Introverts R Us

A long time ago I saw a sign in San Francisco that was the big A for Anarchy and beside it was the word “Unite.”

It cracked me up. I still think it’s funny.

I read recently that only 35% of the population of the world is made up of introverts. When it comes to that, how would they know? It seemed a lot like the sign in San Francisco to me, a bunch of introverts hanging out in a big group of people raising their hands at the comment, “If you are an introvert, raise your hand!”

I’m an introvert and pretty much every day on social media I see something that reeks of Extrovert Totalitarianism, such as this from an art colony thing in Iceland:

HÚSIÐ puts an emphasis on human connections. We believe that growth comes from meeting people and socializing. Every encounter enriches us, challenges us and inspires us.

“Challenge, enrich and inspire” might be the right words, but “exhaust, confuse and discourage” might be better. It’s ironic that artists — who are often introverts — would do better work by being interrupted and challenged. I dunno… I could be wrong.

There was recently been an introvert recognition and awareness movement — it seems to have died down (those in charge went home and closed the door, I guess AND, in the words of Jello Biafra, “We have a bigger problem now”), but it was interesting. It felt to me as if a sympathetic extrovert came over to her introvert friend’s house, listened to her then decided, “You know what, I’m going to get this going in solidarity with you and all the other introverts so you can get to know each other.”

I did the spit test for Ancestry and learned a bunch of stuff I already knew for example I have freckles, wavy hair, light eyes and white skin that is prone to skin cancer. It was good to get informed about these inscrutable realities of my external self. I also learned that my first cousin — whom I’ve known all my life and who is the spitting image of our grandmother — is legitimately my first cousin. I was having a hard time sleeping with all those doubts. Hanging on the photos of the faces of all the people with whom I share DNA are glasses. I’m sure we’re all myopic (in more ways than one?). I learned all this because Ancestry recently applied new DNA discoveries to those of us who’ve been tested. For me, the test was a waste of money, but for others it’s been life-changing.

But I wonder, how many of my DNA connections are introverts? Ancestry wants to know this, too, and it offered up a questionnaire beginning with, “Are you an extrovert or an introvert?” followed by questions stolen from the Myers/Briggs to make you prove it.

I am not sure why I’m writing this — I have other things to do — but it continually strikes me as funny that “normal” is defined by the majority, but I don’t see how it could be any other way.

P.S. Introverts are not necessarily shy. They are simply people who get energy by being alone vs. Extroverts who are energized by being in a group of people.

28 thoughts on “Introverts R Us

  1. Introverts Unite!! lol. Quite happy in my own little world, with the occasional foray. I get all the extrovert activity I need from my work.

        • I basically spent the first five month alone except for a couple short trips to see friends in Colorado Springs. Now I have two close (for me) friends here in Monte Vista and several other people that I like but seldom see. It’s such a nice change.

            • When I was teaching 7 classes I really had nothing left for friends. I had friends during breaks from school. After living in San Diego for 30 years, there is no one there to whom I even send a Christmas card. Kind of strange.

  2. So is introversion a DNA linked item? Garry’s an introvert except when he isn’t. I am, except when I’m not. I was very introverted when I was a kid, probably because it was true: no one understood me. Then I changed. Then I reverted. Now? If I’m comfortable, I’m more extroverted for a brief time. Then I get tired and want to go home. Does that make me a middle-vert?

    • I don’t think you “get” introversion and extroversion. Introversion doesn’t mean quiet, unfriendly or shy. It just means that being with too many people too long wears one out. On the Myers/Briggs there’s a continuum — some people are very pronounced introverts, some are near the middle. I don’t know if it’s thought to be a DNA related aspect of personality — maybe there’s someone out there researching it. πŸ™‚

  3. I’m generally quite the extrovert on my blog, funny, eh? I like giving people encouragement. It is important to me, even if it seems over the top to others..

    But in the flesh, I’m an introvert. With 2 or 3 friends, we can sparkle but still it is exhausting.
    The bigger the group, the more silent I become. It is important for me at least to have social engagement, even if I find it uncomfortable, because it reminds me that I’m part of a greater whole, and we can achieve so much more if we work together. Just wish the extrovert would shut up long enough, so the introverts can get a word in. πŸ™‚

    • There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be an introvert and some introverts are more introverted than others. It doesn’t mean shy, reclusive or not liking people; it just means that being around too many people too long is draining. A real extrovert is energized by being around people. Parties liven those people up, and being alone too long exhausts them. It’s really just about whether you recharge by being alone or with a bunch of friends.

      Some of the most charismatic people in the world are introverts. πŸ™‚

  4. Loud introvert or ambivert over here. Amongst my friends, I don’t shut up. But other times I just take notes, ha! I LOVE meeting new people and doing new things, but I hate small talk. Which is why people in general think I’m quiet, but I’m really, really not. It surprises people.

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