I read this very interesting article on Times magazine last week, and confirmed what I have always known, I am an introvert.
Here are some traits of an introverts: Introverts do not have to mean shy. Shy people actively seek to avoid social situations,because they may be inhibited by fear. Introverts shun social situations because they simply want to be alone. They prefer not to engage. While extroverts draw energy from mingling with large group of people, introverts find such social interactions taxing.
Societies, especially in the western world like in America, value extroverts. In school, it’s the bolder kids who get attention from teachers. Even in Singapore, kids are now trained to speak out more in class. In Aaron’s school, HCI, there is even a grading for how actively one participates in class, something that would be quite daunting for an introvert. A friend who went for a scholarship interview told me that interviews are no longer one to one, but in a group and one has to be among the fastest to raise one’s hand to answer the questions.
According to research, Introverts are born this way, with a lower threshold for stimulation than others. Extroverts are a little like addicts who are always seeking out stimuli in the healthier form of social situations. So to cope, most introverts have to fake their way through.
For your information, introversion and extraversion aren’t fixed categories – there’s a personality spectrum, and many, known as ambiverts, fall in the gap between the two traits.
I took a quiz in the Times Magazine and it appears from my score that I am quite an obvious introvert. (If you disagree, I was probably faking when I was with you.) I’ve always known that. As a child, I was described as shy. Being brought up in the Asian way – children are best seen and not heard – also contributed. Thus, I am not surprised if most Asians my age think themselves introverts too.
Aaron told me his score was 50% – an ambivert. Perhaps his up-bringing plays a part as well.
If you like to do the quiz, here is the link: