I just watched a TED talk on Introversion and it was very insightful. I have heard (or read) most of these things before, but it helped me to realize a few things.
For a while there I was doubting that I was a solid ‘I’ thinking that perhaps I was an ambivert. I am now fairly confident that I am an ‘I’ though I have my ‘E’ moments, days and moods on occasion. Looking back at a sort of ‘track record’ of mine I notice that though it is true that I have been known to enjoy parties, and have even been known to be the ‘life of the party’, more often than not I feel more comfortable at these events if I place myself in the back of the room nearest a corner, where I can see everything going on around me and interact, but I can also become a wallflower when I need a break; this is not always true of me, at some parties I could be consistently found in the center of the room with raucous laughter comfortably talking to a huge group of people; I would always be dog-tired at the end of the night, but somehow it still felt worth it, because I could be caught doing it again; the reason I have doubted whether I am a solid ‘I’ is because on these sort of occasions I would receive such a thrill and so much enjoyment from being a social butterfly. I became so good at it that it was, and still is second nature to me; I do really enjoy being around people, but it drains me- this is in part the definition of introversion; It doesn’t matter how comfortable I am in any social setting or how loudly I present myself, the fact remains that I think better, feel more refreshed, alive and at ease, and more often enjoy solitude or what we affectionately call ‘together-alone time’ than being in a large social group or a noisy crowd; I can do it and at times I want to do it, but much less than a proclaimed ‘E.’ Hence, Introversion is my nature, Extroversion is my second nature.
In the video she touched on how an ‘I’ forced into or placed in too many large groups or social settings without sufficient solitary time will begin to unknowingly ‘ape on’ the group, the loudest member or the best talker’s opinions, perspectives and views on things because the ‘I’ has no time to think about it for themselves and therefore is not even given opportunity to be creative or to offer another perspective-I have caught myself in this rut. This past year or so, though I have not been my ‘usual’ crazy out-going social self, I have been in almost a constant stream of outside activity, listening to opinions, ideals, likes, dislikes, desires and dreams coming from outside my own thoughts therefore leaving relatively no time for me to sort out what is actually coming from myself and what is actually coming from those around me and what I think of all of these things; I am so relieved to finally have some time to myself without other persons (as much as I love and cherish you all) always around me speaking their minds into my consciousness, and it has given me time to breathe and to think for myself, which by golly I missed a load! There is no one to be nervous around when I think something silly, no one there to require an awkward explanation of half a thought, no one to be bored when I am ‘too quiet’ or when I read ‘too much’, no one to expect me to laugh at their jokes or listen to their stories, no one to insist I read, watch, listen to, do something I am completely uninterested in, no one! & it is absolute bliss! I know that sounds mean, but as an ‘I’ it is immensely difficult and seemingly impossible to think for myself when people, and oh-so-very-much-harder when people I really care about (as opposed to idle chatter of strangers in a public place) are steadily carrying on all around me; a not-so-little piece of me feels stunted and ignored when I can’t escape and enjoy enough quality time in solitude of thought; there is a quote that goes along with this, “The most lonely solitude is solitude of thought.”; the problem with thinking creatively by yourself is that not many (if any) people know how to follow your thoughts, and they are not easily explained to others in most cases, this creates difficulty when interacting socially after extended periods of thought for two reasons, firstly, if you try to break down and clarify your thoughts for the masses and few, if any respond positively, or rather-understandingly you are then discouraged to continue and may, declare it a hopeless endeavor, which then brings me to my second reason, once it is decided that continuing is pointless or futile with this audience, your reaction is to withdraw back into thought, therefore bringing you out of the social setting and placing you into an antisocial mindset since you feel that small-talk is even more severely devoid of purpose than speaking to a deaf crowd; That sounds harsh, though your purpose in plummeting back into thought may be in order to find a simpler way to share your ideas, but from the outside this is difficult to diagnose or perceive.
Something to keep in mind is that introverts can be extremely creative, and deeply philosophical and intelligent when left to their own devices, however when you escort an ‘I’ into a constant stream of social interaction you may as well leave their unique minds and creative input to rot in a graveyard of stale thought and drought because they will have no time and less energy to utilize the magnificent brains they were given. Of course the brain of an ‘E’ is just as amazing as that of an ‘I’, they just function very differently and must learn to understand each other.