Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm an introvert... Good to know.

So my dad recently sent out an email that fits me as though I wrote it myself. So I thought I'd just copy and paste it for all to enjoy.

I am an Introvert, and this email explains what that means. :)

Dear Family and Friends,

I just read an article that was very enlightening about an aspect of my personality (and that of many of my friends, though not enough of them). I'll admit that I was shy as a child and teenager, was often cowed by bolder, brasher kids and nearly all adults. I think I grew out of that at some point, probably during my mission. I no longer feared talking to people I didn't know. I still don't like to very much but I fight through it. You see, I am....... an introvert.

I know, many of you are gasping and saying, "No way, not you!" (Just kidding) This fact is probably not a revelation to you and it's not to me either. I have been aware of this ever since I knew what the word meant. When I was a young man, people, nearly always extroverts, would tell me I didn't smile enough, or that I was too quiet, or occasionally had to repeat a question or something they said because I didn't respond the first time. I consider myself a pretty happy guy but people often see me scowling and think I'm mad at something or someone. I have had people tell me at various times in my life that when they first met me they thought of me as: too serious, rude, stuck-up, aloof or arrogant. You know who you are, and yes you did. I have never made friends quickly, but the ones I have are generally friends for life. Sorry guys, you're stuck with me.

You extroverts are perhaps saying, "Yeah, poor guy, too bad about that introvert thing, but I guess everybody has flaws in their character." You can't help it, you're extoverts, and by definition you think that everyone else should be too. Not only should they be, but they really, really want to be. You don't understand us.

The article I read is entitled "Caring for Your Introvert." It is written by an avowed introvert named Johathan Rauch.

Here are a few excerpts:

"I am here to tell you what you need to know in order to respond sensitively and supportively to your own introverted family members, friends and colleagues. Remember, someone you know, respect, and interact with every day is an introvert, and you are probably driving this person nuts."

"Science has learned through brain scans that introverts process information differently from other people."

"Introverts are...not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say, "Hell is other people at breakfast."

"Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves..... In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge." Note to you extroverts: "This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication."

Introverts motto: "I'm okay, and you're okay - in small doses."

How many people are introverts? "About 25 percent. Or: Just under half. Or—my favorite—"a minority in the regular population but a majority in the gifted population." (Nearly every true genius in history has been an introvert.)

While it is very easy for introverts to understand extroverts, the reverse is not true. "Extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways."

"Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome."

"As often as I have tried to explain [this fact] to extroverts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood. They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping."

(This is one of my favorites)
"Are introverts arrogant? Hardly. I suppose this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts."

"Introverts tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking."

"The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98%-content-free talk, we wonder if [they] even bother to listen to themselves."

"[I look forward to the day when] it will not be impolite to say, 'I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush."

And finally:

How can I let the introvert in my life know that I support him and respect his choice? First, recognize that it's not a choice. It's not a lifestyle. It's an orientation.
Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don't say "What's the matter?" or "Are you all right?"
Third, don't say anything else, either.

I expect that this article resonates with some of you (about 25-50% I would guess). If it does, consider yourselves blessed. Chances are, you're an introvert too.

With love,

Scott Sanders