• Quote of the Day
    "I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time."
    Anna Freud, posted by Daniel

TheLight

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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
 

sammy

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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)
 

David Baxter

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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.
 

Ash

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David Baxter said:
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.
 

Gayalondiel

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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.
 

David Baxter

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Gayalondiel said:
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).
 

scm24

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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.
 
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Re: Another Perspective on Introversion

scm24 said:
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.
 

scm24

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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.
 
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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 ;)
 

scm24

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No-one may be asked to have a complete understanding of another

And yet, for some of us, it seems to be one of our deepest cravings, to be recognized, to be known by another, to be understood, affirmed and validated. But none or very little of that affirmation seems to seep through to our deepest beings and ring true, because we alone know our deepest pains and fears and shames, and we think that nobody could possibly truely love or validate us if they only knew the whole truth of who we are. So we may not have the right to ask another to completely understand us, but I think that for some of us it's a deep craving that somebody somewhere will dig deep enough to discover that truest "me" and still love/affirm/validate us.

Diversity also represents the reason why we all must pay the high cost of a lack of total commonality. War.

I agree and still choose unity in diversity whatever the cost. For me, "peace on earth" doesn't just mean an end to war "over there". It means choosing to be at peace with my own chaotic self, creating a safe place for that diversity right here in my home, trying to propogate more peace than war in my community, trying to ripple out into the world a peace that starts somewhere small and insignificant in a myriad of diverse little ways. True peace on earth may never happen in our lifetime, but there's no reason why we can't do what little we can to shine what little light of understanding and acceptance we can into whatever little corner of that "world at war" we happen to be in. Maybe that makes me a naive dreamer, but I'd rather expend whatever little energy I have each day to be a peacemaker in my day-to-day encounters with people than proprogate through my actions and responses to those same people the hatred and intolerance that's already ripping my world apart.

That doesn't mean that I probably won't get snarky with someone at the store today, I'm only human and forget to harness in that negative energy in time to stop it from rippling out and invalidating another's right to be diverse. But it's all a work in progress. One day, one step, one encounter at a time.
 

Ash

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Re: Another Perspective on Introversion

scm24 said:
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.

I'm an INF and I totally understand where you're coming from. I've always felt as if I were on the outside looking in. I've come to terms with the fact that I am who I am and that I need my private space. I get along with pretty much everyone but I understand that I see things differently than most of the people I know. I think that's why it's so important to try and surround ourselves with people of like mind.

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.

Thanks for that reminder. It's easy to take things personally. It's harder to look at things objectively and understand that just because people don't agree with us, that it doesn't mean we're flawed. It just is.

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.

Yes! I have a habit of overcommitting myself and then looking like a complete flake when I can't meet those committments. I'm lucky enough to have friends that understand my need for space and the fact that I can't always be counted on. In social situations, anyway. I get burned out easily, as well. A very close friend of mine is "highly sensitive" as well and we discussed the need for down time. I think I would be better off if I could get more but with work and two kids (and one on the way!) it's hard to find those moments to do absolutely NOTHING.
 

scm24

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I'm lucky enough to have friends that understand my need for space and the fact that I can't always be counted on.

During this past two years of dealing with depression, crippling fatigue and having to put my entire being and life back together with the bits and pieces of a mangled self, I've lost just about everybody that I ever thought was a friend. Now that I'm coming out of my self-imposed hibernation, there's nobody left except my husband, brother and two ancient and very busy east-coast friends who email me about every six months if they remember. It's been very sad, lonely and disheartening. They just couldn't understand or wait. Now I have to start all over again, and at 49, that's not easy to do.

But I can't sit and mourn forever. I'll start here and see where it leads.

but with work and two kids (and one on the way!) it's hard to find those moments to do absolutely NOTHING.

I'm glad you have time to be here...
 

scm24

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That doesn't mean that I probably won't get snarky with someone at the store today

An interesting (for an introvert anyway) thing happened at the store today. I picked up four items I had ordered through the catalogue, paid for them and left the store. But I stopped to check them out before lugging the stuff all the way home and found that all four things were unacceptably different from the description in the catalogue. So I took them back. The same saleslady who had just processed the sale took the bag and started throwing the items down on the counter. Normally, being highly sensitive, that kind of blatant aggression would have really scared me into anxious silence, stress, guilt, apologies, self-condemnation for being a nuisance. But this time, the words just blurted out of my mouth, not confrontational, more like pleading "please don't be upset with me". She stopped throwing stuff around, apologized and we had a very pleasant encounter/conversation from that point on. I'm not usually very assertive or vocal like that, but we both felt better for having turned the situation around from snarky to civil.
 

Ash

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Good for you! We need to be able to stick up for ourselves. I have a hard time but I've noticed that it's become a little bit easier the older I get. Maybe I'm just less inclined to take other people's bs. :)
 

Ash

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scm24 said:
But I can't sit and mourn forever. I'll start here and see where it leads.

That is such a wonderful, healthy outlook. I'm so proud for you!

I've lost plenty of friends due to having Bipolar Disorder. I'm just lucky enough to have a few left over that understand. Mostly becuase we're so much alike. There have been times when it's been six months between contact but we don't care because it's like no time has passed at all. That's true friendship.

I'm glad you have time to be here...

Luckily I was laid off three weeks ago. So now I'm working as a receptionist for a friend's company. This gives me way too much time to be here. :)
 

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