Saturday, July 16, 2011

Illumination of an introvert

I recently read a fantastic piece by Carl King that sought to educate the world on my people.  It was so good I'm repeating key parts here with my two cents added in.  I'm curious about your reactions to these thoughts, so comment away! 

Our topic today is that freakish group of individuals known as introverts.  It took me a long time to realize I was a hard-core member of this group, because I believed some of the myths Carl discusses.  There was a huge improvement in my self esteem and quality of life when I realized that my personality wasn't defective, just different.

Carl's a myth that introverts don't like to talk.  They love to talk if they're interested in the subject.

Boy, is this ever true.  Give me a rollicking philosophical discussion about God, the universe or Britney Spears and I can hardly shut myself up.  But interacting with others is work, and I struggle to find the energy to initiate or continue that interaction if we're just talking blandly about the weather.

Carl's a myth that introverts are shy.  They aren't afraid of people but need a reason to talk - they don't have a conversation just for the sake of it.

See above.  If you're a regular reader, you've probably realized by now that shyness is not a problem for me.  I'm really comfortable discussing most topics and have been a TMI terror many times, simply because I didn't realize others don't have that same degree of comfort.  Another fine reason to blog under a nickname - I can happily babble away without encountering the nervous laughter and backing away that happens when you start talking about masturbation at a party in real life.  Just kidding.  Mostly.

Carl's a myth that introverts are rude.  They want everyone to be real and honest, and this isn't acceptable in most circles, so it comes across as rude.

I detest politics, office and otherwise.  It's not that I think everyone has to get along, but if we're going to argue, it should at least be an honest argument.  You can be direct without being nasty.

However, this is one where Carl's being overly generous to us introverts.  I really struggle to feign interest in someone who bores me, or to tolerate a dull situation for an extended period of time.  Being able to do so is a mark of emotional maturity, so I try hard, but I'm not always successful.  Pulling out a book and starting to read it while someone is talking to you is most definitely rude (unfortunately this is only a slight exaggeration of my behaviour in moments of excruciating social boredom).

Carl's a myth that introverts don't like people.  They intensely value their few friends.

I do greatly value my few close friendships, but I have a healthy loathing for the general public.  I'm shocked and exhausted by the daily unpleasantness people exhibit, from tailgating me in rush hour traffic (where the fuck do you think you're going to go?  And if you hit me with my baby in the car, boy you're cruising for a bruising), to stealing my water bottles at the gym, to literally running to beat me to the grocery store line with your giant cart, because your time is so much more important than mine.  Yeah, people suck.  Maybe introverts are just realists.

Carl's a myth that introverts don't want to go out in public.  They just don't want to go out for as long.

So, so true.  I really enjoy social occasions - for the first hour or two.  And then I'm done.  This doesn't mean I didn't have a great time, just that my people tank gets full faster (wow that was a stellar metaphor there.  I should frame it.).

Carl's a myth that introverts always want to be alone.  They're comfortable alone, but feel lonely without a sincere, authentic connection with one person at a time.

I love spending time with my husband and daughter, but I also love my own company and find myself fascinating.  Is that a crime?  Possibly the crime of being a narcissistic princess, but that seems pretty rampant these days, and not limited to introverts.

Carl's a myth that introverts are weird.  They're individualists and don't make decisions based on what's popular or trendy.

Um.  I am weird.  It's not a bad thing.

Carl's a myth that introverts are aloof nerds.

Weird, yes.  Nerdy, no.  At least no more than your usual bookworming, boob flashing accountant.

Carl's a myth that introverts don't know how to relax and have fun.  They just prefer to relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places.

I think the key here is that relaxation and having fun are not the same thing to me.  I could have a great day at an amusement park, followed up by dinner in a busy restaurant and dancing, and come home happy but exhausted.  If I spent every day on a vacation doing this, by the end of the week I'd be jittery with crankiness.   A consistent lack of quiet time by myself is like sleep deprivation - tortuous.

Carl's a myth that introverts can fix themselves and become extroverts.

I yam what I yam.  And I like it like that.


  1. I just read the Carl King piece and now I want to read the book mentioned. I have always just thought of myself as antisocial...the description of an Introvert describes me completely.

    What perfect timing for you to post this. I am dealing with an 'issue' and was asking my husband this morning if I am just a rude unlikeable person because I am trying to understand if maybe the problem is me...I feel so much better right now after reading this. Thank You!

  2. Thought I would clarify that the 'issue' is not between my hubby and me. My comment kinda made it sound that way:)

  3. What's funny to me is that people always think my husband and I are huge extroverts, when really it's the complete opposite! It's always strange how we never really come across as we are.

  4. Introvert, right here, and quiet comfortable to be that way. :)

  5. *quite

    (Freudian slip, perhaps, to have said "quiet"? LOL!)

  6. Great post. Found you via Lady Blogger Social Tea Party.

    At the end of the day, we're all individuals, a little of this, a little of that. I'm an extrovert but can relate to some of what 'Carl says'.

  7. You know, all this time I thought I was just an asshole when I'm really just an introvert...

    stopping in from the LBS tea party. :-)

  8. um maybe that's my freaking problem. Sounds oddly close to my personality. In fact i've lost several friends because I am "to honest" but I like to sit back and watch people quietly most of the time then laugh in my head.. Ok maybe I am just crazy! lol

  9. This is a great post, thanks for sharing it.

    I've always considered myself socially awkward, but reading through this...I mean your comments sound like they came direct from me. I know how to act in social situations, but there comes a time where I'm all set with it or I just don't have interest anymore. I'm aware that I come off as rude or selfish, but I sincerely don't mean it. I just have a hard time connecting with something or someone that I don't like.

    Wow, I can't wait to read the rest of the article. I just might do a little blog post on it myself!!


Lend me some sugar!