Introverts: Not abnormal, just different

Posted on Dec 17 2013 - 1:09pm by Reland Tuomi, News Editor

I have often found myself in situations where I have asked myself, “am I normal?”

Like last Friday, when my roommate invited by to Seattle to visit friends at the University of Washington and have a girls’ night out. I thanked her but said I have a lot of studying to do and couldn’t.

After much pleading and promising we would be back in time on Saturday to do homework and with me continuing to give her excuses for why I couldn’t, she drove off, and I proceeded to play “Sims 3” for the next six hours.

Afterward, as I lay in bed thinking about my Sims family’s triplets, I began to wonder what my roommate and her friends were doing. I was pretty sure they were having fun together, so I didn’t know why I didn’t want to go.

My reason of having too much homework was true, but that’s not really why I didn’t want to go. Staying home and relaxing by myself with some music and computer games just sounded more fun at the time. So, I asked myself: am I normal?

If a similar situation has happened to you, where the idea of spending a Friday night with a bunch of cool and fun people does not sound like fun at all, then you are probably introverted, just like me and 50 percent of America, according to http://introvertretreat.com.

Being an introvert is nothing to be ashamed of. Introverts like to relax and recharge by being alone, maybe by watching a movie, reading a book or playing video games.

An introvert’s counterpart is the extrovert. Extroverts find solace in being around people and socializing. That doesn’t make introverted people less happy and extroverts more so, it just means that they’re different.

“There are plenty of happy introverts and sad extroverts out there,” Amber Williams, an associate counselor in the Counseling Center, said.

Williams also explained to me the intro/extrovert nature is not pathological or psychological, but a personality trait. And just like knowing if someone’s favorite color is yellow or if they like baseball, it’s impossible to know if someone is extroverted or introverted just by looking at them.

There is a difference between introversion and isolation, however. Williams explained an introvert likes to be alone to relax, whereas isolation means cutting people off and never wanting to be with anyone. Make sure to interact with others and go to class if this sounds familiar.

It’s important to remember that introverts are not better than extroverts, just different. People with different personality traits can obviously remain friends — just look at my roommate and me.

If you have more questions about introversion and extroversion, contact the Counseling Center at councen@plu.edu or call 253-535-7206.