Self-Promotion for Introverts

Career advancement tips, quips, and insights for the quieter crowd

Are Introverts Nuts?

When I took the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment during my corporate days, I learned that being an introvert meant that I got my energy from my inner world—and that there was nothing wrong with that. In fact, if you're an introvert, you're in good company since about half the population has preferences like ours—such as thinking before we speak. If the American Psychiatric Association includes the proposed definition of introversion in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), could that exacerbate the stigmas that introverts already face? Read More

Introversion DOES NOT equal ill!!!

I just had this exact discussion with my sister in law about her daughter. Her teachers were concerned because she seemed "depressed and introverted." WHAT??? 1. she's an introvert, so for her to "seem" any other way would be more of an issue. 2. since when does depression have anything to do with being an introvert? I was appalled that a teacher would label my niece in such a way. While it may be a sign of illness if an extravert suddenly becomes introverted, an introvert is an introvert regardless of mental condition. Having introversion defined in the DSM-5 would most certainly bring about further stigmatization of introverts. What a shame...

The stigma

Your comments underscore the stigma around introversion as well as the multiple definitions of introversion already in common usage.

If Introverts are ill, is Extroversion a Disease?

You have to ask yourself, which would be more in need of treatment; the introvert who is content with a situation, or is contemplating a better way to solve a problem or the Extrovert who talks without thinking and is in constant need of your attention. You've been in that social situation where the extrovert approaches you and everyone else just to insure you know them and wants some sort of positive feedback from you. Talking on topics they have no clue about except they read a headline somewhere and want you to know their opinion, or want you help them form an opinion. Are we better off with quiet thinkers that create and solve, or the outgoing talker who too often implements poorly thought out ideas without contemplating the outcome? Which is truly more in need of being classified as ill, sick, or in need of treatment?

Loved your comments!

Loved your comments! BRILLANT!

Dear Extrovert, Be Quiet!

I have this recurring thought when some Type "A"nnoying person insists I express myself like they do. Instead of insisting I become like them, they should think how they would feel if all the introverts insisted they become a carbon copy of us. I like who I am, I am laid back, calm, and polite enough not to insist extroverts shut up. I of course think they should! But I am nice enough to not try and shove it down their throat. I will not change, that is all.

But isn't that the problem, right there?

I know that I have felt the same way many times myself, but I am coming to realize that this is a part of their difference defined by our personality types. They literally don't think like we do, how dare we expect them to think about our feelings (very internal thing) in the same way that we consider ourselves and our fellows?

I have had the good fortune to encounter a few extraverts who don't try to force their opinions about my SELF (granted, about the rest of everything the want to talk and debate and convince me, but they have some small thought that allows them to respect that I am fundamentally, socially different) and this has allowed me to see that the different levels of extraversion deserve the same amount of respect.

Just as women and men should be equal now, no one in the position of superiority or minority, so we introverts must accept the equality of extraverts, not judge them and expect them to change their basic personality type. We all must adapt to each other (even if introverts choose to do it in smaller doses than extraverts do).

Introversion and depression are not teh same

So if one has a few friends but good friends and doesn't like parties (basically me) is depressed? Not at all and this should not be included in DSM-V. Depression is complex but introversion has benefits. I wonder what Ms. Dembling would respond to this.

I couldn't believe it when I heard this!

Nancy I saw this last month and I was MORTIFIED. People like you and I must lead the way for this not to happen. It's absolutely appalling not to mention how it may devastate introverts already lacking self-esteem.

What do you think we can do to affect this?

Aspies and Auties

Whenever i hear a clinical person describe these spectrum, they always describe it as being too internal focused to realize the social interaction 'required' of humans ie not realizing when people are bored, not realizing not everyone is interested in X thing, not following body language like meeting in eyes etc...basically not bridging the social continuum that everyone thinks and act differently.

Which is darkly hilarious to me because Extroverts--especially extreme extroverts--are just as unknowing of these functionalities as an autie...they don't pay attention to body language; they insist that everyone thinks like them and act like them, they get very uncomfortable if someone DOESN'T look at them, talk to them....same problems just reverse.

I mean really. A lot of extroverts are just as clueless about the rest of us in spite of the signals we send. They cannot wrap their brains around the fact that we are all unique individuals and not some sort of hive. In fact, I have a much easier time interacting with an autie or aspie than I do with an extrovert simply because high functioning persons are AWARE that they hear a different beat and TRY hard to not offend when aware. Extroverts do not try not to offend; Extroverts try to convert.

So who has the problem? The medical, pharma and psychological industries who only make money if there is a theory or "norm" of everything that they can make money off of reverting us into.

That's plain all it is. Finding something 'wrong' with us to treat is a money maker. There's no money in all in "curing" us.

Raising awareness

I see that you’re passionate about this. The APA invited comments from the public on its Web site over the past two months, through April 20. If you haven’t already done so, I’d imagine that you could still contact the APA with your views as well as raise awareness by writing and speaking about this. So, Pat, spread the word to your peeps!

I agree that clarification is

I agree that clarification is needed on this topic. Concepts such as social withdrawal, failing to access social support, avoidant behavior, or fear, are more specific in describing areas of concern.

A concept like introversion seems much too vague and can be misleading in the identification of a mental disorder… I am a young psychologist, yet I would not make the leap from introversion to mental disorder when assessing an individual. I think there needs to more identification of impairment in the individual’s functioning and that is not necessarily present when introversion alone is identified.

We must attempt to minimize personal biases assessing mental disorders. We may be missing a cultural sensitivity issue here when assuming lifestyles are a condition that needs treatment. Definitely issues to raise and discuss… Alex Guerrero, Psy.D.

Cultural sensitivity

Thank you for articulating your thoughts on this issue. I appreciate that you raised the cultural sensitivity issue.

Well said

You express yourself very well, and as a once-upon-a-psychology student, I fully agree!

Thanks for letting me know

Thanks for letting me know about the APA's call for responses. One of the hard things about being an introvert is that our positive traits aren't often lauded, and that's part of what makes it easy for our world to dismiss us or call us crazy. I love that you're helping us define the power of introversion! And I sure hope this valuable way of seeing the world doesn't get classified as an illness.

I love my deep thinking, intuitive, creative abilities but it took me a long tome, a lot of therapy and years of psych-related school to get here. I've been sharing your articles on my FB page to spread the word.

PS For a good example of the horror we feel at being classed as introverts, I suggest this article:

Introverts don't like fun?

One of the proposed criteria for the trait definition of Introversion is Anhedonia: " Lack of enjoyment from, engagement in, or energy for life’s experiences; deficit in the capacity to feel pleasure or take interest in things ".
Another is "Lack of emotional experience and display; emotional reactions, when evident, are shallow and transitory; unemotional, even in normally emotionally arousing situations"(source:
I doubt that these critiera define Introversion. Being in the company of other people is not the only way to have fun in life. My husband and I, we both are introverts. Still, we love to travel, explore foreign countries on our own, in our youth enjoyed ski diving, parachuting and mountain climbing, among lots of other things. And we are definitely NOT unemotional....

Your not a clinical introvert

Your not a clinical introvert then, despite what you might identify as. Isn't this people just confusing a common name with a clinical label?

no, it's alphabetized people

no, it's alphabetized people (MD, PhD, etc) identifying common human behavior with clinical labels so as to make money. of course there are more "abnormal" people than "normal" people...otherwise there wouldn't be a business model...and the more money the industry wants/needs is easily solved by obscuring labels in order to entrap more people who will need to spend money to get "fixed".

It could be 10 steps back

I don't pay attention to deadlines so I have emailed them as well as attached my eBook Debunking Negative Introvert myths. Thanks for that"push" Nancy.

We are NOT SOCIALLY withdrawn. We must take time to recharge and reenergize. We’re not anti-social we just don’t do it the same way extroverts do.

We are NOT SOCIALLY DETACHED. We are out in the world networking for business and life. We are hosting small, intimate dinner parties.

My goodness we are the ones who VALUE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS deeply. We take our relationships seriously.


We love LIFE. And this introvert loves her Ferrari.

They've fired me up big time

I'm spreading the word Nancy. Thanks.

Introverted or Schizoid?

Quite honestly, when I looked at the definition, I had to check the DSM-IV criteria for Schizoid PD because that's what it resembled to me; and after checking, I saw very little difference between the two. I sincerely hope, then, that criteria for Schizoid PD will be re-written. It really makes me wonder...

Quite honestly, when I looked

Quite honestly, when I looked at the definition, I had to check the DSM-IV criteria for Schizoid ...Ha I looked at this too and wondered for a split second if I was this crazy...see what the extroverts world does to me!

Schizoid PD is being dropped

Schizoid PD is being dropped from the DSM-V. This is quite interesting, as the schizo prefix will still be prominent in the psychotic disorders. When schizophrenia is diagnosed without acknowledgment of the schizoid condition there's a great chance it's a misdiagnoses. Finland has pretty much proved, at least for me, that schizophrenia is a rare disease, 1 in 50,000 to 100,000. Obviously, the DSM-IV failed to define schizophrenia well enough to discern it from trauma. I don't have much hope for the DSM-V.

As to weather or not introversion is an illness, there is a point where emotional suppression becomes emotional repression. To not understand the difference is to not understand the boundaries of psychosis and psychopathy.

Why Introversion be another psychopathological label ?

I wonder about all those geniuses in the field of psychiatry and psychology ...Freud,Jung, Adler...etc (as geniuses in all other fields). Would these people create what they have created had they not been Introverts?

Guilty AS Charged!

Get the white coats, bring the self-hugging,stylish,jacket,and place it on my body, lock me away in the STATE hospital for all the tax payers to support my miserable introverted 'life', if, your "Phd","expert","Psychologist",whatever her name is, believes,my desire to avoid anything having to do with my own species,what they have done, and continue to do, to every other living species on the Planet,so carelessly,in the name of "intelligence"!

Not to mention the 'fact' the stupidity, of the entire species,knowing they are destroying their own 'host',with no other 'known' hosts available, and they continue to destroy it, prancing about, proudly, as if, "science", has never been 'right'.

Yes, I am the one who is 'insane', ill, and has the 'problem', because I do not wish to be around 'others' who happen to look 'similar' to me.
Uh uh! Yes, I will gladly place my arms into that Jacket, and walk into that Hospital, with all the 'other' 'ill' humans, before I hold hands with your 'friend',claiming that.
Which happens to be the opinion of about 98% of the Worlds population of humans too, I am sure.

Too bad! I hate myself, for even being born into this entire mess of a 'society'. It's disgusting!
I can't even wake up, be greeted by the only 'decent' individuals I share my life with, who happen to wear 'dog' suits, and then accidentally look in the mirror, without punching myself in the face,, and then apologizing to them, for the fact that 'humans' ever happened.

Then, I have to try to explain or 'justify' how it is humans have come up with the entire idea of being the "most Intelligent animal" on the Planet. What?
How is that even a Joke?

So far, no one has come up with any form of evidence to prove this.
I began the 'challenge', when I was 12 years old, asking people what it was they 'thought' made humans more intelligent than any other animal. So far, nothing .
If anyone can come up with anything to Justify this very arrogant and really,obvious, way off, 'boast', please, offer it up.

And please, if whatever the female, "phd, brain, behavior, diagnosis,"I have a name for whatever it is 'that thing you are doing'", who believes, people who wish to avoid other people, for whatever reason, have a "problem",feels compelled to "label" them,and get payed for it, with some sort of a diagnosis, I am certain she will understand how important it is,"socially", to allow others, to do the same without receiving any pay at all. Let me place my "label" onto YOU!
OH, but then that wouldn't be 'socially acceptable, now would it?

So I will just "think it", or hey,....I just shouted it, at my computer screen! Ha! Now, diagnose That! Honey (o:

They're partly right, but mostly wrong

If an extrovert becomes introverted for a pathological reason, then the introversion may very well be something to look at. But you have to look at it in the context of a retreat from normal.

If an introvert becomes extroverted for some reason, it may very well be a warning sign, and should be conditionally seen as such when figuring out the life context of that person.

I think this is the telling and most important part of that definition (which should be emphasized): "Withdrawal from other people".

Withdrawal! An introvert isn't in "withdrawal" from other people, it's the natural state for the most part.

I really, really , really, really!!! think they need to make a distinction between social introversion and withdrawal, and less people oriented introversion/extroversion and withdrawal. Some extreme extroverts aren't particularly people oriented. This is supposed to be a psychiatric definition of introversion, not a sociological definition. Just tossing in "anhedonic" to the end of the definition doesn't do anything to make this distinction.

I'd be interested in the diagnostic criteria as used in the ancillary DSM handbooks. Ultimately that'll be a greater part of determining how psychologists diagnose pathological introversion. And whatever the conventional understanding of the psychological/psychiatric take on introversion, the diagnosing will have a far greater effect on people's lives.

when introversion becomes

when introversion becomes extreme enough to be a problem, is it not already known as 'schizoid personality disorder'?


Anymore, it seems the world of psychology is getting it all wrong. I remember a few years back when I found out that they lumped psychopathy and sociopathy under Antisocial Personality Disorders for the DSM-IV. This is plain wrong if one were to actually look back through the definitions of each, as they are quite different in definition. Psychopaths can feel emotion, often, however, these emotions are skewed from what the "norm" would be in a given society. Often times, these psychopaths were introverted but were able to maintain a level of false extroversion whereby they could obtain their goals, whatever they may be. There are many psychopaths who are not killers and who actually attempt to keep their emotions and desires in check.

A sociopath, however, cannot feel emotion, and often times, through this, lack the ability to feel physical pleasure. I'd never have believed that a person like this existed had I not met one, who is a friend of mine. It took me a while to figure it all out, and lots of research. This is when I found out about Antisocial Personality Disorder.

I say all this to bring to light the fact that introverts (at least around where I live) are often considered to be antisocial (stigmatization of something they don't understand or care to understand) and so how long would it be before they started profiling introverts as possible psychopathic murderers who need to locked up in an asylum? People always fear what they don't understand, and it seems that the current atmosphere in this world is only breeding this even more. Should these "genius" psychologists and psychiatrists continue down the roads they're currently taking, then I'd hate to see what's going to happen to if our past isn't already bad enough.


For me, being an extreme

For me, being an extreme introvert, the question has always been if I was born this way or became this way. If it's the latter, it is a problem. Even if the former, introverts need different skills to navigate the relationships, networks and connections they are going to need because it is an extroverted world, and that is the problem. It's like learning a foreign language for a different country. While it may manifest or mask other problems, it alone may just be a difference of human nature.

Even if the former,

Even if the former, introverts need different skills to navigate the relationships, networks and connections they are going to need because it is an extroverted world, and that is the problem.

I agree here. Many introverts wouldnt have a problem if there were more introverted friendly jobs or schools. Its hard for some to belive I know..but a lot of introverts dont want to be in the spot light...everr.

I don't have much time to

I don't have much time to respond or go as in depth as I would like to, but I feel that part of the definition is all too similar to that of depression. I feel that if you were to use this definition it would definitely increase the already placed stigma on introverts. I believe that introverts have played a beneficial role in society, they keep extraverts (like myself) level headed and realistic when working in groups. To diagnose introverts as "ill" we might as well create another personality disorder for those who are high on extraversion.


To be clear, Introversion is *not* being proposed as a "criteria for diagnosing mental disorders". It is 1 of 6 proposed broader descriptors of personality traits. The *criteria* for the mental disorder(s) being proposed by the relevant (Personality Disorders) work group are located here:

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Nancy Ancowitz is a business communication coach, an adjunct instructor at NYU, and the author of Self-Promotion for Introverts (McGraw-Hill).


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