Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2016/ Introvert Fraud

Introvert Fraud

When taking Myers-Briggs personality tests, by far my strongest trait is Introversion (I) as opposed to Extroversion (E). For years I have convinced myself that I am a strong introvert. But for somebody who appears to be overwhelmingly introverted I behave in some weird ways:

It is true that I have high social anxiety. I cannot canvas at elections. I intensely dislike interacting with strangers at crowds. I do not particularly like parties where people sit around and talk with nothing else to do except eat.

It is true that after giving a lecture or running a laptop rescue session I am wiped out, and that it can take days to recover. But it is also true that I feel more energized after a good conversation with somebody, not less energized. That's not how introversion works.

It is also true that I am not a very good conversationalist. I am prone to monologue, I interrupt others incessantly, and unless I am in interrogation mode I have problems keeping others engaged in conversation.

It looks like I am a fraud. Many of the symptoms I thought of as introversion are actually symptoms of other deficiencies: high anxiety, poor social interaction skills, and substandard grooming. But I do not like this conclusion; my self-image depends on being introverted because I associate introversion with being smart or something.

It is no coincidence that I am questioning my introversion just as it is becoming trendy. I care more about being perceived as an outgroup freak than I do about self-awareness.