A friend of mine recently passed along one of those number-articles. You know the kind. The ubiquitous “5 Things You Should Know About Gluten” “8 Things We Hate” “Ten Ways to Live Your Life” etc etc. E gads. Those number titles put my back up.
Anyway. This one was something like “15 Things that Introverts Would Never Tell You.” Of course I read it. My hatred of the title doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to read it. (You can read it here.)
It listed some pretty good “myth-breakers” about introverts: no, we’re not stuck up, we’re just often shy. No we’re not prudes, we’re just not joining in to the riotous clamor. We often don’t like to make a big fuss about our birthdays. Hell, we often just don’t like to make a big fuss. In public. With other people. (And there’s one or two that I don’t agree with, especially number 12.)
Despite the number thing, I liked the title in a way. Introverts probably didn’t tell you these things because we generally don’t like to volunteer personal lore about ourselves. And that tidbit, right there, sadly didn’t make the little article. I cannot be the only introvert out there who feels this way, so I put it out to all of you, Introverts of the Blogosphere: “Introverts have an aversion to offering personal information about themselves.” At least to strangers. Not only does it make my guts crawl to throw out such knowledge, but I worry that those who hear it may feel free to then use it. How many times have I been in a group situation with an extrovert who decides the best way to get me “out of my shell” is to offer up a platter of dissected Paula to the party? Eeww!
Look, it’s true, people like to get the low-down on other people. It’s interesting, right? All those reality TV shows must be on to something. But timing is everything, and to an introvert, there’s nothing quite like the betrayal of public announcements of my closely held grist. It’s like a yahoo walking around the poker table commenting on everyone’s cards – it’s just not done! Sure, if you’re extroverted you might love it if someone else offers you up on a platter. Why would you want to stay private? It’s so much more fun to preen and bask in the glow of attention, right?! No. For me, it’s just torture.
So number 16: We do not want you to “break the ice” with our personal stories.
While I’m at it, let’s add one more to the list:
17. When an introvert invites you out, please do not invite more people. He’s looking forward to the one-on-one time that passes for socializing in the introvert’s world. Please do not make it a party of ten. Yes, that might be what you like best, but if you like your introverted friend, consider what he may like as well, and I’ll tell you this: he doesn’t like a big group.
Frustration at living in an extroverted society builds over time. The expectations are skewed. It’s not that long ago that introversion was considered a mental illness. Think of all the different kinds of people that were considered “ill,” or worse, “damned” for their natural ways.
Honor diversity. Be kind to an introvert. We’re really quite lively and interesting once we trust you enough to let you in.
Or heck, you can just read our blogs.