hopefully wont consider this necroing.

The article seems to be written with contempt for extroverts, but not blindly. i cna share the sentiment, i always felt like they were overpraised just for being extroverts. but thats just personal bias.
I have recently evaluated the whole introver/extrovert thing as i found myself conflicting. I have long believed to be an introvert, the psichological tests agreeing with this, but there were quite a few occurances that made me question this. and then i found out there is a think like omnivert. apperently while i found little info on that it is supposed to be a person who in some instances are introvert while in others - extrovert, and it seems to fit me well.
My internet life and my real life is vastly different. You could say im very extrovert on internet. in fact id be willgni to tell way more about myself personally on the internet than real life. I guess its the whole "you wont beat me up for it" at play here, as in internet is anonymous. so i would look like an extrovert in the net.
In real life is where the thing comes into play the most though. I am generally shy, never initiate contact, like to be alone and generally never even expect to be capable of finding a partner. but get me into company i know and start talking, and you better be ready to shut me up till i havent made the whole building drive off. I would talk to a person i know on a bus and hope the bus gets stuck in traffic to be able to talk longer. but say hi to person i dont know - mission impossible in its true sense. i could sit a a "party" in the corner for hours fending off "come dance with me" people, and when everyone went to sleep and im left alone downstairs that would be the time i start enjoying myself.
So in the end, im probably somewhere in between in the scale like this.

Hammartroll:
a lot of introverts are accused of being dull, lazy or stupid and most of my family accused me of being this way for most of my life growing up. I learned to laugh at myself and roll with the insults though because I always knew that I just preferred to entertain myself through daydreaming and examining things in a much slower and thorough way.

Very much this.

I am fairly introverted. When I am with friends I can talk forever, and love their company. But I loathe being in social situations with people I don't know very well, and it takes a lot for me to enquire about their lives and get to know them better. Really, I need the kind of sustained, fairly close contact that an environment like school or work brings in order to make friends, because I have no ability to actively propogate friendships or the like -- this is equally why I fail at relationships . . .

I think I'm definitely on the introverted end, but it sometimes varies. I do like to chat with strangers sometimes to relieve the awkwardness of some situations (when you're in retail you sort of have to do this), but I certainly don't mind being alone in my own thoughts, and I feel like more often I prefer that. If I'm on a bus or some form of passive transportation, I usually plan to listen to my iPod and just think for a while, and if something happens and I don't get to do that (like a particularly talkative neighbor), I'll usually oblige, but I usually find myself a bit miffed and dissatisfied if I don't get that private time I'd counted on.

I also don't go out of my way to arrange outings with my friends. I don't like clubs or bars, and if I do go out I'd prefer something more tame like going to dinner, or a movie, or a museum, or just someplace quieter. Sometimes if I'm with the right person and talking about the right subject I'm a total chatterbox, and in these cases I even find myself worrying about dominating the conversation. I do enjoy sharing stories I find entertaining with others, and seeing their reaction and responses. But at the end of the day I like to spend my evenings in a quieter setting, and some days I'm really not in the mood for being around people at all so the conversations I have to have (usually with customers at work) are shorter and sometimes even a bit stilted. Those days I'd just rather be at home doing something else, and not dealing with the burden of everybody else's problems. Very rarely do I get that same kind of urge to be around people. And if I am around lots of people, I prefer to have at least one or two people I know with me. Being in a room full of strangers isn't a fun prospect for me at all, at least until I can find a kindred spirit to team up with.

Also, while the stuff listed in the OP is decidedly biased toward introverts, I feel like there definitely needs to be somebody promoting the idea that not being as sociable as others does not necessarily mean anything is wrong with you. And knowing what traits you and others have can be a very useful tool in bridging the gap between introverts and extroverts in social situations. Gaps which can cause breakdowns which affect both personal and professional relationships, as well as overall personal satisfaction and quality of life. Telling someone who's introverted to "just go out there and talk to people" is often just about as helpful as telling a depressed person "just go out there and be happy." That isn't how it works, and that isn't addressing their specific needs.

MammothBlade:
In my search for truth, I stumbled across a most interesting website, with some (literally) mind-blowing claims about extraversion/introversion.

What do you think? Where would you "fit"? (And please, no half-baked answers from people who can't be bothered to read the articles.)

My problem with the website is that it makes outrageous claims (like "I invented the question mark!") with absolutely nothing backing any of these claims. What is the author's credentials to be making these claims? Where are the peer-reviewed studies? This website sounds kind of like it was written by a pissy introvert with a superiority complex. I mean, seriously, this is an actual quote with nothing backing it:

"Some may think it unfair to place the extrovert in the same category as the psychopath and the ASPD. However, observation reveals that there is a basic similarity in behaviour, the only difference being that the extrovert usually keeps his behaviour within the law: the extrovert may come out of a nightclub rolling drunk, shout at the top of his voice, and make rude gestures at the passers by; the ASPD may do the same, but he will also kick in car doors as the mood takes him and will relieve himself through someone's letterbox when nature calls."

Really? Being drunk and walking out of a nightclub shouting to a friend puts you in the ASPD category, except that you "obey the law" ...? What psychiatric organization signed off on this statement? (Hint: None.)

You can pretty much find any website you want out there, I have an interesting one about a person that believes internal parasites can cause everything from cancer to type 1 diabetes if you're interested. She offers a type of "magic wand" you wave over yourself and her website is written very authoritatively, she's even an MD. (Proof that you can find even doctors to say some outrageous things.)

I'd say I'm extroverted according to the article. I make very rash decisions due to undue social trust and a whimsical decision making process.

I'm not going to go as far as evilthecat and lament the fact that people are studying this, but it does seem like the author is making a common mistake that I see crop up in the psychological and soft sciences- that is in their attempt to research a facet of human identity they inflate its importance until they make it seem as though the whole human condition revolves around it.

The introversion/extroversion spectrum is something real, and I've had to research it myself. But it's not the most dominant factor in people's personalities. Engagement seems far more relevant in most situations IMHO. But then again, maybe that's my research bias, because I want to study engagement so I think the whole human identity revolves around it.

Anyway, I do get tired of those "How to deal with an Introvert" Facebook memes. People I've known for years who routinely dominate conversations and gregariously interact constantly with loads of different people, who have more social connections than I do, proudly proclaim, "I'm an introvert! This is how you must interact with me! Don't judge me!" Then they post an image of a poster detailing how introverts are so different from everyone else and need to be handled like delicate crystal flower petals, usually drawn in a comic style reminiscent of a mumblecore independent film.

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:
Anyway, I do get tired of those "How to deal with an Introvert" Facebook memes. People I've known for years who routinely dominate conversations and gregariously interact constantly with loads of different people, who have more social connections than I do, proudly proclaim, "I'm an introvert! This is how you must interact with me! Don't judge me!" Then they post an image of a poster detailing how introverts are so different from everyone else and need to be handled like delicate crystal flower petals, usually drawn in a comic style reminiscent of a mumblecore independent film.

Agree with this. I may be fairly introverted, but that doesn't mean I demand different treatment or think it's anything special. It simply means that all other things being equal I'll generally unwind by having a quiet night in rather than at a rave. It doesn't mean I never socialise, or have carte blanche to act rudely at parties - it's a just a preference on how to relax, not a bloody condition.
And the kind of crap on facebook you're talking about kind of reminds me of those occasional people who claim to have Aspergers or Autism when in fact they can't be arsed to behave (and thus bring people who legitimately have and struggle with it into disrepute). Not comparing introversion and autism, just the tendency for people to make crap up.

The Gnome King:
You can pretty much find any website you want out there, I have an interesting one about a person that believes internal parasites can cause everything from cancer to type 1 diabetes if you're interested. She offers a type of "magic wand" you wave over yourself and her website is written very authoritatively, she's even an MD. (Proof that you can find even doctors to say some outrageous things.)

I'll bite, what's the web address? I have a weakness for crank websites, and it's been a bit boring recently.

OneCatch :

I'll bite, what's the web address? I have a weakness for crank websites, and it's been a bit boring recently.

Oh my, you *must* be bored. If I must...

http://diabetes.curemanual.com/2008/07/diabetes-is-caused-by-wood-alcohol-pollution-and-fluke-parasites/

There you go. Rock solid proof that diabetes is caused by "wood alcohol pollution" and "fluke parasites" - the internet is a treasure trove of information, I Tell You What. (Hank Hill Voice.)

 

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