'You are an ANTI-SOCIAL', came the ultimate verdict from a friend cum senior colleague of mine when she sighed in utter exasperation after I declined her request for the nth time to attend a social gathering.
'How would you go about your job, or go out and about with various tasks when required, or travel, if you are so SHY and can't MINGLE with people or talk to them?', my father would always express concern whenever I declined to go to any wedding ceremony, or whenever he found me quiet among people. He misunderstood my aversion to small talks or gatherings as SHYness or me being UN-SMART. With passing years, he understood that all his concerns were unfounded, though.
So when I came across these words - 'anti-social, shy, un-smart, lazy, etc.' often attributed to introverts in the book Quiet by Susan Cain, I totally related to it and understood myself better.
In a society which gives preferential treatment to extroverts, and introversion is often misunderstood as a character flaw, this well-researched book gives an in-depth insight into the character traits of introverts and breaks down a lot of pre-conceived notions.
However, that is not to say that the book is meant for introverts only. Extroverts as well as ambiverts (who possess traits of both introverts and extroverts) can find it effective in understanding introverts as well as themselves.
In her book, Susan Caine has described the behaviour patterns of the introverts with well-backed psychological research and insightful observations. Here are some traits of introverts that are commonly noticed and will help in identifying them (though they may not be applicable to all) -
Introverts are observant by nature
Introverts are frugal when it comes to conversations. Introverts get excited in deeper meaningful talks. Talking about what people do, what they ate that day, how's the weather, etc. feels like noise to introverts.
Introversion and shyness are different
Introverts are more comfortable expressing themselves in writing than verbally
Introverts can act as pseudo-extroverts when need arises. When required, introverts can be talkative, social and out-going (against their basic nature). But that is temporary and may be mainly due to professional or other requirements or special situations. However, if that requirement or situation changes, the introverts go back to their original self.
Introverts get over-exhausted from stimulation or too much of talking, they prefer listening. However, that doesn't mean that that introverts are unsuitable for jobs or situations that requires talking or oratory skills.
The author has defended various arguments regarding the introverts with various case studies connected with real people, thus, making the situations more applicable and relatable.
However, all said and done, no personality is superior or inferior than the other. It's just different people work differently, and we should learn and embrace those differences.
If you want to understand your personality better, this book is a good read.