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June 23, 2013 8:54 AM   Subscribe

I just appreciate silence In a world that never stops talking- "Introversion", a comic by Luchie.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (72 comments total) 95 users marked this as a favorite

 
I loved this. It was classy, erudite and echoes my sentiments exactly. Thanks.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 9:07 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


*forwards to everybody*
posted by LionIndex at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Shh.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


yes, ideally this post has no comments
posted by LionIndex at 9:10 AM on June 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


I resemble this comic.
posted by immlass at 9:11 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is lovely. I'm going to sit silently and read my Kindle now.
posted by xingcat at 9:13 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by RussHy at 9:13 AM on June 23, 2013


::nods appreciatively::
posted by rifflesby at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2013


Actually, my hair is not that color at all.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


This is lovely. As an introverted person who finds it impossible to meet new people, I have to admit that sometimes I feel good about being shy, and sometimes I feel like Jens Lekman:

People seem to think a shy personality equals gifted
But if they would get to know one I'm sure that idea would have shifted
Most shy people I know are extremely boring
Either that or they are miserable from all the shit they've been storing


Maybe not the part about being boring, but certainly the last line. Oof.
posted by selfnoise at 9:19 AM on June 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think it was interesting that the protagonist meets someone at a party who appears to also be an introvert and walks away from her for "not even trying."
posted by justkevin at 9:25 AM on June 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


Yet again, a comic conflating introversion with shyness. Yay.

The one about the birthday party was spot on, though.
posted by jeather at 9:26 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


As someone who's pretty classically introverted, I'm tired of the "introverts are beautiful sensitive snowflakes and extraverts are loud and shallow" narrative.

Some of the smartest people I know—people who contribute a lot to the world—are super extraverted, life-of-the-party types. And likewise I've met some self-identified introverts that it turns have more or less nothing to say about the world and are just desperately bored, boring people.

None of this invalidates this particular artist's experience, but I think it's interesting how in threads like these, the introvert self-identifiers can't help but comment at length about how quiet and bookish they are and DANG the WHOLE WORLD JUST WON'T SHUT UP.
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:27 AM on June 23, 2013 [57 favorites]


Yet again, a comic conflating introversion with shyness. Yay.

I didn't get that from it at all. I don't think Mathilde displayed shyness in any of her interactions with people, more of a "oh, why bother" thing. She's trying to instigate conversation with Lola, but only gets one-word responses to her questions. She tries talking to the guys on the couch, but can't hear them over the music and can't understand how they're having any fun at the party. The rest of the comic is Mathilde doing her own thing. I think the comic goes to pretty great lengths to avoid having shyness mixed up with the portrayal of introversion - if she were "shy", Mathilde wouldn't even be a the party, much less try talking to a couple people.
posted by LionIndex at 9:32 AM on June 23, 2013 [15 favorites]


the introvert self-identifiers can't help but comment at length about how quiet and bookish they are and DANG the WHOLE WORLD JUST WON'T SHUT UP.

The part I identified with was the "oh hai why don't you do x or y or z because there's clearly something wrong that you're not extroverted" young adult part of the strip. I think this is a function of young adulthood, though, and that by the time people reach my age (40s), they've got it more sorted out. It's not that I'm a special snowflake, it's that I'm actually not and that's it's taken a significant chunk of my life for both me and the people around me to acknowledge that.

The "care and feeding of your introvert" schtick can get old and precious, but the "shut up about why I don't like big parties already" part is going to ring true for many Mefites. (Cultural issues aside, obviously.)
posted by immlass at 9:34 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


As someone who is currently sequestered in my room because I spent all day yesterday "doing stuff with people" I really really like this. Seriously, an hour or two of being around people needs to be counterbalanced by about 6 - 8 hours alone time before I will even feel a hint of anything resembling loneliness.


DANG the WHOLE WORLD JUST WON'T SHUT UP.

But this is precisely how it feels for me; alternatively there are people who go crazy if they have to sit in a silent room for more than a few minutes. Both are valid.
posted by polly_dactyl at 9:36 AM on June 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


@immlass, I'm with you on that particular part of the strip. It gets really old to continually be told there's something wrong with my character and that introversion is just something I should work to get over.
posted by platitudipus at 9:39 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how or why "introvert" and "extrovert" are supposed to be such wholly separate, distinct categories that a person is, fundamentally, one or the other, as opposed to, like, acting a given way at a given time. I mean, I'm both, or neither, or something, so it's clearly not an actual dichotomy to the extent/in the way it is treated? Most of the time I'm a very quiet bookish person, and I need to recharge my personal energy by going away to be alone, and I get overstimulated and need to leave if there's too much crowding (polly_dactyl's post about needing several hours in a room after one hour of socializing before getting lonely rings v true to me), but at the same time when I do have the energy I love to go out and be cheerful and loud and talk to people and party and make friends and go places. So I'm, uh, an extrovert sometimes in public but an introvert most of the time and especially when I'm tired?

Extroverted people can have introverted traits, introverted people can have extroverted traits... I've seen people argue that the main thing is how you recharge your energy, like, the fact that I need to Go Away And Be Alone is the important thing that means I'm definitely an introvert because an extrovert is a person who needs to recharge by Talking To People or something but there's also this entire cultural narrative beyond that which pretty much puts ALL talking-to-people activities regardless of time, extent, effort, etc into the "extrovert box" as if only extroverts can enjoy talking to people and only introverts like to sit alone with a book and think deep thoughts and that's completely illogical.
posted by titus n. owl at 9:39 AM on June 23, 2013 [19 favorites]


I was just arguing with my wife the other day about how I'm no fun at parties, etc. I'm sort of a high-functioning introvert: I can pull off a pretty good imitation of an extrovert, and there was even a time when I was the life-of-the-party-knows-everybody dude.
Thing is, when I stop trying, when I stop consciously making an effort, I'm the guy bored out of his skull at parties who just wants to go home and read a book. And I guess the trying part was mostly about meeting girls, and now that I'm 11-years happily married, I don't try that much anymore.
posted by signal at 9:45 AM on June 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


titus, the distinction I've seen, or at least made for myself, is that I do really well in social settings with 1-3 other people. If I'm on a road trip of some kind with someone else in the car, there's a decent chance I'll talk that person's ear off. It's the large groups of people I don't know that lead to verbal shutdown.
posted by LionIndex at 9:46 AM on June 23, 2013 [15 favorites]


I guess it's the "Don't leave me alone!" line, which is something I do only if I am feeling shy, not if I am feeling like dealing with people in general is too much.
posted by jeather at 9:55 AM on June 23, 2013


I'd tell you what I thought of the comic, the layout, drawing style or colors, but I don't feel like talking right now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


signal, you and me both.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:22 AM on June 23, 2013


I don't understand how or why "introvert" and "extrovert" are supposed to be such wholly separate, distinct categories that a person is, fundamentally, one or the other, as opposed to, like, acting a given way at a given time. I mean, I'm both, or neither, or something, so it's clearly not an actual dichotomy to the extent/in the way it is treated?

I totally agree with this. I also think reading Moby Dick in the middle of a party is like, rude, much like coming into a library reading room with a bottle of champagne and slapping party hats on everyone while saying "hiya! how's your day going, let's chat" is rude.
posted by sweetkid at 10:36 AM on June 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


This is great. The sleeping image reminds of Little Nemo in Slumberland before he falls out of bed.
posted by chavenet at 10:48 AM on June 23, 2013


Also good and on the same topic, I saw this somewhere else the other day (maybe here?)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:53 AM on June 23, 2013


That was really, really good. I think the art style matches the theme of a neat and tidy introvert.

I used to be very extroverted, but now I'm very introverted. I'm not shy at all, but I'd just rather not go to a party and force conversation that I don't care about.
posted by hellslinger at 10:55 AM on June 23, 2013


I'm currently at a con, sitting at a table. It's the third day. And the last, thank all the gods. I've not only been talking to people all day but been talking to them about my art, something I do while listening to books in my recharge time. And this rings so true to me. I spent all of yesterday exhausted because I had an anxiety attack Friday night that had me throwing up instead of sleeping because I was so anxious about another day faking extroversion. I've had to tell my partner to stop trying to talk to me because I have to use my last dregs of social energy to talk to customers. I can be an outgoing, engaging, funny person and a great salesman for short periods of time, but I've often been the "why bother even coming" guy at parties. It's even worse if I didn't drive myself because feeling trapped gives me anxiety attacks too.

Most people don't know this because I'm really good at faking it-- a lifetime of depression does that-- but this comic rang really true at a time when I'm sitting with the love of my life in a room full of like-minded people and feeling claustrophobic and trapped and very, very alone. So thanks for posting-- knowing I'm not is making this day a little easier to deal with.
posted by NoraReed at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


I guess it's the "Don't leave me alone!" line, which is something I do only if I am feeling shy, not if I am feeling like dealing with people in general is too much.

Yeah, I can get that. For me, that part did resonate with when I've gone to a party where I only had a couple friends there, and it's easier for me to act as a sidekick than try to navigate the whole small-talk thing with people I don't know. Hanging out with friends is a totally different thing for me than engaging in light conversation with new people, and that's not really something I attribute to shyness for myself.
posted by LionIndex at 11:02 AM on June 23, 2013


I am entirely unconvinced that introversion and extraversion have as much to do with the person self-classifying themselves as they have to do with all the people surrounding that person.

Give me one person to talk to and I can either be a nonstop chatterbox or a completely silent listener. Or anywhere in between. Or I can be totally content with ignoring them and reading or playing a game or whatever, without it being like a grudge I'm holding against them.

Give me a large group of people and I can bounce back and forth between them as I get bored, or I can stick with two people and chatter on and on, or I can feel like "Hey, this is fun in a way that I totally don't fit into, maybe I'll go home early."

And sometimes what I want to do is read a book or watch a movie quietly by myself and kind of focus on my own thing.

None of that has to do with introversion or extraversion, it has to do with what I feel like doing and whether other people nearby me feel like doing that thing also. If they don't, then it takes energy for me to do it also, and if I need somebody to do a thing with but have nobody, that costs me energy also.

I do think that far too many people grow up without learning the joys of doing things on their own. But many people also grow up convinced that other people suck and that there is no joy to be had at a big party. And every time somebody tries to prove those people wrong they take 'em to the wrong kind of party and everything sucks. But those are not the only kinds of parties.

In conclusion, people.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:03 AM on June 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


I love the art style.

I don't think in terms of introverts and extraverts. I sometimes think of people as energy sources or energy sinks, but mostly I just think of people I click with or don't click with, and that can cover the whole spectrum. I think we all know the quiet person around whom fun disappears, vs. the quiet person who doesn't say much but when they do it's kind of great. Likewise, we know people who generate fun and we don't mind getting caught up in their wake, vs. the person who is aggressive and un-fun towards activity that's not generated and focussed on them, even if it's not fun for anyone else.

The character in the comics sounds like the person who's a total energy-suck, maybe not because it's their nature, but maybe reflects more on who they are surrounded by and what they feel obligated to do socially. I'd be interested in an exploration of how she has friends in the first place, how she knows that many people at all, why she even feels the need to go to parties.
posted by fleacircus at 11:03 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought I was introverted, turns out I was just surrounded by jerks.
posted by The Whelk at 11:07 AM on June 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


I liked the comic.

My view of the extroversion/introversion vs outgoing/shy dichotomies is something like this:

I see extroversion/introversion as internal orientations...it's about what energies me vs what expends energy (although I think, in a different way than fleacircus describes it). So, when I want to recharge/energize, I do it alone, at home. Once I'm energized, I'm fine with going out, but going out is an energy drain for me.

That is why I identify as introvert.

However, I strive, whenever I'm in a situation that requires it, to be outgoing. So, I would not read a book at my birthday party. But I probably would struggle with a loud party situation and wonder how anyone is having any fun. I might leave as early as is politely possible. But I would try to engage.

I also think it's contextual. On topics in which I am familiar/knowledgeable/aware or with people I already know, then I can easily have a very sustained conversation. I guess my issue is that when I was younger, I spent too much time "looking down" upon mainstream interests (oh, dumb teenage self), that now, I don't share a lot of topics with others. That's why I think that targeted groups (interest groups, for example) are a really great thing for me personally.

Giving a public speech? No problem for me.

Talking to people after the speech (and not about anything related to the speech)? OK, there might start to be some problems.

Talking with a client at work about work stuff? No problem for me.

Networking with a client or internally about personal life stuff? I haven't gotten it.
posted by subversiveasset at 11:18 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


For me, that part did resonate with when I've gone to a party where I only had a couple friends there, and it's easier for me to act as a sidekick than try to navigate the whole small-talk thing with people I don't know. Hanging out with friends is a totally different thing for me than engaging in light conversation with new people, and that's not really something I attribute to shyness for myself.

I guess I wouldn't classify "going to a party with some friends and other people" at all with "hanging out with friends". So if I've gone to a party where I knew people but not many, I could feel shy -- act as a sidekick, which is a great way of putting it -- or not, and I could feel like being extroverted or not, but the two don't seem terribly related for me.

I also think that comparing a party you choose to go to as an adult with a birthday party being thrown for you as a child is a difficult comparison. As a kid, you don't have as much control -- internally or externally.
posted by jeather at 11:22 AM on June 23, 2013


For me it's a lot of what LionIndex said here, plus that I feel uncomfortable around a lot of people I don't know, if they all know each other.
I also get weirded out sometimes just by realizing that people can see me when I'm not actively engaging with them. I was much more outgoing when I was too young to be self-conscious.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:24 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested in an exploration of how she has friends in the first place, how she knows that many people at all, why she even feels the need to go to parties.

In my case, my friends are all either very old friends that I've known for ages, like from school, or co-workers that I've spend a decent amount of time with without having to conform to the expected social interaction that's the norm at a typical party. Mostly, it's people that I've been around for a while and we know what to expect from each other and are OK with it. My most successful avenues for making new friends are if I'm doing something with an existing friend, and they bring someone else along - then I can get to know that person on a more familiar basis instead of just making chat at a party. As far as going to parties, sometimes it's just a sort of social obligation, with something like a work Christmas party, a friend's birthday, a wedding, or something else that I want to show my support for, even if I think the odds of actually enjoying it are small.
posted by LionIndex at 11:28 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich, I like you. You're a real kind of people with a good brain in your skull. I guess on average a lot of people are, but most of us are total beans at expressing it half so eloquently.

I think this is a lovely comic. I love the use of color (picking red to contrast everything else highlights both Mathilde and the way her personality colors her world) and the character design. Something that sticks out for me (aside from all the panels of Mathilde doing quiet things on her own, which I find just blissful) is the conversation at the party; the way Mathilde is trying to spark a conversation and her presumably extroverted (? maybe she's also introverted? can't tell) partner is just offering these rote, blunt non-responses. I like that, because sometimes that happens to me! And it really is strange to be a sort of introverted person in your own eyes, but to be the one who initiates and maintains conversations all the time.

Now. Pretend all of that is what I started to say before I shushed and ran away.
posted by byanyothername at 11:35 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am also mystified about how fun is had at those super-loud places and basically have no idea what all those people are saying to each other - both in the sense that i can't hear them an dthat I can't imagine it. I especially have no idea what people are expecting me to say when we're sitting there staring at each other in the minute before the other person finds someone else to talk to.
posted by bleep at 11:36 AM on June 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


basically have no idea what all those people are saying to each other

"I LOVE THIS SONG."

"ME TOO."
posted by The Whelk at 11:39 AM on June 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


I strongly dislike and disagree with introvert narratives that portray it as a superior way of being relative to extroversion. That's just not true.

But I have some involuntary sympathy to it simply because I think it's a natural response to the American cultural standard of extroversion and the associated narrative that introversion is pathological. I think almost every one of us who is introverted have been hearing other people tell us that's there's something wrong with us most of our lives.

I come from a family of extroverts. Now that I'm almost fifty, there's pretty much a universal acceptance that I am the way that I am. But it still, even from my mother, has a tinge of resentment and pity. Why can't I have fun and socialize like normal people do?

That said, both introversion and extroversion can become pathological. Because of the circumstances of my life, I've been increasingly isolated over the last twelve years and as a consequence, my ability to function socially has degraded and that feeds into my introversion in a way that makes it hard to tease out what's healthy variation in human personality and what's pathological social isolation. Like many introverts, I've usually been comfortable in small groups of people, especially if they're people well-known to me that I like. And unlike larger groups, and especially with strangers, such small close-knit group interactions never left me feeling tired. But they do now. Even when I enjoy the interaction, later I find that I'm tired and that adds just a bit more of a counter-incentive to socialize in the future.

I think that both introverts and extroverts need to beware against using their natural and totally-okay preference as a justification for behavior that is pathological and self-destructive. Extroverts can successfully avoid their inner-selves and issues by throwing themselves into socializing while, in contrast, introverts can successfully avoid their issues with interpersonal relationships and take refuge in their own heads by refusing to socialize — in both cases, the activity is avoidance of things which oughtn't be avoided.

I'm not sure how to tell when someone has crossed that line. But I suspect a big clue is how happy and content they really are. Extroverts and introverts moving into pathology will probably find that they're more and more unhappy in a vicious cycle of their increasing extroversion or introversion. But they'll probably justify this progression as being an essential part of their personality and that it makes them happy.

I'm not going to stop being an introvert, nor should I. But I feel pretty certain that my relatively extreme social isolation is making me more unhappy rather than less.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:39 AM on June 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


Introverts accept their differences from extroverts. It would be nice if that were reciprocated.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:40 AM on June 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


In my experience when I say "i love this song" i get "what song." Or "never heard of it."
posted by bleep at 11:40 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


A lot of people know me as an extrovert, or at least recall me being extroverted back when we met. To be honest, I was probably drinking then. I started pretty young. I'd like to say I was somewhere in between intro- and extroverted, but in fact it's always been more like a pendulum. When I dried up a few years ago, I quit seeking out my friends, and my in-person social circle has dwindled.

People see me as being gregarious and friendly. I'm still like that in text-only media. In reality, though, I would almost always rather be at home reading a book. I'm unfortunately good with people, and I actually like when I go into "people mode," because frankly I do care about others and a lot of my friendliness comes naturally. At the same time I want to climb into a quiet place and read books for the rest of my life, or wander off into my daydreams and never come back.

I'm self-critical, so I feel pretty guilty about wanting to close up shop. I'm a natural socializer, and I guess this makes me an extrovert sometimes. It's a burden, though, the expectation that I'll be there having fun with my friends or family. It's like the burden of potential, I'm here to show you what happens when people don't live up to expectations.

I'm sorry I missed your party. There was a reason, something really came up, but it was shamefully easy for me to choose the quiet option, because I'm not so frequently extroverted anymore. It isn't just one thing, the quitting drinking or the loving someone quiet, or me getting older, being depressed, or up-and-down, whatever. I'm just coming into my own and that means things are different with me.

The gregarious me is still the genuine article, there's nothing fake about my friendly side. In my heart, though, I want to be like my parents: two people reading silently at opposite ends of the couch, nothing in between them but peace and quiet. No social circle, just a binary star, orbiting around love and habit.

I'm kind of all over the place here. Life is rarely simple. I don't usually like comics, but I thought this was great.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:43 AM on June 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I also think reading Moby Dick in the middle of a party is like, rude

Except when you're a kid, and the party is your own birthday party - which I felt was the point of that first bit of the comic. She could do what she wanted not just because people were deferring to her as the birthday girl, but because everyone was too young and unconcerned to be wrapped up in her faults as an introvert. They were kids who liked running around, so they ran around. They knew she liked books, so they gave her books and let her read. Everyone was polite and nice to each other, and nobody had to worry what anyone else was thinking.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 11:47 AM on June 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ice Creak Socialist - I find that the fact that many social activities are organized around drinking to be a complication. I didn't really like being around drunk people much even when I was one.
posted by thelonius at 11:59 AM on June 23, 2013


I have become skilled at "faking" it--I can be voluble and even enjoy myself at gatherings, most gatherings, anyway.

But it always feels like work, to one degree or another. I am always relieved to be finished.

That said, I don't find much utility in the intro/extro cubbyholes.

I enjoyed the posted comic--the art is lovely.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:09 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've always been frustrated by the "I find shades of both in myself and therefore introversion isn't a real thing" idea, because for me it feels as real as gravity.

I get the "shades of both" thing, too. We are all nuanced. And I identify as a strong strong introvert, but sometimes I want to go to parties. Sometimes I want to go to parties where I don't know people. And occasionally I have fun doing so.

But the thing is, other people are noise to me. Not physical noise - metaphorical noise, thought-noise. My self-diagnosis is that my social alertness has a particular bent that means, for me, trying to interpret social cues is constant and demanding mental work. It's not necessarily always unpleasant, and I'm not always aware of it, but I feel like a different person when I'm by myself because I can actually hear myself. And other people tend to drown that out.

Hmmm, it's not just that simple as them drowning out my inner voice, because there's that aspect of work to it, too - ceasing to be around people is like putting down a heavy weight. And the longer I'm around people, the heavier that weight gets. Like, if I somehow end up with a full social schedule for anything like 72 hours, that weight gets freakin' heavy.

And for me this explains subversiveasset's context-sensitive feelings - the more socially certain I am, the less of an issue it is, because it's less "noise". At work, I know my role fairly well and don't get distracted by trying to interpret things - so it's comfortable. Likewise with old friends. But in other circumstances, it seems to take such a significant portion of my mental firepower just to try and stay on top of what's going on, socially, that I just can't do anything else and after a while it starts to erode this voice in my head that I really like and can only really listen to by removing those social distractions.

I'm not superior to anyone, but you do get this message over and over again that you're somehow lacking because you're wired this way, and so it does feel identity-affirming to push back against that now and then. Of course, I do think there are introverts who push back against this in a really grating way, too.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:14 PM on June 23, 2013 [19 favorites]


There's a reason they call introversion - extroversion a spectrum. We're all on it. We're all somewhere in between the two extremes. And therefore, from time to time, we'll behave differently.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:30 PM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I liked this comic. It made sense to me because I often feel or have felt like that. I love my friends but most of the best times in my life have been spent alone.

I really enjoy doing things alone. I like sitting alone. Reading alone. Drinking alone. Smoking alone. Walking alone. Shopping alone. Driving alone. Eating alone. Showering alone. Sleeping alone. Being alone.

Alone.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 12:54 PM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


*looks up from book, smiles vaguely at others enjoying themselves in the thread, goes back to reading*
posted by infini at 1:06 PM on June 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Regarding parties, supposedly the Romans had a maxim about the number of people that should be invited: neither more than the Muses nor fewer than the Graces. There are nine Muses and three Graces, so, ideally a party would have between four and eight people. As someone who is both shy and introverted this has always seemed perfect to me; and it has always worked well when I've experienced it. It's not an overwhelming number of people so you don't feel outnumbered. Likewise, it's enough people that any individual doesn't feel pressured to keep conversation going. In summary, yay Romans!!
posted by orrnyereg at 1:41 PM on June 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Introverts accept their differences from extroverts. It would be nice if that were reciprocated.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:40 AM on June 23 [13 favorites +] [!]


Introverts do accept that they're different from extroverts, but from most of the narratives I've seen, if the introverts had it their way, there wouldn't be any differences-all the extroverts would just give in and realize that "introversion" is the one true way.

I mean just look at the title.
Or this, that's been on the blue before
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:51 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Or this, that's been on the blue before"

I don't see anything in that comic that suggests that introversion should be normative. What it does suggest is that extroverts should "give in" to introverts being introverted, which many extroverts are unwilling to do.

My recollection of past discussions here have been that while there's a loud minority of introverts who make strong normative statements in favor or introversion and against extroversion, the preponderance of opinion has been that there's different strokes for different folks and that's okay, we should respect other people's preferences.

Now, maybe your own personal environment is heavily loaded with introverts who are hostile to extroversion and you're sensitive to such arguments. I can imagine a number of subcultures where this might be the case.

But I've heard far fewer such accounts of extroverts describing oppressive introverts than I've heard of introverts describing oppressive extroverts. American culture, anyway, stigmatizes aloneness in a way that many other cultures do not.

For example, I have trouble recalling examples of people stigmatizing extremely social behavior in itself. Yes, it can be seen as bad when it's to the exclusion of vital activities. But in itself it's seen as good. In contrast, I can think of many examples of people stigmatizing being asocial in itself. That even if someone is happy and highly functional and accomplished, not being social is still somehow wrong.

Some introverts respond to this by becoming chauvinistic about introversion. And some are just chauvinistic about introversion because they're inclined to normalize their own preferences, generally. I wish people wouldn't do this.

I get nothing at all from small-talk within groups of people; I find it both a waste of my time and weirdly exhausting. But I completely recognize a couple of things. One, that many other people enjoy this activity and find it valuable. And, two, it's actually socially functional in something similar to the way that primate grooming is socially functional. It doesn't work for me, I don't like it — but it works for other people, they like it, and they have good reasons to like it.

Maybe I, and other introverts, have good reasons for preferring to minimize socializing to certain times and places and contexts. Maybe our way of doing things is also functional in the grand scheme of human behavior and culture. I like to say that humans are semi-gregarious animals and that we're well served by straddling the line between being pack and being solitary. I also think that this balance isn't equally represented in each person, that we're diverse as individuals in this respect, and that this diversity satisfies the needed function of our collective semi-gregariousness. It's good that there are both introverts and extroverts, and those who exist in-between.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:41 PM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just bought a pile of books and I totally identify with that warm fuzzy feeling. Mmmmmmm.

It seems to me that the introvert/extrovert dichotomy is a lot to do with simply who the other people at the party are. I just went to see a movie with someone I don't know that well and don't really connect with. I kind of couldn't wait to get home and be by myself but I'm now writing emails to other people about the movie and I would love it if they were here to discuss it with me. I mostly hate parties but if I went to a party where the only guests were the six or so people with whom I feel truly comfortable then I'd be the life of the party!

Obviously MetaFilter selects for a higher percentage of introverts than average but I think the recent prevalence of books and cartoons proclaiming "I'm an introvert and that's OK!" is to do with art being the best way that introverts can proclaim anything and receive positive affirmation. Extroverts can get it by being themselves at a party.

Also, (and I say this without judgement) introverts simply agonise over everything a lot more.
posted by neilb449 at 4:17 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, after my initial appearance in this thread we had some unexpected guests come through for lunch, and it rained on our barbecue, and they are just back in town recently and they are sleeping in their car and no, they cannot stay here because though our house is lovely we clearly do not have the space

so I closed the thread to "entertain," and now I have come back to:

1) Lots more comments/discussion, which are mostly thoughtful. Hot.
2) My favorite sitcom is on the TV (for an hour on Sundays! Woot!)
3) The sun is going down, the guests have gone, the kid is bathed and sort-of quiet...
4) And yes, I am going to need to / be allowed to sit here on my bed and decompress for the rest of the night because, damn, I just pulled a party out of my ass when I was not at all prepared to see "people" today, (and in addition to that they are old friends of his that I was meeting for the first time,) and like others have said, yeah, not EVERY interaction is this complicated, but, you know - a lot of them are.

/Introvert Out
posted by polly_dactyl at 4:54 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This comic reminded me of bad perfume commercials and/or their parodies. I couldn’t stop hearing it in a really exaggerated French accent with someone whispering the name at the end of each one.
posted by bongo_x at 5:07 PM on June 23, 2013


all the extroverts would just give in and realize that "introversion" is the one true way.
That's not at all what I want as an introvert. I find that it's extroverts who constantly push for introverts to change.

I'd say the biggest difference between introverts and extroverts is that generally speaking, introverts don't think being extroverted is a problem that needs fixing, but the reverse is not true.
posted by Sternmeyer at 5:07 PM on June 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


introverts don't think being extroverted is a problem that needs fixing

It feels like one sometimes when I'm surrounded by them.

But yes, if anything I'm very envious of extroverts. It seems so much easier for them to navigate society; for me sometimes it just feels exhausting.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:22 PM on June 23, 2013


introverts don't think being extroverted is a problem that needs fixing, but the reverse is not true.

Saying the world just won't shut up doesn't paint extroversion as a problem? Silly me.

Its comments like this that typically make me stay away from introversion themed threads, but I came here because this time I actually liked the comic. But there's ways the inevitable "intreverts are superior characteristic, and extroverts just aren't, its in their nature" comments. Sokka Shot First brought it up much more eloquently up thread.
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:23 PM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's too bad that a thread about introversion isn't all about your experience as an extrovert and your resentments against introverts. This reminds me of something else, but I can't quite place what it is.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:44 PM on June 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Saying the world just won't shut up doesn't paint extroversion as a problem? Silly me.

I think that can be framed the way many in this thread have stated - not that extroversion is a problem, but that lack of recognition for introverts' need to distance themselves from that once in a while is. Preferring one thing isn't necessarily an attack on its opposite, just like saying "in a world full of vanillla, I prefer chocolate", but I can see where the "won't shut up" is problematic there.

I do think this comic is way more fair to extroversion - it doesn't even really get mentioned - than the other big introvert piece that came out around a decade ago - Caring for Your Introvert, by Jonathon Rauch, which was very tongue in cheek, but still.
posted by LionIndex at 5:47 PM on June 23, 2013


the world just won't shut up

I can see that does seem reductive.

But sometimes it's more a frustrated shorthand for "the world is both loud and quiet, and right now I need to withdraw to a quiet part of it for a while, and could you not hassle me about being here quietly by myself because having to explain it is itself dragging me back into the noise."

But anyway, apropos of the comic: it's worth checking out the link to Luchie also, because the front page of his Tumblr currently has some work-in-progress pictures of the strip which are utterly charming. (Also: "my first time working with pencils only (no inking!) so I’m learning and making a lot of mistakes everyday". I think it came out OK.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:50 PM on June 23, 2013


"...but I can see where the 'won't shut up' is problematic there."

Right, but it should be understood within the context of a comic that explicitly is about being an introvert dealing with social pressures against being introverted.

Yes, all things being equal, speaking pejoratively about extroverts is just as bad as speaking pejoratively about introverts.

But all things are not equal — this comic and pretty much all posts here on MeFi about introversion are within the context of social pressures against introversion, including stigmatization. Expressions of frustrations at the expectations of extroverts and affirmations of the value of introversion are both to be expected and occasionally some people will write rude things about extroverts that they probably shouldn't have. This doesn't delegitimize the views of introverts or create some terrible burden for the extroverts of MeFi.

When the context is "hey, we're a group that feels mistreated in our culture, here's why" the response from those outside that group shouldn't be to find ways to take offense and to express that offense.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:03 PM on June 23, 2013


I am exhausted by socializing, but I am damned if I'm going to try to liken that to being some sort of embattled minority. My rubric is trying, in my mind, to explain my travails to an actual embattled minority.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:35 PM on June 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also now I want French fries very badly because Belgium.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:35 PM on June 23, 2013


Yet again, a comic conflating introversion with shyness. Yay.

She's considerably less shy than I am. For me, the "introvert == shy" thing does not raise any red flags because I happen to be both.
posted by Foosnark at 6:48 PM on June 23, 2013


Saying the world just won't shut up

Actually, it never says that. It says "won't stop talking", which takes away a considerable amount of negativity, unless projected there by the reader.
posted by LionIndex at 6:57 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


all the extroverts would just give in and realize that "introversion" is the one true way.

No, it's just THE right way. Now hush, all of this talking is cutting my book reading.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:41 PM on June 23, 2013


Actually, it never says that. It says "won't stop talking", which takes away a considerable amount of negativity, unless projected there by the reader.

There's a lot to think about in "never stops talking" as opposed to "won't shut up." That panel and the "I just appreciate silence" panel have a bird singing after a long stretch of silent panels, and I assume the inner dialogue doesn't mean "STOP TALKING, STUPID BIRD!" Although I like that as a dumb alternative interpretation. Like, "I just appreciate silence" as this passive-aggressive way of saying, I have had it up to here with you, bird. I just recovered from that exhausting party, and your noisy bird bullshit is the last straw.

Moving on, the first four panels in the comic have lots of implied noise (open mouths) but no dialogue. But contrast this with the silent panel in the middle of the grown-up party that's totally empty, or the post-party panels where she's alone but her thoughts are still filled with other people's complaints.

My overthinking cap isn't at full power, so I'd appreciate it if somebody connected these dots for me. Something about how lack of noise isn't necessary for silence, but lack of speech isn't sufficient. Something about how Mathilde and Lola literally do stop talking, but how this isn't the same as the comfortable silence in the first page when Mathilde and her mom stop talking. What does silence mean for an introvert?
posted by knuckle tattoos at 8:56 PM on June 23, 2013


The best thing about not believing in these made up self-limiting designations is spending a week going to old movies by yourself and taking walks around abandoned parks and then the week after hitting up a party, making new friends and dancing til 3 am. Live the life, fuck the label.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:51 PM on June 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm an extrovert, but for various reasons have spent a lot of time alone in the past several months. I've enjoyed it, though I do miss the energizing effect of being around more people (nice people, being around jerks sucks for everybody). The differences between extroverts and introverts aren't that extreme. Most of the introverts I know are happy to be around people some of the time, and most of the extroverts I know spend time alone, and are happy to be quiet some of the time. The E vs. I conflict is like a lot of Myers-Briggs traits, and gets used to promote traits as much as to understand how other people function. Sooo glad I skipped the day at work where they used the Myers-Briggs test to help everybody work better; it's usually used as a way to disrespect people at work, in my experience. People are different, try respecting them.
posted by theora55 at 8:08 AM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I will confess to every now and again making Introvert Supremacy type arguments, but in my case, it's always been as a reaction to persistent nagging from extroverted people. I do get frustrated sometimes during periods when I'm having to socialize a lot. It feels almost like sleep deprivation does. I get short-tempered and my brain gets fuzzy, and yeah, every now and again, I've gotten to the point where I wonder how anyone can even think when all they seem to do is talk.

Of course, I understand that these are just different personality traits, but the fact is that extroversion does tend to dominate the narrative. Understandably. That's just a fact of life, that people who think out loud tend to have their thoughts heard more. Extroverts are also generally more likely to be the type of people to put themselves in roles where they establish and police social rules. Extroverts drive our cultural narrative because extroverts are narrators.

And the massive increase in social media has made it a lot more difficult to not socialize, even when doing something traditionally solitary like watching movies or reading books.

So it's perfectly understandable to me that we're seeing a little more backlash from introverted people. Some of that is retaliation, I'm sure, from people who are really tired of being treated as though they're defective. And the more introverted a person is, the more frustration they're going to have built up before they're really motivated enough to say something.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:17 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


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