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An addictive spin on life, love, and the nature of reality


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An introvert personality loves just as deeply, says Susan Cain. We just show it differently…

‘An introvert personality loves just as deeply’ was originally a Moondancing newsletter issue. Would you like similar articles delivered to you? If so, subscribe below.

When I did my MBA, I did the Myers Briggs and came up INTJ. (Myers Briggs Introvert personality, plus Intuitive, Thinking, Judging). For four years, I had to be “TJ” as I completed that degree. I did it — but it wasn't easy or natural for me.

I discovered my natural MBTI self two years after during a job interview. I ended up still being an introvert personality with an intuitive twist – no surprise - but also ended up being an INFP “Feeling Perceiving” which was described as a Joan of Arc type who would die for her values. Um — that explains a few things.

(turns out that's what this firm wanted and it was a great move for me — neat what happens when you're ruthlessly yourself)

Is being in a crowd an out of body experience to you?

“[The extrovert and introvert personality] are often drawn to each other — in friendship, business and especially romance...”
— Susan Cain

Something happens when I'm in a crowd. If I'm in a focused conversation with someone, I enjoy myself. But if not, the sea of voices around us edge their way in. I hear nothing but a steady drone, my brain starts to fry and my eyes glaze over.

Everyone else looks like they're having fun. The secret confession of an introvert personality: I'd rather be home doing laundry.

In a crowd, I must look like such a drag to hang out with. Yet, I can be quite animated one on one, I give great dinner parties and some people who meet me find it surprising to learn I'm an introvert personality.

I do enjoy extroverts though (as long as I can have some Quiet time now and then) and according to the MBTI, one of my best matches is a big-hearted ENFP. So it’s not a competitive “introvert vs extrovert” situation – we’re just different.

The Extrovert Ideal, and the Introvert personality Reality

“[Introvert and extrovert] pairs can enjoy great excitement and mutual admiration, a sense that each completes the other...“
— Susan Cain

Susan Cain talks about the Extrovert Ideal, the idea that to get ahead in Western society, attract love and achieve success that we must be out there, all the time.

Virtually 100% of us have been forced into crowds, for school, work, or otherwise. Yet 30% to 50% of the population are introverts. Throughout history, introverts have been known to contribute to society, with great creativity and courage: witness Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Darwin, Dr. Seuss, Warren Buffett and Steve Wozniak.

>So where do you stand? Do you know and love someone who's an introvert personality? Here are some highlights about introversion from the book Quiet that I found quite liberating.

We're wired that way

Research shows that babies that show a tendency toward high sensitivity to their environments grow up a sensitive, introverted adults.

We are sensitive to others' pain

That's why we make good listeners, good writers in some cases. And — why the introvert personality can be drained by others unless we're careful.

We're thinkers and innovators

The solitude and reflection many introverts crave is the necessary incubator for new inventions and innovations that move society forward.

Our brains change when over stimulated

Susan Cain shares research that says that the thinking parts of the introvert personality brain actually shut down, when over stimulated. No wonder we don't do well at parties.

We can become physically ill if we pretend

Susan Cain also reports that introverts who pretend to be extroverts — can actually make themselves sick. I've experienced this first-hand. You?

One situation, where it's okay to pretend

If you have a higher purpose around being an extrovert (for a time) then go ahead. The example Susan Cain gives in Quiet, is the professor Dr. Brian Little who loves his students. But admits in Quiet to blockading himself in the bathroom (with his feet up) on breaks.

An introvert confession...

Susan Cain made me laugh out loud at some of the things the introvert personality does (guilty as charged). Don't hold this against us — we're just taking care of ourselves.

  • Yes, we do let calls go through to voicemail
  • Yes, we do cross the street to avoid small talk
  • Yes, it's likely that we don't like surprise parties (receiving them at least — we may love giving them)
  • No, the introvert personality does not want to “wing” a situation on the fly without some research

Check — to all of those. Now you know some of my secrets.

The introvert and love relationships (some tips)

“...one tends to listen, the other to talk; one is sensitive to beauty, but also to slings and daggers, while the other barrels cheerfully through his days...“
— Susan Cain

Introverts may be quiet, but we feel deeply and like everyone else, desire intimacy and connection. So here are some dating ideas for you introverts who are reading...

Date online

Online, the deeper part of your introvert personality can shine through and you can edit to your heart's content. Dating websites were built for you. Just remember to be clear about your preferences for Quiet, so there are no surprises.

Make friends online

Go online to make friends. A speaker I saw recently told a beautiful true love story. His wife died, and he hadn't dated in decades. When he was up to it, a friend put him on Facebook. He posted a photo up of a pet turtle he was letting go free in a river on his property, and he got a comment from a woman... who (fast forward) is now his wife.

He is a successful man, an introvert personality and a writer, needs time in nature. She's successful in her own right, and also a writer. So you never know.

Go to the party. Have an exit strategy.

Trust that serendipity will lead you. So when you're asked to a party or event, accept and if you need one, have an exit strategy. However! Make a deal with your soul that for a short period of time, you'll allow your energy to shine bright.

Better yet — host the party

Hosting gives you a natural “time out” to organize, clean up, survey for the next course. Hey, I even do dishes to get some Quiet. It's also an environment that you can control (not too loud), and you can have fun planning. Perfect for an introvert personality.

Take personal development courses

This is the deeper work you enjoy, plus you're thrown together with people of all kinds who also want to stretch their comfort zones. I know two people who met their soulmates this way. She assisted at a course, and he was a participant. And vice versa, at a different course.

Radiate your energy, baby

The introvert personality may be Quiet, but that doesn't mean you can't Shine. Get professional makeup done. Hire a stylist. Wear a great perfume. Look into someone's eyes, albeit briefly. Make sure your eyes are warm. Practice open, receptive body language. Your right match will notice your energy, and because he or she may (ahem) be more extroverted than you, will be drawn.

Some tips for extroverts who love us

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.“
— Carl Jung

You may be wondering: What are the signs an introvert likes me? Well, the signs will be subtle.

But – we will listen to you attentively and make an effort at eye contact. They’ll be a warmth about us, a charming shyness. We’ll have a smile playing on our faces. Go from there. Slowly please.

Don't take it personally if your dear introvert personality needs Quiet. We will get sick and cranky without it. When we're refreshed, we'll be there for you...

We know you love that we really listen to you, and understand the “real” you. Know that this connection with you is the fuel that makes our heart beat faster.

We secretly find you exotic and fun, and we like it when you take our hand and take the lead. Another introvert personality secret.

Understand that parties physically drain us, are uncomfortable and also muddle our brains. We're not saying Never. We're saying ‘let's negotiate’.

Yes, we're good listeners. But we also like our introvert personality to be drawn out. It won't be like pulling teeth, just make some space. Ask us questions too. We want you to.

We know that hanging out all the time only with folks like ourselves might be um... anaesthetizing. Let's love the best in both of us.

I hope you found my ideas on introvert personality and love relationships interesting!


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