Introverts rely on their internal thoughts and emotions to navigate their way through daily life. Carl Jung, one of the founders of modern psychology, defined introversion as a personality trait or attitude that directs energy inward toward oneself. People often misread introverts as shy or standoffish. Social interaction, particularly casual and superficial conversation and behaviour, is hard work for introverts who lean naturally toward reflection and analysis. Introverts socialise, but they often need time afterward to recoup their energy. Introverts gravitate toward solitary pursuits and activities that offer balance between external interaction and internal thought.
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Introverted children thrive on activities that require quiet time and thought. Reading, writing and arts and crafts projects are common types of activities for introverted kids. Large ongoing projects such as stamp and coin collections, tending a garden, training and caring for pets and playing a musical instrument provide comfort zones where introverted kids can relax and recharge after day at school. Sports that emphasise individual performance such as track, golf, gymnastics and swimming allow introverted kids to be part of a team without the pressure of teamwork and team expectations.
A common misconception about Introverts is that they are painfully shy individuals who require pep talks to lure them out of their homes. People and crowds are not troubling; it's interacting with lots of people on a casual basis that is difficult. Introverts tend to enjoy attending baseball games or other spectator sports with just one or two people. Movies, plays, museums and concerts are also activities that allow introverts to avoid social stress. Introverts are not limited to passive entertainment, however. Hiking, cycling, horseback riding, skating, skiing, and other activities that allow introverts some breathing space and breaks from conversation and interaction are all activities that introverts can enjoy.
Researchers who study introverts and introverts themselves seem to disagree about the value and success of social media as an activity for people who need significant amounts of quiet time alone. A 2009 study of students at the University of Louisiana concludes that Facebook favours extroverts, in part because extroverted users had more activity and larger groups of friends. However, for introverts, quality rather than quantity is what matters most to them. Social media sites allow introverts to devote time to a chosen number of social relationships at their own pace and on their own schedules. They can log off whenever they've had enough interaction and log back on when they feel the need for company.
Introverts avoid the limelight and do not enjoy being the centre of attention. Activities that focus on tasks with specific goals and accomplishments offer the type of balance between external interaction and internal processing that introverts seek out. Volunteering to serve meals at homeless shelter or to clean up a public park are possible options for activities. Taking a class, or sharing a specific skill such as gourmet cooking, also provide the type of structure that introverts appreciate. In general, introverts are deliberate rather than spontaneous. They enjoy activities most when the expectations are clear ahead of time.
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- The Atlantic; "Caring for Your Introvert;" Jonathan Rauch; Feb. 24, 2006,
- Teach-nology; "Activities Where Introverted Children Can Win;" Nancy Fenn
- Live Science; "Brains of Introverts;" Rachel Rettner; Aug. 18, 2010
- Social Media Today; "Confessions Of A Social Media Introvert;" Sean Nicholson April 28, 2010
- CBS News; "Facebook Benefits Extroverts Most;" Caitlin Wolters; Feb. 11, 2009
- Street Level Consulting: Introversion