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After my last post about introverts, I DO Care, I’m Just An Introvert – a question came up about introverts and fear. Are we introverts slow to share our feelings or thoughts because we’re afraid? My answer was, in general, no. There are biological factors that play into those parts of our personality.

The question stayed with me though. Nagged at me. I let it bubble and simmer in the back of my mind – trying to work out why I couldn’t let it go. I think I’ve figured out why.

While it is true that introvert qualities are not inextricably linked to fear, there are times when I act out of fear and call it introversion. Or blame it on being shy, intuitive, or whatever other personality quality jumps to mind as an explanation excuse.

Here is where, I think, personality profiling can get us into trouble. It’s making a description of a personality type prescriptive. It can become self-limiting. It can become a convenient excuse.

For example, I’ve started to ask myself…

“Do you not want to talk to that person ‘cause you really need some alone time, or because you know it could be an unpleasant conversation?”

“Is it healthy boundaries stopping you from helping them or selfishness with your time and energies?”

“Is this truly restorative ‘down time’ after a busy week or sheer laziness?”

“Are you shrinking from initiative here because you don’t care enough to take it or because taking it could mean rejection?”

The phrase “I’m just not that kind of person” means you’re limiting yourself to never being any other kind of person. It means you’re not willing to imagine growing into “that type” of person.

During all of the transition, grieving, and adjustment that’s been going on in my life recently, it has been tempting to withdraw completely. I am an introvert, after all – we like to work through these things internally.

So when a situation came up that I needed to grieve, I wanted to do it alone. But this question was nagging at me – challenging me. I realized I wanted to do it alone more because I was afraid of letting someone into that emotionally charged moment than because it was something best done in solitude. It would’ve been so easy to say, “I’m an introvert so I have to do this alone”. Instead, I said, “This is something better done in the company of friends”. And I turned out to be glad others had been invited along.

Introverts – do ya feel me? Are there times you use “being an introvert” as an excuse for doing what’s right?
Extroverts – in what situations are you tempted to use your personality profile as an excuse?

And – bonus – a new favorite song of mine by Jason Gray…