For as long as I can remember even into my early childhood, I’ve been predisposed to being a sad and lonely person. I’ve often felt on the outside, a stranger and alien to this world, merely watching with intrigue and confusion, and being lulled by anything melancholy. Only, sad and lonely aren’t necessarily always bad companions, they are comfortable ones – surely an idea that my non-introverted friends likely could never understand.
It wasn’t until I was 27-years-old that I finally was able to accept my melancholy nature, even embrace it and feel ‘normal’. I read a book that explained the Enneagram and immediately identified with the Five and Four types. Pleased, I realized I was in great company (Fives): Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, John Lennon, Emily Dickinson, and Vincent Van Gogh, to name a few.
We are called The Investigators of this world, because, more than any other type, we want to find out why things are the way they are. How does the world and our inner worlds work? we wonder, always searching, asking questions, diving in deep; never easily accepting traditional thought or doctrine, and desperately needing to test the truth of most assumptions.
One Five mused, “a day without learning is a day without sunshine.”
But with our insatiable need to learn, comes daunting insecurity, where we often stay buried within our own minds, never risking failure; only joining the world when we’re certain we know how to do things.
Fives revel in knowing things others do not, the secret, unusual, often hidden things of the world. Fives deplore convention and never need social validation, often leaving us viewed as eccentric and socially isolated. Practical problems are often left unattended as we become fixated on new innovations or discoveries. Like, who cares that the laundry isn’t getting done, or dishes are piling up around the sink, I’m creating a beautiful piece of art, or learning about the cosmos! This often leaves us unable to function in the real world. I relate to this.
Healthy Fives at their best are visionary, extraordinarily perceptive, making profound contributions to society.
Unhealthy Fives at their worst are preoccupied, shunning anything that diverts their focus, abrasive, isolated, phobic, and prone to suicide.
There are other introverted Types in the Enneagram, including the Four, which is my ‘Wing’. Everyone has a ‘Wing’, or a close second. Four’s need to be individualistic, create and surround themselves with beauty, profoundly creative, introspective, sensitive, emotionally honest, self absorbed, moody, hyper-sensitive, depressed, alienated, and despairing.
Four’s believe there is something fundamentally wrong with them (something I believed until I read about the Enneagram). They are socially awkward and feel different from others. (Famous Fours: Alanis Morissette, Anais Nin, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Johnny Depp, and Virginia Woolf, to name a few.)
Love this, quoted straight from the book:
“Healthy Fours are willing to reveal highly personal and potentially shameful things about themselves because they are determined to understand the truth of their experience—so that they can discover who they are and come to terms with their emotional history. This ability also enables Fours to endure suffering with a quiet strength. Their familiarity with their own darker nature makes it easier for them to process painful experiences that might overwhelm other types.”
If that’s not me, I don’t know what is (just look around my blog and Chronicles!). I’ve always had an uncanny ability to analyze my life, my self, my experiences like a third party, objectively and logically judging and making decisions about my own life, rather than reacting emotionally.
Other signs that you are an introvert are:
- you need hours alone every day
- social situations exhaust you
- small talk is hard for you (and bores you to tears)
- you are mistaken for aloof, arrogant, or rude
Introverts are not necessarily shy, they just find other people tiring. :-) It is estimated that about 25% of the population is truly introverted. My uncle shared a great article with me, called “Caring For Your Introvert” that I highly recommend if you are one, or if you have one in your life. It will make you feel normal if you are one, and it will shed some light on the introvert(s) in your life if you aren’t one.
If you take the Enneagram test, please share in the comments what your Type is and what you learned about yourself! (If you poke around the site a bit, you can find a free sample test.)