Stop Giving Introverts Personality Homework
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Politics and Activism

Stop Giving Introverts Personality Homework

Side note: Don’t you DARE wave your hand in front of my face.

Stop Giving Introverts Personality Homework

I am an introvert. I am sensitive. I am intuitive, thoughtful, observant, and intelligent. I have talents that manifest themselves internally, rather than externally. I am content in my own mind; I do not feel the need to converse often, and when I do I prefer to dissect topics of great depth, rather than friendly banter. I have a great capacity for love, and all other emotions, which I feel very physically, as well as emotionally, down to the very core of my body. I am present; I feel what is happening right now, as I take it all in, as well as nostalgic and anxious; I reminisce and ponder what has passed and what is to come often. And, I like myself.

Unfortunately, I have found myself unable to escape from this one too many times:

*sitting quietly, listening and observing, peacefully*

Person, “You’re really quiet!!!!!”

Me, “Yeah.”

Person, “It won’t kill you to speak!!!!”

Me, “Oh?”

Person *Speaks as though I am not in the room* “Have you ever heard her talk before?”

And many other variations of this conversation.

To me, there is not much in the world more tedious, discouraging, or face-reddening than the conversation about why so-and-so thinks I don’t talk enough.

This will definitely NOT make me want to speak up. This will stab my self-esteem and make me want to run out of the room. I have just become painfully aware that every time I see you, if I want to avoid this kind of embarrassment I have to make myself feel strange and uncomfortable, rather than relaxed and content. I wish so badly that our society would stop correlating quiet and rude. I feel that a better example of rude behavior is dictated in the above example, from the person making someone else feel uncomfortable and turning another person into a topic of conversation in order to satisfy their own entertainment needs.

Typically, the conversation begins with the above dialogue, then morphs into something along the lines of “You should get to know as many people as you possibly can because… how do you expect people to like you… how will you ever find love… you might need someone to help you out someday…”

Excuse me? I know lots of people. I got to know them at my own pace. I took them in slowly; built a background knowledge of them and eventually had meaningful, attaching conversations with them. I feel the auras they give off. I have many different kinds of relationships in my life, all while remaining the person I am, because I guess I’m not so bad after all.

As I mentioned before, I am a very sensitive introvert. I feel words, expressions, and actions much like one would feel a hug or a slap in the face. Love is like ecstasy, and tension is like a room getting smaller and smaller until I can no longer stand to be in it. So, you can imagine that I do not enjoy getting to know people who make me feel like I want to jump out of a 25-story building just for the sake of having a petty conversation.

A better way to speak to an introvert might be to just ask “What are you thinking about?” This is much less intrusive and humiliating. And guess what? I might respond with telling you what I have been thinking about, enthusiastically. Shocking. There is something going on in my head other than how much I apparently hate everyone.

America favors extroversion. Extroversion is both a necessary and productive personality trait. Without extroverts, we would likely not have the great entertainers, caretakers, and just plain fun people that we do in the world. In fact, I feel that it is likely many of the ideas and thoughts of the introverts would rarely be carried out and brought to life without extroverts (disclaimer: which is not to say that extroverts do not have thoughts or ideas.)

Introverts tend to keep people guessing, rather than jumping right in and telling it “how it is.” This makes society uncomfortable. Rather than understanding and asking, society tends to just slap a label on us that says “sick” or “socially inept” or “broken.” Just as introverts have the right to feel comfortable, so do extroverts. There is a right way and a wrong way to tell someone you are making them feel uncomfortable, though. Please, please do not give introverts personality homework for the sake of your needs, as this is both rude and inappropriate.

I have spent well over 20 years trying to complete the personality homework of critical extroverts. I have tried with all my might to become the social butterfly I am not as to quell the anxieties of those “concerned” about my obviously malfunctioning well-being. I have attempted to fix and fix and fix, only to find out that I am not broken. I am the person I was born to be, and always will be.

I am kind, courteous, polite, and QUIET.

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