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Stop Feeling Guilty About Being An Introvert

Stop Feeling Guilty About Being an Introvert

I love my family, oh yes I do. But as an introvert, my souls craves some quiet in each day… A time to collect my thoughts, to plan out the day, to breathe, to count my blessings, and to have my soul fed with the life-giving words from God’s Word. I’m a better wife and mom when I make this quiet a priority.

It might mean getting out of bed a little bit earlier than I feel like some mornings, but it is so worth it! Even just 10 or 15 minutes of quiet can make all the difference in my attitude and peace as I face each day.

For the longest time, however, I felt badly that I needed quiet. That I couldn’t just go-go-go and not need to recharge.

I love people, don’t get me wrong, but after about 3-4 hours, I crave a little quiet. I wondered what was wrong with me that I just didn’t want to be with people all of the time. I wondered why I felt so drained after being with people for an extended period of time.

Stop Feeling Guilty About Being an Introvert

I kept wondering why I felt such a need for alone time to refuel my tank often. I wanted to be more outgoing and energetic. I thought I was supposed to love being around people constantly.

But then, I took the Meyers-Briggs test, and that changed everything! I discovered that my personality type is INTJ. Part of that means that I’m an Introvert!

I’m a high introvert, according to the test, which means I don’t want to seclude myself in a cave, but it does mean that I refuel by quiet. That being with people, people, people and never having a break to recharge my tank will make me feel stressed and even grouchy.

Taking the Meyers-Briggs test was life-changing for me. Not only did it help me understand myself better, but it’s helped me relate better to other people — especially when I understand their personality type. Most of all, it’s helped me to stop feeling guilty about being an Introvert and instead embrace this important part of who I am.

Stop Feeling Guilty About Being an Introvert

I have learned that I can’t keep going when I am “peopled out” and I have to give myself permission to be an Introvert and have quiet.

Why am I sharing this? Because I know that many of you can probably relate to this, and I want to encourage you to make it a priority to take time for yourself. If you are an Introvert, you will be a better wife, mom, co-worker, friend, or whatever hats you wear when you take time to fill up yourself with what you need.

I think it’s also incredibly important to understand the difference between Introverts and Extroverts, so that in relationships we learn how to relate to one another. It helps us understand that certain attributes are just personality differences, and not something we should be offended, hurt, or upset by.

Are you an Extrovert or an Introvert? In what ways have you learned to embrace this part of your personality? And how has knowing this helped you relate to others?

P.S. I found this article so fascinating: 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert. 22 out of the 23 are spot-on for me!

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83 Comments

  • I always love finding out people’s Meyer’s-Brigg’s letters. We used to swap them in grad school like they were our “sign.” 🙂 I am an INFJ–high introvert and high J (meaning I like things really scheduled), closer on the others. I definitely recharge by being alone. And, since I am a middle school teacher who is around people and in front of people all day, this means I need calm, peaceful evenings. Figuring this out about myself has helped me be a better wife and mom.

  • Carrie says:

    I am an introvert also and learning more about it as an adult has really helped. It is okay to be an introvert and need me time. I wish I had understood that when I was younger!

  • My husband is an introvert too. It is so funny to me that God leads introverts to get out of their shell and leads them to impact the world so amazingly!

    • So many speakers that I know are introverts… and I find that so interesting!

      • Sherri says:

        Actually, introversion does not equal a fear of public speaking. I don’t necessarily mind being up in front of a group, though it doesn’t excite me. What scares the pants off me is unscripted conversations with people I don’t know well. It can take a while to psych myself up to make a simple phone call.

        • So true!! Part of public speaking involves mingling with people you don’t know before and after… which for most public speakers I’ve talked to who are introverted say is the scariest part. 🙂

  • Lorrie says:

    My daughter and I are both introverts. I have learned over the years that I need quiet and “me” time to re-charge and be a better me, the woman God has designed me to be. My daughter is learning this also. We both love being around people but not 24-7. I think introverts get a bad rap because most people think being an introvert means you don’t enjoy being around others. That’s erroneous thinking. We just need quiet and alone time to recharge our batteries. Thanks for your sharing this Crystal. God made each of uniquely and He does not make mistakes.

  • I also crave that quiet but often don’t get it. I love those mornings I wake up early and can sit in silence before the crazy begins, It really does make me a better mom and wife.

  • Victoria says:

    Totally an introvert. I didn’t take the Meyers-Briggs test until this weekend and it put me high on the introversion scale too—but I have known I was an introvert since high school. I discovered it when I started noticing that many of my high school friends simply were not like me. I preferred to walk 45 minutes from school to home instead of taking the bus just to be by myself after a long day at school-extroverts don’t do that. I love people but to be the best friend, mom, and wife that I can be I need about 1 to 2 hours alone to recharge my batteries each day . Once a season or so I need a longer amount of time–preferably a day to just enjoy quiet and think.

  • lizzy r says:

    thank you for this!

  • Melinda says:

    I am an INTJ as well. It was profound when I found out that it was the rarest female Myers-Briggs type. It helped explain a lot about my high work ethic and introversion. People think that introverts are always quiet, but in reality my line of work requires me to be extroverted. But being an INTJ, I need time alone to recharge. I have a Pinterest board for INTJs if you are interested. The link is https://www.pinterest.com/mindymisuraca/meyers-briggsintj/.

  • Danielle says:

    ISFJ here 🙂 After being a wife for 9 years and mom for 5 years, I am finally just now learning to take a big chunk of quiet time/break in the middle of the day instead of at the end of the day. It was strange for my work ethic to rest and take personal time in the middle of the day like that, but taking a break in the middle instead of the end of the day has really helped my marriage. It means I actually have enough energy to hang out with my husband when he gets home in the evening & after the kids are in bed.

  • Claire says:

    Thanks for this post! I can totally relate. I need those few moments in the day (hours, ideally!) to recharge, tidy up, read, be alone. Seems that so many other people don’t need that, but good to know I am not alone. 🙂

  • This is great. Reading “Quiet” was so helpful for me, especially coming from a background where “all shaped pegs” were forced into square holes. Because of that background, I’m less of a shy introvert than in my younger days, but I do need some serious recharging after being with people!

    Understanding who I am has been so helpful in learning to keep fuel in myself so that I can keeping on going for those who need me in my life.

    P.S. If you’re interested, you or a manager send along a mailing address, I’ll send you a copy of the adult art therapy coloring book I just published. (It’s a collection of 30 timeless hymn texts and mandala artwork: http://amzn.to/1OCtTS4). Your photo caught my eye; creating the book was actually my “introvert restoration time.” 🙂

  • So interesting! I was watching your scope from earlier today and immediately came over to check out this post after you mentioned it. Can you believe I’m 34 and have never taken the Myers Briggs test? I’ve done some other personality tests, but never that one. You have me convinced I should do it though. 🙂 Do you have any tips for doing it inexpensively? I just checked and from what I could tell, it looks like it costs $50, which is a bit more than I feel like I should spend right now.

  • Krysten says:

    I am an INFJ! I have done the Myers-Briggs a few times with different teams I have worked on and wow, it really is enlightening when the group gets to know you in the context of your profile. I too need time to recharge and thanks to the descriptions of the elements of my “type,” I can understand better the characteristics of my personality that I used to think weren’t ideal…and know what I can do to “flex” when I need to! 🙂

  • Brighid says:

    I’m an introvert too! (Quietly waves hand…)

    One thing I was surprised to learn: even on vacation, introverted children need time to be by themselves and be quiet. That’s not an issue if you’re one of 6 families in a 198K square acre park (Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area) but if you’re in a crowded but fun area (National Space Museum or the American Indian Museum in Washington DC), they’re going to need to decompress for a while. In our case, we could do two days of people-intensive sightseeing but we then needed to spend a day at a quiet outdoor pool or hiking in a quiet area or something else like that.

  • Kim Tilstra says:

    Knowing my personality explained so much about who I am! I used to describe myself as an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. As an INFJ I have a definite need for quiet and can identify with much of what you’ve posted on being introverted.

  • Siné says:

    I am an INTJ too. My husband and I have come up with a lot of ways for me to get the alone time and quiet time I need so that I can be the best mom that I can be for our children. My alone time makes me so much less of a grouch. 🙂

  • Sara says:

    INTJ all the way with my I at 78%. My husband and I took our Meyers-Briggs a few years ago as part of a marriage class at church. It was eye-opening for us, and now he understands why I need my recharge time. He is an ESFJ! 😁

  • Ah Crystal, I am an INTJ too – I had no idea how rare it was until I watched your scope today where you mentioned 1-2% of the population is INTJ, with even less being female. Crazy!

    Only in the last two years have I really been able to fully appreciate my introvert tendencies and realize that it’s completely okay to crave and need that alone time to refuel myself. I love people too, but also find myself burning out at about the 3 hour mark and wanting to just be by myself. I took your Makeover Your Mornings course this summer and have found that the act of waking up before my 1-year-old every day is a wonderful way to feel like I’m taking care of myself. And I am absolutely a better wife and mom by doing it!

    Thanks for sharing your experience with being an introvert, it’s always nice to know I’m not alone in my (not so weird now) tendencies! 🙂

    -Christina

    • “I took your Makeover Your Mornings course this summer and have found that the act of waking up before my 1-year-old every day is a wonderful way to feel like I’m taking care of myself. And I am absolutely a better wife and mom by doing it!”

      This makes me so happy! Thanks for sharing!

      And yay for another INTJ girl!!

  • Christina says:

    INFJ here, married to an INTJ. I am also a super introvert. I never understood why I was so different from everyone else, until I took that test a few years ago. Then I went on an internet and YouTube binge about everything introvert. It made me understand and love myself so much more! I also love being married to an introvert, because we totally understand each other.

  • I love this post Crystal! It is so me. Growing up I got a lot of flak for always wanting peace and quiet. They called me a ‘hibernator.’ It was so hard.
    But with time I got to understand the reason I was the way I was. I struggled with the guilt, and it always made me feel like I wasn’t a loving person. I have more understanding now and I appreciate the way God made me.
    I love the personality tests. They helped me a great deal.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh yes, I get it! I’m an INTP.

    I just finished listening to the replay of this afternoon’s scope. I wanted you to know that I’ve put a post-it note on my laptop with your name on it and will be specifically praying for you over the next week as the book launch gets closer.

    I really believe Money Making Mom has the potential to change the perspective and motivation of many women who are exhausted by our culture’s push to make a name for yourself and earn six figures while you’re at it, but not for the sake of others or anything that’s eternal. In my old age, I’ve come to expect an attack when something this significant is launching. 🙂

  • Cynthia says:

    I took a personality test this past week and found I’m mixed on the introvert/extrovert scale. I am energized by being around people, but I need to withdraw to process my own emotions and deal with stress. I’ve found as things get busier this is so true for me!

  • Beth says:

    Thank you for writing this Crystal!! I have not taken the Myers-Briggs test but have taken several others like it. They all confirm that I like to deal with people as little as possible, need lots of detail, am task oriented (meaning I can’t just sit and be, I always feel the need to get things done) and need to finish the work before I can have fun. I took most of them at work so we could learn how to better deal with our coworkers but I found it the most helpful in dealing with my husband! We’ve both taken them and have learned what the other needs in order to thrive. We communicate so much better now and are better able to fulfill each other’s needs. My husband knows that after being social for a long stretch, I need some down time to restore myself and that if he wants to sell me on something, I need lots of detail and facts before I can make my decision. And I know that he needs social activity and a certain amount of spontaneity, likes to make quick decisions so he can move on and needs play time mixed in with work to make him more productive. We deal with each other so much better! Now if we could just get the kids to figure all this out, life would be so much easier!! Ha ha!

  • Susan says:

    Another INTJ here! There were times in my life when I thought I would scream if one more person asked me why I was so quiet all the time or what was wrong when I was simply being my innate INTJ self. As an adult, studying more about this has been helpful to me in realizing why I really never feel like I “fit in”. It has also been helpful to my husband who has realized that giving me an hour or so away from my SAHM duties, just to be alone, can do wonders for my whole outlook on life and make for a much happier Mama 🙂

  • Monica says:

    Hello! I took the 16 personalities http://www.16personalities.com test a couple days ago and found out I’m an ISFJ… The description was so dead on that I felt like they had crawled into my head. I’ve known for awhile that I’m introverted, however, as a child I was made to feel that I should be more outgoing since I had an extroverted parent. It always made me feel like I was wrong. I’ve loved coming to terms as an adult that it’s just how I am! I would love to see an article on an introverted parent having extroverted children and ways to deal with that. I don’t know if any of your children fall into the extroverted category, but I find it can be a struggle sometimes for me. Also, are there any personality tests for kids to take?

    • We had our kids take the test at 16personalities.com.

      “The description was so dead on that I felt like they had crawled into my head.”

      YES! Isn’t it weird??! And it feels SO good that someone actually *gets* us!

  • Crystal says:

    My husband and I took the MB test over the summer, and it made so much sense. I’m and introvert, and he’s barely an extrovert (I think he’s an adapted introvert :), and knowing my personality has definitely helped me to understand myself better and how I relate to other people. It’s also helped me to be more gracious because I understand why others don’t always see things the way this ISTJ does. I’ve even learned to consciously give myself more grace because I realize that most of the pressure in my life comes from my own perfectionism.

  • I am not an introvert and I still crave that quiet alone time.

  • Jessica says:

    I am also an INTJ!

  • I am an INFJ. I have known it for almost twenty years, and I still struggle to accommodate my introversion needs. Homeschooling and living in a household made up almost exclusively of extroverts causes me to feel really guilty about taking a time out for myself. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Sarah says:

    I enjoyed learning your personality type, Crystal. I had wondered over time, knowing from your posts that you MUST be an introvert. You are truly unique! I wanted to have a house full of children but have none. As “sad” as that is, I can see it as a blessing now, from an introversion standpoint and also because of the challenges that prevented those children from coming. I am, instead, blessed to be married to a wonderful husband and an aunt of 78 and counting!

  • Kathy says:

    ISFJ here! Taking Meyers-Briggs was life changing for me too. When I read about my letters, it was like everything fell into place. It explained SO MUCH about why I am the way I am and I felt so much better about myself! Now I understand why I’m mentally checked out after a few hours with people, and even less if I’m really tired. I crave my alone time, and have never minded being on my own. I tell my students (college age) that it should be required for all roommate situations! 🙂 It really is eye opening and can help you understand people SO much better!

  • Darcy says:

    Loved this article! I am an ISTJ! Good reminder that we need to embrace who we are and fuel accordingly so we can be our best selves for our family and those around us!

  • Extrovert (I know you already know this!), BUT I do crave quiet. For me, though, it’s after 3-4 DAYS (as opposed to after 3-4 hours). LOL Or after being out in a crowded shopping venue. LOL

  • Marilynne Rowland says:

    ISFJ here! Everyone should have to take this test in high school to choose a career. For me, it would have been a game changer! I was 50 years old when I took the test and already invested in an Extrovert’s career: sales! The information was very helpful raising my children especially my extroverted youngest. Check out Gary Smalley’s books on personalities. He uses animals to help understand the 4 very basic styles. This is great one for kids, The Treasure Tree: Helping Kids Understand Their Personality by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

  • Jo says:

    As a fellow introvert, I really appreciated what you shared! To be honest, I still struggle to be okay with who I am, especially on those days when being a mom feels like it takes all my energy and leaves nothing for other people. I really appreciate having a few best friends who enjoy meaningful conversation but I feel dull and boring when trying to make chit chat with casual acquaintances. I’d love to hear more tips on how you have stepped beyond your fears and learned to relate to others when you’d much rather be home in your pjs’. 🙂

  • Vanessa says:

    I’m on INTJ too! I have struggled with the same guilt feeling you speak of especially since a lot of women I grew up around were very extroverted.

  • I’m and INTJ too. Did you know that INTJs are pretty rare, forming only 2% of the population? And women INTJs are just 0.8% of the population!! Learning that little tidbit shed light on so many experiences of my life. There is SO MUCH to each personality type that goes way beyond the 4 letters. Personality Hacker (personalityhacker.com — no affiliation) is a terrific resource for learning not just about your tendencies, but also about personal growth, how you function in relationships, how you function when you are healthy vs. unhealthy, etc. Fascinating (and very useful) stuff!!

  • Allison says:

    I’m an ISFJ that is married to an INTJ. While we are alike in few ways, but we’re mostly opposite. Now that we know what those differences are, we’re trying to encourage each other in our weaker areas so we can grow there. I’m honestly not sure how we even ended up together, except that God saw we could use each other and help each other grow to accomplish better things for Him.

  • Rachel Templeton says:

    I’m also an introvert. ISTJ here. It can be really hard as a Pastor’s wife to be an introvert. So much of my responsibility is to walk up to strangers and acquaintances and make small talk. It is literally the hardest thing I have to do. I’ve taught Sunday school classes which is easier than making small talk. It’s been hard for me and my husband to understand my role when it’s so hard for me. But I am learning as I get older what my personality is good for. God gave me gifts that I can use in spite of/ because of being an introvert. God Bless!!!

  • Megan May says:

    Love this post, thank you!
    My friend refers to me as a “raging introvert, ” and as a mother and a high school teacher, I am usually completely peopled out by the end of the day!

    Have you read the book Quiet? Its so amazing. I am learning so much about myself and how to be and introvert who happens to interact with little people allllllll day. One of the most important messages I took from it was that it is essential to carve out alone time every day…. I do it (at least) first thing in the morning too!

  • Rebekah says:

    I appreciate, as always, your forthrightness and openness about what we need as women, as moms, and as wives. Your willingness to share your struggles and triumphs in this area of your life has encouraged me to seek to understand my own personality better in order to make the necessary changes that would enable me to be a more peaceful wife and mother.
    I did take the test at 16personalities, but even though some of what they say fits, some of it doesn’t. I think I will take it again with my husband. He tends to help me be more realistic in viewing myself!

  • Jen says:

    I’m an extrovert. I’ve always felt a little envious of people who are more introverted. I have a big personality and sometimes I wish I could be the cool mysterious one. I have often walked away from a conversation thinking “maybe i shouldn’t have told them that” or “oh no I bet they think I’m crazy” we all have struggles with our personality traits I think

  • Renee says:

    Did you ever read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking?” http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448567966&sr=8-1&keywords=quiet

    As an extrovert married to an introvert, it was so helpful to me!
    Also, it made me want to be an introvert 😉 I highly recommend!!

  • CM says:

    I was going to recommend the above book also (Quiet by Susan Cain) as well. So, so good. She also has an amazing TEDx talk about her findings. https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts?language=en

    I would also recommend the book “Introverts in the Church”. Along with the book above, it talks about how modern American churches (like society as a whole) are geared towards extroverts. It’s been so helpful to me to be able to embrace who God has made me to be and understand I have ‘quiet strengths’ that are created for God’s glory. They are mistakes I need to correct.

  • Aimee says:

    My hubby is an extrovert for sure! Sometimes I wonder how we even ended up together. I am a total extrovert but I know I need my friends and it’s good to make new ones to. There are days when we seem to butt heads but I know deep down we compliment each other.

  • Jamie says:

    I’m an introvert too! I love being at home with my children all day, but they also make me crazy. I’m seven years and four kids into this parenting gig, and I still haven’t figured out how to carve out time alone. I am so drained and edgy. My baby wakes up as soon as I do, so mornings aren’t really working. My husband and I spend our evenings together, and I need that hour or so of downtime with him. I can’t figure out how to get time alone… truly alone! Any tips or ideas?

  • Kelly says:

    I wasn’t sure if I was an introvert or not. I read the article you linked and it was dead on. The article said that introverts prefer writing. I’ve been thinking long and hard about writing a blog. I love reading other people’s blogs in my down time.

  • Amber says:

    I am also a female INTJ. It was good for me to understand my personality but also made me feel rather alone, especially among women. This article was so encouraging to me! I have always found your posts relatable and now I know why 😉 Thank you for sharing! And letting me see I am not the only one.

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