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  1. #1

    Introvert/Extrovert...can it be changed?

    Hiya,

    I wondered if a shy person lacking in social skills could be made to become a loud extrovert person?

    My psychologist said it can be done...but it never worked on me as I am still shy and quiet, introvert and do not socialise...so what went wrong? How come his cognitive behaviourial techniques never worked on me???

    Thanks

    The Light

  2. #2

    Introvert/Extrovert...can it be changed?

    Well, it's not worked with me, and I'm 45 now. :) ...but I think I'm somewhere in the middle at social gatherings now... (instead of being quiet in a corner).

    (Who wants to be loud and extrovert? :D)

  3. #3

    Introvert/Extrovert...can it be changed?

    I think your psychologist is wrong. Years ago my daughter, who was shy, asked me if I had ever been shy. I said yes. She asked how I got rid of it or overcame it, and I said I didn't really. I just got to the point where I made up my mind that I wasn't going to let it stop me doing things I wanted to do anymore.

    That doesn't mean there aren't things a therapist can help you with - the self-consciousness that often goes along with shyness, helping you to interpret other people's reactions more accurately, using cognitive behavior modification techniques to counter negative self-defeating thoughts and self-talk, recognizing that many people you admire are p[robably themselves shy at least in certain ways, etc. That may make it easier for you to cope with shyness but I don't think you ever truly eliminate it.

  4. #4

    Introvert/Extrovert...can it be changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    I think your psychologist is wrong. Years ago my daughter, who was shy, asked me if I had ever been shy. I said yes. She asked how I got rid of it or overcame it, and I said I didn't really. I just got to the point where I made up my mind that I wasn't going to let it stop me doing things I wanted to do anymore.
    Bravo! I really don't believe that you can change your personality. But you've made an excellent point!

    And I don't think there is anything wrong with being either introverted or extroverted. You are who you are. Be happy with that.

  5. Introvert/Extrovert...can it be changed?

    I'm not convinced it's as simple as just 'being' introvert or extrovert. I'm deeply introvert most of the time - I find it difficult talking to new people, talking on the phone, dealing with situations without someone beside me, and most of all I hate the limelight. Going to university helped me a lot, as it throws you in at the deep end and you do have to start talking - but I still get the shivers when I have to talk to a new person.

    But put me on stage with a saxophone in my hands or a song on my lips, and I'm a completely different person. I suppose that's because with music, I know what I'm doing and I have semi-defined lines to follow. I'll never be self-asured, but I think that finding the place where you are comfortable and least intimidated has a lot to do with how introverted or extroverted you are.

  6. #6

    Introvert/Extrovert...can it be changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gayalondiel
    I'm not convinced it's as simple as just 'being' introvert or extrovert. I'm deeply introvert most of the time - I find it difficult talking to new people, talking on the phone, dealing with situations without someone beside me, and most of all I hate the limelight. ... But put me on stage with a saxophone in my hands or a song on my lips, and I'm a completely different person. I suppose that's because with music, I know what I'm doing and I have semi-defined lines to follow. I'll never be self-asured, but I think that finding the place where you are comfortable and least intimidated has a lot to do with how introverted or extroverted you are.
    Absolutely. I have always had the same feeling. One of the major issues is definitely whether the situation is a structured or unstructured one, how well-defined my role is, and I guess to an extent how much control I have over the situation.

    Going into a room of people I don't know for a social event still leaves me feeling awkward. But performing on a stage, or in front of a group of people, or lecturing to 300 students or 5 in a seminar... these I can do relatively easily now (I don't mean that I wasn't intimidated by those things at one time... except for performing... maybe I'm just a born ham).

  7. #7

    Another Perspective on Introversion

    I know I'm really late coming to this particular party, but after reading through the posts, I wanted to share my experience. I too battled all my life with introversion, believing that there was something terribly wrong with me. Even as I wanted to belong somewhere, anywhere, I also craved to be alone. I both yearned for and dreaded social situations. I became an expert chameleon, becoming whatever anyone needed me to be in whatever social group I was a part of at any given moment. It exhausted me and burned me out over and over and over again, making me dread those social situations even more.

    I also struggle with feelings of being a failure, and while this wasn't the only triggerpoint, certainly feeling like a social misfit and never truly belonging anywhere contributed to those feelings (still do). But several years ago, my psychologist and I delved deeper into the Myers-Briggs personality testing. I had studied it before and thought I understood it, but he brought it alive. It's impossible to express in a short post here how much it helped me to see that many of the attributes that I had viewed as worthless flaws, (including the craving for solitude which expressed itself as shyness and introversion) were actually valid character traits which, when used positively, became valuable gifts to the people around me. It really gave me "permission" to embrace my value and uniqueness. It was especially liberating when I researched further and found out that my particular personality type (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling) is relatively rare here in our western culture. I think only 8% of the population are INF types, while the majority are the complete opposite personality type. Which would explain why I/we INF's grow up feeling like such flawed misfits because the majority of the people in our culture see and process the world in a completely opposite way than we do.

    Essentially, in order for introverted personality types to process our world and the life events that touch us, to identify and analyze the impact and implications of those events, we're innately wired to require – instinctively crave – internal (introverted) time. Time in which it looks and feels as if we're doing nothing, when in fact, our minds are channelling the information through our own unique interpretation process. We tend to see patterns and possibilities, the "impact further down the road" as well as the immediate consequences of those events. But not everyone wants to hear those patterns and possibilities, making us feel unheard and making us second-guess ourselves constantly.

    I even progressed to the point where I could actually see that my introversion in fact had always been one of my most powerful gifts to others. It is what had enabled me to really listen to people, to empathize with their pain. Those chameleon skills had often enabled me to tune in to a person's specific need for a compassionate presence. But if I did too much of that listening and empathizing without taking enough time to recharge my batteries through my introverted/solitude time, I burned out. The less solitude time I took, the more those social activities became an intolerable burden.

    Now the trick is to learn how to be a fish swimming constantly against the tide without letting it define us as social misfits. It's not easy being an INF in an extroverted society. We're often misunderstood and perceived as being illogical or over-emotional. We just need to re-perceive ourselves not as misfits but as valid members of society who see the world from a unique perspective. We do have a niche, one that's legitimate, valuable and essential, but I think it's just very hard to find it.

    I don't know if that helps anyone, but it helped me a lot, so just thought I'd share it. For more info you can check out http://www.keirsey.com.

  8. #8

    Re: Another Perspective on Introversion

    Quote Originally Posted by scm24
    Now the trick is to learn how to be a fish swimming constantly against the tide without letting it define us as social misfits. It's not easy being an INF in an extroverted society. We're often misunderstood and perceived as being illogical or over-emotional. We just need to re-perceive ourselves not as misfits but as valid members of society who see the world from a unique perspective. We do have a niche, one that's legitimate, valuable and essential, but I think it's just very hard to find it.

    I don't know if that helps anyone, but it helped me a lot, so just thought I'd share it. For more info you can check out http://www.keirsey.com.
    Thanks Scm24.
    I read the definition of my personality type and found it helpful.
    Western society often uses extroverts as a yard stick for social greatness, leadership and that stereo type can be hard to push aside. I agree that the truth is that extroverts are just more blatant in their interactions.
    Thus their impact is more visible; if left unchallenged, influential.
    An introvert out of their comfort zone can be a very powerful thing.
    Swim downstream sometimes?
    The challenge for an introvert is in overcoming their inhibiting factors, so that their views are expressed and not repressed when nessecary.
    That is not being extroverted as an introvert will do so in a tempered way.
    Overall civilisations cogs and gears come in all shapes and sizes, they all must interact to run the machine.
    I am perfectly sane and normal.

  9. #9

    Introvert/Extrovert...can it be changed?

    Overall civilisations cogs and gears come in all shapes and sizes, they all must interact to run the machine
    Amen to that. There is no right or wrong shape or size when it comes to who we authentically are...we each come with our unique blend of giftedness, experience, pain, history, strengths and weaknesses. If we could just learn to interact so that those qualities complement, enhance and enrich rather than tear down and damage each other, wouldn't we all be brilliant and loving life! And a lot closer to peace on earth too...

    The challenge for an introvert is in overcoming their inhibiting factors, so that their views are expressed and not repressed when nessecary.
    And when we encounter rejection or ridicule, it makes us twice as likely to repress our wisdom the next time...but I think that usually it's not us personally who are being rejected, it's the "difference" that's being rejected. We bring a fresh insight, a new perspective and some don't have the time or interest to investigate that further and so brush us /our perspective off with a rolling of the eyes or impatient shrugging of the shoulders. But we do have to dare to believe that we make a good difference and persist in being heard above the frantic chaos around us.

  10. #10

    Introvert/Extrovert...can it be changed?

    Amen to that. There is no right or wrong shape or size when it comes to who we authentically are...we each come with our unique blend of giftedness, experience, pain, history, strengths and weaknesses. If we could just learn to interact so that those qualities complement, enhance and enrich rather than tear down and damage each other, wouldn't we all be brilliant and loving life! And a lot closer to peace on earth too...
    There was at some point among human beings no collectivism at all. At this point an initial original engagement(s) must have occurred. Was there a meeting of minds based on complete individual experience that in finality expressed itself throughout all other following experience?

    Personal beliefs vary. My objective, rationalist (INTP) answer is no, there were many such seperate incidents of societal origin and that is why we have the strength of diversity. Diversity also represents the reason why we all must pay the high cost of a lack of total commonality. War.
    Thus long term peace is only achievable through; not only one sided understanding and action related to that, it must be a circuit of incorporated understanding, with no breaks. To allow for it to flow into co-operative actions amongst us. If we dam a river of thought we only stem the flow of the stream, cut it off and control it. It will still rain some day.

    No-one may be asked to have a complete understanding of another.
    Absolutely celebrate variation, acceptance and tolerance. Certainly be prepared for the consequences of personal freedom, when given, as it will relate to you in a plethora of ways. Depending on the degree of variation, some of those ways will cause offence, others will enlighten to expand, others still will only challenge your own and cause doubt.
    Throughout however people by nature retain their own core beliefs.
    Those views are then influenced by the exposure to the others and the interpretation of the individual.

    And when we encounter rejection or ridicule, it makes us twice as likely to repress our wisdom the next time...but I think that usually it's not us personally who are being rejected, it's the "difference" that's being rejected. We bring a fresh insight, a new perspective and some don't have the time or interest to investigate that further and so brush us /our perspective off with a rolling of the eyes or impatient shrugging of the shoulders. But we do have to dare to believe that we make a good difference and persist in being heard above the frantic chaos around us
    I am in total agreement with you about that with the only exception being that I view ridicule without substantiating reasonable facts as being a telltale sign of ignorance and so if I can be bothered, will 'educate' the antagonist. That education can take on many forms ;)
    I am perfectly sane and normal.

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