Inny or Outie?

introvert breaking away from the crowdBy Casey Jones, CAPP

The first time I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I was convinced that I misunderstood some of the questions and didn’t answer correctly or that the test was flawed and therefore unable to accurately identify my personality type. I took the same test two more times and the result was the same.

I wasn’t so bothered by the “STJ” findings because I like facts and reason and think rules should be followed (much to my children’s chagrin). What didn’t settle well was the “I,” which stands for introvert. How could this be? I like people, I’m comfortable as a public speaker and though I like to camp, I’m not looking for a cabin in the wilderness of Montana to live off the grid with only my wits and industriousness to stave off starvation, seclusion, and senility. I ignored the results and discounted the entire personality test exercise thinking that the MBTI was just plain flawed.

What I learned about myself many years later was that the test got it right and, more importantly, that I had nothing to worry about regarding my future with society as a whole. Thankfully the lady next door would never describe me as, “a quiet, private man who always kept to himself.” You see, as far as the MBTI is concerned, introverts aren’t necessarily afraid of being around other people. They certainly might be but I’m not that kind of introvert. I am more likely to look forward to my hotel room at the end of a long conference day than spend two more hours at the bar downstairs. For me and many other introverts, energy is returned with a little peace, quiet, and yes, solitude. Extroverts, on the other hand, get energized when they are in the company of other people.

So, my fellow introverts, please don’t be ashamed as I once was. And to my extrovert friends, please just bid us a good night and we’ll see you in the morning, all charged up and ready for another great day–with other people.

Casey Jones, CAPP, is senior parking and mobility planner with DESMAN.