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November 11th, 2010

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02:06 am - Shyness & Extroversion
I was recently discussing introversion and extroversion and realized that I had not ever posted by own model of it here. On many on-line personality test, I score as either an introvert or an extrovert, depending upon the exact nature of the questions. However, everything I've read points to me being a fairly strong extrovert, and that means there's a flaw in these tests – the flaw is ignoring shyness (aka social phobia) or conflating it with introversion.

My idea is that there are two axis – extrovert-introvert & shy-non-shy. Of course, some definitions help.

Extroversion & Introversion: The primary characteristic I've seen that separates extroverts from introverts is whether or not enjoyable socialization, especially with groups of people is more invigorating or more tiring. For example, most people I'm close to are introverts and (for example) both Becca and Alice find enjoyable social events like our group Thanksgiving (where there are approximately 15-20 people we know and like in a large house to be enjoyable, but are tired afterwards and after multiple hours of intense socialization, they want a break from further socialization and likely don't want to socialize much for the next day or two. I love such events and find them to be enjoyable and not in the least emotionally tiring (except for the basic practicalities of having to cook and serve food and help clean up, and many hours of intense conversation ultimately becomes a bit intellectually tiring). Thus, they are introverts, and I am an extrovert.

Shyness: Shyness is simply social phobia, which at least in me specifically manifests when I meet new people or wish to start and interaction with people I don't know well (here's a longer discussion of shyness and how it impacts my life). Once I get over the initial difficulties of meeting or starting talking with someone, all nervousness and worry rapidly falls away, but if the initial bits don't go well, I can end up a tongue-tied & awkward wallflower.

So, I'm a shy extrovert – meeting people and starting conversations are both difficult for me, but once I actually get a conversation going I relax and have a great time and find the experience to be invigorating. teaotter is a somewhat shy introvert, so she has a bit of trouble meeting people and starting conversations (although notably less than I do), but finds extended socialization, especially with multiple people to be emotionally tiring. This doesn't apply nearly as much to her interactions with Alice and I, but definitely with everyone else. amberite is a non-shy introvert – Alice meets people easily and has no trouble starting conversations, but like Becca finds extended socialization to be emotionally tiring.

I don't know any non-shy extroverts well, although I have been acquainted with a few – one of the oddities of my social circle is that almost everyone I become close to is an introvert, and the only exception that I can think of is also a shy extrovert.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
I find that I’m an introvert with most people with whom I don’t share a lot of interests, but I turn into an extrovert when I’m in a group where I don’t lose people when I start making my usual weird associative jumps in conversation. I come home from company parties feeling tired, but I come home from science fiction conventions feeling elated.
[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
The introvert/extrovert tests that assume that effort required to do something is a lack of capability with it drive me nuts. I'm very good at socializing. It just tires me the hell out. Concluding I'm an extrovert from that is like concluding a marathon runner who's tired after a race isn't an athlete.
[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
I think I throw the whole introvert extrovert thing for a loop.
I find large crowds tiring. Especially crowds of strangers. I feel recharged after being with groups of people I know though.
If I am by myself too much, I feel lonely, and I like company for some things like cooking or shopping. Sometimes I can get peopled out, then I relish the quiet of being on my own.
I like hanging out with 1-10 people, anything more than 15 drains me.
Sometimes I'm shy, sometimes I'm not.

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