On Creativity, Introversion, and Being Social

Not-shy

People are getting better at accepting the wide variety of personality types that exist in the world. Compared to when I was a kid/teenager, I have met many more people recently who can get why I am quiet. Or, they can at least accept that introversion is not a personality disorder. That being said, there are still those who do feel that introverts are holding themselves back or that they are shy or that they should try to remove themselves from their “shell”.

What people first need to understand is what extroversion and introversion is. Introversion does not apply only to social situations. Introverts gain energy from being alone, from creating or reading or thinking. Extroverts gain energy from other people and thrive on social situations. Introverts are more sensitive to external stimulation, such as noise, people, or taste. Extroverts, on the other hand, function better in busier situations. They are drained by prolonged silence and not enough external stimulation.

One personality type is not better than the other. In fact, many introverts can find balance by being friends with extroverts, and vice-versa.

Introverts are not shy. When I think of an introvert, I actually think of “Quiet confidence.” There are different types of introverts as well. I am a part of the “Idealist” introvert personality type (Taken from the Myers-Briggs Personality Test) and these people are the dreamers, creators, artists, therapists, and writers of our society. They can do these things because they can function very well at working alone. They prefer to do so. Being inside of their own heads allows them to conceptualize stories, artwork, problems, or ideas easier than the other personality types.

While we may not be the life of a party (Though this can happen on rare occasions as well), we’ll be those people sitting on a couch willing for someone interesting to sit down and entertain us with a philosophical discussion.

Introverts benefit the world in many different ways, just as extroverts can and do.

Is it “all in my head” that I prefer most evenings to myself so that I can write, read, or sketch artwork? No. Is is strange that I prefer to have a close group of friends? Nah. Am I timid? Not a chance. In fact, I will be the first person to tell someone off when they make a racist comment or make light of rape. It’s actually bemusing how often I find myself in such situations, but despite my supposed timidity, I seem to usually be the one who has the strength of character to defend other people. So I do.

Introverts are introverts. It is not something that they can overcome, or something that they are pretending to be because of bad experiences. Introverts simply re-charge and function better when they can get plenty of alone time. They still enjoy going out, spending time with friends, and many of them enjoy loud concerts or night clubs. They really enjoy conversation, and will be exceedingly glad when they meet someone whom they can finally talk to for hours without becoming that drained. The key is being around less people rather than no people.

What introverts need is balance. Most of us do not wish to be alone in the true sense, but we long to be left alone long enough to get our work done. We need meaningful relationships and amazing friends as much as everyone else. We like to have fun and be recognized in a group, but we do not want to be the center of attention in that group. We may go for days without wanting to go anywhere, but then there will be days that we want to get out and see new things. We want to be appreciated for our strengths rather than demotivated for what others could consider to be our weaknesses.

There is a world of difference between antisocial behavior and introversion. In fact, more people should look up the word “antisocial” because it actually refers to sociopaths.

If you’re an introvert, which you probably are if you’re writing and blogging, be proud of that fact. 1/3 of people are introverts, so we are in the minority, but I also kind of like that.

How in the world could we write if we spent most of our free hours of the day talking? Instead, we usually listen to our characters talking in our heads so that we can write them down. How cool is that?

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Or, are you somewhere in between? Have you received flack for not being an extrovert at social functions? 

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19 thoughts on “On Creativity, Introversion, and Being Social

  1. Well said. I am definitely an introvert, and for a long time I thought there was something wrong with me. For some reason I couldn’t connect with people as easily as others seemed to, and the fact that I preferred solitude a lot of the time meant I was somehow defective. But I’ve learned to be proud of the things that make me different and not to feel bad about being how I am. After all, being in my head is what allows me to come up with stories, and stories are what drive me in life. Thank you for standing up for the introverts.

    1. Aw I know how that was. I questioned my personality a lot when I was younger. Even pretty recently as well. It’s best to be proud of your strengths, with one of them being writing.

      I honestly feel that introverts usually manage their time better because they’re the ones who will write, create art, read, work on projects, etc. rather than waste time messing around. It’s a fun life to be able to create your own worlds and then turn them into stories. Who wouldn’t want that? 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I stand with you in introvert solidarity! Nothing is more appealing to me than spending a night alone by myself. And I rarely have more than 2 or 3 close friends at a time. It’s not in our heads 🙂

  3. I completely agree with your definitions. In fact, I’ve used the same definitions for years, myself.

    I used to be an extrovert. Sometimes, I still am, though there are more and more times when I’m introverted, these days. It’s pretty close to an even split, I’d guess, which I’m happy with. That said, one is no better than the other. Like so many other things in life, they are merely different.

    1. You’re right! No type is better than the other one. I find it interesting that your personalities can switch from intro to extro. It makes things interesting, I’ll wager. 🙂 It sounds like you could be an ambivert? Or certain situations can just bring out either side of you.

      1. You may well be right. “Ambivert” is probably the better description. There are different ways in which being around people or being in solitude energize me. Sometimes I prefer (or need) one over the other, but I find a lot of value in both.

  4. Splendidly put. I agree with every word, as I am an introvert myself. Perhaps amusingly, I never felt that there was something wrong with me, as ztburian comments, rather that the rest of the world was somehow out of step instead. It was, and remains so, from my viewpoint at least. I thrive in isolation. I blossom in silence. I detest social gatherings, and can’t wait to get home to the solitude of my own thoughts, undisturbed by the constant noise of meaningless chatter and wallpaper music everywhere I go. It’s a good thing I’m not the ruler of the world. It may become quieter, but not necessarily better.

    1. Woohoo for another introvert! 🙂 I like that you always thought there was something wrong with the other people rather than yourself. Especially as a child, you’re made very aware early on that you’re not loud or social enough. Oh, silence is bliss, but it’s true that it might become empty if everywhere was quiet and relaxed. I tend to like loud concerts and clubs every so often in addition to days of solitude.

      1. Thank you for the link! Yes, I have watched it and I love it. Susan’s actually sort of my idol. And she really explains so well what introversion really is. It’s nice to be told that who you are is totally okay. Lol and after years of being told to be someone else in order to be successful.

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