9 Signs You Might Be An Ambivert

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I’m sure you’ve been asked many times whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. For some people, it’s an easy choice, but for most of us, it’s difficult to choose one way or the other.It’s hard to choose because the introvert/extrovert dichotomy reflects a tired and outdated view of personality. Personality traits exist along a continuum, and the vast majority of us aren’t introverts or extroverts — we fall somewhere in the middle.


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Personality consists of a stable set of preferences and tendencies through which we approach the world. Personality traits form at an early age and are fixed by early adulthood. Many important things about you change over the course of your lifetime, but your personality isn’t one of them.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

The continuum between introversion and extroversion captures one of the most important personality traits. It’s troubling that we’re encouraged to categorize ourselves one way or the other because there are critical strengths and weaknesses commonly associated with each type.

Adam Grant at Wharton set out to study this phenomenon, and his findings are fascinating. First, he found that two-thirds of people don’t strongly identify as introverts or extroverts. These people (aka, the vast majority of us) are called ambiverts, who have both introverted and extroverted tendencies. The direction ambiverts lean toward varies greatly, depending on the situation.

Think of introversion and extroversion as a spectrum, with ambiversion lying somewhere in the middle:

Ambiverts have a distinct advantage over true introverts and extroverts. Because their personality doesn’t lean too heavily in either direction, they have a much easier time adjusting their approach to people based on the situation. This enables them to connect more easily, and more deeply, with a wider variety of people.

Grant’s research also disproved the powerful and widely held notion that the best-performing salespeople are extroverts. He found that ambiverts’ greater social flexibility enabled them to outsell all other groups, moving 51 percent more product per hour than the average salesperson. Notice how sales increased as extroversion increased, peaking with those who were just moderately extroverted.

Grant explained the finding this way:

“Because they naturally engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening, ambiverts are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale, but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.”

How Ambiversion Works in the Brain

How social you are is largely driven by dopamine, the brain’s feel-good hormone. We all have different levels of dopamine-fueled stimulation in the neocortex (the area of the brain that is responsible for higher mental functions such as language and conscious thought). Those who naturally have high levels of stimulation tend to be introverts — they try and avoid any extra social stimulation that might make them feel anxious or overwhelmed. Those with low levels of stimulation tend to be extroverts. Under-stimulation leaves extroverts feeling bored, so they seek social stimulation to feel good.

Most people’s levels of natural stimulation don’t reach great extremes, though it does fluctuate. Sometimes you may feel the need to seek out stimulation, while other times, you may avoid it.

Finding Out Whether You’re An Ambivert

It’s important to pin down where you fall in the introversion/extroversion scale. By increasing your awareness of your type, you can develop a better sense of your tendencies and play to your strengths.

If you think that you might be an ambivert, but aren’t certain, see how many of the following statements apply to you. If most of them apply, you’re most likely an ambivert.

    1. I can perform tasks alone or in a group. I don’t have much preference either way.
    2. Social settings don’t make me uncomfortable, but I tire of being around people too much.
    3. Being the center of attention is fun for me, but I don’t like it to last.
    4. Some people think I’m quiet, while others think I’m highly social.
    5. I don’t always need to be moving, but too much down time leaves me feeling bored.
    6. I can get lost in my own thoughts just as easily as I can lose myself in a conversation.
    7. Small talk doesn’t make me uncomfortable, but it does get boring.
    8. When it comes to trusting other people, sometimes I’m skeptical, and other times, I dive right in.
    9. If I spend too much time alone, I get bored, yet too much time around other people leaves me feeling drained.
    10. The trick to being an ambivert is knowing when to force yourself to lean toward one side of the spectrum when it isn’t happening naturally. Ambiverts with low self-awareness struggle with this. For example, at a networking event, a self-aware ambivert will lean toward the extroverted side of the scale, even when it has been a long day and he or she has had enough of people. Mismatching your approach to the situation can be frustrating, ineffective, and demoralizing for ambiverts.

Bringing It All Together

TalentSmart has conducted research with over a million people and found that those in the upper echelon of performance at work also tend to be highly self-aware (90 percent of them, in fact). By gaining a better sense of where you fall on the introversion/extroversion scale, you can build insight into your tendencies and preferences, which increases your self-awareness and emotional intelligence. This will help you improve your performance.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

5 Reasons Why An INFJ Personality Might Feel Depressed

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INFJ personality depression
I’m an INFJ, and I’m clinically depressed. I’ve recently dropped 10 kg without trying, and lately my nights have been plagued by insomnia. I think I’m having a mid-life crisis in my early 20s because I can’t find meaning or purpose in my current situation.Of course, not all INFJs are depressed, and INFJs are certainly not the only Myers-Briggs personality types to struggle with depression. However, due to our sensitive nature, as well as our unique way of seeing the world, it’s not uncommon for us INFJs to deal with depression at some point in our lives.

(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality assessment.)

Based on my own experiences, here are five reasons why this rare personality type might feel depressed.

Why an INFJ Personality Might Be Depressed

1. We’re emotionally exhausted from taking on other people’s feelings.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve soaked up other people’s feelings without realizing it. Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming or floating or drowningin a maelstrom of emotions that don’t even belong to me.

As a result, I’m emotionally exhausted all the time. I quickly burn out in social situations and highly stimulating environments.

Whenever I’ve tried to explain this feeling to others, I often get the response: “Don’t worry about what others think.” The truth is, I’m not worried about what others think. I feel what others feel. When I walk into a room, I absorb people’s vibes — as though their energy is a tangible thing that has lured me away from my own self.

Being able to let go of the emotions of others and compartmentalize is extremely difficult for me, and it often makes me emotionally exhausted to the point of finding it difficult to function.

One of my managers picked up on this recently and said to me, “It’s like you’re a bank — most people are withdrawing and withdrawing without depositing anything back.”

Sadly, INFJs are known for this. We often take on careers in psychology and counselling, and even if we don’t, we unconsciously deal with the deep psychological issues of others without realizing it. Although empathy is our greatest strength, empathy burnout can take a toll.

2. We have very high standards for ourselves.

I’ve struggled with perfectionism a lot throughout my life. Sometimes, it’s advantageous. For example, when I’m working on an academic paper or finalizing a project, my meticulous eye can turn small successes into even greater triumphs.

Although perfectionism has been my unsung hero, it has also been my inner villain. I’ve always had high standards for myself and am disappointed if I don’t meet those standards. In my late teens and early twenties, I studied full-time, worked full-time across three jobs, and attempted to maintain a social life. I tried to make all the facets of my life “perfect — until I burned myself out.

I’ve recently come to realize that I’m awfully hard on myself. I’m disappointed when I cannot express myself to others in ways I’d hoped. If I have to do a presentation at work, I’ll idealize the perfect outcome, then beat myself up when I don’t perform exactly how I’d imagined. The same goes for my creative work — I often imagine something far greater than what is actually produced, and as a result, I’m often disappointed and disheartened.

As INFJs, our Introverted Intuition coupled with our judging nature makes us prone to having high expectations for ourselves, which means we often feel like we’re failing. When this happens, our introverted and emotional nature intensifies these feelings inward, making it difficult to cope, often leading to anxiety or depression.

3. Conflict really stresses us out.

INFJs tirelessly work towards harmony, often to the point of exhaustion. Although this may appear like an act of selflessness, their efforts are partially selfish, as INFJs need their external environment to be at peace before they can be at peace internally.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always avoided conflict. Conflict is my Achilles’s heel. When there is conflict in one of my close relationships, it consumes me and leaves me feeling hopeless and vulnerable. I can hardly relax, rest, or take care of myself if I feel any sort of negativity in my environment. In fact, there have been many times when conflict has made me feel physically sick.

4. We crave meaning and purpose.

As an idealistic INFJ, I’m driven by meaning and purpose. I struggle when my work does not match my values and my desire to make a difference.

INFJs are notorious for championing a cause or advocating for others. When we’re unsure of our causes or cannot find meaning in our work, we float around rather lost, unsure of our purpose in life. This leaves us feeling pretty down in the dumps.

5. We overthink and overthink and overthink.

As an INFJ, overthinking is one of my biggest problems. In fact, if overthinking were an Olympic sport, I think INFJs would get the gold medals. We have a tendency to ruminate and reflect, and not always in the best ways.

Although most INFJs are proud of their ability to reflect — as well as their near-psychic intuition to pinpoint when there’s something wrong or forecast how things will unfold — overthinking can be detrimental to our mental health. Overthinking is when the little voice in our head gets out of control and we aren’t able to shut it down. It’s the kind of voice that is nasty and obsessive, and leads us nowhere.

For example, let’s just say someone asks me a question and I don’t give a good answer in the moment. For days to come, I might keep thinking about the question and answering it in my head over and over again as if I could somehow change my response. I overanalyze and overthink so much that it makes my brain hurt and leaves me exhausted.

If you’re an INFJ who is struggling with depression, know that you’re not alone. Remember to take care of yourself, just like you take such good care of others. And know that depression doesn’t have to last forever; you can learn to manage your emotions and feel better. See the resources below to help you get started.

The Personality Type That Struggles With Finding Healthy Relationships (And What To Do About It)

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Image by ZOA / Stocksy

When Alicia first met her now-husband of 13 years, she was not into him at all. They worked together at a restaurant after high school, and she decided quickly that he was a jerk because he wouldn’t look at her during their shift.

Maria hates looking at online profiles and finds herself swiping left more than right. There will be one picture in the series that will make her decide that guy is not for her.

Brenda keeps finding herself in a series of three-month relationships. Even though she really likes them in the beginning, there is always something that she discovers that doesn’t end up working for her.

Can you guess what these three women have in common that are making unconscious choices in their love story?

All these women have a “J” in their personality type.

Why J personalities struggle with relationships.

If you’re not familiar, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a popular personality test that categorizes people into one of 16 different personality types, designated with a four-letter code that describes where they fall on four different psychological spectra: extroversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.

A person’s position on that fourth dichotomy—judging (J) vs. perceiving (P)—can have a significant impact on a person’s love life in particular. A person with a judging personality (which isn’t to be confused with being judgmental) is someone who likes a structured and predictable life, whereas someone with a perceiving personality is more adaptable and finds themselves choosing a life that is more flexible.

People with a J in their personality usually go for:

  • Things that are decided
  • Lists and tasks
  • Order, structure, and systems
  • Things that are straightforward, black-and-white, clear

Meanwhile, P personality types:

  • Prefer things that are open-ended
  • Are able to adapt to what comes at them
  • Go on their gut
  • Like things in the gray area

“This preference may also be thought of as your orientation to the outer world,” the Myers & Briggs Foundation website explains. “Some people interact with the outside world when they are taking in information. … Other people do their interacting when they are making decisions.” They go on: “When it comes to dealing with the outer world, people who tend to focus on making decisions have a preference for Judging because they tend to like things decided. People who tend to focus on taking in information prefer Perceiving because they stay open to a final decision in order to get more information.”

If you’re a J having trouble finding a relationship that sticks, you need to consider how this structured side of you is creating limitations and not a lot of choices. J personality types find themselves making yes and no decisions in dating very quickly. On dating apps, that can look like finding a picture of the guy in bad jeans in the fourth photo and swiping left because “he is not your type.”

J types may also find themselves making it to the date, and after less than 10 minutes deciding there is no attraction and completely turning off their vibe and charm. Or this pattern of fast decisions can go the opposite way, where J types are 100 percent convinced they found The One, only to be ghosted a few weeks later or, worse, spend months with a guy that isn’t really a good fit.

How to overcome your J.

If you’re someone who identifies with the more judging personality type described above and you’re struggling to find a significant other despite wanting one, here are two solutions for you based on your natural tendency to prefer certainty that will help you have more choices, more fun, and more connection with your future partner.

Try saying “maybe.”

Js naturally tend to make yes or no decisions very quickly, but the good news is that they can learn from the Ps and resist the need to make a quick decision all the time, at least when it comes to getting to know a potential mate. For example, my friend Alicia mentioned above later realized she was wrong to make the assumption that her now-husband was a jerk. He’s actually the nicest guy in the world; he was just shy, and her snap decision could have been the end of a great love story.

Make a quick decision on your coffee order instead, and be more curious about the person in front of you. Humans are complex and layered, and you certainly can’t be seeing the whole of a person in photos nor on a first date. Take a teaspoon of keeping things open-ended and learn to let yourself be surprised.

Be direct with your potential partners.

As a dating and relationship coach, the No. 1 complaint I get from my clients is that they are tired of being the only one planning. This issue causes couples to break up and also potential relationships to not even get off the dating app. When I find out they’re a J personality type, it totally makes sense because Js like to have things decided and hate leaving things open. The Js are tired and become resentful being the one who always reaches out first, makes plans, and organizes the whole date night.

The reality is J personality types are usually attracted unconsciously to P personality types because nature is always seeking balance. When you find yourself in this position, you have a choice. Choice one is to make sure you are picking another J to be in a relationship with. You can ask them directly if they are the kind of person that likes to make plans or wing it (Js usually appreciate and love the question!). Choice two is to understand in advance that Ps do not like decisions, lists, and structured plans like you do. If you choose to enter a relationship with a P personality type, it will be in your best interest to address this potential issue with clear and direct communication between the two of you before it starts to chip away at the good parts that you have together.

Introverts Don’t Hate People, They Hate Shallow Socializing

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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.

A Counselor Explains How Introverts Can Banish Social Anxiety

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A young introvert suffers from social anxiety.
I’m a counselor, and many of the introverts I see come to me because of anxiety. Some of the clients I see have diagnosable anxiety disorders, but those who don’t aren’t suffering any less. When I say anxiety, I mean “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure,” according to the American Psychological Association.Anxiety can come in many forms and have many different causes, but in this article, I’d like to focus on social anxiety. Let’s take a look at the major signs of social anxiety, plus how you can free yourself from it by fixing “thinking errors.”

Signs of Social Anxiety Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association, you might have social anxiety if you experience the following:

  1. Feeling anxious or afraid in social settings. You might feel extremely self-conscious, like others are judging or scrutinizing your every move. For an adult, this might happen on a first date or a job interview, or when meeting someone for the first time, delivering an oral presentation, or speaking in a class or meeting. In children, these behaviors must occur in settings with peers — rather than adult interactions — and will be expressed in terms of age appropriate distress, such as cringing, crying, or just generally displaying obvious fear or discomfort.
  2. Worrying quite a bit that you’ll reveal your anxiety and be rejected by others
  3. Consistently feeling distressed during social interactions
  4. Painfully or reluctantly enduring social interaction — or avoiding it altogether
  5. Experiencing fear or anxiety that’s disproportionate to the actual situation
  6. Having fear, anxiety, or other distress around social situations that persist for six months or longer
  7. Finding that your personal life, relationships, or career are negatively affected. In other words, your anxiety makes it quite difficult for you to function in day-to-day life.

For a diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder, these symptoms must be present for six months or longer and not be better explained by another mental health or medical diagnosis.

Why Is Social Anxiety Common in Introverts?

If you’re an introvert who experiences social anxiety, you’re not alone. The research shows that introverts are far more likely to suffer from it than extroverts. A small study done in 2011 found that “social phobia patients” were significantly more often introverts (93.7 percent) than not (46.2 percent). Although not all introverts suffer from social anxiety, this study suggests that us “quiet ones,” by nature, may be prone to it in one form or another.

Social anxiety can be excruciating. Introverts, in my practice, struggle with it because they tend to overthink and overanalyze situations. They may find themselves caught in a cycle of planning out a conversation only to have it go differently than their script. This puts them on the spot — an introvert’s nightmare — and creates a high level of anxiety.

They then may fall into the trap of mind-reading. Mind-reading is what some therapies, like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, call “thinking errors.” These patterns of thinking can be helpful in some situations, but when overused, can actually be quite harmful.

Many introverts (especially highly sensitive introverts) are particularly vulnerable to the “error” of mind-reading because they’re so good at attuning to others’ body language, emotions, and energy that it feels like they always know what someone else is thinking — even though they don’t actually possess telepathy.

When a conversation goes off-script and anxiety is heightened, introverts may assume others are thinking critically of them and take this assumption as fact. The thoughts of “now he thinks I’m an idiot” — though most likely false — create even more anxiety. It’s a vicious and debilitating cycle.

But you can banish social anxiety. Let’s take a look at the power of identifying and correcting thinking errors.

The Power of Fixing Thinking Errors

Let’s take an example from my practice. One young woman who came to me had a hard time making new friends. This girl was more mature than her cohort and seemed to be having trouble initiating conversation. As we talked, it came to light that her introverted trait of thinking before speaking had spiraled out of control. She’d rehearse for hours what she was going to say to a certain person, then be caught off guard when the conversation didn’t go as scripted. She then feared that people thought she was stupid or awkward (she was mind-reading) and became highly anxious.

After a conversation like this, she’d ruminate over what she should have said for days or weeks. Obviously, this left her too anxious to start any new conversations with anyone, which lead to a cycle of reinforcing her anxiety about social situations and her avoidance of them.

What did we do about it? The first step was education; we discussed both overthinking and mind-reading and how they relate to her introverted nature. She discovered that her tendency to overthink was very helpful in situations where she needed to analyze information and come to a conclusion, like schoolwork, but that with friends and family, it was creating a barrier to close relationships.

She was also able to see that while she is very attuned to others’ emotional states, she isn’t telepathic and can’t actually read others’ minds.

This education into the thought patterns that were feeding her anxiety gave her some valuable insights. For instance, she realized that the thoughts of “stupid” weren’t what she feared others would think of her, but what she thought of herself. Once we hit on this critical insight, she began to understand that her overthinking and mind-reading were actually ways to distract her from the mean things she was saying to herself.

It took quite a few sessions to help this girl become more self-compassionate and to lessen her overthinking. However, by the end of the school year, she was able to not only talk to new people, but to tackle intense, conflict-laden conversations she’d always avoided before.

Anxiety Doesn’t Have to Rule Your Life

This example gives us some valuable insight into how the introvert’s natural penchant for deep thinking and attunement to others can sometimes lead to harmful inner states. It also gives us a road map to moving forward and feeling better.

If you’re an introvert who suffers from social anxiety, the first step is to do what you do best: look inside and bring awareness to the thought patterns that are no longer helping you. Some of the best ways to do this are mindfulness, yoga, and journaling. Mindfulness trains the mind to be non-judging and discerning of thoughts and feelings; yoga helps relieve stress and is a moving meditation; and journaling brings up the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and beliefs we aren’t aware of in daily life that may be holding us back.

Ask yourself if there are thinking errors that are contributing to your anxiety. Are you like the girl I described above? The next time you notice yourself committing a thinking error, don’t judge or beat yourself up for it. Instead, simply notice it — there’s power in this alone! You might go a step further and intentionally replace your thinking error with a positive thought (even if you aren’t totally feeling it yourself at the moment). Try something like, “even though I’m scared, it’s going to be okay” or “I’m a likable person, and people enjoy being around me.”

Here are some more tips to help you mindfully control anxiety, and here’s a great explanation of mindfulness for introverts.

Your social anxiety won’t disappear overnight. But by stepping into mindfulness and identifying/correcting thinking errors, you can stop it from ruling your life.

Do Grammar Mistakes Annoy You? You Might Be an Introvert

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Call me picky, but typos and grammar mistakes bother me. I might judge you — just a little bit — if there are a lot of them in your email or online dating profile.

Turns out, I’m not alone in this. And according to a recent study, being a grammar stickler may have something to do with my introversion.

The study, conducted by linguists at the University of Michigan, found that introverts were more likely to be annoyed by typos and grammatical mistakes than extroverts. And, interestingly, we don’t want to live with the people who commit these errors, either. (More about that later.)

First, let’s take a closer look at the study, then we’ll explore why introverts might be the ultimate grammar sticklers.

The Grammar/Typo Study

Linguists Julie Boland and Robin Queen showed people some emails. These emails were supposed to be responses to an advertisement looking for a roommate. Some of the emails were perfectly well written while others had some typos and grammos. A “grammo” is a mistake involving knowledge of the rules of language, like substituting “their” for “there.” A typo is a little more innocent — it’s hitting the wrong key on the keyboard, and, for instance, producing “teh” instead of “the.”

The participants were then asked whether they agreed with statements like “the writer seems considerate,” “the writer seems trustworthy,” and “the writer seems friendly.” Their ratings were combined to create an overall “good housemate” score.

The participants, all 80 of them, were Americans who came from a range of backgrounds and were of various ages.

The researchers also had participants fill out questionnaires about their own personalities, based on the Big Five traits — openness, conscientiousnessextroversionagreeableness, and neuroticism.

The results? Introverts were more likely than extroverts to rate people as poor roommates if their grammar or spelling was bad — and therefore didn’t want to live with them.

Some Other Findings

There were a few other findings, but for the most part, it’s what you’d expect: Agreeable people didn’t mind grammos. Conscientious people saw typos as a real problem. Oddly, levels of neuroticism didn’t predict any kind of bias toward proper grammar.

The study also found that the second group of people — those who scored lower in agreeableness — were bothered by mistakes as well. People who are agreeable are generally kind, sympathetic, cooperative, and considerate. People who score low in agreeableness are the opposite; they lack empathy and put their own interests above those of others.

So it makes sense that people who are disagreeable — whether they’re introverted or extroverted — would judge others for their mistakes.

Why Do Mistakes Bother Introverts?

But introverts aren’t necessarily disagreeable. So why do grammar mistakes and typos bother them?

The finding about introversion surprised the researchers. Robin Queen told the Guardian, “We hadn’t quite anticipated that introversion would have the effect it did.”

Queen is a linguist, not a personality expert, so she’s not certain why introverts are more bothered by mistakes. But she hypothesizes that it has to do with introverts being more sensitive to variability. Variations from the norm — like spelling and grammar mistakes — require extra processing, which increases arousal.

Introverts are already walking around in a hyper-aroused state. They’re prone to overstimulation and overwhelm, as well as social burnout, a.k.a. the introvert hangover. So processing a mistake can heighten their arousal just a little and put introverts in an uncomfortable place.

“Maybe there’s something about extroverts that makes them less bothered by it,” Queen explained. “Extroverts enjoy variability and engaging with people. They find that energizing. This could be an indirect manifestation of that.”

Do Introverts Agree?

The results of the study made sense to me, but I was curious if it would resonate with other introverts. So I asked Introvert, Dear’s Facebook groupof over 80,000 introverts if typos and grammar mistakes bothered them. Yes, many of them resoundingly answered.

“Are you kidding?” one member, Margaret, wrote. “I’m the original ‘grammar nazi.'”

Adam wrote, “I can spot a typo/grammo/spello (yeah, I just made up a word, what of it?) from a thousand yards. It drives most people nuts, but I apologize for nothing.”

Finally, Mark wrote, “I find that when I read something with bad punctuation or the wrong form of a word, it totally disrupts my reading and it feels like I just tripped over a crack in the sidewalk.”

But the final proof came when one dissenting voice said she “could care less.” Another group member quickly corrected her grammar to “couldn’t care less” and added, “Sorry, I just had to!”

Are introverts picky about grammar? Apparently so.

This post originally appeared on my blog, Introvert, Dear.

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

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

Author Article

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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

See Author Article Here
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.

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