“[I]ntroverts are people who find other people tiring” ~ Jonathan Rauch

Lone Hiker, photo by Ben Johnson

Lone Hiker, photo by Ben Johnson

A StumbleUpon suggestion this morning led to me to a very good list of Top Ten Myths About Introverts, my favorite being this:

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Last year, I wrote about how I’d just returned from a wonderfully intense lunch with a writing buddy. For a few years now, we have met once a month to talk about our current projects, to exchange works in progress for feedback, and, most important, to be each other’s cheerleader.

I love her company tremendously. We fill each other with new ideas—our conversation is peppered with “Oh! I’ll email you that link when I get home.” She always comes prepared with a little notebook to keep track of ideas she wants to remember or follow up on, inspiring me to do the same.

I look forward to each and every meeting, not only because she is a writing soul mate, but because we agree on small details of where and how we meet: A table away from the sun, please, certainly not outside. The restaurant that day was particularly noisy, and I could feel each of us strain to maintain our usual level of focus.

As much as I treasure these visits, I come home exhausted, and I’ll bet she does, too.

We are both introverted and highly sensitive (not the same things). Neither one of us is very shy.

Many people mistakenly equate introversion with shyness, so I was happy when a friend alerted me to an article on Douglas Eby’s Talent Development website: Shyness, Introversion, Sensitivity – What’s the Difference?

In addition to discussing the differences between being introverted, shy, highly sensitive, and socially anxious, the article offers numerous links to more information and touches on different types of introversion and how to tell the difference between introversion and extroversion.

Why does this matter? Because knowing oneself–what bring us energy or drains us, what environments are most conducive to working and thinking and writing, that we are okay as we are and don’t need to waste time thinking otherwise–frees valuable mental space and inspires confidence.

Are you introverted? Or introverted and extroverted (a combination common in highly creative people)? How does it affect your writing?