Frank Understands!

crossword puzzle

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One of the hard things about being an introvert is trying to make people understand what it really means. In a recent interview at Someday Syndrome, I identified myself as being an introvert, and someone who only knows me online (with the exception of one telephone conversation) expressed surprise, because apparently I “have a wonderfully outgoing personality.”

I couldn’t really take offense when what she said was such a compliment, but the reality is that introverts are typically perceived as shy, snobbish, or anti-social. Although there are introverts who can accurately be described using one or more of these terms (including some who even describe themselves that way), I don’t think any of those words applies to me. In fact, I am quite outgoing in some situations, but no matter what quiz or personality test I take, it’s quite clear that I am in fact an introvert. I explained to my online friend that I’m not the shy kind of introvert, but am more focused on my thoughts than the outer world, and prefer to meet people one-on-one than in large groups.

Last week as I was working on a crossword puzzle (a popular activity for introverts, I’m sure), one of the clues was “Introverted?” I immediately got my back up, expecting the answer to reflect an inaccurate, if not derogatory, stereotype. As I began to fill out the intersecting words, I was delighted to see that the answer was in fact DRAWNINWARD. I wonder if it’s safe to assume that Frank A. Longo, who constructed the puzzle, is an introvert?

Photo © Janet Barclay

The Introvert Retreat blog where this was originally published is no longer online, but if you’d like to network with other introverts, join us in The Original Introvert Retreat Group!

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Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Juan on April 29, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Is this just my own subjective experience, or are introverts often made to feel “wierd”? I mean, thanks to comments from other, “normal”, people. It seems to me when I think back over the years to childhood, etc., that the kind of behavior I had that was typical of an introvert personality wasn’t always looked upon favorably. It didn’t really bother anyone, it just wasn’t enough in the norm.
    I’m beginning to think that what I’ve taken to be social anxiety is largely due to this not being able to be at peace with who I am, because of the attitudes of people around me (who wanted me to be different).

    Who’s got any ideas in this direction?

  2. Janet Barclay on June 7, 2009 at 3:09 am

    Juan, that is exactly why I expected the word in the crossword puzzle to be negative!

    If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest that you read Marti Olsen Laney’s “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrivein an Extrovert World” and Cheryl Card’s “Discover the Power of Introversion: What Most Introverts Are Never Told and Extraverts Learn the Hard Way.”

    Once you accept yourself for who you are, the opinions of others may not be so important to you.

  3. Vicki on August 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I have a “wonderful outgoing personality” online too! (Many of us do. 🙂

  4. Janet Barclay on August 7, 2012 at 6:29 am

    I’m sure it’s because online we get to communicate in writing, which we prefer, but it’s perceived as talking!

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