How to live with introverts

An introvert Dr. Carmella’s Guide to the Introverted is a very astute webcomic by Schroeder Veidt.

Below the comic I’ve also embedded a TED talk by Susan Cain who talks about how extrovert behaviour has come to be considered the norm and how introverts can (often unknowingly) make self-negating choices in an effort to fit into society better.

How to live with introverts

As someone who has definitely forced myself along to pubs and parties because I’ve felt like it was the ‘normal’ thing to do, it was actually pretty liberating when I realised that preferring my own company most of the time was also normal.

Anyway, here’s that TED talk:

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

Finally, this excellent article by Jonathan Rauch for The Atlantic is also worth reading if this whole notion is new to you.

Caring for Your Introvert

Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (I am not making this up).

I didn’t bother to look for research on this, but it makes perfect sense to me. This however is the main paragraph for busy extroverts to pay attention to:

The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books—written, no doubt, by extroverts—regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts’ Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say “I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”

The follow-up article — Jonathan Rauch comments on some of the feedback he’s received for “Caring for Your Introvert”… — is also valuable reading.

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7 thoughts on “How to live with introverts

  1. Oh my. This is all so spot on. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to force myself to be outgoing. Being told by others to enjoy myself, when I just wanted to hide away. Vomiting at the thought of going to big parties and getting dreadful headaches when I force myself to go out. I’m constantly mistaken for an extrovert, because I’ve worked so hard to adopt a mask (especially at work), so that people accuse me of being stand-offish when I need to hide away for a while. It’s tiring.

    Hoorah for not being alone in wanting to be alone!

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  6. Very interesting. So many people don’t believe me when I say I’m an introvert, because I love socialising, going to parties and bars, but it does take a huge toll on my energy levels. They just don’t see that I hide away later to recuperate.

  7. Fascinating !! I would definitely consider myself an introvert in this context, and had always thought introvert meant lacking in confidence- whereas I can give a presentation to 100 people standing on my head, and hold my own anywhere- I just find it draining, and prefer to be on my own for the majority of the time. I get exhausted when I have to be around people all the time, I truly love being alone with my dogs. So thank you for this- it makes me feel like its ok to not need people around. Would love to see those brain scans. Also good to see that others feel the same:-)
    Em

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