Introversion: Part 2

I’m so tired! It’s the end of the semester, and there’s still so much to do. But my schedule will finally get better after Wednesday, I hope. I’m posting today simply because I missed a day, and I don’t want to miss two days in a row. But realize that I’m very, very tired. I’m not entirely sure that what I write will be coherent.

I’m going to continue talking about introversion. Here are Carl King’s other six myths:

Myth #6: Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

I think this is very, very important. Introverts like to spend time by themselves – in fact, they need that time to recharge. But it’s dangerous for us to simply shut ourselves up in our rooms and dream. We need to get out, spend time with people. I know I do. What’s difficult is that we want an authentic and sincere connection, as King says. And mostly, the world doesn’t offer that, does it? It offers the inauthentic and insincere.

So what we need to do as introverts is go on a quest to find our true friends, the ones who will always be there, whom we will always feel a connection with, no matter how long it’s been. (You know what I mean. If you’re an introvert, I’m sure you have at least one of those.) And we need to never, ever let them go.

Myth #7: Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

True and true and true. Which means we’re weird. I like being weird.

Myth #8: Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

My inner world is awesome! Sometimes I wish I could live there.

I’ve been mistaken for aloof before, or even arrogant. It’s because sometimes I’m not sure how to talk to people. So I don’t approach them. I’m much better at this than I used to be, because I’ve been teaching for so long now that I’m used to talking in all sorts of situations, to all sorts of people. But when I meet someone I deeply respect, I still have no idea what to say to them and end up staying silent. Concrete examples: Samuel R. Delaney, John Crowley, John Clute (but only the first time I met him, before I discovered what a sweet, sweet person he is). (Yes, I have just publicly referred to the preeminent critic of science fiction and fantasy as a sweet, sweet person. I hope he keeps talking to me . . .)

Myth #9: Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

I think this is mostly true, but there is one sort of public space I love: the city when no one is paying attention to me, when people are simply going about their business and I can watch them while I’m walking down a street or sitting in a coffee shop. At times like those, the noise of the city is a soothing background noise, like the sound of waves. I feel anonymous.

What I can’t stand are situations where I’m supposed to be having fun with a bunch of other people whether or not I’m actually having fun. Sports games. Cocktail parties. I can’t imagine going on a cruise, or doing anything that involves a tour group, for “fun.”

Myth #10: Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

Yeah, not going to happen. No way am I ever going to become extroverted, any more than I’m going to become an albino elephant.

Now, I’m very tired, so I’m going to finish my dinner (beef stew) and watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica, which I’m slowly making my way through (I’m on episode 3). And then, I’ll get back to work. I hope I make it to Wednesday . . .

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4 Responses to Introversion: Part 2

  1. I like being weird too. 🙂

  2. I was trying not to comment too often, because that is what introverts do. But I gave up because
    this is such a beguiling topic. You think theatre people are outgoing because they’re on stage? I
    sort of solved my-nose-in- a-book reputation, the weird girl who checked out all the poetry in the
    Bend High School library by taking drama. Nobody knows it is so much more comfortable to know
    your part in the play and do it line by line without any awkwardness AND you are not stuffed into
    a crowd. There is more space onstage. When I started reading my poetry I had to invent a ‘real’
    voice which was kind of like being a ventriloquist and the puppet at the same time.

  3. “Introverts […] can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with.” Agreed. I like my alone time, but I crave connection too.

    “And mostly, the world doesn’t offer that, does it?” I think that’s why I tend to feel guarded around some people, because I don’t sense that sincere connection.

    “I’ve been mistaken for aloof before, or even arrogant. It’s because sometimes I’m not sure how to talk to people. So I don’t approach them.” Ditto. I was shocked, back in my school days, when a friend told me that people didn’t like me because they thought I was stuck up.

    “But when I meet someone I deeply respect, I still have no idea what to say to them and end up staying silent.” I’m glad to hear this happens to people who I respect and admire, and it’s not just me!

    “Introverts typically relax at home or in nature…” So true!

    Thanks for posting this!

  4. “My inner world is awesome! Sometimes I wish I could live there.”

    I feel the same way. I have a rich and wonderful inner life. Lately, no one to share it with. But I am there, having fun. Love this post.

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