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November 19, 2005

The I's Have It

About seven years ago I took the Myers-Briggs personality profile test. The official one. I answered the questions truthfully, but to be honest, I answered them in ways that reflected who I thought I was and who I thought I wanted to be.

I scored "E" for Extrovert--but not overly extroverted.

Several years ago, after living in Ukraine for awhile, I realized just how un-E I really am.

I enjoy having people in our home for dinner, for Bible study. I'm energized by public speaking. Teaching groups of people is fun for me. Things like this led me to think I was extroverted and energized by spending time with people.

Reality is, all of these people-oriented times are on my own terms. Dinner and groups of people in my home. Teaching? I'm directing the interaction. Public speaking and meeting groups of people--still on my terms. I enjoy these things, feel satisfied in how they are working towards a larger purpose. And then I go home and recover.

Interestingly, most of the missionaries I've met in training situations, conferences, and working on the field were introverts, too. Introverts renewed by alone time, fellowship with the Lord, studying. . . Energetic introverts willing to go into new situations, take risks meeting new people, willinging to invest themselves in other people. But introverts none the less.

KatieKind linked to a tongue-in-cheek, but insightful article from the Atlantic this week, "Caring for Your Introvert." It's worth reading if you or someone you love has wears the I badge.

(And if you've never taken the official Myers-Briggs profile test, the unofficial online versions here and here are pretty good, too.)


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Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses."

this cracks me up. so very true. i need to print the article. thanks

Posted by: mtnmama at November 19, 2005 08:58 AM

"I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush."

LOVE IT!!!! And HOW TRUE!!!!!!!!! I think I've actually heard this exact phrase out of my dh's mouth. LOL. He and I are both introverts, but he is MUCH more so than I.

Posted by: Keer at November 19, 2005 05:23 PM

Wow TulipGirl, I know what you mean about appearing an extrovert while still being an introvert. I often feel completely shy in social situations but am usually chosen to be group spokesperson because I appear an extrovert. I, too, love group events but then need to escape home to read a book, or lie in a hammock, or both.
I took the quiz and came up iNFj 'The Counselor Idealist.' Which I guess explains my impassioned responses on ROP. What a shame I dropped out of Social Work!

Posted by: missmellifluous at November 19, 2005 06:40 PM

total I here
and no--people don't believe it!

Posted by: Dana at November 19, 2005 09:47 PM

People think that because I like to teach and do public speaking that I am extroverted. Au contraire. I find it much "safer" standing up in front of 50 women than sitting down and having them get to know me. Much safer, indeed.

Posted by: Kim in ON at November 19, 2005 10:27 PM

Ah, I also took the official MBTI, but (unlike you at first) I did score accurately as an "I". You comments sound very familiar to me. I have done and probably will do a lot of public speaking. I have also led groups and taught in various situations. I realized recently that my degree of comfort in a social situation is directly related to the amount of control I have over the situation. If I'm the boss or the speaker, I'm fine. If not, I won't even show up.

Posted by: Hannah at November 20, 2005 09:01 AM

I do NOT like to speak in public, so I can't join you on that part, but the rest of it rings true. I love to have small groups of people at my home (oh yes, where I can control!) and love to talk with individuals...but it's best for all of us if I have plenty of quiet ME time! :)

Thanks for the introvert-encouragement.

Posted by: sparrow at November 21, 2005 11:19 PM

Re: the last sentences.

So I'm minding my own business, staring out into space, just thinking about life, the universe, and everything, and people WILL insist on coming up to me. "Are you all right?" they say. I assure them that I'm fine; I'm just thinking. "You're sure? You look kinda upset. Is everything okay?" I reassure them, once again, that I'm fine. "Is it something I've done? Are you angry with me?" After about five minutes of this treatment, my response is usually something along the lines of "Well, I'm angry NOW!"

::resists the urge to tear her hair out::

Does this ever happen to anyone else?

Posted by: Kacie at November 29, 2005 02:24 PM

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