Lesson #7 – Introverts unite!

girl and dog walkingCorrect me if I’m wrong, but I think it was around the same time that we started seeing hipsters grow beards and juice served in jars that being an introvert became cool. Maybe I have a lot of introvert friends advocating the cause, but the number of instructional articles and diagrams on facebook educating the world on how to respectfully interact with introverts seems to have grown exponentially in the last year or so.

I am a psychologically diagnosed introvert. Traditionally this just meant people thought I was quiet, often described as shy, sometimes accused of being snobbish or standoffish. With the help of facebook I’ve now discovered a raft of other things I previously put down to personal hangups which are in fact genuine symptoms of introversion. The main one is preferring text-based rather than verbal interaction – I hate talking on the phone and will use SMS, email or any other form of written communication as a first preference every time. The other is needing my own space, particularly when travelling – I’ll gladly pay for a room in a hotel instead of staying with friends or family to avoid the need to interact and be ‘on’ for 24 hours a day.

The anomaly, as with all things placed conveniently into categories there will always be exceptions to the rule, is that I don’t mind crowds. Refer Tokyo, Japan and my love of big cities in general. The key is that the more people there are around, the more likely it is I will go unnoticed and be able to avoid the need to interact with anyone. I love the anonymity of being in Tokyo, despite standing out as obviously foreign, because the only thing I have to do is keep out of the way while the city gets on with its business. Easy.

And so to the dog lesson – like me, my fella is an introvert. He likes to get out and about, and is friendly enough when we meet another person or dog, but he doesn’t go crazy over them, offering a (generally) polite hello and then moving on. I used to take him to dog parks thinking he’d love playing with all the other dogs, but he usually ended up just trotting around checking things out by himself. It frustrated me for a while, the effort I put into getting there and him not taking, what I thought, was full advantage of the opportunity. But then I realised, he still had a good time, just not in the way I expected him to.

So, if anything comes of the introverts’ current, largely text-based campaign, it’s that there’s more understanding of people’s differences and less insult caused by personal preferences.

6 thoughts on “Lesson #7 – Introverts unite!

  1. Crowds and cities do my head in. But then I have a level of introversion that allows me to be the only other person in a bar and still silently observe the other poor soul desperately trying to communicate with me. I have mastered the art of nodding my head and saying ‘Hmm” occasionally. It is not that I don’t like other people, just that I get lost in my own head space frequently and the rest of the world just goes slightly translucent for me.

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  2. I used to blame a small school upbringing for my introversion. Then it occurred to me that I disliked the small school environment because of my introversion. I was being picked on because I didn’t fit in; not I don’t feel like a fit in now because I was picked on as a child! That’s been very liberating, and I can thank that proliferation of articles and blog posts for the dawning insight.

    I think the issue with crowds is different. I have the same problem with David Jones as I do with crowds. It’s the visual busy-ness. The poor grey matter upstairs can’t cope. Now, that could have something to do with the location of the small school upbringing … miles from anywhere.

    Cheers for a thoughtful post. Appreciated.

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    • Thanks for reading Cherrie. I agree that the introvert ‘trend’ has been useful for raising awareness and understanding, not only in others but also in introverts themselves. Interesting you mention visual busy-ness. I’m also minimalist and have a distinct aversion to clutter, almost the opposite of hoarding. Perhaps this will be a subject for another blog post!

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  3. You have summed this up perfectly. I too am an introvert. I really hate talking on the phone and I have very few people that I can be around all the time. I’m currently writing a post in my head about this very subject, not quite I have the right words.

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