many actors, I've read, are introverts, and many introverts, when socializing, feel like actors
When I talk to strangers, I often internally wonder to myself (during the conversation), "Can this person tell I actually have no interest in what they're saying, or am I properly feigning it?"
It seems that only after I come to know someone well (or I'm discussing a topic dear to me) can I manage to have a real interest in what they say, so I spend most time acting in social situations. Sometimes I'll dedicate effort to summoning all my ability to appear to care, but other times I just won't bother.
I've also found that at times when I have to both maintain my act and keep up with my internal monologue (or whatever it is), I lose the ability to retain the information being provided. For instance, until I've spoken with someone a few times, I will be unable to remember their name. I'll likely never remember what they just told me more than a few hours after it was said, either, unless it was exceptionally memorable. When trying to get me to remember someone, it usually requires a few examples of things they've said/done and a lot of context to piece them back together.
Think of all the effort; people are far more tiring than programming!
Man, this describes exactly how I feel when meeting new people and why I find it so draining.
If I never see them again anyway, who cares; and if I see them again enough times, that information will start to stick naturally.
You still have not seen this person enough times, but everyone around already knows that you've been introduced. And then you need to call this person by the name. Ugh! Hate these moments. :)
In another company exercise, done after a Myers-Briggs session, they split the I's and E's into groups. And then they said (hypothetically) 'You have the day off. What do you guys want to do with the day? You have $100 each'. The I's were like - I'm gonna read a book, run errands etc. And the E's were like - 'Who's going to Vegas? Party at our house.' The E's were planning parties while the I's were planning alone time.
It really doesn't matter if you're an I or an E. Or switch between I/E. As long as you can accept yourself. The rule of thumb I use for I/E orientation is does that person get energized around other people...
In social situations, I often find interaction tiring. The one exception for me is highly intellectually stimulating conversation. It doesn't necessarily have to be anything deep; it could be witty repartee or even trading quotes from favorite movies. Though the latter seems juvenile, something about the act of recall feels extremely rewarding and rejuvenating.
A close friend of mine calls it "mental sex," a phrase she apparently borrowed from the popular television show House.
I've noticed that my I/E orientation differs based on who I am around. Around good friends and generally intelligent people, I am more E. Around people I'm less familiar with, or people I assume I will not be interested in, I am much more I. If I've done a lot of socializing in the last few days, I am more likely to be I.
"If we introverts ran the world, it would no doubt be a calmer, saner, more peaceful sort of place."
"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."
Really. I suppose this might be true on average, but this makes it hard to take the article seriously.
Agreed. What really bugs me about this sort of piece (and about a huge number of comments in this thread), is that they tend to fetishize introversion, and make it a crutch. Introversion is clearly a real trait (and I'm one of those people who needs quiet time to "recharge"), but it's too easy to turn introversion into an excuse to avoid challenging situations and personal growth. I don't believe that's a habit to be celebrated.
I used to be much more "introverted" than I am today. Looking back, I can see that a lot of my formerly quiet behavior was a consequence of plain old shyness and fear, and I wish I had gotten over it a lot earlier than I did. For me, those years are lost.
At least, that's the way I interpreted it.
The italicized portion of this comment from elsewhere in the thread shows how some introverts feel when young. I've been told many times, in the past, that I am antisocial and have grown to resent the idea. In our society (america) antisocial is almost a pejorative. So, I remember deciding that introversion was a fine trait to have and was more desirable than the chattering extroversion of my peers. People are just reacting against the expectation of extroversion, the response is too strong at first, but then they reach a balance. That's how this sort of reaction happens.
I agree with your comment generally though. I just believe the sooner people accept that introversion is an acceptable personality trait they can lean this 'personal growth' for what it will get them instead of some misguided belief they should be acting differently. Still, I can see "oh, I'm just introverted" being a crutch for shyness and fear, I'm still getting over those. But, I'm not exactly sure how.
Is this article meant to be satire? It's strange that this guy is so passionate about being introverted. It almost seems like he's proud of it.
"Oddly, most introverts I know have a problem with much of the "my tribe is better than your tribe" stuff in our society."
Perhaps you're misinterpreting the fact that they don't feel the need to constantly please everyone, and are therefore freer with their opinions.
Introversion is the tendency to be concerned and interested with your own mental life. It's quite possible to be introverted, and still have a strong desire to please people.
It seems to me that this is a reaction (perhaps an overreaction) to the idea that introversion is a problem. Certainly, many people do see it as such.
It takes even more cleverness to run things the introvert way, than to just abstain from any kind of involvement.
Of course, that is assuming that geeks are mostly introverts, which is by no means a given. As a previous poster has said, the introvert/extrovert divide is probably a false dichotomy. I think it's more likely to be a spectrum than a binary categorization.
For many people, words are incidental, and the actual communication occurs based on facial expressions and body language. For those of us who like language specifically for communicating complex and interesting ideas, this phenomenon is exasperating.
Perhaps, as the article argues, having introverted tendencies is not a choice, but giving in to them at the wrong time probably is. We all, extro- or introverts, have the potential to do both.
I also think it is telling that you speak of introverted tendencies in language that clearly dissaproves of "giving in" these "introverted tendencies". In some ways that linguistic construction echoes a moral judgment being passed on someone for their involuntary orientation. Maybe you can choose to do both (engage in both introverted and extroverted behaviours) but there are clearly people further along the continuum than you towards the introverted side for whom that proposition is much tougher, and in some cases impossible.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Differences for more explanation.
In the same case, you have to take this for both it's merits and demerits.
I don't doubt that the divide is real, but as with most behavioural traits I suspect that reality is more of a spectrum, with the majority of people falling somewhere towards the middle.
Some people get different scores at different times or in different contexts, but that doesn't mean the measurements are meaningless or valueless.
Understanding these issues can be of tremendous value, and can help to ensure that unusual personality types are not needlessly "treated" or harrassed. Instead, others can be encouraged to realise that different people have different needs.
I accept the idea that some people on particular occasions enjoy the company of other people more than others, but it's considerably less clear that this is even a stable trait, rather than a state, on the individual level, and many of the inferences drawn from classifying a person as "introverted" or "extroverted" are highly debatable.
Listening to someone talk out of their ass is absolute torture. Honestly, it is something that I have a very difficult time sitting through.
This article spoke to about 90% of me. I've been introverted all my life (though less so in the past few years) but have always done pretty good with speaking in front of a group or acting in a school play or whatever. It's when there's a large group with many different conversations going on where I end up not talking to anyone and begin to feel like an outsider. One-on-one though, I can have a conversation with just about anyone. It usually takes the form of - They talk, I ask questions, they keep talking.
"many actors, I've read, are introverts, and many introverts, when socializing, feel like actors"
I wish the article went into more detail regarding how introverted brains process information differently than extroverted ones. Anyone have any information about this?
Jungian psychology (such as MBTI) deals with introversion/extroversion on a psychological level. one thing to keep in mind is that introversion/extroversion are independent of one's affinity for people. if there is a psychometric factor for people, it would be the so-called Feeling functions. in other words, you can commonly have introverts who are people people and extroverts who are terrible with people
Thank you. As someone who can and likes to get on stage and do public speaking/tell personal stories to an audience, I think you've succinctly described why I like to do that and not mingle. Social hacking, mind hacking, and mingling techniques aside (which help), even in my most social, I gravitate towards deep one-on-one over being the entertainer in a loud, group conversation. And, yes my deep one-on-one smacks of being so lost in listening that the other person falls in love with talking to you (non-interactive again)
Makes me wonder if there are more mental hacks to be applied - e.g. if you think of the group conversation as more non-interactive than interactive will that help?
As an aside on group conversations (another HN discussion) - I find that I can handle group conversations better if I don't try to participate (e.g. non-interactive yet again). I could listen to conversations all day (I find the interplay fascinating). I can lose myself in other people's stories (to the point of my friends saying - are you having a good time? you're not saying anything - and I usually am.)
By "deep one-on-one", I mean conversations where I am basically allowing someone to play the role of 'expert'. Not necessarily deep philosophical topics. But something the individual is keenly interested and/or passionate about. It doesn't have to be a person I know well - I've had these fulfilling mini-conversations with people on a train (and it tends to be strangers/acquaintances because I keep a moat around myself).
For example, yesterday at our office galley I got into a 5-minute conversation about soccer (with someone who plays for fun on weekends). I learned that one of the best ways to become a better soccer dribbler (foot skills) is to practice kicking a ball in the surf on the beach (because you have the water resistance to deal with). He also said that the reason why Americans aren't good at soccer (football) among other reasons is - Americans have perfect playing fields, while Brazilians, they grow up kicking stuff in the dirt, sand so the groomed soccer field is easy compared to the rough + tumble environment they learned on. I love learning about the 'hacks' (to become better faster).
A few years ago in a psychology class the teacher gave us some drawing tools and asked us all to draw what we'd be doing on an ideal day. I drew my girlfriend and I lounging on a beach with a pile of books. The person next to me drew themselves at a party and other drew themselves parasailing behind a boat filled with people.
Afterwards we took the Big 5 personality test and compared out introversion/extroversion results to our pictures and without fail, our introversion was predicted by the lack of people in our drawings.
This is a piece of information which should be made available to young people as early as possible. It's another in the thousands of things schools do not even try to teach, but they should.
Funniest thing he ever wrote.
The dash should also come before the word "but".
But then, a quote's whatever you interpret it to be, no?
In any case, I think I can get along fine with introverts as long as they're polite. But when my introverted brother interrupts me in mid-sentence and says "Sorry, I'm not really interested in talking about this", that's a bit much. I humor people when they want to talk about things I'm not interested in--is it really that hard?
"They've turned this word 'geek' into a term that's almost romantic in some ways, and through the Silicon economy, they've been massively innovative and economically important. A lot of them are running circles around the extroverts who are selling shoes. So I think part of what's happened lately is that the digital economy is giving introverts a new place in the sun."