Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mommy, Is it True Introverts are Rude and Mean?

"So here’s what I have to say to the quiet, stay-at-home, Meg from "Little Women" introvert: Get over yourself. What we have here is a failure to communicate. At all. Because you don’t like talking. Why do I have to learn how to handle you? Why do I have to hear about your inner workings? And most importantly, why do I have to excuse your antisocial behavior? I really don't have it in me to give you the benefit of the doubt, so, here's an idea: Be Friendly!"

Oho! And Whoa! See this? This is something I just read on a pretty big site. Sure sounds like we, of the introvert variety, are not her favorite type of people. In fact, she's ranted a full-on war nerf-gunned straight at us. 

There's lots I could say, I mean, I'm hurt enough to start defending myself, but I'm taking a deep breath, and asking this, instead: Why do some extroverts let us bother them?

Do we rain on your good times?
Do we bring you down?
Do we grate on your nerves and just over all annoy you?

Instead of not liking us, why not try something new -- don't let us get under your skin.

If you view us from a different perspective, maybe you won't pull your hair out the next time you're seated next to us at the school fundraiser. I mean, you tell us, Just talk already! like that's the easiest thing in the world. Which it is, for YOU. But you forget, therein lies the chasm. Because *Just talk already* works for extroverts; that's why you self identify as an extrovert, which is something introverts don't answer yes to on personality profiles. It's not that we're not friendly, it's that we're just not the extrovert's definition of friendly.

Imagine this, as unnatural as it would be for you to picture yourself being quiet, that's just how uncomfortable it is for introverts to be gregarious. It goes against our nature. Is this helping you understand us a little bit now? It's like this, say you tell introverts "get over yourself" -- ooh, wait! you just did! -- well, that would be equivalent to us saying to an extrovert "can't you just dial it down at this party? You don't have to meet everybody!" Hard, right? Because it's not your personality type. You like the mingling, the electricity, the buzzzzz of connecting. We do, too, just not at Action Level 86.

We're okay with you when you do things differently than we would. When you stand two inches from our face asking us 59 questions about our childhood, our first Christmas toy, how many generations deep do we know our family tree, we go with the flow as long as we can. We may back up a few inches, but we allow you in. If we begin to feel lightheaded from losing out on oxygen, we'll excuse ourselves, refill our lungs, and we'll come back. And then we can answer the rest of your questions.

It sounds like you're taking our subdued vocalness personally, Extrovert. It's not aimed at you. If you talk to us, and I know, I know, you're tired of being the one to have to make the first move, but if you do, you'd find out surprising things. I identify as an introvert, so does 30 percent of the population. That's a lot of people to turn your back to, right? But if you did slide over and spend some time with me, you'd find out that I love to speak publicly. I'm an oral storyteller, and I donate my time to hospitals and community clinics, teaching about finding humor through tough times. We're worth the extra effort you feel you don't have the energy for. 

So, Extrovert, truce, please? Let's not have separate camps, because some days I feel extroverted like you. And maybe some days you feel introverted like me. (no? never? okay. see? easy going) We don't hate you, we love you. And we love talking, too, it just takes us longer to assess and ponder, which is why we love you. You make a lot of things fun, and you do it fast, you really do.

I'm going to ask you to consider loving us back, with our contemplative quietness and all. We don't shun people, we have friends, and we even like to do things with others. Admittedly, we prefer and are more comfortable one on one, which is when we really shine. (Try us, you'll like us!) While you'll never find us working a room or standing in the middle of a circle at a party, our arms in the air and voice booming while we retell a story of being attacked by howler monkeys in Costa Rica (ooh, it's a good story, remind me to tell you next time we're together, just me and you), we're not snobs, we're not conceited.

We're not recluses.
We're not hermits.
We're not boring.
We don't think we're socially superior.
We don't need to be fixed.

We are just chill.

That's pretty much it. But we're nice people. Introverts aren't panic filled at the sight of people, we enjoy conversation, we just approach it differently, for sure, but we're interesting, and good listeners. Some of us are funny.

You know what? Let me read your paragraph again.

Now that I re-read it, extrovert, I think you meant to write about rude people. Oh, it's all good now. Then, yeah, absolutely, I agree, RUDE PEOPLE! Get over yourselves!

* * *


  1. Every last one of my Very Favorite People in Life is an introvert. And while I teeter in the middle, falling more often in recent years toward introvert, I tend to attract needy extroverts. In fact, that I'd label them "needy" shows you how much of an introvert I've become, yes? They need to download everything; they need to talk and talk and talk, like it's water; they need to circle back on things again and again; they need people.

    Hey, wait, in its way, that's charming, too.

    So we all win? Yea. We all win.

  2. WORD.
    *quietly backs away into a corner to observe people, then retreat somewhere quiet to recharge*

  3. Jocelyn: but what about that open letter to introverts/ WOW, huh?
    Alison: *fistbump*

  4. Amen.

    I haven't read the open letter to introverts. I'm sure it would make me mad. But then I'd just want to go back to my quiet corner and not deal with the people who would agree with it. ;)

  5. What?? I need to find this fellow extrovert and give her a piece of my mind. This is why you are the yin to my yang. You remind me that not everyone is wired like me, cue introvert spouse and oldest child. I understand and respect their need for space. Also you remind to watch our cast members and draw out those introverts.

  6. heh. i will try to be a bit more understanding...i will talk to anyone...and everyone...and family tends to hide from me at

  7. I feel the pain. At the other end. My child is an introvert and I am an extrovert. Let's just say communication with the teenager has been difficult and challenging. It makes this rude mom worry. But this helps me. Thank you.

  8. Just wow to the extrovert's open letter, and ouch...cold prickly!!!! It doesn't bother me when others aren't booming to talk, especially if it means they want to listen to me ramble on, and then I do love it when they are ready to share a story as well.

  9. Shell: thank you.
    Jenny: right? We're all different.
    Brian: you'd be the kind of extrovert that I liked. You already are.
    Momma Fargo: email me. I remember a lot about my mother , the extrovert, trying to make me be more like her. It was tough to feel accepted.
    Twisted Susan: that's exactly what I feel. It depends on my mood.
    Andrea: that letter? It's up on BlogHer if you want to read it. Let me know.

  10. Honestly, I think [some] extroverts are a little miffed at a lot of the attention introverts have been getting through endless BuzzFeed lists and Susan Cain's Quiet. It's almost like Introverted is the New Black, and everyone's racing to be considered "a quiet thinker" or something.

    Being introverted is kinda painful most of the time. I'm actually more comfortable in a group, where I can draw back and pipe up when I want to. One on one with someone I don't know well is too much pressure for me. But if it weren't for extroverts, I wouldn't have very many friends. As much as they freak me out, I need those people to draw me out of my shell.

  11. I'll take a conversation with one person over a crowd ANYDAY. And yes, I am socially superior. :D j/k

  12. …..BUT - I LOVE to go places with my extrovert friends so they can talk and mingle and I can just be the quiet SWEET friend. xo

  13. Oh, but that's June Gardens of ByeByePie - she wrote that tongue-in-cheek and in response to the GAZILLION "Why Introverts are Super" posts on Facebook and the like. You just have to take it in context. Being a little bit of both, I can certainly see it from both sides.



Related Posts with Thumbnails