Girls Club Event / About Introverts

Here’s our summary for the last Girls Club event, which was at Optic Kitchen + Bar on Sunday 3 August.

The Theme: About Introverts

When we had initially asked the girls of Girls Club what they would be interested in learning about, the topic of “introverts” came up: for example, what it’s like to be an introvert, and how to flourish as an introvert.

However, when we were researching the topic to prepare this workshop, we found that the topic was more complicated and somewhat controversial than we’d originally expected! It turned out that the mainstream definition of “introvert” is somewhat different to the current psychological/scientific definition of “introvert”.

So, we had to address this difference in our workshop, which may have been a bit confusing on the day, but hopefully it ended up being more useful and meaningful than just talking about the mainstream definition.

The Activity

Download the Activity Sheet to do the quiz and follow along!

Please note: Information quoted within the activity sheet is from Will The Real Introverts Please Stand Up?, a great read on the current theory of introversion, by Scott Barry Kaufman for Scientific American.

1. Quiz

We started with a quiz to assess everyone on the spectrum of
introvert –> ambivert –> extravert.

You can do the quiz in the Activity Sheet (link above).

2. Misconceptions & Modern Psychology

Next, we needed to cover the misconceptions about “introversion”, and the current theory.

The modern way of thinking about and assessing personality is with the Big Five personality traits.

The Big Five are:

O – Openness to experience
C – Conscientiousness
E – Extraversion
A – Agreeableness
N – Neuroticism

Based on research and this new framework, some old thinking around introversion has gone out the window.

Do you relate to any of these?

  • High sensitivity
  • High self-consciousness
  • Highly inhibited
  • Vulnerable, easily hurt, defensive
  • Social anxiety
  • Introspectiveness & intellectual depth
  • Having a rich inner life
  • Not needing positive stimulation
  • Not being gregarious
  • Having negative emotions
  • Preferring solitude over social interaction

You might consider these attributes of introversion, but they are no longer linked to the Extraversion/Introversion category – they may actually be correlated to other categories in the Big Five.

So what you thought might be “because I’m an introvert…” might actually be “because I’m highly conscientious”, or “because I have low openness-to-experience”!

3. Current Definition & Dopamine Theory

The current theory for defining extraversion/introversion is “sensitivity to rewards in the environment”.

“…it seems to be specifically the reward value of a situation, not the social nature of the situation, that predicts whether extraverts enjoy the situation more than introverts. Consistent with this, several fMRI and EEG studies have shown that brain activity in response to a variety of rewards (favorite brands, humor, happy faces, monetary rewards and pleasant emotional stimuli) are associated with extraversion.”
– Will The Real Introverts Please Stand Up?

There’s a theory that people have different sensitivity to rewards due to differences in the brain, including the production of dopamine.

4. Discussion

To get everyone’s thoughts on this, we then had 5 questions as starting points for discussion:

  1. Did you relate to your results in the quiz (from part 1)?
  2. Did you relate to any “misconception” attributes (from part 2)? 
  3. Do you think you’re introverted, shy, or something else?
  4. How does being introverted/other affect your life? 
  5. Do you have any tactics for flourishing as an introvert?

During discussion, I think the old and new definitions of introversion caused a muddle. But it was really interesting hearing from everyone, and hearing about the tactics that people have for flourishing and for nurturing themselves.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who came along and participated. I feel like we didn’t quite hit-the-nail-on-the-head with this workshop due to the differences in definition, but are open to feedback and hope to improve it, so that we can run it again!

Resources That Were Mentioned 

The Power of Introverts – TED talk by Susan Cain
Quiet – book by Susan Cain

Upcoming Events

Our next event is on Sunday 7 September, and the topic is Resilience. More info coming soon.

In the meantime, please join our Facebook group  /  LinkedIn group  / Girls Club network (New!)


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