Monthly Archives: August 2013

More than Just a Label

The graphic below was making the rounds, recently; co-incidentally, around the same time that I was moving into a new place with a roommate. It was particularly relevant for me because a severely reduced income made it necessary for the first time in three years for me to move into a place with a roommate. Luckily, I was moving in with someone who I had been friends with for almost two years, so it was someone who already understood me and my introversion pretty well (particularly since he’s an avid reader of this blog – Hi Vincent!)

It was my then-future roommate who first showed me the graphic, wanting to address some of the points it brings up (especially the part about hugging – he’s a hugger). It was a nice gesture, but ultimately unnecessary because of how long we had known each other.

When we talk about introverts and extroverts, we have to remember that you can’t reduce an individual to one characteristic. I’m an introvert because I’m usually quiet and usually like to stay home. But there’s so much more to me.

Graphics like these are fine for dealing with introverts in general, like when you meet someone new, but never forget that they are a complete person.




A Comment on 27 Introvert Problems

Today’s list was taken from this post. I will admit that the title could be its own hashtag, but #introvertproblems reminds me of #firstworldproblems. Do extroverts make lists like these? I’m as addicted to as the rest of us, but even I sometimes want some sort of action beyond enumeration and naming things like the gods we are. The concept of introversion as a different type of personality has existed since Jung after all.

As such:

1. When you need to take breaks and recharge after socializing for too long.

This is why I burn some incense sticks for the person behind this initiative (US only for now. Wish it were here up north already). Being able to go on vacation in any random city and instantly find a quiet spot? Priceless.

2. When people mistake your thoughtful look for resting bitch face.
3. When your friend wants to invite more people over, and you don’t want to sound like a dick by saying no.

I can’t help but consider this a diversionary move when someone “suddenly brings” someone new to me on the spot. It’s as if my acquaintance, friend of family member felt awkward meeting up alone with me for some reason at that particular moment and bam! Here’s a witness. Now I’m definitely feeling awkward. And resentful. If you want to invite people, ask. Odds are very high that I’ll accept if I’m asked. Odds are very high I’ll be annoyed if I’m not involved until the deed is done.

4. When spending a heavenly weekend alone means that you’re missing out on time with friends.

If this happens, it means we’ve both poorly planned our time this month. Let’s prepare for next month. Does that work for you?

5. And the fear that by doing so, you’re slowly turning into a hermit…

Too late.

6. Who will likely die alone.

Everyone’s afraid of this. Everyone. Even the nastiest people you could think of do not want to die alone. Even if you think they deserve it.

7. Having visitors stay with you is a nightmare, because it means you have to be on at ALL TIMES.

I’m facing this later tonight. I just finished spending the last 21 days at a film festival (i.e. 21 days of socializing) and now I’m having my in-laws over for a week. I enjoy their presence in my life, but I’m also grateful that my mother-in-law is a fellow introvert and so lets me spend time alone over extended visits.

8. When people stop inviting you places because you keep cancelling plans.

I’m not really this type of person. Are you? I’m more likely to suggest alternate arrangements if they don’t happen to work out for me and I will invite people to do activities.

9. Too many social obligations + no alone time = a total grump.

It can become a problem if I don’t realize it right away. Once I do, I’ll prepare solo time the moment it’s open. I’ll schedule dates with myself to do nothing.

10. When you’re asked to do a group project, and know that you’re going to hate every minute of it.

It depends who are my colleagues. It’s a lot easier to pull this off over paid work than school projects. Your colleagues are as invested in you as you are in them.

11. When your ride at a party doesn’t want to leave early, and no one seems to understand your distress.

Everyone seems to make this mistake once (OK, a few times). Then they learn to not depend on other people for travelling arrangements.

12. When you hear this question, and your palms start to sweat with anxiety: “Wanna hang out?”

My response to that question is usually “Right now? (Are you mad?)” And I worry that these undefined plans will ruin the rest of my evening with long, awkward pauses and chitchat to which I cannot add anything but nods, followed by the asker’s declining respect for my lack of social skills.

13. When you hear, “Are you OK?” or “Why are you so quiet?” for the umpteenth time.

This is the nicer alternative to #2. Do you want to be angry or sad? Let’s flip a coin.

14. Trying to be extra outgoing when you flirt so your crush doesn’t think you hate them.

This one sounds like a “girl problem”. It smells like one. I generally like to talk to my crushes so I can get a more rounded understanding of their personality. I don’t know if that’s common.

15. That feeling of dread that washes over you when the phone rings and you’re not mentally prepared to chat.

We get so few visits that I nearly hide whenever the bell rings. And I always get shocked for a second whenever I receive a phone call.

16. When you have to deal with that one friend who ALWAYS wants to hang out, and you ALWAYS have to say this: “I kind of want to spend some time by myself.”

This variety of extroverts seem to get bored with me pretty fast. Not that I’m hunting them down as particular prey.

17. When you have an awesome night out, but have to deal with feeling exhausted for days after the fact.

Ah yes, the Fear of Missing Out, my old friend. You too are one of Extroverts’ friends.

18. When people pressure you to be more social, whether you like it or not.

I will sometimes give in, but I need a payoff. I will socialize so that my job is a little easier to do. I will chitchat with the people who I see every day, like neighbors. I will regularly meet up with my love or with my in-laws because I enjoy spending time with them.

19. When you’re really excited to go out, but those good feelings don’t last long enough.

Another common friend of ours and Extroverts.

20. When you’re trying to get something done at work, but you can’t, because everyone else is talking.

Worse: when you talk about it to your boss trying to find a solution and he tells you “Oh, that’s just _____________ (noisy person).” and waves you off. Your productivity keeps going down because of the noise and then your boss asks you why your productivity has gone down. You tell him you can’t concentrate because of the noise. He looks at you and leaves the room. Sigh.

21. When someone calls you out for daydreaming too much.

It hasn’t happened yet! People forget I’m there.

22. When you carry a book to a public place so no one will bug you, but other people take that as a conversation starter.

I love books. I am tempted to interrupt you to gush about the book that’s in your hand, but I know how it feels to be interrupted in the middle so I will look longingly in your direction.

23. When people make you feel weird for wanting to do things by yourself.

People try to make me feel weird for all sorts of things. They want me to feel weird because I don’t have kids or because I’m a nerd. They want me to feel weird because I’d explore the woods next to my house and build forts from branches. They want me to feel angry and crazy because I’m a woman and “Women are all crazy b***ches.” (Yes, a few idiots have told me this in those exact words.) In my hometown, they wanted me to feel bad because I don’t go to their church. Other people want me to feel weird because of the way I dress, of the way I wear little makeup, of the way I don’t wear designer shoes or designer bags. They want me to feel weird because I don’t listen to the music they happen to like. Being an introvert? Wanting to be alone? I’d consider it a sane reaction to social judgement if it wasn’t part of my nature already.

24. When someone interrupts your thoughts, and you get irrationally angry.

I have walked out of a coffee shop in the middle of writing once. I was sitting down peacefully, jotting something highly convoluted in my notebook, when a man dressed like a beggar approached me.

Him: “Do you want to see my paintings?”

Me (not looking at him): “I’m busy.”

Him: “It will only take a minute.”

Me: “No.”

Him: “Please.”

Me: “Not interested. Busy. Go away.”

He left for a few minutes, only to approach me twice more with the same request. I get fed up with situations like these, so by the third time I stood up and said:

“Look, I’m writing. Writing is what I do. This is my art. Do I interrupt you when you make your art? No. Leave me alone!”

He started arguing with me so I picked up my stuff and left in the middle of the conversation. I even complained to the owner and she said “Oh, it’s just (person).” (Do you see a pattern?) That piece of writing is entirely lost now. He broke my concentration and once you break an introvert’s concentration, it cannot ever be completely restored.

25. When people can’t seem to grasp that being in small groups is where you excel the most.

Small groups are excellent for introverts for the simple reason that we are not overstimulated (groups) nor are we doing all the vocal legwork. We can choose to speak or listen in small groups, while we are relatively restricted to either of these roles in larger or smaller settings.

I know the original list has 27 points but number 26 is repetitive and number 27 works better in visual form.