Friday, March 10, 2017

Korean Drama - Introverted Boss

Recently, I started watching a Korean drama commonly called My Introvert Boss. A better translation is actually "My Introspective Boss" (based on   내성적 ) or My Shy Boss - because of this character's personality.

Anyways....My Introvert Boss follows the story of a young singer (Chae Ro Woon) who's sister tragically jumped to her death while working at a large PR firm called Brain. Three years after the fact, Ro Woon is determined to find the cause of her sister's death and so she begins working as an assistant - intent on getting the scoop about her sister's former boss Hwan Gi.

Hwan Gi is the featured "introvert" of the series. He has a private penthouse/office at Brain and is hardly ever seen or heard. Even his personal secretary doesn't know what he looks like - she's been instructed to never look at him directly. We, the audience, see him as a foreboding figure in all black, accompanied with an oversized black hoodie. To the unsuspecting, he's the very essence of weird, cruel, and bizarre.

Ro Woon is intent on painting him in such a light. In the aftermath of doing so, she finds herself working for him with a small team of other PR agents on a side project called Silent Monster. And finally, we begin to see the truth of Hwan Gi emerge.

This isn't just some introvert who prefers a LOT of solitude, Hwan Gi deals with some major social anxiety and is painfully shy. Hence why I believe a more apt title for this series is My Shy Boss. I've seen 13 episodes of this series thus far and I have one very strong conclusion about the character of Hwan Gi:

He is not an introvert. At all.

Hwan Gi WANTS desperately to interact with and be comfortable around other people, but his intense social anxiety prevents him from doing this. Instead he panics and gets lost in his own head - keeping his thoughts to himself and never expressing anything coherently to the people around him. When he does try, it often comes out stuttered or shouted or completely misunderstood - the greatest fear of someone with social phobia. And so he shuts down even more.

Ro Woon meets Hwan Gi at the pinnacle of his shyness - he's been keeping an eye on her ever since her sister's death and taking great pains to make sure he's never seen. The guilt of knowing who she is and what happened to her sister weighs on him as well. But with Ro Woon's exuberance and willingness to listen to and get to know a person she had harshly misjudged, Hwan Gi starts to come out of his shell and into his own abilities.

I've been watching this drama on and under every episode there's always some comment about introverts and what introversion is. Many are operating under the misconception that an "introvert" is someone who is either 1) Shy. 2) Socially Anxious. 3) Hates people. or 4) Is Depressed. As an introvert myself, I really want to clear up some of these concepts.

Introversion and Introverts:

If we look at the noun "introvert" it means to turn inward or upon itself. Introversion is the act of directing one's attention inward. Introverts are often said to be more reflective, inwardly focused, withdrawn, and quiet - and while some of these things generally hold true - it is not what truly defines a person who is an introvert.

An introvert derives their personal energy from spending time alone and focusing on personal interests whereas an extrovert recharges by spending time around people and focusing on external happenings. Operating under this definition, we can assume that an introvert feels most at ease and comfortable when spending time in a quieter setting doing what they love or enjoying the few precious hours they may get to themselves.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not inherently shy, socially anxious or misanthropic. Introverts are not more likely to be depressed or anxious, but as a result of a tendency to be more self-reflective might be more aware of such conditions in themselves than an extrovert might be. Not all introverts are incapable of socializing or hate it entirely, but they do tend to feel very drained and exhausted after prolonged contact with other people. Unlike the extrovert, a introvert needs a period of time alone to recharge and relax.

Introversion is not a psychological disorder and is certainly not classified as a mental illness, but some introverts may exhibit signs of avoidant personality disorder. An introvert may find that they become easily overstimulated in certain environments - like crowded spaces, loud stadiums, public transit, etc.

Think you might be an introvert? See if these Nine Signs apply to you.  What other misconceptions about introverts have you heard? Have any questions? That's why the comment box exists. 👍


  1. Sounds like an interesting series. I'd say I'm both introverted and terribly anxious around those I don't know well.

    1. Yes, I can be the same way - definitely an introvert and sometimes socially anxious, but it's important to be able to tell the difference I think! :)