From the various Myers-Briggs tests that I've taken both online and in the meatspace, I've come to know myself as an INFP (although from time to time, I'll migrate to INTP when I'm especially analytic on a given subject). In this article
, I found the following passages:
The fourth type of introvert in the smallest minority group is the INFP, the Healer. Healers make up just 1% of men and 2% of women on the planet.
And further down...
Don’t try to change [your introvert] into an extrovert. This is the ultimate stressor. It can lead to long term loss of Spirit, low self esteem, depression and health conditions associated with long term stress. Some of the signs to watch for have been indicated for each type: excessive eating, drinking or exercise, compulsive self criticism and perfectionism, feeling “unreal” or “lost” in time and space, disassociating from the body, speechless paralysis and cries for help such as “get away” or “leave me alone”.
This sentiment is echoed throughout many of the articles found under when trolling del.icio.us
for links about introverts/introversion--introverts are the way they are, do not try to change them into extroverts, leave them alone.
Now granted, this article specifically targets parents of introverted children, and while I can respect the intent, the fact remains that as someone who is deeply introverted, I must live, work, and love in the extroverts' world
, and excessive amounts of "leave me alone" has left me ill-prepared to operate in certain relationships which require more extroversion of me.
[Note: which is not to say that parents, friends, and significant others should attempt to extrovert their introverts at will. The eagerness extroverts throw into their social interactions (especially when, speaking from experience, they're trying to pull an introvert out of their solitude) is at times too much.]
Unless I'm willing to accept the notion that introverts should only have relationships with other introverts, I must reject the advice that introverts should not have some acclimatization to the needs of an exceedingly social society.
If, reading this as an extrovert, you find yourself thinking of an introvert that could be more social, remember--moderation is the key. In my case, I tend to feel more comfortable with either a smaller gathering for an extended period of time or a shorter get-together with a larger group of people. As I've gotten to know more people well, the social stress that results from my introversion falls.