At deviantART, Schroeder Jones has published a clever and spot-on "How to Live with Introverts" graphic explainer. READ THE REST
Seems like they're overstating the whole "you gotta walk on eggshells around these people" angle, but maybe they did it on purpose to drive home how differently introverts function.
Regardless, if an extrovert is expected to modify their behavior around an introvert, I think it's fair for introverts to do their best to return the favor. It took me a really long time but I did eventually train myself to not run away and hide whenever I ran out of this so called "energy". It does make me more prone to being snarky (especially as I get more tired) but it has helped interactions in general by not demanding too many concessions out of people.
I approve of this. This is ingenious.
I'd like to see how to deal with Ambiverts (because I are one).
There used to be a time when I found all human interaction extremely taxing. People demanded so much of me, and I felt I couldn't meet their expectations. I just wanted to relax and sink into myself. I just wanted go read a book. Or play computer games.
I've slowly re-aligned myself over the years though. I now gain energy through human interaction. People charge me up and give me fresh ideas. I think I understand now that I shouldn't be concerned with living up to the demands of others, however I am more confident in my ability to do so. I can now enjoy being surrounded by people without needing a break or fearing their expectations!
The "introvert" described in that guide sounds an awful lot like someone with an anxiety disorder and/or somewhere on the autism spectrum rather than a simple introvert.
I am an introvert. I am content to do many things in my life either alone or without direct interaction with others. I don't like crowds, and I very rarely, if ever, start conversations with people I don't know. When in social situations with a mixture of people I do and do not know, I talk very little and usually only when asked something. But I don't get "drained" by outgoing people like they're some sort of psychic vampire. Dealing with the gregarious is not some exhausting tribulation that I must endure.
Yes. Funny how many people see it as an opposites kind of thing, when it's so much more like degrees.
I tend to fluctuate between deeply introverted (currently), and a little extroverted (when I was in college). At university, I figured out that I could foster some good relationships with a little extra expenditure of effort, and also time/schedule my "me time" as one would schedule the refueling of their car during the week.
In the USA introverts are generally considered strange and aloof. I am an introvert by nature and have adapted to the extroverted world that I am supposed to live in. I think this graphic does a good job of explaining the basics of interacting with an introvert but if you are reading something like this aren't you already accustomed to dealing with introverts (boing boing readers)?
Thank goodness -- the Internet is really short on guides for dealing with introverts.
"The "introvert" described in that guide sounds an awful lot like someone with an anxiety disorder and/or somewhere on the autism spectrum rather than a simple introvert."
I completely agree here. There's been a lot of talk about to "deal" with introverts floating around the internet and on Amazon best-sellers' lists lately. As an adult (as any adult should), I have learned what my limits are. If I need alone time I make a plausible excuse and go, I don't pout about my "special" needs. Everyone needs to be by themselves once in a while.
My bent as an Ambivert goes hand-in-hand with my career as a technical writer. John Gardner wrote that, as a writer, he was 'a gregarious loner.' That describes me. I spent part of my day interacting with developers and engineers and such and the rest of my day walled off from the rest of the world to get my writing done.
"Regardless, if an extrovert is expected to modify their behavior around an introvert, I think it's fair for introverts to do their best to return the favor."
It seems like the reverse of this "behavior modification" would be for introverts to stop telling extroverts to sit quietly in a corner and not speak to anyone. I don't think that's actually something that happens, though.
I have a problem with the essentialist dichotomy of "Introvert/Extrovert". For one thing, as folks have already said: you're not completely one or the other.
But more importantly, introversion or extroversion is not an essential characteristic. Introverted is not something you are, it's a way you feel and act. Same thing for extroverted. And the way you feel and act can change based on many factors - environment, the people you're with, lifestyle, overall emotional state, etc.
Everyone feels inclined to feel and act different ways in different contexts, and that is part of "who we are". But even within one person, those inclinations are generally diverse, inconsistent, and much more complicated than "Introvert/Extrovert".
I think what is awkward about this is that not many people are able to describe the push/pull of extroversion/introversion, and how important the degree of the aspect is.
When people ask me, I make sure they don't see it as "psychic vampire" kind of stuff. I tend to describe it as people having a fire in themselves, and a varying type and amount of fuel for that fire (I think a good metaphor would be Sheriff Ed Tom Bell describing his father carrying the fire in the moon-colored horn in the final scene of No Country for Old Men -- not perfect, but close enough).
I see the extreme introverts as having slow-burning fuel (like coal). They've got a little fire, and it's enough for them, and they can go for a while without human interaction. Extreme extroverts have a little fire, but they have fast-burning fuel, like leaves, and it's not enough for them to warm themselves by over time. So they go out and seek others who want to get together and build a bonfire. They need that interaction to warm themselves by -- Kumbaya and S'mores and the whole bit.
Of course, everybody wants to be warm, but some need more warmth than others, some less, and some have better burning fuel than others, and some worse. The part that some describe as being like "psychic vampires" is when some extrovert with a handful of leaves wants to join up with an introvert with some coal -- and the introvert would have to use more of his own coal to make his fire big enough for two.
This reminds me of a young woman I met in college who figured out that I was decent at storytelling, and would want a story whenever we met at a party. It was fine for a while, but man, did that ever get tedious after a while.
This might be a little odd, but: while I consider myself an introvert, I very much enjoy striking up conversations randomly with total strangers. This doesn't tire me much or add any stress. What really is exhausting for me is spending time with people I do know.
I think it's sort of like, I know I can have ten chats a day with total strangers and likely never see them again, so I don't have to use much brain power interacting with them. I can afford to be relatively careless in what I say and do. While with friends and family I have to expend much more effort and be careful about everything I express in interactions. I like my friends and family, and don't want to alienate them, so it takes careful consideration and a lot of concentration to make sure we all get along.
Would this be a restatement of Ambiversion? All interpersonal relations drain me, and I don't blame anyone for it, I just have to think about how I manage the energy I'm using.
I think the problem is again, one of only two options. So many more factors apply, as shown in the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. With Meyers-Briggs, you have dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions, as well as shadow functions to consider.
I think this is more for extroverts who get offended when an introvert does not immediately respond happily to the extrovert's enthusiasm when they are in a relationship. Not superficial interactions at parties. I have worked with people with ASD and those with anxiety orders and this is different.
As an introvert I agree completely with the "energy" theory and this is not the first place I've seen that described. I disagree with the behavioral comments. Nobody has to avoid me when I'm around other people. But I do indeed recharge in quiet more isolated places.
I'm sure there is a spectrum of 'version. I believe part of why I'm an introvert is the general public is made up of poorly behaved people with low intelligence. I may like you a lot but I don't usually like "people." Stick me in a group of sharp geeks with shared interests and I'll bleed a whole lot less energy than I would in most other groups. I have little patience for stupidity and the banal. Yeah, I get that I'm not normal or, say, average. I may sound like a snob but I'd much rather not be. This is a quite low level emotional reaction to "people."
I thought it made them sound more like shy wild animals, like the fox in The Little Prince. Garrison Keillor did an even better job of drawing this parallel, but then, he's brilliant.
I was going to be the Poster Child for the Chronic Juvenile Introversion Telethon, but I was too shy to show up for the photoshoot.