Monday, September 17, 2007

Introversion as a way of life

Here at Mod-Blog, we have more than our fair share of introverts. Sean and I hold the prize for "most introverted", I think, but most of us trend toward that end of the spectrum. This is often a cause for consternation among my friends and coworkers, who don't get why I'd rather not go with them after work for drinks or attend the annual company picnic. (Of course, some of that is also a teetotaller not wanting to remember his friends as soddenly drunk.) This article from the Atlantic is a great window into my world.

Are introverts misunderstood? Wildly. That, it appears, is our lot in life. "It is very difficult for an extrovert to understand an introvert," write the education experts Jill D. Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig. (They are also the source of the quotation in the previous paragraph.) Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways. Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion.
This matches my experience exactly. I can almost always predict the behavior and responses of extroverted coworkers, but most of them view me as a mystery wrapped in an enigma.


shadowmom1 said...

But a wonderful mystery.
(But I'm not prejudiced.)

Sean said...

the combination of my introversion and a sharp wit has caused my co-workers to not only be confused by me, but also fear the sharp one-liner that can come out at any time. hee-hee-hee...oh wait.

I've actually come to a point of balance with my introversion and co-workers. They respect that I'll work things out on my own and usually come up with the right solution. But I'll also work things through with them when I know they need to understand the process.

I understand them better than they understand themselves, so that requires me to work in the way I know will work best. ugh, why do introverts have to be soo much smarter than everybody else. :)

shadowmom1 said...

I think I'll go off by myself and think about that. ;-)