For a long time people that know me have been telling me they think I may suffer from depression and/or anxiety. So much so that I began to believe it. I am still somewhat open to the possibility, but my position on the matter is: so what? I'm not hurting anyone. I'm certainly not going to alter my body chemistry just because it doesn't match what is "normal". Where would evolution have gone if all species could change themselves back to "normal"?
Last night I read this article about shyness, introversion, and social anxiety. It confirmed many of my thoughts on the matter, and got me to research introversion more. Before, I had been aware of the general idea of introversion/extroversion (never studied psychology that much), but I did not know that it could be such a specific and pervasive behavioral trait. After much reading I found that on the introvert/extrovert scale, I'm about as introverted as you could possibly get.
Anyway, in the article the author references Winifred Gallagher: “The glory of the disposition that stops to consider stimuli rather than rushing to engage with them is its long association with intellectual and artistic achievement." It got me thinking about religion. Are introverts more likely to analyze the inconsistencies and problems with religion before (or even after) committing to one? How many atheists are introverts?
So, do you consider yourself more introverted than extroverted? A poll would be awesome, but I don't see an option to add one.
This is a meaningless question. There is (or should be) no such thing as an introversion/extroversion scale. One ought only to be judged on the basis of behavior within a specific context; and that behavior may vary radically from one interaction to the next.
My teachers always told my mother I was an introvert, largely because I was very quiet and unassertive around classmates, especially girls. On the other hand, in my own neighborhood I was the unquestioned leader. I chose the games we played; I made the rules; all the other kids followed my lead, even though I was the smallest among them. Why the drastic difference? I hated school. I felt inferior and inadequate at school, which, although it was right across the street from my house, might as well have been on a different planet. The irony is that I became a teacher for 36 years. I have always been uncomfortable at parties and can recall having attended only 4 (including my own at age 7) in my entire life, and I hated them all. I currently live in a tiny cabin in the mountains (not unlike the unabomber's) where I am comfortable having no contact with other people for weeks at a time.
On the other hand, when I do interact with other people informally I am quite outgoing, garrulous, and friendly. I genuinely like and get along with a wide variety of people. And if you put me in front of an audience (the larger the better), I really shine. Give me a topic on which I am passionate, like science or religion, and I can entertain an audience with the best of evangelists.
I recently asked my longtime dentist (a lady with whom I am hopelessly infatuated) if she and the others in her office thought I was an introvert or an extrovert. They unanimously agreed that I am an extrovert. They base this on the fact that I am always talkative, charming, informative, and entertaining around them. But I am equally eager to get home where I can be by myself and not have to deal with people at all. The thing that made me happiest about retirement was no longer being forced to be around all those students, teachers, parents, et al.
Anyway, my point is that you really can't (or shouldn't) pigeonhole anyone based on some arbitrary degree of introversion. One can only be judged as to behavior in specific environments and situations.
If you'll pardon a plug, I wrote a book called "97th Street" (still available on Amazon, I think) that is essentially a humorous, autobiographical look at my life from age 7 to 15, growing up in South Central Los Angeles in the 40's and 50's. It pretty much centers around this dichotomy of personality.
Im an introvert unfortunately in some cases where i would like to be more ?socially? and interact with other people more often then i do now which is rarely and only with close friends.
Atheist too, in case you were wondering.
Good question. I have always naturally leaned toward being introverted but being from a emotionally abusive home didn't help things. It made me withdraw to an unhealthy level, but also gave me years of observation and introspection that helped me notice all of the inconsistencies in both my family and my religion. I still have trouble speaking in groups every once in a while because I've been so used to not being listen to or heard so it feels like "why bother." It's rare though.
As far as I have noticed, christianity (the religion I grew up with) manipulates people in two majors ways:
Fear and Pride(or flattery)- I believe introverts are more susceptible to fear (hell, god won't approve etc.) and extroverts are more susceptible to flattery/pride (being special/rewards). At least that is what I have noticed in people around me.
So maybe we just become disillusioned by different things in religion?
But most atheists being introverts? Not necessarily, I think we just ask different questions. At least for me, I tend to question the smaller details rather than the bigger picture (most of the time).
(Just reposting this because it seems some have missed it. Thx to SaintKitten)
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
Apparently, I'm ENTP. Generally speaking, I can identify with most of the traits attributed to ENTP but I have only slightly more regard for the whole Jungian Myers-Briggs thing than I have for the zodiacal traits attributed to me as a capricorn, who, by the way, should have come into money last Friday and is well pissed off that it didn't happen, along with roughly one twelfth of the population of the earth, or at the very least, the minuscule percentage of that twelfth who read the horoscope printed in the Sunday Independent.
Great article, and kudos to those that got this thread moving again. Worth another look.
I always feel a bit of anxiety whenever I've taken the Meyers Briggs test, because I end up with a different result every time. I think I'm a weird case, because I do have a tendency to be shy in social situations, but I absolutely LOVE being around people, and if I don't get out of the house at least once a day or every other day, I get sad. So I never know if I'm introverted or extroverted. I also tend to feel my way through situations, but I also use my better judgement and common sense, so I don't know if I'm judging or feeling. Meh.
Hi. I am an introvert but my atheist husband is an extrovert. However I am the one who became an atheist because of lots of thought, consideration and reading whilst my husband has never really considered why he is an atheist - he was just brought up in the UK by atheist parents.
Introverts do look inwards and are best satisfied by solitary thoughtful persuits so I suspect we do tend to have more considered opinions whatever conclusion we come to? We could come to the wrong conclusion tho. My extremely introverted sister in law is a theist and keeps changing which one.
Here you are - I put up a poll in two sections of YA. As you can see, some atheists have become defensive probably because Christians on there suggest we have deep psychological issues which cause us to reject god! Have had to explain a bit more.
It looks as though more atheists are introverted. However, the findings may well be flawed by the possibility that introverted people are more likely to be in and online!
I can't believe I'm only stumbling across this post now! This is a very interesting question and paging through the responses it seems that most atheists are introverted.
I myself am introverted. It's not that I don't enjoy the company of people or cannot fill a conversation, I just get overstimulated very quickly. So when I go out to parties with my friends I tend to get very uncomfortable very quickly unless I have a few glasses of wine or something (I'm guessing that it helps to cloud my nervous systems processing of the environment or something like that). I also need "recharge time" and if I am out too often and among people that I am not 100% comfortable with all the time then I get irritable and snappy and very unhappy. I enjoy being with people, but only when I feel ready, and I enjoy going out, but only after I have had enough alone time.
Being one of those people that are often alone and are comfortable with their own thoughts I tended to always question pretty much everything, I remember when I was 11, I would watch the stars and question the very existence of the universe... weird.
Strangely though I was also a depressed child, and this only came to my attention when I was about 20. This was when it got to the extent that I could not get out of bed, I would sleep about 12-18 hours a day and it started to affect my studies so that made me adamant to do something about it. I wonder if introversion and depression correlate in any way? I'm sure they must as I have read many studies discussing the negative effects of social isolation and introverts tend to isolate themselves a bit more than extroverts do, which may cause depression which then causes them to isolate themselves more, inevitably creating a vicious circle.
I do think that everyone has their own ideas on what introversion and extroversion are, so until a proper definition with which to compare ourselves to comes along questions like these may be a bit ambiguous. Still very interesting though! I think you may be on to something if it hasn't already been discovered.
My husband and I are both extremely introverted and atheist.