Introvert people

Putting together a large number of contemporary tests of personality, Grimes, Cheek, Julie Norem, and Courtney Brown created the STAR test to measure four kinds of introversion. To figure out your primary introverted type, take this online test:

To find out where you stand on each of the four meanings of introversion, answer the following questions by deciding to what extent each item is characteristic of your feelings and behavior. Fill in the blank next to each item by choosing a number from the following scale:

1 = very uncharacteristic or untrue, strongly disagree

2 = uncharacteristic

3 = neutral

4 = characteristic

5 = very characteristic or true, strongly agree

Social Introversion

____ 1. I like to share special occasions with just one person or a few close friends, rather than have big celebrations.

____ 2. I think it would be satisfying if I could have very close friendships with many people.

____ 3. I try to structure my day so that I always have some time to myself.

____ 4. I like to vacation in places where there are a lot of people around and a lot of activities going on.

____ 5. After spending a few hours surrounded by a lot of people, I am usually eager to get away by myself.

____ 6. I do not have a strong need to be around other people.

____ 7. Just being around others and finding out about them is one of the most interesting things I can think of doing.

____ 8. I usually prefer to do things alone.

____ 9. Other people tend to misunderstand me—forming a mistaken impression of what kind of person I am because I don’t say much about myself.

____ 10. I feel drained after social situations, even when I enjoyed myself.

Thinking Introversion

____ 1. I enjoy analyzing my own thoughts and ideas about myself.

____ 2. I have a rich, complex inner life.

____ 3. I frequently think about what kind of person I am.

____ 4. When I am reading an interesting story or novel or when I am watching a good movie, I imagine how I would feel if the events in the story were happening to me.

____ 5. I seldom think about myself.

____ 6. I generally pay attention to my inner feelings.

____ 7. I value my personal self-evaluation, that is, the private opinion I have of myself.

____ 8. I sometimes step back (in my mind) in order to examine myself from a distance.

____ 9. I daydream and fantasize, with some regularity, about things that might happen to me.

____ 10. I am inclined to be introspective, that is, to analyze myself.

Anxious Introversion

____ 1. When I enter a room I often become self-conscious and feel that the eyes of others are upon me.

____ 2. My thoughts are often focused on episodes of my life that I wish I’d stop thinking about.

____ 3. My nervous system sometimes feels so frazzled that I just have to get off by myself.

____ 4. I am confident about my social skills.

____ 5. Defeat or disappointment usually shame or anger me, but I try not to show it.

____ 6. It does not take me long to overcome my shyness in new situations.

____ 7. I feel relaxed even in unfamiliar social situations.

____ 8. Even when I am in a group of friends, I often feel very alone and uneasy.

____ 9. My secret thoughts, feelings, and actions would horrify some of my friends.

____ 10. I feel painfully self-conscious when I am around strangers.

Restrained Introversion

____ 1. I like to be off and running as soon as I wake up in the morning.

____ 2. I’ll try anything once.

____ 3. For relaxation I like to slow down and take things easy.

____ 4. I like to wear myself out with exertion.

____ 5. I often say the first thing that comes into my head.

____ 6. I generally seek new and exciting experiences and sensations.

____ 7. I like to keep busy all the time.

____ 8. I often act on the spur of the moment.

____ 9. I sometimes do “crazy” things just to be different.

____ 10. I often feel sluggish.

How’d you do?

To find out your score for each of the four kinds of introversion,RECODE the following Reverse-Worded items: (1=5) (2=4) (4=2) (5=1):

Social Introversion items: 2, 4, & 7

Thinking Introversion item: 5

Anxious Introversion items: 4, 6, & 7

Restrained Introversion items: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9

Next, add together all the numbers to come up with a total score.

Here’s a guide of how you scored compared to others in the general population:

  • Social Introversion — below 24 low, around 30 average, above 36 high​
  • Thinking Introversion — below 28 low, around 34 average, above 40 high
  • Anxious Introversion — below 23 low, around 30 average, above 37 high
  • Restrained Introversion — below 25 low, around 31 average, above 37 high

This alternative way of assessing introversion is not likely to be embraced by Big Five personality researchers [6]. But if it offers you a more satisfying, personally meaningful way to glean insight into your unique personality, feel free to throw the Big Five framework out the window.

© 2014 Scott Barry Kaufman, All Rights Reserved.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Connor Child at Qzzr for his help with the online quiz, and Jennifer Odessa Grimes and Jonathan Cheek for their help with this post.

[1] This list is adapted from Jonathan Cheek’s book review, which can be found here.

[2] As another example, take people who conceptualize themselves as highly introverted because they are very introspective and value their rich inner mental lives, but who score high in enthusiasm and assertiveness on the Big Five test. These folks are being told by modern personality psychologists: “You are really an extrovert who is also high in intellect/imagination.” For those who have spent their entire lives equating their love of thinking and fantasy with their “introversion”, they respond: “huh?” In the Big Five, imagination, fantasy, and introspection are positively associated with Extraversion. But if we do away with the label of introversion in the Big Five, then that allows a person to be introverted in the thinking/introspective sense but also be an extravert in the Big Five sense (high in enthusiasm and assertiveness).

[3] Popular writers on introversion are also not pleased with this psychological imperialism. For instance, in Sophia Sembling’s book The Introvert’s Way, she has a chapter titled “Introverts are Not Failed Extroverts”.

[4] Keep in mind, the Big Five is a descriptive model; it merely describes patterns of covariation between people. The labels used to describe the five personality dimensions are subjective. A lot of the arguments over what counts as introversion come down to a naming game. In my view, it’s really unfortunate that Big Five researchers started to use the label “introversion” to mark the lower end of extraversion. It wasn’t always this way. In fact, the original name for “extraversion” in the Big Five was “Surgency“. If it were up to me, it would have stayed that way, leaving the label “introversion” free to continue roaming the personality landscape. As Jonathan Cheek told me, “if the Big Five folks would just go back to that phrase [“Surgency”], they would not be crossing swords with folk psychology/ordinary language introverts. Perhaps introversion should *not* be used as a label in the Big Five system.” I agree.

[5] Here is the link to the research report about the new STAR scale. You might be wondering: “What about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test? Isn’t that good enough to measure introversion?” Well, no it isn’t. As it turns out, the MBTI extraversion-introversion scale only includes items relating to being talkative, gregarious, and sociable (vs. quiet and reserved). Since there’s not a single item on the MBTI extraversion-introversion dimension that mentions being introspective or reflective, even the MBTI doesn’t measure Jung’s original conceptualization of the term!

[6] Big Five researchers could make the case that each of these four meanings of introversion can easily be mapped onto the Big Five framework. For instance, they could argue that:

-Social introversion is really just “low enthusiasm” (part of the extraversion domain)

-Thinking introversion is not part of the extraversion-introversion domain at all, but really is “high intellect/imagination”

-Anxious introversion is really just a blend of “high neuroticism” and “low assertiveness” (part of the extraversion domain)

-Restrained introversion” is a blend of a number of lower-order extraversion-related traits, including “low sensation seeking”, “low excitement seeking”, and “low activity”.

True friends

“Good friends care for each other…close friends understand each other, but TRUE FRIENDS stay forever…beyond words, beyond distance, beyond time…!”

Many of us have friends in our lives over the years. Some friends we make as children and then lose contact as we grow older. Other friends we make as adults and stay in touch with as long as we are in close proximity to and it is convenient to keep in touch but then over time one moves away or busy schedules slowly pull us apart and we start to lose touch.  Those friendships fall into the “good friends” or “close friends” as the opening quote cites. But then there is that last group of friends – those we call true friends – they are those we have a mutual caring about, and we understand each other’s hearts, and where bonds are formed between us that span any distance in proximity and where the bonds run so deep that no amount of time apart or lack of words will change the way we feel about that friend. These are our true friends, and when one comes into your life cherish it!

As a child our family moved often and so I was constantly making new friends each place we moved. Often the contact was lost with friends in past locations, although my memories of them were treasured. As an adult it is often harder to find the time to form those deep friendships outside your immediate family members because we are all trying to juggle a million balls in the air with work and church and service and community all while trying to give our greatest attention to our own children and spouses  where it rightfully belongs. And as a single mother for many years of my life it was even more difficult to make time for friends because playing the role of two parents by yourself while also being the sole support of your family was overwhelming to say the least.

But even during those challenging years there were individuals during that time who came into my life that I consider my truest of friends. They are individuals who saw me through tough times and who always saw the best in me despite any of my shortcomings. They picked me up at times I was down. They stood by me when I felt alone. They taught me things about life and about myself with patience and understanding. They lifted my children’s spirits and made them laugh when they were going through tough times of their own. They forgave at times when I was grumpy or obstinate. They loved me without judgment and without expectations. They gave me hugs, even at times that I may not have deserved one.  These true friends were individuals who were there for me…maybe not always in person or in word every time, but always in heart…and knowing that helped me through incredible challenges throughout the years.

True friends just do that – they help us grow and change for the better.  They support us in good times and bad. They can make us laugh when all we want to do is cry. And no matter how far apart time and distance may cause us to grow from one another, and even if death takes one of them from this world to the next, we always have the comfort of knowing that these true friends are still there for us, even if only in spirit, cheering us on and wishing us the best, because that is what true friends do for each other.

“A strong friendship doesn’t need daily conversation, doesn’t always need togetherness as long as the relationship lives in the heart, true friends will never part…”

When someone is genuinely your true friend they leave an impression on your heart that will never go away…not with time and not with distance. True friends secure a place in your heart forever.  I am forever grateful for the true friends in my life, both those who are alive and those who have passed away, thank you so much for being my true friends!

‘How Did You Die?’ by Edmund Vance Cooke

Why do I have to be born like this? Why can’t I get anything without trouble? Why? Just why? Let’s be true, we have always tried to blame something other than ourselves when we fail. Not everyone is born with silver spoons in their mouths and we shouldn’t excuse ourselves from challenging ourselves to great heights. Maybe we cannot determine our birth, but we can always determine how we are going to live.

Edmund Vance Cooke’s ‘How Did You Die?’ is a motivational poem telling us to go head-on with our challenges in life. Life throws challenges at everyone of us. And when it does, how we react to it is all that matters. Are we going to accept the challenges with a cheerful mindset and strong heart? Or are we going to cower and hide from the outer world? The decision is ours. Where there are challenges, there are troubles. But how we perceive these troubles is up to us. It is our mindset which decides if our troubles are a ton or an ounce. When we challenge ourselves, we are not always going to win. We may fall many times. So, it doesn’t matter how many times we fall, but how many times we pull ourselves up.

Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

So, what if we fall and get hurt. It isn’t embarrassing. If we had thought so as a child, we wouldn’t be here walking. What is really embarrassing is when we don’t get up after falling down and give up without even seeing the end. All we have to do is put on a smile and get up. A ball bounces up as hard as it hits the floor. Hence, we should be proud of our failures. It doesn’t matter if we fail as long as we have fought well. We should try our best so that we don’t regret it even when we fail. 

The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
It’s how did you fight —  and why?

If we had fought well and had done our best in whatever role we are given in this mortal world, then the Critic will conclude that we did well. The Critic who will judge us is not the society or family or acquaintances but the Creator, the supreme power. Death comes to everyone. Death doesn’t look at our age, gender, status or power. It treats everyone equally and may come to anyone at any time. Whether we die early or late, whether we die in a moment or experience a slow death, it isn’t our death that matters but how we died. 

Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only how did you die?

We can equalize the phrase ‘how did you die’ to how we lived. Life is full of choices and we may regret some. But we have to make sure that we turn such regrets into life lessons. Maybe we will die today or tomorrow, but would death matter if we live well?