Hi, I’m Jean-Paul and I am an introvert.
It’s not easy being an introvert. We are a misunderstood and maligned group. Ok, maybe maligned is a little too strong. We’re definitely misunderstood, though.
Society has determined the being introverted is decidedly uncool. You don’t see any shows or movies about introverts. Admittedly, a reality TV show about a house full of introverts would be exceptionally boring:
Introvert 1: *grabs book and goes to bedroom to read*
Introvert 2: *grabs computer and goes to living room to surf the Internet*
Introvert 1: *wanting company, decides to read in living room*
Introvert 2: *wanting food* Pizza?
Introvert 1: Sounds good. *goes back to reading*
Introvert 2: OK. *orders pizza*
Introvert 1: Drink?
Introvert 2: Beer.
Introvert 1: OK. *brings back two beers*
Introvert 2: *grabs beer and smiles at Introvert 1* Thanks.
Introvert 2: *answers door and brings pizza to living room* You owe me $5.
Introvert 1: *pulls out wallet and pays Introvert 1* Bam, $5. Mmm, sausage and pepperoni… *grabs piece of pizza and goes back to reading*
Introvert 2: *grabs piece of pizza and goes back to surfing*
That’s about how most people see introverts. But there is so much subtext to the above conversation that you have to be an introvert to understand. We live in the exact same world as you, but we process it completely differently. Words are more a means of expressing ideas and meaning than they are a means of expressing feeling and filling awkward silences. The actual conversation with subtext goes something like this:
Introvert 1: Finally home! Am I exhausted! It seems like everyone wanted to talk to me at work today. Time to recharge and get some me time. *grabs book and goes to bedroom to read*
Introvert 2: Finally home! I’m going to a party later so I better recharge and fill my mind with fun facts so I have interesting things to talk about. *grabs computer and goes to living room to surf the Internet*
Introvert 1: *wanting company, decides to read in living room* I wonder what Introvet 2 is up to… Ah, that’s right, he’s going to that party later today; must be finding interesting topics to talk about. I hope he doesn’t invite me to tag along, my recently ex-girlfriend is going to be there and I don’t think I could take that right now.
Introvert 2: Ah, there’s Introvert 1. He’s actually looking happy today. That’s good. He’s been so broken up about his girlfriend breaking up with him. It’s too bad she’s going to be at the party tonight otherwise I’d invite him to come along. Speaking of which, I should probably eat something before I go. *wanting food* Pizza?
Introvert 1: My favorite! Introvert 2 has been such a good friend since my girlfriend left me and he knows I can’t go to the party tonight so he’s ordering my favorite food. I hope he gets sausage and pepperoni. Sounds good. *goes back to reading*
Introvert 2: OK. *orders pizza* I know he likes sausage and pepperoni so I’ll get that even though I’d prefer mushrooms and black olives.
Introvert 1: I should get him pre-gaming a little bit so maybe he’ll have to courage to talk to that girl he likes tonight instead of actively trying to avoid her like a idiot. Drink?
Introvert 2: I should pre-game a little bit so maybe I’ll have to courage to talk to that girl I like tonight instead of actively trying to avoid her like an idiot. Beer.
Introvert 1: OK. Let’s see, which one has the highest alcohol content… Ah, there we go. *brings back two beers*
Introvert 2: Ah, the one with the highest alcohol content. Smart move. I see what you’re trying to do, Introvert 1, and I appreciate it greatly. *grabs beer and smiles at Introvert 1* Thanks.
Introvert 2: *answers door and brings pizza to living room* You owe me $5. (Occasionally, there is no subtext.)
Introvert 1: He got my favorite pizza. I am so lucky to have a friend as conscientious as him. I will repay him with an Emeril reference followed by a Simpsons reference since I know he likes them both. *pulls out wallet and pays Introvert 1* Bam, $5. Mmm, sausage and pepperoni… *grabs piece of pizza and goes back to reading*
Introvert 2: Wow, he quoted two of my favorite TV characters and used two TV references in seven words. I’ll have to see if I can beat that. *grabs piece of pizza and goes back to surfing*
Extroverts speak with words. Introverts speak with actions. This is, of course, oversimplifying it a little bit, but it holds true quite often. Whoever first coined the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ was almost assuredly an introvert.
Introverts are also perfectly comfortable with silence. Our brains are much happier entertaining themselves than engaging in a “crazy weather we’re having” conversation. And if you do decide to get into a “crazy weather we’re having” conversation with an introvert, don’t be surprised if you get a “Well, actually, this weather is quite normal for this time of year. The temperature today is perfectly average and even though it’s raining quite heavily right now, we’ve been in a bit of a rain deficit this month so, statistically, we’d expect an event such as this to occur to bring us up to the average monthly totals.” It’s not that we’re trying to make you uncomfortable or prove that we’re smarter than you. We really just don’t see the point of commenting on the weather unless you really wanted to have a conversation about the weather.
Even though many times we seem anti-social, we really need and crave social contact just as much as you extroverts. As this comic very succinctly points out, though, social contact gives energy to extroverts and takes energy from extroverts. This makes it very hard for us to seek out social contact when there are too many unknowns involved with said contact. This also makes introverts good party throwers, though. You can be assured that there will be plenty of interesting people even though it looks as if the introvert spends more time making sure everyone’s having a good time than enjoying himself.
Almost everyone needs to be alone sometimes and almost everyone enjoys being alone sometimes. Introverts prefer being alone most of the time. If you exclaim with excitement, “I’m going to go out drinking with my friends!” even once a year, you’re probably more extroverted than introverted. This is not a bad thing, but you should remember those times when you need to be alone with your thoughts and how you feel when people interrupt those thoughts. That’s how introverts feel most of the time.
Being an introvert means almost always taking the back stage to the extrovert. We’re fine with that. And don’t worry, extroverts, we are almost certainly not plotting to take over society. And we definitely don’t have a manifesto. And we are 100% guaranteed not subtly manipulating you to reveal more about yourself than you meant to reveal. Now tell me all about how you are really an introvert. Those are some good points. Please continue.