My “You’re Not An Introvert” Moment Of The Day

I’m an introvert. That should be obvious based on the fact that I’m writing on a blog rather than discussing this in a social context. If you’re wondering how I rationalize my writing out thoughts I know are going to be read by other people, mostly I do it by ignoring the fact that I actually have readers. In my mind, I’m always talking to myself.

Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking was one of the best books I’ve ever read. It helped me understand and reconcile two very different aspects of my personality. I recommend the book to everybody I know, both introverts (in order to better understand themselves) and extroverts (to better understand those of us on the opposite end of the spectrum).

The book club that meets at my library is going to be discussing Quiet at next month’s meeting, so we have a large stack of copies at our information desk for people to check out. For the most part, people are either interested in the book or else have already read it. Today, though, I had a little exchange that really raised my eyebrow (and to be honest, a bit of my ire):

Person: “Is this next month’s book club book?”

Co-worker: “Yeah, it’s about introverts.”

Person: “Oh, I can’t stand introverts. I really can’t stand them. I don’t like them at all.”

Me: “Well, you know, I’m an introvert.”

Co-worker: “So am I.”

Person: “NO, you’re not. You’re not introverts.”

Me and co-worker: (speechless silence)

Person: “I don’t like introverts at all, because they don’t hold up their end of the bargain in a conversation. You have to do all the talking. I don’t like that.”

Me: “I’m actually a very introverted person.”

Person: “You’re not. You always talk to me.”

Me: “Yes, well, that’s sort of my job. I’m considerably less social on my own time.”

Person: “Well, I don’t think you’re an introvert. You’re not.”

Me: “You’re right. I’m glad you know me so well. Anyway, you should read the book. It’s a great way to understand more about introverts.”

Person: “I don’t want to read that. I don’t care about understanding introverts. I don’t like them.”

And scene.

Also? Sigh.

9 thoughts on “My “You’re Not An Introvert” Moment Of The Day

  1. You can tell her you just converted to Introvertism a few years ago for the heck of it, that you’re just trying it on for size and maybe you’ll return it and just be an extrovert instead. Ha! (This reply is written by an extreme introvert)

  2. Some people are simply unwilling to allow reality to hold any sway over their thought processes. Once they’ve made up their minds, nothing you can say will convince them otherwise.

    1. Very true. One of the traits measured by the “Big 5” personality test was “openness to experience” and those who score low in that area are much like you described: unwilling to change their minds once they’ve decided. The test also looks at one’s level of extroversion, so you can see the different permutations. It’s interesting to see the people who score high in extroversion but low in openness.

      Perhaps unsurprisingly, I score very low in extroversion and very high in openness. Lest I sound like I’m bragging, I’ll note I also score fairly high in neuroticism, however. So there’s that.

  3. And there, in a nutshell, is anecdotal confirmation of Cain’s observations on the social stigma of BEING an introvert. (Yah, count me in that group — big surprise.) Elderly patron, perhaps? ALSO: *envy* that your branch has such an interesting choice for the Book Club. 🙂

    1. I didn’t transcribe the rest of the conversation, because this was the funny bit, but I did try to explain to the patron that many introverts in service positions learn extroversion as a social technique, but that doesn’t make them actual introverts. Surprisingly, the patron did not listen to what I was saying. Shocking, I know. The whole exchange did prove Cain’s point about the social stigma so perfectly, it was almost poetic.

      And yes, we have a pretty cool book club here. I’m actually going to sit in on the discussion next month for Quiet. I really want to hear what the group has to say.

  4. Great blog!!! I like to think of myself as one of the few extroverts who are also open minded. I think too many people think that “introverts are recluses”. While I do find that introverts often prefer their own company to others, Ii also find that is mostly because the idle chatter that extroverts love is really annoying to them…..hence the preference to their own company!

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