“If you know a child who is your Identivert, what do you want to say to her?”
That’s my writing prompt for this week from ayearwithmyself.com, a year long journaling experience for women.
The term Identivert is being used to describe another person who shares your introversion or extroversion personality trait, in my case, my introversion. However, since even introverts cover a fairly wide range of personality types, I decided to address my entry to a child who shares my full INFP personality profile, but with a particular focus on the introversion aspect.
According to the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator, I am an INFP (Introvert Intuitive Feeling Perceptive) personality type. If you know me and read the basic description of this personality type, I believe you would quickly agree that the assessment is correct. I am NOT a people person. Asking me to ‘mingle’ and socialize is an emotionally draining prospect. (Surprisingly to some people) I’d rather get up in front of a large crowd of people to speak than have to chit-chat with people about miscellaneous daily life trivia.
Unfortunately, because of this aversion for small talk, I have found myself being labeled as ‘stuck up’ or ‘unfriendly’ by those who enjoy such sharing of surface conversations. To my surprise, I have discovered that some people put great value on my expressions of polite pleasantries; whether or not a particular individual has said hello or made a comment about the weather to them has become their barometer of how much value they have in the eyes of that person. (Why anyone would be so desirous of my particular appreciation of their being, I have no clue. But since such offense has been taken when I have not verbally acknowledged others to their satisfaction, I have come to accept it as an odd, but true reality.)
Therefore, I would want to share this peculiar reality of the extroverted population with her. I would stress to her that although she may feel quite invisible to the rest of the world around her, that in reality, they not only see her, but are greatly desirous of her acknowledgement in a minor fashion.
Of course, I would have to stress the ‘minor’ aspect. As introverts of the INFP variety, we understand and appreciate deep personal connections and conversations. Recognizing that others demand an appetizer, but are not at all interested in delving into a meaty full course meal is something that is difficult for us to comprehend.
So, I would encourage my younger counterpart to learn the art of ‘polite conversation’ and to express meaningless greetings with people she hardly knows. I would explain that it should be considered a gift to them that has great value. Although in your mind it seems that you are doing them a disservice to salt their lives with flavorless morsels of nothingness, for them, it is the feeding of their worth as a person.
“Have pity on them,” I would say. “They do not know who they are and depend upon the words of others to define themselves.”
She would certainly shake her head in sadness at that and vow to do her best to force meaningless greetings out of her mouth, to provide them with this false sense of nourishment they so greatly desire.
Lastly, I would encourage her with the fact that, should she get them alone, she might offer a fuller meal and find that there are those who will be willing to join her in a feast of deeper subjects. Not all, of course, but there will be some, and those banquets will satisfy the emptiness that is left from the spooning out of pablum to those not interested in the richer fare.