This is an exerpt from an article published in New York magazine's Science of Us blog published July 1, 2015.
The research of Wellesley psychologist Jonathan Cheek and his graduate students Jennifer Grimes and Courtney Brown quizzed 500 adults about their personalities. The findings, they argue, reveal that there isn't one kind of
introversion, there are four flavors. They gave these types the handy mnemonic STAR for social, thinking, anxious and restrained. An individual can be strongly one or a mixture of several. Here's a basic rundown of each:
This type of introvert isn't shy in the traditional sense. Social events don't give these folks anxiety. It's just that they prefer to socialize in small groups rather than large ones and sometimes to opt for not socializing at
all. This choice isn't about fear, but is simply a clear personal preference for the intimate and quiet.
Sometimes an introvert isn't driven by their preferences around other people at all--they're neither shy nor particularly averse to groups. These folks simply come across as reserved and unsocial sometimes because they're often
lost in their own thoughts. If this is you, "you're capable of getting lost in an internal fantasy world, but it's not in a neurotic way, it's in an imaginative and creative way," Cheek explained to Science of
This type of introvert conforms to common stereotypes of the quiet person--they're withdrawn and quiet because other people make them nervous. "Unlike social introverts, anxious introverts may seek out solitude because they
feel awkward and painfully self-conscious around other people, because they're not very confident in their own social skills," Science of Us explains.
Rather than being anxious, imaginative, or most at home in small groups, this final kind of introvert is simply slow moving. They take a while to get going and need to be deliberate in their actions--they always think before they speak. In
an extroverted world, this appears much the same as the other types of introversion, though it's root causes are quite different.
Based on these four types, it is perhaps, a little easier to understand why there is so much confusion about introversion, there is significant variance between them. If I could come up with an appropriate conclusion to this discussion,
it would simply be that understanding ourselves is something worth striving for and once we've gained awareness and understanding, to make conscious choices to do and behave in such a way that serves us. The final goal, as always
is to love and accept ourselves with all of our quirkiness.
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