Being unsociable, bored at parties or uneasy with people aren’t qualities that always or necessarily go with being creative, of course – but often they do.
Many talented artists and others have a creative personality type that is highly sensitive, introverted or shy – or all at once.
Not that people are simply “types” – but these summary descriptions can still be helpful.
One of the things I find really fascinating about a number of dynamic actors who have such power, depth and presence on screen, is they identify themselves as shy or introverted.
“I used to not even be able to order pizza on the phone because I was just so shy. I think that’s why so much comes out on-screen, because that’s my time to let go in a safe place.” Evan Rachel Wood
“Acting was the last thing in the world I wanted to do, I was so shy. But I got fired as a secretary and had to earn some money.” Jane Fonda
In her article The Gifted Introvert, Lesley Sword compares some of the characteristics of introverts – “People of ideas and abstract invention, difficult to understand, often shy – versus extraverts – “People of action and practical achievement, easy to understand, often sociable.”
In his 2003 essay in The Atlantic – Caring for Your Introvert – Jonathan Rauch described a number of characteristics shared by many of us introverts:
“Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk?
“Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?”
He considers himself to be one, and adds, “For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.”
Relationships with others
“Sometimes because I am very shy, when I meet a director and they are shy too, we just sort of sit there.” Sigourney Weaver
From the page Introversion / shyness.
Jonathan Rauch is a correspondent for The Atlantic, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and author of the book Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America.
In a later article by Sage Stossel, Introverts of the World, Unite!, Rauch commented that part of his inspiration to write the earlier piece was “the result of being partnered with an extrovert and realizing that this was a daily source of tension.
“It does work very well in some situations. But for an introvert it also makes for a constant—I guess you might call it ‘brain pressure.’ That’s a better phrase than ‘tension,’ because tension implies conflict and it’s not that.
“It’s just that my partner Michael’s default mode of being is to talk and interact all the time, whereas mine is to talk as little as possible. We’ve been together since 1996 and we’ve spent much of that time just learning how not to drive each other completely insane.”
Like many people of the introvert persuasion, Rauch was not comfortable socializing.
“From about the age of eighteen or nineteen, when I went to college, I realized that it was just not my idea of fun to party,” he said. “In fact, I couldn’t see why anyone would want to—I get so monumentally bored at parties. So I realized that I had this fundamental difference with a lot of other people.
“I didn’t put a name on it until a few years ago when a friend of mine, who reads a lot of Jung, informed me that he’s an introvert and that I was, too.”
Being introverted is not the same as sensitive – Elaine Aron says about a third of HSPs [highly sensitive persons] are extroverted – but they are certainly related.
There are a number of coaches and writers such as Dr. Aron, Jenna Avery, Jenna Forrest, Sarah Dolliver and others who counsel on how to help maximize our potential as inner-directed people.
See the Highly Sensitive site.