Oops, Contemplative Thursday

“It surprises most people because I’m outgoing and friendly and, in fact, very far from shy, but I prefer one person and one conversation at a time. I fought this for years, always trying to be someone else. I made myself go to parties; I tried to fix what I thought was “wrong” with me. It didn’t help that other people would press, “But you’re so good with people,” as if being introverted meant living on the dark side.

I’ve learned to spot my like-minded peers, though. We’re the folks walking toward a festive house saying, “How long do we have to stay?” Or we’re the ones in the center of the room assessing others’ interactions, and slowly backing toward the door. Introverts crave meaning, so party chitchat feels like sandpaper to our psyche.

Here’s what introverts are not: We’re not afraid, and we’re not shy. Introversion has little to do with fear or reticence. We’re just focused, and we prefer one-on-one because we like to listen and we want to follow an idea all the way through to another interesting idea. That’s why small talk annoys us. So does pretending to be happy or excited or anything that we’re not.”

-Diane Cameron, Happy Introvert Day

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14 Responses to Oops, Contemplative Thursday

  1. I used to be very introverted, but then I stumbled upon the booze, and found out I enjoy meeting new, ridiculous people. A lot of these idiots I don’t know how I ever lived without.

    I do understand being an introvert, and why, but now I am just afraid I’ll miss out on some part of life that could lead to awesome.

  2. strangerandstranger says:

    Observation is the first step to understaning.

  3. firewings says:

    @EPD – While I can be a fan of the liquid courage, my debate with J last night split us on the topic of the inherent nature of being an introvert; that is, does being introverted ever really “go away”?

    Both introverts, he thought that he’s become less introverted over time and with practice. I said that I’ve become, with time and practice, more out-going while at the core I’m still an introvert.

    I’m doubting the fact that this changes. You can learn to play the game, but this doesn’t really mean that you want to.

  4. eatsbugs says:

    I’m with both EPD and C on this one (sounds like alphabet soup around here now).

    Since the adjunct of alcohol into my life, I’m certainly more able to handle myself at party or large situation. But there is a drop off on the chart where the increase of alcohol, once being directly proportional to my ability to socialize, now becoming directly proportional to my ability to act like an ass. A fine line, I say.

    More to the point, when I’m sober, I like a core group of friends, and the group I spend most my time with right now, is full of a mix of introvert and extroverted people. One likes to host all sorts of parties, one has friends all over the place, the rest of us are observers. And we click well.

    That said, I’m a doer. I want to be doing something, so when it comes to going out, I’m one of the ones involved in the planning. Yet still, I come home, hide my phone, and hole up before the glow of my computer monitor. So warm…

    Has anyone here read Party for One?

  5. firewings says:

    By Anneli Rufus? I have not, but my spider sense tells me that it’s at my library. I’ll have to look into it.

  6. @ Firewings. To clarify my post, drinking is what started me on my path to extroverted-ness, but doing so made me realize what I was missing, and I do it now even without alcohol. Of course, like you’ve already explained, that’s not for everyone.

    That being said I love now just getting in the mix. It goes hand in hand with my “Jump in an figure out the details later” way I’ve become recently.

    @ Comrade bug eater: I do enjoy that very fine line with booze where you can suddenly go from awesome x6 to that one guy at a party everyone hates.

  7. eatsbugs says:

    A lot like tightrope walking, except that you’re drunk, and tightrope walking while drunk rarely leads to things that can’t be taken out with Spray n’ Wash.

  8. E says:

    So, we’re talking about faking a semblance of extroversion with the elixir of alcohols… and saying that being a drunken jackass is a good thing because at least you’re the life of the party, meeting both “ridiculous people” and “idiots”? Thank you for setting the bar for us introverts.

    Color me unimpressed.

  9. eatsbugs says:

    Hey now! No one every claimed that going out and talking to people, regardless of how, was going to make you a better person.

  10. Josh says:

    I know I’m a little late to chime in here, but I thought the discussion was about “introverts”. Not discussing how one might get past their social stigma with the use of liquid courage. For myself, I always thought of it much the way Miss Cameron described it. Individuals seeking a reason to be passionate. Give us a subject that has meaning, not just to us but in general. Not just some idle white noise about the latest celeb blunder, or political quagmire that’s regurgitated by those with no mind of their own. Real life and feelings are our playground and we’re always ready to listen.

  11. E: Color me impressed at being able to completely misinterpret everything I was saying and simultaneously throw some snide remarks my way.

    All I was saying with the alcohol part of it is that it showed me what I was missing. The best analogy I can think of at this hour is training wheels. I needed them at first, to get me going and to help me learn. Now I’ve taken them off and I can still go.

    I’ll give you the “ridiculous people” and “idiots” comments as it would probably be hard for someone who doesn’t know me to understand that. My apologies. When I say that about who I am saying it about, I mean it as a term of endearment.

    Josh: Someone who likes to “get out there and mix it up” as they say, does not necessarily equal someone with no mind of their own who only cares about celebrity news. I want to see what a person is about. I want to know what makes them tick and why, but I don’t want to wait for a good excuse to do it. So I jump in and find them. I chat up homeless people as I’m walking around because they usually have some really good stories.

    Once again, what I enjoy obviously isn’t for everyone. I’m not, by any means, trying to say you’re doing it wrong. I can appreciate your approach, as I lived it, but I’ve discovered that I like the other side more.

  12. firewings says:

    Holy Moses, I take a break for a day and a half…

    @E: I do have agree that you’ve taken a lot of this out of context. As I have seen you come out of the box with The Drink, I don’t think you can particularly hold yourself to a higher moral authority. I don’t think there is too much faking when drinking except for people like AMG [inside story] who liked to work the boundaries of her extroversion with not even the hint of a buzz. That’s fake. But that shade of drunk in which you realize, hey there’s something sublime here that I don’t achieve sitting in the corner making snide remarks about illiterate state of my car passengers. It’s not for everyone, but maybe I take this push to see the other side. I also think it’s a way to own, in words and action, what you might not normally be able to.

    @Josh: It was. And then we took one down and passed it around and there was belligerency and now we have to get that point where grown men cry, hug, and hold each other’s hair while praying to forces outside themselves.

    I think we need hugs.

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