Saturday, April 16, 2011

Introversion: Not for the Talkative


Interestingly enough, or so I will suggest, I have again been revealed as an INFP on the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is the same result I received the last time I took the assessment and the time before that in a bleak, little-known, rarely-mentioned, barely-worth-mentioning era that predates this precious, precious blog.

The takeway, or so I will suggest, is that as an INFP I am this sort of person:
INFPs focus much of their energy on an inner world dominated by intense feeling and deeply held ethics. They seek an external life that is in keeping with these values. Loyal to the people and causes important to them, INFPs can quickly spot opportunities to implement their ideals. They are curious to understand those around them, and so are accepting and flexible except when their values are threatened.
I can attest to all of that, especially the part I went to the trouble to bold toward the end: I'll smile through damnnear anything, but once someone crosses a line of one of my values, I will strike like a very untalkative cobra, and keep striking until long after some non-INFP would recognize that the threat has gone cold dead. It's the way I roll, or more exactly, the way I play-act as a snake who has been pushed too far.

As the image at the top hints, introversion was my most pronounced preference on the four-part scale, with the others (Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving) scoring somewhere the 'moderate' range. While I pegged the meter on the Introversion scale, I note that this scale is clearly calibrated for amateurs of introversion. I think a scale needs to go to something more like 500 or 800 or 1000 to properly measure my introversion.

This goes out to anyone reading this who happens to inhabit my personal circles: look here for the explanation for why I never stop by to chat, and will never stop by to chat even if we both live to 150 and have thousands of things in common. I don't chat. I have been know to go entire 8-hour workdays without speaking a single word to another human being -- actually, I wouldn't even say it's rare -- and when it happens, I am perfectly serene throughout. In fact, I hope my next workday is such a day, and the day after that. I really do. I am not kidding. It's not because I don't like you or my co-workers. It's not because I don't like people or the robotic simulations sent to test me. It's not because I am rude or arrogant, though I am (of course) rude and arrogant. It's not you, it's me -- no, it's nothing to give a name to, it's just the way things are.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Jonathan Rauch's "Caring For Your Introvert" is essential reading for all introverts and even more so for all the world's non-introverts, who will, I hope, some day seek the help they need -- or face the consequences.

2 comments:

Laura said...

I need to send this to my friend and family, although I know that as soon as they read it, they will call or come over to discuss it.

Dale said...

Laura, send them over! I'll nod along and pretend to listen, as I do with all extroverts after the first minute or two (tops).