I am amazed that I had never read the article Caring for Your Introvert [1] before. One of the interesting points concerned acting like an extrovert (I can do it for the duration of a typical job interview). Another was the issue of recovery time after having to deal with people. When living in hotels (which I did for about 18 months straight in 1999 and 2000) I found that some days I would reach my quota for dealing with people before I had dinner, going to bed hungry seemed like a better option than going to a restaurant.

One thing that occurred to me is the lack of apparent introversion among most delegates at computer conferences. It seems that the majority of people who are any good at coding are introverts and you might expect an environment with a majority of introverts to be somewhat quiet. An interview with the author of the article [2] published 3 years later explains this (among other things). Here is a quote:
But once an introvert gets on a subject that they know about or care about or that intrigues them intellectually, the opposite often takes hold. They get passionately engaged and turned on by the conversation. But it’s not socializing that’s going on there. It’s learning or teaching or analyzing, which involves, I’m convinced, a whole different part of the brain from the socializing part.

Which describes a lot of the activity at conferences. It’s standard practice for people to walk up and join a conversation that covers an area of technology that interests them and then just walk away when the topic changes.

I wonder if any of the social networking and dating sites have a section for Myers-Briggs [3] test results.

Via Tim Connors blog [4].

9 comments to Introverts

  • John Gardner

    fascinating – yes I am an INTP
    strong I & T
    moderate N & P

    read the theory previously – but never seen it so clearly explain how I feel before – just sent it to my wife – who is clearly an E. hmm….

    found INTPcentral & INTPforum- via the various links.

    I guess you too must be I; also T – coincidentally what is the IT type – in IT correlation?

  • […] etbe wrote an interesting post today on IntrovertsHere’s a quick excerpt I am amazed that I had never read the article Caring for Your Introvert [1] before … of the social networking and dating sites have a section for Myers-Briggs 3 test results. Via Tim Connors Posted in etbe ( 799 links from 70 sites) by etbe […]

  • JD

    OKCupid ( have a bunch of personality tests. While none of the six official tests are Myers-Briggs, there are several user-contributed Myers-Briggs tests.

  • j

    Lovely quote:

    “Are introverts arrogant? Hardly. I suppose this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts.”

    seems I’m more shy than introvert

  • etbe

    j: I noticed that quote too. But from the tone of the article it seems that the author had a hard time because of being introverted so I’m prepared to overlook a bit of attitude.

    Probably a more reasonable analysis would be that as introverts want to teach/learn in social situations and extroverts want idle chit-chat you would expect introverts to learn more, and that may lead to some arrogance.

  • Understanding your Myers-Briggs classification and the ramifications I think are certainly worth doing, at least quite interesting =) A friend of mine in the US has read a few books along these lines and the one he’s most highly recommended is “Please Understand Me II” by David Keirsey.

    Since then I’ve done a few Myers-Briggs type tests which come out with the same result. There’s also plenty of information out there on the web about the personality types, working in groups, roles, etc… Unfortunatley I haven’t read the above book yet to provide any feedback but it’s still on my reading list.

  • Trish Fraser

    Alas, MBTI’s perhaps not as useful as it at first appears:

  • etbe

    Trish: That’s an interesting page. I agree that MBTI should not be used to pigeon-hole people and should be used sparingly when hiring people. But I believe that it provides a useful indication as long as it is not taken too seriously.

    Also a serious failing of MBTI is that it gives boolean assessment. Any category that does not have clear answers should be skipped, so a result such as “INT” should be resturned if the P/J is not clear.

  • I’m a Success Coach and I have used the work of David Keirsey, including the material in “Please Understand Me II”, to help people turn their lives around. I am constantly amazed at the power of the insight people get when I give them a “mirror” with which to see themselves and how they relate to the world. I get a lot of “aha’s” during my work with people and a whole lot more. My “success stories” are living proof that we are all born perfect and that the secret to our path of greatest flow [happiness, wealth, fulfillment and so much more] is found within temperament theory. Like many of you, I have done countless MBTI tests/reports and the only value to me was as a conversation starter at parties. But now I know, with the right guidance and the will to reach your true potential, whatever that is for YOU, that the world really is your oyster.