Many people trace the discovery of introverts to Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, a colleague of Sigmund Freud and tennis partner of a very young Dr. Phil. Before his ground-breaking theories on introversion, inwardly-thinking people who preferred being alone were considered possessed by arrogant and self-centered demons. Today, as a result of Jung’s research, a more-enlightened world views introverts as simply arrogant and self-centered.
The definition of introvert, like most forms of human behavior, depends on what turns up when you google it on the Internet. Generally speaking:
- Introverts gain energy from being alone and lose energy while being in groups of people. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from being with people. This explains why the most effective warmup exercise for introverted athletes is sitting peacefully in their locker.
- Introverts find being in crowds of people stressful. They avoid large noisy parties, business conferences, and medical operations in which the surgeon has more than two assistants. Whereas extroverts enjoy sharing deodorant tips with total strangers while commuting in a packed subway car.
- Introverts are more reserved and reflective than extroverts. In fact, most exhibit anger by slightly exhaling and checking for text messages.
- Introverts take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, taking long walks in the woods and appearing unapproachable.
- Introverts are more analytical and think before they talk, sometimes days before deciding if they “want fries with that.” Extroverts, on the other hand, think about what they said hours later while nursing a black eye.
- Introverts do not enjoy small talk. In fact, few can chat about the weather unless the conversation includes, cold fronts, doppler radars and why female meteorologists always wear sleeveless dresses.
- Introverts have deep, rich inner-lives. For example, most introverted law students typically think about unicorns and tangerines while taking the bar exam.
Many people possess characteristics of both introverts and extroverts. For example, some introverts can’t stop engaging in small talk with themselves, asking, “What do I do for a living?” and “How much did I pay for this house?” In most cases, however, one personality favors the other. This is also why few personal ads read: “Naughty extrovert wants to explore my less talkative side.”