A Test for Introverts

When you get on the Internet and go from link to link, that’s surfing the web, isn’t it? I don’t know. Seems like a better metaphor would be bread-crumbing through the web. Or Hansel and Gretel-ing through the Web. Okay, surfing is easier, it just seems a lot more purposeful and shorter than following a trail of breadcrumbs, each leading the next as you wander deeper and deeper into the forest… And then suddenly you sit up, look at the clock and say, “What happened?

It’s almost always interesting, and sometimes it’s actually useful.

Like last weekend. A friend sent me to an interesting essay by Maria Shriver. I think there was a link there that caught my eye which led to another link (Job Tips for Introverts– Find a Career to match your personality traits)  and another (What Your Favorite Dog Breed Says About Your Personality) until I had reached A Test for Introverts

Having already been intrigued by statements in the Job Tips article about introverts, and already knowing I was an introvert, I still wanted to see what their criterion was and what the test about. The Job Tips article pointed out the advantage of knowing yourself and more important being comfortable with that knowledge when you go about choosing a career. Obviously it’s a bit late for me to choose a career, and really my career (if you can call it that) chose me, so the whole thrust of the article was not aimed at me, but I’ve mostly come across descriptions of introversion presented as if it were some sort of aberration or handicap.

Indeed, given that our culture seems to favor extroverts, I suppose it can be regarded as such in the eyes of extroverts. It seems that extroverts have taken over, especially the book industry, with all the advice that’s piled on writers, (generally introverted types, who like being alone a lot,) to get out there and work the room, make contacts, sell your book, pitch it in elevators, go make friends with the bookstore clerks, radio people, TV people, do book signings, tours, seek out the stockers that fill the book racks at grocery stores, make friends with them, sell, sell, sell, network, network, network, etc.


I think I might prefer pounding my thumb with a hammer. But, as I said, I am and introvert. Anyway, in the Job Tips article I came across one book that regards introversion as an asset not a mental defect, and another one entitled Self-Promotion for Introverts!  At last.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The article introducing the test for introverted personality traits (said test coming from The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney) (advantage? Did it really say advantage?) promises the test will

reveal some interesting facets of your personality – especially if you’re an introvert! For instance, did you know that introverts don’t think of casual acquaintances as friends? And, introverts take a long time to sort out information…and they dread returning phone calls (that’s me!). 

That’s me, too. In fact, all three of those characteristics are me. The test has 29 questions. If you answer true for 20 – 29 of them you’re a “true introvert”. I answered 26 of them true and one more true and false (“I usually need to think before I speak”. If I stop to think before I speak, I often don’t speak at all. So while I might need to do it, I’m not usually at a loss for words and tend to blurt… )

If you answer 10-19 of them true, you’re both, and 1-9 means you’re an extrovert. “You relish variety, have lots of  ‘close, personal’ friends and will chat with complete strangers…”


10 Responses to “A Test for Introverts”

  1. 1 Christina Adams April 28, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Wow! This post really nailed me. I took the test for introverts and scored 26 as well! The questions verbalized much of what I already knew about myself, but had never really connected. Like the fact that I often need time to think about things and I like to listen more than I like to talk. It’s nice to know there are more people like me out there.

    • 2 karenhancock April 28, 2010 at 7:22 am

      Thanks for commenting, Christina! According to one of the articles I read there, 57% of Americans test themselves as being introverts. Yet our culture seems to demand and encourage extroverts. The author of the article suggested that many introverts are trying to pretend they are extroverts … or trying to become them, rather than appreciating who and what God made them to be, and focusing on their own strengths.

      • 3 Christina Adams April 28, 2010 at 9:13 am

        I can’t tell you how many times I felt like I was letting God down for not wanting to approach strangers or thinking of the perfect thing to say long after an opportunity passed. But because God made me this way, He has a purpose for me just the way I am. I feel much lighter. : )

  2. 4 Anne April 28, 2010 at 9:53 am

    This was so good! I took the test and answered yes to 26 as well. Both my husband and I are very introverted and keep feeling pressured to be more extroverted (by family and pretty much everyone!). So, to know there are so many other people out there who feel the same (57%, really?), is extremely comforting. Makes me a little mad at all those extroverts trying to “force us out of our shells,” but it feels great to accept myself and feel good about the way God made me! Thanks so much!

    • 5 karenhancock April 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Anne. Glad you enjoyed the test. It really did say 57% though of course I did not research that to make sure it’s correct. Regardless, I’m sure there are quite a few of us, and what’s comforting to me is to really look at the specific characteristics of introversion in a positive light, as assets, rather than defects. To see that God really did know what He was doing!

  3. 6 Marti Switzler April 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I too am an introvert. Coming up on my 68th birthday I’ve had a lot of time to understand that. That meant as a teenager I had a lot of first dates, but not that many second dates. I’ve had the thought that to be introverted is to be self centered. Aren’t we supposed to have Jesus first in our thoughts, others second and ourselves last? If I could live it over again I would like to have been more conscious of what others were saying and responding to that, rather than worrying about what I could say–and not saying anything. Yet I am at peace with how God made me, and have been told that I have a calming spirit that puts people around me at ease. Who’d a thunk it?

    • 7 karenhancock April 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      Hi Martha! Thanks for commenting. I think that introverts can certainly be self-centered, but so can extroverts. But I don’t think that introversion is by definition being self-centered. Most of the characteristics listed in the test had nothing to do with self-absorption. “If two people have just had an argument, I feel the tension in the air.” This is someone who is sensitive to others’ emotional states; liking to listen more than talk is not self-centered, either. Needing time to sort things out when taking in lots of information is neither self-centered nor other-centered; it just is. Hmm. This seems like it might want to be a post, so I’ll stop now and go see. Thanks again for the thought-provoking comment!

  4. 8 Gayle Coble April 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I think I am probably an extrovert, but I am going to take the test anyway. It will give me a little time to rest before I unpack the boxes of Yankee Candles. Will let you know the results.

  5. 9 Gayle Coble April 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Well, the test says I am both. Personally I think some of my answers are based on the fact I am older and I do not like some things that I used to like. The statement I found most interesting….I don’t like overstimulating environments. Well, my first thought upon reading the statement was how stimulating the environment that surrounds Bible class is and how refreshed my soul feels after that stimulation. And too, I love sports and that is stimulating. Oh, well! Let’s face it, Karen, I am just me, changing as He molds me. Now that is grace…

    • 10 karenhancock April 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      Yeah, Gayle, I’d’ve guessed both. Kelli is too. I’m not sure a true introvert could open a store and keep it going for 27 or so years. Not if they don’t like chatting with strangers, don’t want to return phone calls, go blank when someone asks about a product, seem quiet, myserious and aloof to customers and zone out when too many people are in the store. 😀

      I thought of overstimulating environments as ones with lots of people I don’t know running around, music, phone calls, interruptions… On the other hand, I love Bible Conferences and run around chatting with strangers at the drop of the hat, because with the like-mindedness that comes from doctrine and especially sharing a pastor. Although I have to admit that most of the people I talk to are dear friends I’ve not seen in awhile. When I first started going, though, it was very, very difficult, especially laden as I was by the burden my sin nature had dumped on me to meet and chat with strangers, and maybe make lasting friends as well. Talk about unrealistic — and self-absorbed expectations!

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