What is an introvert?

First things first! Since this is a blog about two introverts I feel I should first give a short explanation about introverts. What they are and what they aren’t. Most of things I am placing on this page are quotes from the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain. It is a great read and very insightful.

First off, there is no all-purpose definition of introversion or extroversion. There are almost as many definitions as there are personality psychologists. When it comes to outside stimulation, introverts feel “just right” with less stimulation, as when they sip wine with close friends, solve a crossword puzzle, or read a book. Introverts would rather spend their vacation reading on the beach than partying on a cruise ship. When it comes to working, introverts often work more slowly and deliberately. They like to focus on one task at a time and can have mighty powers of concentration. They’re relatively immune to the lures of wealth and fame. When it comes to parties of any kind, introverts may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.

It is not synonymous with hermit or misanthrope. They are not necessarily shy. Shyness is a fear of social disapproval or humiliation, introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. People tend to confuse the two because sometimes they overlap. There are calm extroverts, anxious (impulsive) extroverts, calm introverts and anxious introverts. So you can be shy extrovert (Barbara Streisand) and have a larger than life personality but have paralyzing stage fright. Or you could be a non-shy introvert (Bill Gates) who keeps to himself but is unfazed by the opinions of others. Or a shy introvert (T.S. Elliot) who was a famously private soul who wrote some really amazing stuff. A shy person is afraid to speak up, but an introvert is more than likely overstimulated. To the outside world the two look to be very much the same.

Some famous introverts are:

Sir Isaac Newton – the theory of gravity

Albert Einstein – the theory of relativity

W. B. Yeats – “The Second Coming”

Frederic Chopin – Chopin’s Nocturns

Marcel Proust – In Search Of Lost Time

J. M. Barrie – Peter Pan

George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty Four and Animal Farm

Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) – The Cat in the Hat

Charles Schulz – Charlie Brown

Steven Spielberg – Schindler’s List, E.T., and Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Larry Page – Google

J. K. Rowling – Harry Potter


I will add more as I read the book. For now, this is a good jumping off point. If you want to take a short assessment I have one of those up too! Also taken from the book “Quiet”.


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