The Other Side of Introverts


Nine Ways to be an Introvert by E Wagele

I saw something today on my web site’s INFP page that sent a chill up my spine:

The inferior function
Introverted feelers’ least developed and most unconscious function is extraverted thinking, which may be triggered by being criticized or self-criticism. It often takes the form of nit-picking or being hostile, critical, or sarcastic.”

 This is a quote from my book, The Happy Introvert, A Wild and Crazy Guide to Your True Self  from the chapter Introverts, the Workplace, and Myers-Briggs.

INFP stands for four of the eight Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality preferences: introversion, intuition, feeling and perceiving. (The others are extraversion, sensation, thinking, and judging.) I am an INFP, though the typical Enneagram 5-Observer (me) is an INTP. In other words, I’m an introverted feeler with intuition. I’m comfortable with my inner life but when I should communicate I don’t always do the right thing. This is where my inferior function, extraverted thinking, comes in.

I was having some problems concerning a friend and felt self-critical for continuing the relationship. Eventually I started making verbal slips. The things that came out of my mouth (my extraverted feeling) were shameful; things I never would have said consciously. I nit-picked, I was hostile, I was critical. Since I didn’t quit the relationship consciously, my unconscious stepped in and did it for “me.” As Jung said, the conscious and unconscious act to balance one another.

I saw why I should have paid more attention to the following advice I gave INFPs and ISFPs in The Happy Introvert:

“If you are an introverted feeler, you value ideals, art, and life, and are motivated to improve the human condition. When something upsets you…, instead of retreating, make a point of staying and working things out. Make sure your environment is safe for expressing what you think and feel, or you might notice you are holding back your opinions.” When we hold things back, they sneak out when we don’t want them to. Oops!

MORE ABOUT INTROVERTED FEELERS:

Feeling types make judgments according to such values as compassion, beauty, empathic connections, and harmony. Introverted feeling types (INFPs and ISFPs) value personal experience and subjective meanings so highly, they look down upon collective opinions and the extraverts who hold them. They become inflexible when their deepest beliefs are threatened.

Introverted feelers with sensing, ISFP’s, are compassionate, use and take pleasure in their five senses, and tend to be good listeners. If you are an idealist and a soul-searcher, you may be an introverted feeler with intuition, an INFP.

Typical occupations for INFPs, include psychologists, artists, writers, philosophers, teachers, editors, inventors, and musicians. Your intuition is extraverted. If you are an introverted feeler with intuition you are creative, recognize potential in others, and understand abstract, intangible aspects of life. Avoid jobs that place you in highly competitive situations. Honor your need for quiet, consciously use your thinking ability to determine whether you have overlooked any important facts or details, and look for opportunities to engage your imagination.

The rich inner life is definitely worth all we “introverted feelers with intuition” go through. When I see a flower, a blade of grass, a Coke can, or anything else, I have a richer experience than someone whose inner life is neglected. That’s just one of many things that I love about being this type.Nigel Thompson, an INFP.

NOW The Career Within You is in Korean and Japanese. See the Japanese cover: https://bitly.com/CareerJapan

For Famous People’s Enneagram and MBTI types see my Psychology Today blog and my web site.

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How to Find Your Perfect Love Match


The Enneagram will help you choose a partner wisely or revive a relationship.

After writing “The Enneagram Made Easy,” Renee Baron and I were asked so many questions by people looking for a partner that we decided to write a book about the Enneagram and relationships. For “Are You My Type, Am I Yours?” (HarperCollins) we interviewed hundreds of people about their past and present relationships. We wanted to know which Enneagram combinations worked and didn’t work and why. We organized our book according to how each of the nine types gets along with the other eight types: why they like them and why they have trouble with them. We also have charts in each chapter that show which type each type chooses to pair up with most and least often .

We found that female Perfectionists, for example, pair up with male Peace Seekers most often and male Adventurers pair up with female Helpers and Romantics the most. Sometimes types choose each other because they’re so different but after a year or so, the differences that attracted them becomes a problem. Someone who seemed stimulating at first may in time seems to lack depth or appears depressed. Someone who’s attractive because he’s mellow at first may in time become objectionable because of not having enough ambition. So much depends on the combination.

“Are You My Type, Am I Yours?” helps readers become aware of their own past experiences that can shed light on their present or future involvements.

This book teaches some helpful Enneagram theory and information (subtypes, the three centers, how the Enneagram meshes with the MBTI TM system, how to tell lookalike types apart, famous pairs, and “wings and arrows”) and includes tests to identify the reader’s type. Also, people have pointed out to me (and I agree) that some of my best cartoons are in this book. Relationships make good material for cartooning.

Does the Beloved MBTI Mix with the Enneagram?


When Renee Baron and I were doing research for “The Enneagram Made Easy,” we asked an esteemed therapist who knew both the MBTITM and the Enneagram if she would tell us her ideas about using the two systems together. She essentially said that they are both so precious that it would be blasphemy to combine them. I didn’t agree with her then, and now, 18 years later, I love both systems even more and continue to use them separately and combined, in my private life and in my writing.

In editing the chapters of “The Career Within You,” Ingrid Stabb and I used the MBTITM as to check the accuracy of the distribution of Enneagram traits, just as Renee and I had done in “The Enneagram Made Easy” and “Are You My Type, Am I Yours?” and I had done in “The Enneagram of Parenting” and “Finding the Birthday Cake.” This was especially important, because the traditional Enneagram literature and Enneagram lore has the nine types skewed toward a preponderance of intuitives or visionary personalities. The reason for this is that those interested in systems, such as the Enneagram and the MBTITM, are mostly intuitive types. Therefore, the subjects most Enneagram authors base their conclusions on (themselves, their students, and their friends) are also mostly intuitives. People of the opposite type, sensate, are rarely found studying systems like the Enneagram and the MBTITM. The MBTITM is also a valuable resource because it has statistics of how many of each type occur in the population:

Distribution of MBTITM Types in the US population

Source of General Population Data: Myers et al, 1998

51% Extraverted, 49% Introverted

73% Sensing (down to earth), 27% intuitive (visionary)

Thinking 40%, Feeling 60%

54% Judging (wanting closure), 46% Perceiving (keeping options open)

Based on the MBTITM statistics, then, Perfectionists, are made up of about half and half introverts and extraverts. Almost three quarters of them are sensing, and 60% feeling. Knowing what we know about Perfectionists, we might change the percentage of feelers (60%) and thinkers (40%)—there may be more thinking type Perfectionists than 40%. The U.S population is 54% judging. Judging is one of their basic traits so that should be raised to much more than 54%. Asserters probably reflect the statistics above, so there might be, for example, 27 intuitive types to 73 sensate types. Romantics will have fewer than 40% thinkers, however, because feeling is a common trait of theirs, and Observers will have more than 40% thinkers, because thinking is something they are known for. Still, there are thinking type Romantics and feeling type Observers (I’m a feeling type Observer myself).

I think the most misunderstood number by Enneagram writers is the Adventurer. They are almost always portrayed as intuitive types but I don’t believe it! My Adventurer son is a sensate type and I believe he’s one of 73% of Adventurers of the population that are sensate. It may be a mistake to portray more than 27% of Adventurers as visionaries.

In conclusion, I wish more people would apply the beloved MBTITM to the Enneagram in order to reflect the population more accurately. It’s inaccurate to present a picture of the kind of people who want to read about the personality system instead of a picture of the real population of the country.

Reminder: please send me a story of an interesting or uplifting dying or near-death experience along with the subject’s Enneagram type for my current book project. See my post of August 10, 2010 on Psychology Today http://bit.ly/psychtdy for more details. ewagele@aol.com

Learn about the books mentioned at http://www.wagele.com and http://careerwithinyou.com

What’s Virtuous about Fighting for Kitties?


Asserter carpenterLong before I heard about the Enneagram personality system, I knew I needed to model myself more after the personality type I was later to learn is called the “Asserter,” as seen in the example above with the tattoo on his arm. He tells it like it is and is more than willing to fight over his truth. He loves kittens. Unlike his co-worker, he doesn’t consider this affection an affliction. It doesn’t lessen his manhood one iota. So there! Good for him. I admire a person who honors truth! This decisive, confident archetype of the Asserter was well known to me for most of my life without having to be taught about it. So the Enneagram made sense: it imparted truths of human nature. The nine types were there to see and to check out. They weren’t arbitrary. I saw them in the people I came in touch with every day.

Being an Observer with a strong Romantic wing, I’m fond of authenticity. I’m an INFP in the MBTI system, which means I’m a soul-searcher, an artistic type. I’ve been writing books and drawing cartoons for 15 years and I play the piano. I love the arts. But for the past few months I’ve been doing little but marketing my newest book, “The Career Within You.” The Observer in me is curious and enjoys new areas of learning. I’ve learned about Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Flickr, You Tube, and a few other marketing tools. I spend hours each day on these things and some of it is fun. My dreams at night seem to be telling me I’m clogging up my creative side, though. It’s true–I’ll have ideas about future projects and start on them only to abandon them for some deadline having to do with marketing.

I’m like the guy in the cartoon. He probably wants to go home and play with his kitten. He’s not a wimp and neither am I. We just know what we like. He’s telling the world about his passion and I’m telling the world about mine right now: the Enneagram. There are many reasons I love it, too many to lay out here. But two big reasons are: •1)  the Enneagram pinpointed my type for me, the Observer, so that instead of feeling on the outside, I was comforted to know that my “group” was seen. • 2) the Enneagram has possibilities for great good in the world as a tool for healing racial, cultural, and religious divides. It is already saving and healing individuals and groups and I want to see its usefulness expand. I think my books are good for that. http://www.wagele.com If you’re one of my fans, you can help with my social marketing project in many ways. A fun way is to go to my CARTOON SHARING PROJECT on my home page, lift the html of some of your favorite cartoons, and put them on your own web site or other forums and help spread the word that way or in emails.

Cultivating Mindfulness


Mandala

Yesterday I had lunch with some friends. I was feeling guarded about one of them, who will often fly off the handle in the passion of presenting his positions on things. I have quite an even temperament and I don’t always do so well with people who are the opposite from me in that regard. I tend to feel overwhelmed by their emotions and lose track of myself. So before we met I felt uneasy considering what I might do about this. But as I observed him talking to another member of our group I noticed what an emotional person he is–and I let it in that this has nothing to do with me. I think I’ve been seeing him as intimidating me all too readily. As it turned out, he never did go into a rage that day. Now that I have greater insight into myself, I have time to work on my own attitude before we meet again in a few weeks. I will try to accept him as a person who is unlike me; he is emotionally based. Hopefully I have tender feelings, but I would never express them so dramatically. Either it’s not my in-born style or maybe I’m too timid. He probably represents my shadow.

As often happens, this breakthrough (I call it a breakthrough because I had been struggling with this person’s temper for a long time) didn’t come out of the blue. It comes on the heels of a much larger breakthrough concerning a family member. Being mindful was a help to me in both cases. After receiving a wrongfully accusing letter from a relative, I had plunged into a negative feeling state and started to obsess about how to react. Several times I considered pushing my feelings away and trying to forget the whole thing, but my energy was so intense I decided something productive might be percolating inside of me. I had felt similarly when in on the verge of creative breakthroughs in the past. Sure enough, in another couple of weeks I had solved a big puzzle. After trying to be open and waiting, things came together and the story of this tangled relationship started to make sense. I was glad I had stuck it out, including working hard on the dreams I had during this period, and able to make more progress on this situation than I ever expected. So taking the “positive” route doesn’t always achieve the best results. Sometimes hanging out in an uncertain or even negative place turns out to be the best in the long run.

“The Happy Introvert”


IntrovertLadyDo you know if you’re an introvert? Would you be proud to know you were? As I say in my book, “The Happy Introvert; A Wild and Crazy Guide to Your True Self,” when I proudly announced to my mother that I was an introvert, she shot back angrily, “You are not! You are a nice girl!” Now that many decades have gone by, I can say with certainty that being an introvert has brought me many pleasures. I’ve never been bored except when other people don’t know when to stop talking and I try not to let that happen. I generally love people and I spend much of my time studying them. I also like my own company and can find many ways to amuse myself. This is a big subject that I filled a whole book with, so there’s not room to cover it here, but here are some questions you can ask yourself if you think you might be an introvert:

1. Do you usually prefer limiting your time with people to an hour or two?

2. Do people usually realize you’re interesting only after they get to know you fairly well?

3. Are you critical of superficiality?

4. Do you tend to concentrate in depth when doing a project?

5. Is your style of speech relatively calm and quiet?

6. Are you more likely to engage in learning or improving your skills than looking for outside stimulation?

7. Is your ability to remember people’s names average to low?

8. In social situations, do you sometimes or often stand back and observe?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, it’s likely you are an introvert. We all use both introversion and extraversion every single day, but one of these feels more easy and natural more of the time. I kept hearing people talk about introverts in a negative way and I wanted to help clear up some of the misconceptions about this subject. I’m glad I did. “The Happy Introvert” helps those introverts who might think something is wrong with themselves, when really introversion is perfectly natural and necessary. It also tezches people how to relate better to the introverts in their lives.

See the cover and order the book at wagele.com and/or read my articles on “Parenting Introverts,” “A 5 on Music, The Enneagram, and Infinity,” “How to Get Along with Introverts,” and “Introverted Feeling Types;” and see some reviews and an interview here.

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“The Career Within You”


What a tragedy it is to possess such natural gifts and to hide them from ourselves and the world. Elizabeth and Ingrid are great detectives who would have you understand your perfect habitat for all you can bring to the workplace. – Chip Conley, Founder/CEO Joie de Vivre Hospitality and Author of “Peak.”

In our book, “The Career Within You; How to Find the Perfect Job for Your Personality,” every career type is expressed in the type of desk it might use. Here is one example:

Typical desk of an Asserter.

Typical desk of an Asserter.

You can imagine your own ideal desk (if you use a desk at work). You should find something close to it in one of our 9 career-type chapters–this or another one. The way you’ll know your career type is through our writing and the description of many people who’ve held careers talking about their own experiences. My cartoons will also help.

After reading all 9 type chapters, you’ll go back and take the Wagele-Stabb Career Finder at the end of the chapter you most closely identify with. This is more personal than you might think, because we’ve found a way to base the outcome on your own highest strengths within your type. Then you’ll match your own preferences for careers with the careers people of your type have shown they were best suited for. I can’t tell you how proud we are of this test we devised.

So if you’re looking for a job or need to manage the job you already have, get to know yourself as well as you can and learn what you can do for yourself to achieve practical results. Our book has two other chapters that will guide you through the job finding process with great expertise. I’m not boasting. This is mostly Ingrid’s forte, having been counseling people in careers for a long time. She knows so much about resume writing, networking, and all the ways to negotiate for a job.

Our book has its own website: http://www.careerwithinyou.com (It will be up and running in November of 2009.)

I have my own website: http://www.wagele.com All my books are on there, plus reviews, articles, and ways to order them. There’s a popular Famous People section, too.

You can see us and information about our book on http://www.HarperCollins.com Write in Ingrid Stabb, Elizabeth Wagele, or “The Career Within You.”