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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would very much like some input regarding the subject of social introverts. I'm looking to write something about it one day and I do not plan on doing anything other than utilizing any input within this thread for insight and inspiration. So my first question is of course, do you consider yourself a "social introvert" ?

- Do you think you are shy? If you are not, were you at one point in time, shy?
- What supports and tools did you need to overcome your shyness?

- What types of things frustrate you regarding other people's perception of you. For me, it is the constant assumption that I'm an extrovert because in many scenarios, a person wouldn't be able to tell otherwise. In time, I often piss people off by not being readily available to go out. And if I do push myself, there always comes a point where I slip back into the woodwork to reconvene my matter. I have to reassemble my self after absorbing so much of people energy. If that makes sense, I don't know .. .can anyone relate?
Is anyone able to re-articulate the concept better? (please do if you could!)

- How would you think someone could explain the phenomenon of being a social introvert to someone not versed in MBTI or personality theory for that matter ? If possible, 1 or 3 or 10 points to note would be fabulous!

- Name 3 things that you think are imperative for a person to understand to grasp the seemingly oxymoron of being a social introvert. I'm thinking:

1) explaining that introversion is about energy usage as opposed to anti-social behavior.
2) the need to have time alone does not negate the need for socialization.
3) anything else you can think of ?


I have another thread that was created many months ago but it was more specific to infj's.
While that will serve as insight, I am really looking more for the specific topic of being a "Social Introvert"


Thank you in advance for anyone willing to share their personal input on the matter :))

also, I'm thinking of starting a thread or two elsewhere for additional input and oppositional perspective.
Which MBTI types would you suggest if this were a hypothetical project of your own. Thank you again!!! :kitteh:
 

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I think a better way to put it is that we are selfish givers (another oxymoron).

INFJs do what they are comfortable with, have it be being alone or being around people--it all boils down to their own need to be secure in their own emotions, energy, and atmosphere.

However, to answer your questions: being a social introvert is a lot like being a professional writer (or chef, or artist, so on). Your job is to write, and you can write VERY well, and when you are told to write, you make sure it is the best damn thing, even if you are too tired to do it.

When you get home, however, your desire to write is gone, because you are too tired.

Apply writing to being social.

INFJs are really good at being social. They dissect the emotion of the room in a second. They know how to make people happy, and they can see when someone feels awkward, making us come to their rescue. Also, it is hard for us not to be social when in a social situation--it is like our brain is forcing us. Thus, when we become tired, and we are in social situation, we still try being social, which drains us 10x over.

Then, unlike extroverts who then recharge by being around others, we recharge by being alone. We don't write after spending 8 hours writing--we don't be social after spending one hour being social ;)

I really like relating it to a job in that way. We are just good at being social, but we don't like doing it. It's like someone being an amazing fighter but they don't like violence.

Yet, at the same time, because we are human, there will be points when we crave social interactions for health reasons--and there will be times when we genuinely want to be social.

We are like the chaos theory :D People view us and think there is no rhyme or reason--we are random in what we do and what we think, but really there is a structure to it.

For instance, if you want us to get out of the house and hang out, we really do need a heads up. Not a call an hour before the movie asking to hang out--a week heads up. We need time to prepare for the social situation, sadly. And if we are forced into the social situation, we want to run.
 

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@Ningsta Kitty a few things:


  • Social introversion sounds heavily influenced by instinctual stacking (I imagine that sp/sx and sx/sp are "higher" on the introversion scale). For instance, an ESTP 378 sp/sx could have very little need for social interaction and thus, qualify as a social introvert.
  • Consider the enneagram forums (especially image triaders (234) and withdrawn triaders (459), etc.)

- Do you think you are shy? If you are not, were you at one point in time, shy?
No, I do not consider myself shy (but I am a grade AAA introvert). In fact, once I get talking I can be very dis-inhibited and, true to 7w6, a genuine, self-centered, narcissistic chatterbox. :laughing:

I haven't struggled with shyness so much as shame. More specifically, it's the initial shame that has often held me back, more so than shyness. I know there's a lot of overlap between the two so I shall do my best to explain my usage of the words. I usually view "shyness" as a form of intense bashfulness or modesty, which I actually find myself impatient towards—albeit, there is probably some projection there, since I used to be waaaay more modest. But I've found that modest persona I was projecting was really full of shit and "approval seeking" so I've dialed it way back.

My current motto: Genuine conceit is preferable to abject modesty.

For me at least, shyness entails a sort of persistent bashfulness that carries itself throughout the entirety of, say, a conversation. I don't really get that. It's more about the initial apprehension, for me—breaking the ice, so to speak.

As a core 4, I have struggled with shame. This has less to do with bashfulness and more with a fear and anxiety that I will be rejected or deemed "unqualified" to speak in a group or with another person because I am missing something (i.e., I am missing X, Y, or Z in my life and ergo, I am unworthy of normal conversation). For the core 4, the sense that their very identity is "unfit" becomes a major obstacle that can cause them to withdraw into the safety of a fantasy world.

I suppose I see "shyness" as a more superficial, lighthearted thing. Shame, to me, is heavier and a blow that cuts clear to my identity and my ethos.

- What supports and tools did you need to overcome your shyness?
No tools or outside help, per se. Just a recognition that shame is 95% an illusion that I have fabricated. Also recognizing that social obligation that forces me to "say something" is compulsory bullshit. Screw obligation (within reason). I'm starting to overcome my shame/anxiety and just say whatever's on my mind (within reason, lol).

- What types of things frustrate you regarding other people's perception of you. For me, it is the constant assumption that I'm an extrovert because in many scenarios, a person wouldn't be able to tell otherwise. In time, I often piss people off by not being readily available to go out. And if I do push myself, there always comes a point where I slip back into the woodwork to reconvene my matter. I have to reassemble my self after absorbing so much of people energy. If that makes sense, I don't know .. .can anyone relate?
Is anyone able to re-articulate the concept better? (please do if you could!)
Yes, that makes sense, and is a good outline of the basic distinction between shyness and introversion, I think.

I am not shy at all but I am a goddamn camel in terms of social interaction need. Socialization can be very revitalizing, but I need it very sparingly. I notice some of my friends are waaaay more socially oriented than I am (i.e., they hang out regularly), yet I find them much more caught up in "social etiquette games" than I am... I'm not afraid to ask a question in class, for instance, because I kinda don't give a shit about looking stupid. I can come off very ENXP in many situations, bombarding people with all the crazy ideas I've got. God bless my 7 fix!

My idea of a Friday well spent is biking around the city by myself and plundering the used bookstore of random discoveries. My instinct stacking is SP/SX, so I admit socialization is mostly a blindspot to me, in part because I really just don't care about office/classroom politics or rubbin' elbows with people. I am just indifferent to "playing the game" of social politics.

Socialization these days is more about networking than actual, genuine communication, I think. Superficial niceties and "friends lists" seem to trump meaningful discourse, which is a shame.

- How would you think someone could explain the phenomenon of being a social introvert to someone not versed in MBTI or personality theory for that matter ? If possible, 1 or 3 or 10 points to note would be fabulous!

  • Just because I don't want to hang out with you doesn't mean I don't like you
  • Shyness ≠ Introversion
  • Solitude ≠ Loneliness
  • Some view the Quiet as stifling; I see it as liberating
  • Social interaction shouldn't be mired in Obligation or Should-mentality
  • Office politics and quid pro quo is :bored::rolleyes::dry:
  • Forcing a state of harmony through superficial "going through the motions" niceties is not harmony :frustrating:
  • I have this compulsion to finish chapters before taking a break so if I am reading and I'm ignoring you, it's because of that.
  • I've reached a point in my life where I don't feel the need for constant external validation. The best compliment you can give me is by telling me your own, genuine thoughts about what I've said or done... starting up a real convo.
  • I am talkative as hell. I may be hesitant to say something initially, but once you get me talking, it's like Pandora's Box.


- Name 3 things that you think are imperative for a person to understand to grasp the seemingly oxymoron of being a social introvert.
Hm... what is meant by "oxymoron" of the social introvert? Do you mean the difference between social incompetence (i.e., not understanding how to talk) vs. social introversion (i.e., not needing to talk)?
 

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Introversion is often stereotyped by extroverts simply because they don't operate that way. It's like talking in a different language: your reclusiveness is seen by extroverts as a message that you don't like them, but to other introverts it's seen as a necessity. Why educate people without using the MBTI theory? I think that the only way for people to understand the real languages being spoken by people is to understand enneagram types and MBTI types. I think that's always been the goal of the theories. However the theories can be improved to really get the message through that just because one is an introvert does not mean that one is also anti-social. They are two separate characteristics that aren't connected at all. To connect the two is to be "racist".
 
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I definitely am introverted - but everyone says "you never meet a stranger. " Yes, I do, almost everyone is a stranger.I can talk - but to converse on a casual level, seldom so. I have a very large personal space - greater than an arm's reach. I was a classroom instructor in the army. No problem. I have supervised as many as 30 people - no problem. As a social worker, I was the one leading the interaction with specific predetermined goals. Enjoyed it. Had an interview with a reporter- something about middle aged restarts in a different direction. Damn, he asked personal questions! Too fast for me to analyze and screen. Did not go well at all.

So, I have a overly large personal space. I am somewhat hyperviligent. I do not readily open up to others on anything approaching a personal level. And still, I get overloaded and have to numb out for recharging.

I adapted to being me. My activies are mostly solitary. I do not listen to music - ever. Personal friends, I keep forever. Just too difficult to make others. I do not do casual chitchat. I have had a very meaningful life - and I never did know what "hanging out" entails.
 

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I think a better way to put it is that we are selfish givers (another oxymoron).

INFJs do what they are comfortable with, have it be being alone or being around people--it all boils down to their own need to be secure in their own emotions, energy, and atmosphere.

However, to answer your questions: being a social introvert is a lot like being a professional writer (or chef, or artist, so on). Your job is to write, and you can write VERY well, and when you are told to write, you make sure it is the best damn thing, even if you are too tired to do it.

When you get home, however, your desire to write is gone, because you are too tired.

Apply writing to being social.

INFJs are really good at being social. They dissect the emotion of the room in a second. They know how to make people happy, and they can see when someone feels awkward, making us come to their rescue. Also, it is hard for us not to be social when in a social situation--it is like our brain is forcing us. Thus, when we become tired, and we are in social situation, we still try being social, which drains us 10x over.

Then, unlike extroverts who then recharge by being around others, we recharge by being alone. We don't write after spending 8 hours writing--we don't be social after spending one hour being social ;)

I really like relating it to a job in that way. We are just good at being social, but we don't like doing it. It's like someone being an amazing fighter but they don't like violence.

Yet, at the same time, because we are human, there will be points when we crave social interactions for health reasons--and there will be times when we genuinely want to be social.

We are like the chaos theory :D People view us and think there is no rhyme or reason--we are random in what we do and what, but really there is a structure to it.

For instance, if you want us to get out of the house and hang out, we really do need a heads up. Not a call an hour before the movie asking to hang out--a week heads up. We need time to prepare for the social situation, sadly. And if we are forced into the social situation, we want to run.
This has got to be one of the most insightful and accurate descriptions of this dynamic I have ever read. Really useful!
 

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This has got to be one of the most insightful and accurate descriptions of this dynamic I have ever read. Really useful!
I'd like to say I was chill and relaxed when reading this :cool:, but I was much more: :blushed:

haha
 

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Do you think you are shy? If you are not, were you at one point in time, shy?

Nope, I am not shy. Never really have been. As a child I was very talkative, and I have always been someone to take the initiative and talk to new people.

- What supports and tools did you need to overcome your shyness?

None.

- What types of things frustrate you regarding other people's perception of you.

It frustrates me when people ask me what I do in my alone time. It's my alone time, and I don't like sharing it with anyone. When I was in school I could say "I was studying" but I seem to have lost that excuse.
Though I can use "resting" now, especially after my health scare (which I believe was brought on by a lack of alone time for a few months) I seem to get away with it a bit. My health is delicate.

As for being mistaken for an extravert... I guess what annoys me is when people expect that I WANT to spend several hours talking to their friends that they invited around for dinner, and they get annoyed when after an hour or two I try to slip away. They are not even my friends.

And yeah, that period of time when I got very little alone time, I used to play the piano to try to get alone time, and people would still interrupt.

But mostly I am a friendly, sociable person.

- How would you think someone could explain the phenomenon of being a social introvert to someone not versed in MBTI or personality theory for that matter ? If possible, 1 or 3 or 10 points to note would be fabulous!

I love being with people, but I also love just being by myself. I need both to be happy.

I find being in large groups of people enjoyable for a short time, but everything takes so much attention so after a while I get tired. I can last longer with just a couple of close friends, that doesn't take so much attention or so much energy. It is kind of like playing a game of football compared to kicking a ball around with a couple of friends.

If I go to long without contact with others I get down and a bit depressed, but if I go too long without getting alone time away from people I get tired and irritable.

For me socialising is kind of like a shot of caffeine. At first you feel a burst of energy, but then a few hours later you crash.
 

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"So my first question is of course, do you consider yourself a "social introvert" ?"

Yes, that is to say I can socialise pretty easily. I can make smalltalk, even with strangers. It just takes a lot of energy and I don't always want to.

"- Do you think you are shy? If you are not, were you at one point in time, shy?"

No & no

"- What supports and tools did you need to overcome your shyness?"

N/A

"- What types of things frustrate you regarding other people's perception of you. For me, it is the constant assumption that I'm an extrovert because in many scenarios, a person wouldn't be able to tell otherwise. In time, I often piss people off by not being readily available to go out."

I can relate to this. I feel pressurised by the constant demands that are being made on me: birthdays, barbecues, visits, parties, coffee with friends, doing things together. Omg! why do people always think that things are more fun together!? I just don't get it.

"- How would you think someone could explain the phenomenon of being a social introvert to someone not versed in MBTI or personality theory for that matter ? If possible, 1 or 3 or 10 points to note would be fabulous!"

I have no idea. I was trying to explain it to an extroverted friend the other day. I told her that if it was completely up to me, i would spontaneously visit her twice a year, tops. And that would not mean that I hated her, or dislike her, or forgot about her - it's just enough, for me.

And she laughed :) because she saw the truth of it. And she said she liked my honesty, hehe.

"- Name 3 things that you think are imperative for a person to understand to grasp the seemingly oxymoron of being a social introvert. I'm thinking:"

1. I do not gain energy from socialising
2. My energy is always very limited
3. I need to spend it wisely & I need to have control over how I spend it
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm so happy for all the input thus far! Thank you!!! :))

and @hal0hal0 thank you for your insight as well!
I think you are right too, I will probably pick at the enng threads soon. great idea!
 
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So my first question is of course, do you consider yourself a "social introvert" ?

- Do you think you are shy? If you are not, were you at one point in time, shy?
- What supports and tools did you need to overcome your shyness?

- What types of things frustrate you regarding other people's perception of you.

- How would you think someone could explain the phenomenon of being a social introvert to someone not versed in MBTI or personality theory for that matter ? If possible, 1 or 3 or 10 points to note would be fabulous!

- Name 3 things that you think are imperative for a person to understand to grasp the seemingly oxymoron of being a social introvert. I'm thinking:

1) explaining that introversion is about energy usage as opposed to anti-social behavior.
2) the need to have time alone does not negate the need for socialization.
3) anything else you can think of ?

Thank you in advance for anyone willing to share their personal input on the matter :))
I consider myself a social introvert. I love people, I love getting to know people, and I often like nothing more than having an in-depth conversation with someone I find interesting, intelligent, and who I can learn from.

I think as a child I was not shy exactly, but I hung back. I observed carefully (classroom, birthday parties, new events, etc.) and needed to get a feel for everything before I participated. Once i was comfortable, I was fine. Sometimes new things still give me a bit of anxiety. I was nervous when i started my drawing class a few months ago, for no discernible reason. I was sort of afraid to talk to anyone. I just didn't know what to expect. By the second class I was quite comfortable and social.

But I am extremely introverted. I need tons of down-time, and I'm accomplished at grabbing it in places that seem strange, even crowded places. My subway time is sacred alone time. Book. Headphones. No eye contact. One of the things that is frustrating to me is how extraverts assume that conversation and socializing is always desirable and welcome.

Examples: I met someone once at my subway stop who wanted to get friendly on "my" time, chatting on our commute. After two days of small talk, I finally had to tell him, "You seem very nice, and I apologize if this seems rude, but it's really important that I spend these 30 minutes in the morning entirely alone."

My friend is a big-time extravert, and pesters me to hang out all the time. He always tells me he doesn't understand why I disappear for so long, because I'm really fun when I go out. I try to tell him that I need that alone time to actually be able to go out and be really fun and chatty, as opposed to a zombified husk of overwhelmed overstimulation.


If I were to explain social introversion to someone, I would tell them that it's perfectly possible for people who need alone time to recharge to also delve into the world and engage with it. They just may not do it as often as those people who love to be socially engaged all the time. My mother is an extravert, not very self-aware, and definitely doesn't know anything about MBTI. Over the years I've learned to tell her that I need as much "me" time as I need other types of time, and if I don't get it, I'll be cranky and not easy to deal with.


Some points about social introversion:

1. Social introverts, even the really chatty ones, are not going to engage in small talk for as much time as extraverts. We may go through the pleasantries, but what will really get us going is a stimulating conversation.

2. If the environment is really, really overstimulating (dance club, loud bar), a social introvert may limit conversation to only those people quite proximate to us, or forgo talking for a while and start dancing or doing something else. I very very strongly dislike shouting over ambient noise, and it takes more effort than I find justified to basically yell conversation at your friends. In a really loud environment, if there is not something else to do (like dancing, shooting pool, etc.), I probably will shut down and not talk much. I prefer lower-key environments.

3. You may go out with us one night and think we are the most fun people evah, and then be truly baffled when we decline invitations to do the same thing over and over again. Extraverts wonder why we don't want to reenact a fun experience every night. They don't understand the downtime that is required to recharge. When I go out, I have a blast. I really do. But it is draining.
 

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Yes, I am a, "social introvert."

I don't think I'm shy. When I was a child, I would be shy as I'd often not like what my peers would do around me. I sucked at sports and arts which generally made me a social outcast as I wasn't cool in any way.

In terms of overcoming this, one part was to realize that the world at least in terms of adults has much more segregation and thus I could be selective of which circles I participated and how this would be seen. Where as a child I could get bullied or other things and the response would be some form of, "Just suck it up," the adult world had a much different perspective on this. My sensitivity that as a child was often a disadvantage and something that caused me more trouble than I'd like was advantageous within select circles of my adult life. Some groups tend to jazz me up more than others and it may take more than a few meetings to eventually reach that point where, "Ok, I'm good here and let me try to help others get there too."

I don't really have frustrations of other people's perception of me. They have their views, I have mine and away I go. I have enough groups and circles that I could probably drop some if I needed and at the same time, most people that get to know me can have a pretty good idea of who I am as I don't change that much. People can see me as being everywhere and I kind of like that in a sense.

For me, a social introvert can be someone that enjoys various groups where people gather as part of their overall life. Yes, it can be a bit draining at times though at the same time, there is often some higher purpose served by being in that group and participating in the bigger overall picture. I like contributing to things and at times this means I'll volunteer here and there.

As an example, I enjoy personal development and thus will have courses and groups where I will be others working on improving myself. Now, while this can be draining at times, it is also part of the process and generally I try to balance my alone time and my time with other people.

A key point is to understand that there are more than a few layers of things here. I bond with the idea of the group rather than individuals so some of my groups may be different people at meetings, but as I'm linked with the group rather than individuals, this may well be more in my comfort zone.

The imperative points:

1. Socializing as part of my day, doesn't automatically categorize me as introvert or extrovert and most of my social outings last only a few hours. Some people want to make snap judgments which can backfire here. There are many more hours to my day and most of them are what people don't see or want to really consider here often.

2. While I'm present, you don't know my motivations for being there unless I tell you. Am I there because I like being around people? Am I there because I want to support this cause? Am I there because I may learn some new tools to improve my life?

3. My conversations may appear different than others as generally I'll think before speaking and sometimes I can think surprisingly quick at times. I may well have played out a lot of the conversation and when things hit notes that I've seen in my mind then I may well turn on the turbos. I have thought this through, just well before some would think.
 
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