Introverts Don’t Hate People, They Hate Shallow Socializing

Author Article

two introverts socializing
I like to make jokes about how much I hate people. As an introvert, it’s easy to do. The stereotype of the misanthropic introvert is backed by countless Facebook memes and pop culture references. Think of the animated character Daria with her oversized glasses and a book in her hand, or that catchy quote from Charles Bukowski, “I don’t hate people, I just feel better when they aren’t around.”These memes and quotes exist for a reason. They’re funny and relatable, and I’ve enjoyed sharing them just as much as anyone else. But there’s a darker side to them. They can also serve as a coping mechanism for those who need an excuse to hide behind. Let me explain.It’s the whole “I’m too school for cool” persona. It’s easy for me to say I spent the majority of the party playing with the host’s cat because the people there weren’t half as interesting as the books I have at home. It’s harder for me to admit that getting past the barrier of small talk ranges from somewhat daunting to downright terrifying. So I oversimplify and say I don’t like people, when what I actually dislike are the surface-level interactions of most social gatherings.We’ve all been to those parties where the sole purpose of the event is for everyone to break into small groups where they talk about sports, the weather, or where the host’s second cousin got her hair done. It’s moments like these where it suddenly becomes very important to find out if there’s a pet you can play with, or when all else fails, perhaps a large potted plant to hide behind. If there’s a drink to be fetched or a bowl of chips to be refilled, this task will instantly become the sole purpose of my existence, because literally anything is better than small talk.

However, despite appearances, I don’t hate people. I just hate shallow socializing.

And therein lies the problem that has kept thousands of introverts awake until all hours of the night. Because being an introvert doesn’t mean you want to be alone all the time. But unfortunately, in order to meet people to share your inner world with, it’s necessary to go out and socialize. In order to get to those coveted discussions about life goals, creative passions, and the existence of the universe, you sometimes have to start with some small talk — no matter how painful it might be.

Sometimes You Have to Go Out to Appreciate Staying In

As an introvert, I view socializing much like I view other aspects of my life that I know are good for me in the long run, but really aren’t very enjoyable in the moment. Do I really want to go to the gym when I could just go home and watch Netflix? No. Do I really want a salad for lunch when I could have a hamburger? No. Do I really want to go to a partywhen I could curl up in bed with a book and a cup of tea? It’s a no-brainer.

However, to reap the rewards, you have to put in the work.

It’s all about balance. Just like I might treat myself to a piece of chocolate cake as a reward for all those days at the gym last week, I’ll spend a quiet Saturday night at home because I know I already put in a night of socializing and interacting with people outside of my comfort zone on Friday.

The reward of staying in is so much sweeter when it’s saved as its own unique event to look forward to — whereas staying home with a book feels a whole lot less special when you’re doing it for the tenth night in a row. Sometimes you have to go out to fully appreciate staying in, and vice versa.

I never would’ve met some of my closest friends if I chose to stay home and read all the time. Those relationships I have now were worth the anxiety and apprehension I felt upon venturing out of my comfort zone to establish them.

Unfortunately, finding those kinds of relationships is rare, because socializing doesn’t always have tangible rewards. Sometimes I leave an event feeling drained and wishing I’d never left the house. Other times, I might feel that it went okay, but I know the surface-level conversations I held all evening probably won’t lead to any life-altering friendships. But that’s okay, because not every conversation or evening out has to be life-altering.

For the Introvert, Socializing Isn’t Just a Way to Pass the Time

As an introvert, it’s my natural tendency to always want every interaction to be about establishing a life-long deep connection, but I’ve learned that can put too much pressure on the average casual conversation. Sometimes it’s just about staying in practice with my (albeit limited) people skills until the day when someone suddenly wants to talk about their dreams and goals and all the things that makes them tick. It’s impossible to know where a conversation will lead unless you try.

I’m aware of just how ridiculous my socializing philosophy will sound to extroverts. To them, socializing itself is the end goal. My extroverted friends are always looking for something to do on the weekend, during the holidays, and even on work nights. They pursue socializing for the in-the-moment excitement that it brings. For me, attempting to socialize is a long-term goal, one that I carefully craft and balance so I don’t get mentally or emotionally overwhelmed.

“Going out” is rarely exciting for me in the moment. But I always have hope when attending a party or trying a new networking event that I’ll make a friend who is also dying for a quiet cup of coffee while chatting about life, or who wants to take a trip to the beach just so we can lay side by side and read in complete silence.


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When I socialize, I’m not looking for a way just to pass the time. I already have a full list of hobbies and interests and not enough hours in the day to enjoy them all. But I’m always looking for a new person with whom I can share my passions and my world. Sometimes meeting that one new person can be worth the agony of socializing. I like to think I’m the kind of person worth socializing for, and I know I’m not the only one of my kind.

So, my fellow introverts, please occasionally put down your books, go out, and search for the people who make socializing worth it — because I’m out there looking for you.

INFJ: “16 Signs You’re an INFJ, the World’s Rarest Personality Type” ~ Introvert Dear https://introvertdear.com/news/infj-signs/

via INFJ: “16 Signs You’re an INFJ,  the World’s Rarest Personality Type” — Elusively INFJ

When it comes to relationships, we’re all in or all out. If it’s a fling you’re looking for, don’t waste your time. We tend to steer clear of anything casual, as we are more interested in something long-term.

via 12 Things You Should Absolutely Know About The INFJ In Your Life — Thought Catalog

15 Signs That You’re An Introvert With High-Functioning Anxiety

Author Article

Anxiety is the voice in the back of your head that says, “something bad is going to happen.” It’s what keeps you awake at 2 a.m. thinking about something embarrassing you did — five years ago.

Not all introverts have anxiety, and extroverts and ambiverts can struggle with it, too. To be clear, introversion and anxiety aren’t the same thing. Introversion is defined as a preference for calm, minimally stimulating environments, whereas anxiety is a general term for disorders that cause excessive fear, worrying, and nervousness.

However, for many introverts, anxiety is a regular part of their lives. And indeed, anxiety is more common among introverts than extroverts, according to Dr. Laurie Helgoe.

What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?
Sometimes anxiety is obvious (think: panic attacks and sweaty palms), but that’s not always the case. Many people live with a secret form of anxiety called “high-functioning anxiety.” Outwardly, they appear to have it all together. They may even lead very successful lives. No one can tell from the outside that they’re driven by fear. Sometimes they don’t even realize it themselves.

Do you have high-functioning anxiety? Although not an official diagnosis, high-functioning anxiety is something countless people identify with. It’s closely related to Generalized Anxiety disorder, which affects 6.8 million adults in the U.S., women being twice as likely to experience it as men.

Symptoms of High-Functioning Anxiety
Here are fifteen common symptoms of high-functioning anxiety.

1. You’re always prepared.
Your mind frequently jumps to the worst-case scenario in any given situation. As a result, you may find yourself over-preparing. For example, you might pack underwear and makeup in both your checked luggage and your carry-on, just in case the airline loses your suitcase. People see you as being the reliable one — and often your preparations do come in handy — but few people (if any!) know that your “ready for anything” mentality stems from anxiety.

2. You may be freaking out on the inside, but you’re stoic on the outside.
Interestingly, many people with high-functioning anxiety don’t reveal just how nervous they are, which is another reason why it’s often a secret anxiety. You may have learned to compartmentalize your emotions.

3. You see the world in a fundamentally different way.
Your anxiety isn’t “just in your head.” Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that people who are anxious see the world differently than people who aren’t anxious. In the study, anxious people were less able to distinguish between a safe stimulus and one that was earlier associated with a threat. In other words, anxious people overgeneralize emotional experiences — even if they aren’t threatening.

4. You constantly feel the need to be doing something.
Which can be a real problem if you’re an introvert who needs plenty of downtime to recharge. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re attending lots of social events; instead, you may feel a compulsion to always be getting things done or staying on top of things. Staying busy distracts you from your anxiety and gives you a sense of control.

5. You’re outwardly successful.
Achievement-oriented, organized, detail-oriented, and proactive in planning ahead for all possibilities, you may be the picture of success. Problem is, it’s never enough. You always feel like you should be doing more.

6. You’re afraid of disappointing others.
You might be a people-pleaser. You’re so afraid of letting others down that you work hard to make everyone around you happy — even if it means sacrificing your own needs.

7. You chatter nervously.
Even though you’re an introvert who prefers calm and quiet, you chatter on and on — out of nervousness. For this reason, sometimes you’re mistaken for an extrovert.

8. You’ve built your life around avoidance.
You’ve shrunk your world to prevent overwhelm. You stick to routines and familiar experiences that give you a sense of comfort and control; you avoid intense emotional experiences like travel, social events, conflict, or anything else that might trigger your anxiety.

9. You’re prone to rumination and overthinking.
You do a lot of negative self-talk. You often replay past mistakes in your mind, dwell on scary “what if” scenarios, and struggle to enjoy the moment because you’re expecting the worst. Sometimes your mind races and you can’t stop it.

10. You’re a perfectionist.
You try to calm your worries by getting your work or your appearance just right. This can bring positive results, but it comes at a cost. You may have an “all-or-nothing” mentality (“If I’m not the best student, then I’m the worst”). You may have unrealistic expectations of yourself, and a catastrophic fear of falling short of them.

11. You have aches, repetitive habits, or tics.
According to psychotherapist Annie Wright, your anxiety might manifest physically in your body as frequent muscle tension or aches. Similarly, you might unconsciously pick at the skin around your nails, tap your foot, scratch your scalp, or do other repetitive things that get your nervous energy out — even if you appear composed in other ways.

12. You’re tired all the time.
Your mind is always going, so you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Even when you sleep well, you feel tired during the day, because dealing with a constant underlying level of anxiety is exhausting.

13. You startle easily.
That’s because your nervous system is in over-drive. A slammed door, an ambulance siren, or other unexpected sounds really rattle you.

14. You get irritated and stressed easily.
You’re living with constant low-level stress, so even minor problems or annoyances have the power to frazzle you.

15. You can’t “just stop it.”
Anxiety isn’t something you can tell yourself to just stop doing. In fact, the above-mentioned researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science found that people who are anxious have somewhat different brains than people who aren’t anxious. They noted that people can’t control their anxious reactions, due to a fundamental brain difference. (However, you can learn to cope with your anxiety and greatly lessen it — see the resources below).

Maureen “Marzi” Wilson recently released Kind of Coping, a relatable, inspirational (and often humorous) look at her life as an introvert with anxiety. The post These 10 Comics Are All Too Real for Introverts With Anxiety appeared first on Introvert, Dear.

via These 10 Comics Are All Too Real for Introverts With Anxiety — Introvert, Dear

Should You Listen To Music While Doing Intellectual Work? It Depends On The Music, The Task, And Your Personality

Author Article

GettyImages-1070179830.jpg
People more prone to boredom performed better without background music

By Christian Jarrett

Given how many of us listen to music while studying or doing other cerebral work, you’d think psychology would have a set of clear answers as to whether the practice is likely to help or hinder performance. In fact, the research literature is rather a mess (not that that has deterred some enterprising individuals from making bold claims).

There’s the largely discredited “Mozart Effect” – the idea that listening to classical music can boost subsequent IQ, except that when first documented in the 90s the effect was on spatial reasoning specifically, not general IQ. Also, since then the finding has not replicated, or it has proven weak and is probably explained as a simple effect of music on mood or arousal on performance. And anyway, that’s about listening to music and then doing mental tasks, rather than both simultaneously. Other research on listening to music while we do mental work has suggested it can be distracting (known as the “irrelevant sound effect”), especially if we’re doing mental arithmetic or anything that involves holding information in the correct order in short-term memory.

Now, in the hope of injecting more clarity and realism into the literature, Manuel Gonzalez and John Aiello have tested the common-sense idea that the effects of background music on mental task performance will depend on three things: the nature of the music, the nature of the task, and the personality of the person. “We hope that our findings encourage researchers to adopt a more holistic, interactionist approach to investigate the effects of music (and more broadly, distractions) on task performance,” they write in their new paper in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

The researchers recruited 142 undergrads (75 per cent were women) and asked them to complete two mental tasks. The simpler task involved finding and crossing out all of the letter As in a sample of text. The more complex task involved studying lists of word pairs and then trying to recall the pairs when presented with just one word from each pair.

Each task was performed while listening to one of two versions of a piece of elevator-style instrumental music – composed for the research – or no music. One version of the music was more complex than the other, featuring additional bass and drum tracks (both versions are available via the Open Science Framework). Also, depending on the precise experimental condition, the music was either quiet or louder (62 or 78 decibels). The participants also completed part of the “boredom proneness scale” to establish whether they were the kind of person who likes plenty of external stimulation or not (as measured by their agreement with statements like “it takes a lot of change and variety to keep me really happy”).

Participants’ performance was explained by an interaction between the task, the music, and their preference for external stimulation. When performing the simpler task, participants not prone to boredom did better while listening to complex music than simple music or no music, whereas boredom prone participants showed the opposite pattern, performing better with no music at all or simple music. In terms of volume, the low boredom prone were better with quiet complex music, whereas the boredom prone did better with louder complex music.

The researchers’ explanation is that for low boredom people who aren’t so keen on external stimulation, the quieter, more complex music provided just enough distraction to stop them from mind wandering from the simple task, thus boosting their task focus and performance. In contrast, the more boredom prone participants who like external stimulation tuned in too much to the complex music and were overly distracted by it, thus performing worse than when working in silence.

For the more complex task, the precise nature of the music (its complexity and volume) made no difference to results. But people low in boredom proneness benefited from having any kind of music in the background (the researchers aren’t sure why, but perhaps there were mood or arousal-based benefits not measured in this study), whereas once again the boredom prone folk with a preference for external stimulation again actually performed better with no music.

Though these findings may seem counterintuitive, the researchers’ explanation is that, for boredom prone people, the complex task provided adequate stimulation and background music interfered with this productive engagement. Supporting this interpretation, the more boredom prone participants outperformed their less boredom prone peers at the task in the no-music condition (and at an earlier, baseline cognitive test), suggesting they engaged better with the tasks (the researchers additionally noted that this result challenges the way that boredom as an emotion is usually seen as a bad thing, suggesting “it can predict constructive outcomes, such as better complex task performance”).

If you consider yourself as prone to boredom and craving of external stimulation, a tentative implication of these findings – bearing in mind they are preliminary – is that you might be better off studying or do other cerebral work without music in the background, at least not music that is too complex. On the other hand, if you are less craving of stimulation, then paradoxically some background music could boost your performance. As the researchers stated: “we offer evidence against the commonly held belief that distractions like music will always harm task performance.” They added, “our findings suggest that the relationship between music and task performance is not ‘one-size-fits-all’. In other words, music does not appear to impair or benefit performance equally for everyone.”

Part of the problem with interpreting the results is in the ambiguity of the aspect of boredom proneness that the researchers looked at – “preference for external stimulation”. Past research has generally considered boredom proneness to be associated with less desirable aspects of personality, such as having less self-control and being more impetuous, and this could fit with the idea that boredom prone participants in this research were more distracted by background music. However, as mentioned, the participants scoring higher on “preference for external stimulation” generally performed better at the tasks, thus raising questions about what aspect of personality and/or mental aptitude was really being tapped by this measure. It doesn’t help matters that there was no direct measure of attentional control and focus in the study. (In terms of other relevant personality traits, prior research has found that introverts are more distracted than extraverts by highly arousing music).

Other obvious limitations include the question of how much the featured tasks resemble real-life challenges, and the fact that people often listen to music they know and like rather than unfamiliar, instrumental music.

Still, it’s laudable that the current research attempted to consider how various factors interact in explaining the effect of music on mental performance. Gonzalez and John Aiello concluded, “we hope our research will serve as a starting point for more systematic investigation of music.”

More than meets the ear: Investigating how music affects cognitive task performance

Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer) is Editor of BPS Research Digest

How An INFJ Travels

Author Article

an INFJ makes travel plans
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Myers-Briggs personality types (as many of my close friends and coworkers can tell you!). The MBTI, a personality inventory based on the work of C. G. Jung, is not a perfect system, and of course, a test will never be able to completely define who you are. Nevertheless, it’s been an immensely helpful tool in understanding myself better.I’m an INFJ, the rarest of the 16 personality types. This sensitive and emotional introverted personality makes up only 1-2 percent of the population and is described by 16 Personalities as “quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring and tireless idealists.” Those who know me well would dispute the “quiet” part, but for the most part, reading descriptions of the INFJ was scarily accurate. It felt like someone was reaching into my brain and explaining my thoughts, mindset, and struggles more eloquently than I have ever been able to do.

(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)

INFJs are known as both dreamers and doers, the ones who think big and also follow through on their dreams and goals. For me, that big goal is traveling to 100 countries before age 100 and helping other young professionals travel better and cheaper through my blog MeWantTravel. Based on my personal experience and my research about INFJs, here’s a glimpse into how this personality type travels.

How an INFJ Travels

1. Despite being “extroverted” introverts, we will still need alone time.

For the introvert, alone time is absolutely necessary. If you’re traveling with extroverts, they may not understand why you need to disappear into your room and recharge after a busy day of sightseeing, but I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly okay to ask for that time. After you recharge, you’ll essentially be a better you. So tell your extroverted friends that they will like you more for it!

2. Deep, meaningful conversations are key.

INFJs crave meaning in all that they do, and relationships are no exception. Conversations of substance — not just small talk — are very important to us, and we may find that speaking to locals is both eye-opening and crucial to truly experiencing a new place. For me, the more I travel, the more I realize that people everywhere are the same at their core. Though we may look different and speak different languages, we all have fears, dreams, and people we deeply cherish. We can choose to find common ground and stand together, or we can choose to be divided and separated by our differences. As INFJs, we will always be in favor of — and push for — the first option.

3. We may want to write about our travels.

INFJs are highly creative, especially when it comes to working with words. And when we travel, we often want to somehow creatively capture what we’re experiencing, whether it’s through the written word, art, or something else. This helps us reflect on our experiences, and as INFJs, we love optimizing, learning, and personal growth. In terms of journals, I personally love ones that are small and easy to carry around in your backpack or purse, so I can jot down notes or ideas as they strike me. And who knows, when you write down those personal recollections or draw that stunning view, it may just be the beginning of your memoir.

4. Whenever possible, we aim for the “local” experience.

This may mean dining at local hidden gems and skipping some of the “must see” tourist traps. It may also mean staying in Airbnbs or hostels as opposed to hotels because it gives us an opportunity to learn about the culture by staying with a local, and it gives us a guaranteed chance to meet other folks. A paradox of the INFJ is that we’re genuinely interested in (and fascinated by) other people — so much that we’re mistaken for extroverts. But we truly are introverts who need that precious downtime. Having a private room in a hostel or Airbnb home is the perfect way to get the best of both worlds.

5. Being “judgers,” planning is a must.

As a “judging” personality, we INFJs like to know what we’re doing in advance and where we’re sleeping, and we may or may not have a pre-researched list of all the places we want to go, eat, and explore (okay, we probably will have that list!). There’s little that stresses out an INFJ more than having to make rapid-fire decisions on the fly. Meanwhile, “perceiving” personalities, like the INFP or ISTP, feel more comfortable going with the flow and being spontaneous. For them, it might even be fun to roll into a new city with no solid plans and discover what they’ll do and where they’ll stay as it strikes them.


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6. Use your “chameleon” abilities to your advantage.

INFJs are chameleons who can adapt to pretty much any social situation, because we’re tuned into social norms and expectations, and we read others well. This can be draining, however, because it means you’re constantly assessing and reassessing the room. This radar is part of who we INFJs are, and it’s not something we can easily turn off. But one thing I’ve learned the hard way is not to sacrifice social harmony at the expense of myself!

INFJ, take care of yourself; know that even though people may misunderstand you, this doesn’t make your feelings or thoughts invalid. Continue to be the INFJ boss that you are and take pride in your uniqueness — and then go out there and experience all those exotic places you’ve been dreaming about!

12 Ways Introverts Are The Most Confusing People You’ll Ever Meet

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By Andrea Davis

Introverts get a bad rap. When someone finds out you’re an introvert, a lot of times they automatically assume you don’t like people or being social or that you’re painfully shy. And while those all may be somewhat true, there’s a lot more to you than that.

While introvert personality traits typically include shyness and awkwardness, what’s really hiding beneath the surface?
1. Being super private yet dying to share what’s on your mind with others.

An introvert is usually a very private person and they don’t reveal many things about their personal life with others. But, deep down they really are just waiting for somebody to ask them questions pertaining to life.

2. Projecting a calm exterior while completely falling apart on the inside.

You’re great at hiding your feelings from others. It’s hard for anyone to read what you’re thinking. You put on an act as if everything is just fine when really, your entire world is running haywire.

3. Wanting to stay home alone, yet wanting to go out and be the life of the party.

You love having your alone time and personal space. So, a quiet Friday night at home is ultimately your idea of a perfect night. But, you often dream of being out and about in crowds of people. When the opportunity arises to do that, you quickly snap out of la la land and retreat back into your shell.

4. Being known as the fun, crazy one when you’re around close friends, but being known as the shy and quiet one when you’re around strangers.

And really that’s because only a select few know your true, raw personality.

5. Wanting to hang out with your significant other or friend in the same room but not wanting to actually be social with them.

You’ve had enough social interaction for the day and want some peace and quiet but still want them to be in your vicinity.

6. Being absolutely hysterical and clever while texting or messaging someone online but super awkward and skittish when meeting in real life.

7. Having so many deep thoughts you want to share but never knowing how to say them out loud.

Very few people can understand the thoughts in your head, because TBH sometimes you can’t even understand them yourself.

8. Knowing the answer to a question the teacher asked but you wouldn’t be caught dead actually raising your hand.

The thought of everyone looking at you while you speak is not only terrifying, it’s unthinkable.

9. Wanting to do everything solo so you don’t have to deal with people, but still not wanting to be lonely.

You are perfectly content doing things on your own, but sometimes you get lonely. Loneliness will strike out of the blue. And although you choose to do things by yourself, sometimes all you crave is the company from another person.

10. Wanting to be consoled when you’re upset but wanting to be left alone at the same time.

You like the idea that people are there for you in times of need, but want them to comfort you from afar.

11. Craving deep, profound connections with others, but always finding it difficult to actually open up to them.

You’re someone who wants to make connections that are meaningful, but you can’t seem to give that part of yourself away to someone else.

12. You love being spontaneous but secretly have the need to plan everything out first.

Being free-spirited may be in your blood, but you still have the desire to plan things out before making moves. That means staying in control while simultaneously allowing the universe guide your way.

The Best Plants For You Based On Your Personality Type

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By Erin Magner

Personality quizzes aren’t just a fun way to procrastinate when you’re on deadline for a big project. (Note to my editors: I never do this.) In reality, they can actually give you some pretty valuable insight into living your best life, from your ideal career path to your biggest relationship dealbreakers to the kinds of plants that are best suited for you.
That last one may sound kinda trivial, I know. But your personality is actually a really key thing to consider when choosing a leafy green friend to share your space. “Personality type definitely plays a part in what kind plant parent someone is,” says Joyce Mast, resident “plant mom” at online houseplant shop Bloomscape. “Be honest with yourself about how much time you can and want to devote to caring for your plants.” Think of it like getting a pet. For instance, if you’re a clean freak, you probably wouldn’t get a long-haired dog—and, similarly, you probably shouldn’t get a plant that’s going to shed its leaves everywhere.

Luckily, says Mast, there’s a perfect plant out there for everyone, no matter what your individual quirks are. I asked her to recommend a few varieties for each of the four personality archetypes that scientists have recently claimed we all fit into. The first thing you’ll want to do is take this quiz to find out where you land on the spectrums of extraversion, openness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Then, armed with your “Big 5” traits, read on to meet your perfect soil-mate. (Sorry, had to.)

Have your “Big 5” personality test results ready? Here’s what they say about your plant parenting style.

kinds of plants personalityPIN IT
Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Role Models

Highly extroverted, open-minded, agreeable, and conscientious; not very neurotic

Role models are happy-go-lucky people with a creative streak, who are curious and love to try new things. In short, they’re not the type to want the same ol’ philodendron that everyone else has. “I’d recommend a plant that matches the role model’s colorful and exuberant personality,” says Mast. “However, this personality type is a social butterfly, so plants that are easy to care for are ideal to make room for all those nights out.”

A role model’s perfect kinds of plants:

  • Mast loves stromanthe triostar for a role model because it’s “large, colorful, and low-maintenance—guaranteed to be a conversation starter at the next cocktail party.”
  • Dracaena Janet Craig is another great option for this type, thanks to its “dynamic and eye-catching tufts of green.” (It also happens to be one of the “it” houseplants for 2019.)
  • Okay, so monsteras may not be so exotic anymore, but Mast feels like role models would still dig ’em for their larger-than-life vibes. “These dramatic, and fast-growing plants will be the envy of everyone,” she says.
kinds of plants personalityPIN IT
Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Average

Highly neurotic, extroverted, agreeable, and conscientious; not very open 

Average personality types are similar to role models in many ways, except that they’re not quite as drawn to unusual things. They’re also the most neurotic of all the types, which means they’re extra prone to stress. Essentially, says Mast, they should look for a plant that won’t add to their agita. “Plants that maintain their green and that don’t drop leaves are best for this traditional personality type, so the plant life stays enjoyable and doesn’t become a source of anxiety,” she explains.

An average type’s perfect kinds of plants: 

  • Parlor palms are a good choice for average types because they’re super adaptable. “This plant always looks lush, and will make even the most neurotic person feel like an amazing plant parent,” Mast says.
  • Conscientious average types aren’t the kind to forget about watering their plants. That’s why Mast recommends the bird’s nest fern. “It has lovely, showy foliage and this personality type will enjoy misting it regularly,” she says.
  • For timeless good looks, hedgehog aloe is a classic pick that’ll thrive without much effort, says Mast. (Just make sure to put it in a sunny spot.)
kinds of plants personalityPIN IT
Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Self-Centered

Highly extroverted; below average in openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism

No shame whatsoever if you fall under this category—it just means that you know exactly what you want and your plants need to live by your rules. So if you want to put one in a certain corner, that’s where it’s going to go, no matter how much light it gets. “For self-centered people, we recommend tried-and-true plants that are highly adaptable to different conditions and will thrive anywhere this personality type wants to put them,” says Mast.

A self-centered type’s perfect kinds of plants:

  • Spider plants get top marks for self-centered types because they’re “adaptable, easy to care for, and a timeless classic,” says Mast.
  • For a plant that’ll adapt to pretty much any light condition and requires very little care, Mast recommends going for a strikingly cool sansevieria, or snake plant.
  • Philodendron Brasil is another mellow option that doesn’t need a ton of attention from a self-centered owner—and its trailing vines are “exceptionally Instagrammable,” says Mast.
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Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Reserved

Low in extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness; slightly more conscientious than average 

If you’re a textbook introvert who prides yourself on being responsible, you can take on a slightly more hard-to-care-for plant. And you might even enjoy it, according to Mast. “Plants that require a bit more care, but are also fast growing will help the reserved person feel accomplished and rewarded,” she says.

A reserved type’s perfect kinds of plants: 

  • Red prayer plants aren’t hard to care for, but they need to be misted on the reg—so they need an owner who spends a decent amount of time at home. But don’t worry, it’ll be worth the effort. “This fast-growing plant will be a constant source of happiness as it thrives,” Mast says.
  • The fiddle leaf fig is another plant that demands lots of love. Not only does it require very specific light conditions, but it also needs loads of misting and watering. Yet according to Mast, “when it’s happy, its large glossy leaves and new growth really make the extra care worthwhile.” Hey, reserved types clock a lot of hygge nights at home—may as well make them a little lusher.
  • “The bird of paradise loves to be misted, and its large leaves need to be dusted and wiped down regularly,” says Mast. The reward:  You’ll feel like you’re on a South African vacay (where this plant is from), every day.

If you’re more of a Myers-Briggs fan, here’s how others see you and how you manage stress, according to your personality type.  

 

HELP YOUR HOUSEPLANTS GET PROPERLY LIT WITH A SUPER PRETTY DIY GROW LIGHT


Thumbnail for Help your houseplants get properly lit with a super pretty DIY grow light

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Photo: Stocksy/Nikita Sursin

This winter has been particularly rough for my indoor jungle. My prized monstera, once thriving and cheerful, is now droopy and depressed. With limited sunlight throughout the day, even through South-facing windows of my apartment, I can only do so much to give my plants what they need. Needless to say, I was thrilled to find out that you can fake it with a DIY grow light. Easier to construct than I expected, a grow light will mimic the sun, bathing my plants in all the brightness they deserve.
Grow lights can be expensive, not to mention ugly. While I want my plants to be healthy, I’m averse to the idea of dropping hundreds of dollars on an eyesore. But Adam Besheer, co-owner of the botanic design company Greenery NYC, has a genius solution. You’ll find his indoor vertical gardens and green walls throughout New York City—all of which depend on grow lights to stay healthy.

“Plants require certain wavelengths of light to grow, and different wavelengths cause different grow patterns. Too much can burn them, but too little and they starve to death,” he tells me. “Grow lights still aren’t as good as sunlight—they still aren’t able to cover the breadth of wavelengths emitted by a burning mass of hydrogen we can’t really conceive the size of. But they’re a great substitute.”

How to build a DIY grow light

When creating your own grow light, there are a few things to consider, such as the aesthetics and the kind of light it will emit. According to Besheer, you can DIY a version that will actually complement your home with something as affordable as a lamp you already own or one from Ikea. (A lamp that hangs over the plants provides plenty of direct light.) You just need to screw in a suitable light bulb, available for about $15 on Amazon, and voilà—it’s done.

“The important thing for a standard grow light is that it’s labelled as a grow light. The brightness you need to keep plants alive isn’t something normal light bulbs are manufactured for,” he says. “LED screw-in bulbs have just become widely available that have a relative intensity that’s good for plants, but to really know, you’ll need to measure the light yourself.”

How to know if your plants are getting enough light

To make sure your plant is getting the exact amount of light it needs, you can measure it using a light meter (which runs for around $20 on Amazon), or you can use the Light Meter app on your phone, which Besheer says gets pretty close to what the actual meter reads. The result will be shown in “foot candles” (or FC), and different plants require different ranges.

On the Greenery NYC website, you can group plants by light requirement: Low-light options like snake plants and pothos require 25 to 75 FC, medium-light plants like monsteras and dracaenas require 75 to 150 FC, and high-light plants like fiddle leaf figs and haworthias require 150+ FC. As for how long they should spend basking in the LED light’s glow every day, Besheer’s go-to is between 10 to 12 hours.

With a little help from a DIY grow light, your indoor plants will be thriving once more. Honestly, I might grab my happy light and sit right there next to ’em.

 

INFJ Survey: 5 Things INFJs Wish They Had Known as Teens

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By Charis Branson

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Otto Kroeger once said, “INFJs nonstop search for learning, self-growth, and development—and wishing the same for everyone else—makes them very reassuring to others and people worth emulating.”

INFJs are sincere, sympathetic, unassuming, easygoing and reserved. Their personal values include spirituality, learning, and community service. They can often be found in careers that involve religion, counseling, teaching, healing, or the arts.

They represent only 1.5% of the population, with females outnumbering males only slightly. This makes them the least common type in the human population.

They are known for their high GPAs in college and they usually stay in college, unlike some of the other Intuitive types.

INFJs are the most likely of any type to seek therapy and they rank highest of all types in marital dissatisfaction.

In a recent survey of INFJs we asked four questions:

  • What are the top 3 challenges you face as an INFJ?
  • What 3 things do you wish others knew about you as an INFJ?
  • What 3 books/movies/courses/events have most impacted your life?
  • What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self
?

Almost 500 INFJs opened up and shared their complicated inner world with us! In this article, I would like to focus on the last of the four survey questions –What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self
?

Many of the answers shared some common themes. So, I have broken them all down to 5 items INFJs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency.

#1 Don’t Allow Others to Define Who You Are

This was by far the most common thing INFJs reported as something they wished they could change. As an INFJ myself, I found this extremely enlightening. I looked back on a life of service to the beliefs of others and wondered if it was cowardice or love that forced me to succumb. I have a paralyzing fear of hurting or disappointing those I love. And because of that, I’ve only just begun living life on my terms. This seems to be a theme for Extraverted Feelers.

18% of INFJs said they wished they hadn’t given so much power to others.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Others perspectives do not define who you are. Make your own decisions. There are no right answers, only different circumstances and values.”
  • “I would have told myself to keep dreaming and not focus on the beaten paths that the world has laid out – college, 9-5 job, etc. Think creatively about what I can offer and bring that to the world.”
  • “It’s okay to be who you are and feel what you feel. You don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations.”
  • “You do not have to please everyone else all the time and at your own expense. You should not feel guilty for spending time alone. Try to be mindful and follow your own feelings about your life’s decisions rather than getting caught up doing what others think is best for you.”
  • “No one – no friend, no family member, no boyfriend – is worth you giving up all of your private time. If someone demands that much of you, you probably don’t need him/her in your life. It will drain you.”
  • “”Don’t worry about trying to find, fix, or befriend someone who will love you the way you think you ought to be loved. Work on developing your talents and genius. Don’t try to accommodate others to the point where you have no identity of your own or self-confidence.”
  • “Trust yourself and stop trying to appease others. No one can ever approve of you enough to make everything okay. You have to approve of you, and if you’re the only one, that’s okay. (If I had embraced that ideology when I was 15, I would have saved myself a lot of stress and heartache.)”
  • “You are not stupid. Other people do not define your worth. You are your own person, you don’t have to have someone else’s qualities to be valid, you actually exist. And I love you.”
  • “Pay more attention to bettering yourself, and stop worrying about what others think. You can be your very best when you learn to assess yourself as you do others. Never, ever, compromise your values, morals or feelings for the sake of someone else.”

#2 Take More Calculated Risks

INFJs dominant mental process is Introverted Intuition (“Perspectives” in the Genius system). This process feels great when it is given lots of time to drift, all alone, in peace and quiet. My favorite place in the world is a graveyard in the middle of the night. It’s dark, so there is no sensory stimulation. I don’t have to worry about anybody interrupting me. And there is profound stillness and awe in a place dedicated to the dead. I’ve often spent entire nights just letting my mind drift from one thing to another. I never get bored.

It may be due to this love of our inner world that INFJs struggle with motivation. 11% of INFJs surveyed wish they had tested the boundaries more.

Direct Quote:

  • “It’s okay to feel the things you feel. Your opinions are just as important as everyone else’s. If you want to be “seen” as you really are you have to be brave and show yourself; it’s okay that not everyone is going to “get” you, as long as you can live as freely as you can. People can hurt you only if you give them the power to do so. Live more in the moment! Seriously, you live in your head too much. Travel, feel, taste, take in everything and feel it without trying to figure out what it all means.”
  • “You have the potential to be a hero, to be anything you want to be. I know this to be true – although beware of the trap of arrogance and conceit. You just have to accept yourself and remove the masks. You know what I mean.”
  • “Yes, you do in fact move through the world differently…you are not crazy. Just remember to get out of your head and try something that scares you. And most of all, you are enough just as you are.”
  • “Keep calm and channel your over thinking energies into constructive change.”
  • “Stop procrastinating and just do it! You can’t waste your life worrying about a future you’ll never get to create if you’re too busy worrying. Take a chance and have a bit more fun, always put your problems into perspective.”

#3 Everything is Going To Be Okay

The third most common piece of advice INFJs would offer themselves was some much needed insight into the future. Teenagers are notoriously myopic. Perspectives is a future focused process and in its undeveloped state it can become paranoid and fearful of the future. So, although most of the surveys thus far have had this piece of advice, it means something extra special to INFJs.

9% of INFJs would tell themselves the future is bright. An additional 5% would tell their younger selves to stay present and stop obsessing over what may never happen.

Direct Quotes:

  • *Go your own path! No one but you determines your success or happiness. If you’re going through hard times, remember that you’re changing – you’re growing! Sooner or later you will start to see the gifts you’ve been blessed with due to the struggles you have been through. It will be worth it!”
  • “You’re hurt now and you’re bleeding, but someday you will realize that this pain gave you something you can’t get any other way. You just need to let yourself live.”
  • “It gets much, much better. There are others out there who are more like you. You can heal the pain to a large extent. It will be okay. Follow your desires to be an artist, and push yourself.”
  • “Everything unfolds perfectly.”
  • “Not everything is the end of the world and it’s okay to be emotional. Love yourself. You’re going to grow up and have a cool apartment right down the road from that record store you love with the cool zines and it’s going to have a BALCONY (!!!!) and you’ll be published and happy and skinny. Everything you’re going through now is so the adult you will challenge herself harder. I think you would be proud.”
  • “Take the time to enjoy your life. Slow down, you’ll get to the future quickly enough. Enjoy what you have in front of you. You need to find your passions to become truly happy. Start doing the things you love. Stop focusing so much on other people and how much you want to be like them. You CANT be anybody but yourself; it’s impossible and it will never make you happy.”

#4 Stop Being So Hard On Yourself

INFJs auxiliary cognitive function is Extraverted Feeling (“Harmony” in the Genius system). This function concerns itself with getting the needs of everyone around it met. INFJs are particularly good at this because they lead with Perspectives, which gives them special insight into people’s motivations and desires. The dream team combination of Harmony and Perspectives is not perfect, however. Every now and then, an INFJ will say or do something that receives negative feedback from the outside world. This cuts the INFJ to the core because they honestly expect better of themselves. I have been known to torture myself for decades over the thoughtless things I have said or done.

8% of INFJs wish they could tell their younger selves to ease up on the self-criticism. An additional 4% would like their adolescent self to stop obsessing over being perfect.

Direct Quotes:

  • “I’d tell myself to stop trying to fit into some sort of stereotype and use all the bad things that happened to me as a reason to be a better person. There’s also something I try to make myself understand even now, but it’s hard – ‘Stop taking things so personally.’ It would’ve been easier if I had learned this at the age of 15.”
  • “You are special. You are not strange or weird or crazy. Just a beautiful, rare gem. Go with your gut in spite of what other people tell you. Listen to yourself. Love yourself!! (I have always struggled with this. If I’m not perfect then I’m not worth loving.) Cut yourself some slack. Not everything has to be perfect! Sometimes it’s best to let go and just enjoy. Cut others slack. They aren’t perfect either. (Also a hard one for me. I hold others to an impossible standard.) Let go of what you can’t control.”
  • “”Don’t be so self-conscious. Don’t put yourself down so much, you are fine! ACT, ACT, ACT on your thoughts. Calm your anxiety and center yourself. Working on yourself is GREAT, keep at it. Please be kind to yourself. Let go of the idealism, moral conscience and responsibility. Don’t over-analyze, just enjoy the ride.”
  • “Pleasing everyone is impossible so say ‘no’ and accept your decision. There’s no such thing as perfect so your best is enough. Care for yourself along with everyone else because it will catch up with you someday if you don’t.”
  • “You CAN do this on your own. You’re smart enough. You’re intuition WILL guide you. Love yourself and never be afraid of failing. A man will never complete you. YOU complete you.”

#5 There is Nothing Wrong With You

As is true with all the Intuitive surveys thus far, INFJs acknowledge their differences and the pain which comes along with being a Fruit Loop in a world of Cheerios.

7% of INFJs would tell their younger selves that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. Another  6% wish they could have been more comfortable with who they were.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Everyone is different, and that’s not only OK but necessary. You are the way you are by design. And it’s good. You can give to the world in quiet ways, via depth of conversation, and interacting in your way. You need to be you and not someone else. Do what you love.”
  • “This is clichéd and cheesy but that’s because it’s a universally acknowledged virtue – Be Yourself. Be true to who you are; you’ll be happier that way. Also, before I go, I’d like to share something with you. I know you’re a pretentious little fuck, so you’ll enjoy this. To quote John Keats, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’”
  • “If I could go back in time, I would tell the younger me to slow down. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish that was miles long and I got it all done before my 30s… slow down, kid. Take it all in. Live in the moment, appreciate and savor everything you have right now. Stop trying to please everyone and make yourself more of a priority, because in the end the only relationship you have that you can trust, that is eternal, the only true love is the love you develop for yourself. Stop being so critical. You are wonderful, perfect and unique in your own way. Appreciate yourself.”
  • “There is nothing wrong with you. You are worthy of love from yourself and from others. You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness no matter what. Once you learn to love yourself then make self-care your number one priority and everything else in life will be experienced with a sense of joy, even the painful times.”
  • “You are beautiful. You are smart. You are worthy. You are enough.”

Never Stop Caring

I have a vivid memory that has defined my life. At the age of 13, I remember making the choice to never feel again. I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom, my back against the door, and I was sobbing for the hundredth time over injustices I thought my family was experiencing. I knew to the very marrow of my bones that life was never going to get any better. The pain would never stop. My only apparent option was to become a robot.

And it worked. I never shed another tear. Not even at my mother’s funeral when I was 19. My voice flattened and became emotionless. My face became a permanent mask of controlled expression. My body hardened to reflect the shell I was hiding behind.

Now at the age of 43 I am trying to regain my connection to myself and the world. But what did I lose along the way? What connections were never made and what lessons were never learned? I may be a lot further along in my development if I hadn’t shut it all down 30 years ago.

Apparently, I am not alone. 5.5% of INFJs would tell their younger selves to hold onto their humanity, no matter the cost. An additional 3% would plead with themselves to always remember kindness when dealing with others.

Direct Quotes:

  • “I wish you didn’t try to cover your genuine feelings and love for people with cynicism and unnecessary judgments.”
  • “Focus on your emotions, try and understand them as much as you can – you’ll want them later.”
  • “Nothing will ever feel okay inside, until you learn to see yourself through the lens of love and gratitude and learn to be as kind to your vulnerable self as you are to your vulnerable friends.”
  • “Don’t try to give up your heart. Don’t try to be the best at everything because it’s not gonna happen. You can’t stop wars, you can’t stop injustice, you can’t stop hate, you can’t stop greed, you can’t make everyone happy and that’s okay, it doesn’t make you a bad person. You don’t need to punish yourself and you don’t deserve to die. You can’t make your scars disappear but you can fill them with gold, like in kintsukuroi. And I’m not gonna say that it’ll get better because it won’t – you’ll just become tougher.”