January 8, 2010
Fifteen years as I tried to register for classes, one class was unavailable but I needed something, anything and that's exactly what I got. Sociology 271 - Relationships. There were a grand total of 3 guys in the class and one dropped after the first day. A less than stellar class but I took one immensely important tidbit away. Our professor made us take the Myers-Briggs personality test. With disdain and an unhealthy amount of skepticism, I took the test. A week later, we got our reports back. Holy Crap! This report was reading me and telling me things about myself not even my mother would know. It was a bit disconcerting to experience the degree of accuracy. If you've never taken it, I highly recommend it. It was extremely informative to me. The biggest thing I learned was that I was an introvert of extreme proportions. In retrospect, that seems like a big no sh*t sherlock, but at the time it helped me realize that I wasn't misanthropic or a jerk, despite what others may have thought of me. It was extremely liberating to let go of the notion that I had to try to be something I wasn't. Part of it was I don't think I've ever come across someone as introverted as myself. All I saw were extroverts so that's what was normal. Most people, after all, are extroverts and I suspect that figure is even higher in medicine. Back to today. Every week in my inbox, an email appears from my school dubbed "Health on the Go". Usually, I briefly glance through it and when nothing strikes my fancy, I click delete. This last one had something intriguing. It was all about extroverts vs introvert with a sympathetic tone to introverts. "Three-fourths of all people are extroverts. And, unless they have mastered compassionate acceptance of all sentient beings, they think introverts are plain odd. Extroverts have little understanding of introverts. They assume the company, especially their own, is always welcomed and cannot imagine why someone would need solitude. Understandably, they have many friends and find it easy to strike up a conversation with strangers....There are definitely benefits to being an introvert. Introverts do better in college and graduate school. They divorce less and change jobs less than do extroverts. However, a study of 258 college students found that extroverts had higher self-esteem and fewer sleep problems." Definitely. Very few people have ever been able to understand me (myself included). I can't tell you the number of times people thought I was a complete jackass until they got to know me (well, most anyways). So next time you come across some one you think is a churl, give them the benefit of the doubt. They may just be an introvert.