This situation sends me into Fight or Flight, yet it happens every day. Like everyone else, I have to accept the fact that to the unaware eye, the path my brain takes to deeper, varied locations, before offering a verbal answer, looks like I have no input. Helgoe points to studies showing the path our brains take when responding to outside stimuli-it really is longer, lighting up deeper and more varied parts of the brain. It doesn’t by any means say we are smarter. It does point to the fact that we gather more information before speaking.
I had never seen an explanation of this kind of exchange written down, before Helgoe. I had to make a meme of her quote. I think it is an excellent, step-by-step description, of what we face when talking with extremely talkative extroverts.
The problem is, we can understand this, as we seek to understand why we get cut off all the time, rushed through complex thoughts and told to hurry by people who just took 5 minutes verbalizing a minute of relevant content. The people who need to understand why we often answer more slowly, however, will often brush the entire thing off to over-sensitivity or us not being aggressive enough.
Intros on the spectrum tend to ask “why?” a lot and “what if?”, which is why we tend to do more research into introversion. I’m pretty sure many extroverts don’t know they are extroverts. Which may be why so many claim to be introverts ;p
When we do cut off a person telling us to hurry, as I had to at a retreat this weekend, it throws us off our thought and it takes longer to get back on track. This even goes for visual clues, like rushing your hands in a circular motion. People also think we are rude-to counter-interrupt an interrupter.
So, if you want us to speed up, don’t interrupt to tell us so: We may have been done by the time your interruption was over. We let you talk it out, because that is how you think. If you give us a minute to process your words, you may find we have something to add to the conversation.
Just sayin’ 😀
I never thought of Martin Luther King Jr as an Extrovert or Rosa Parks as an Introvert. Susan Cain makes a compelling argument for our society’s need for both “types” on the spectrum-One without the other makes true Progress more difficult. Introverts have a tremendous amount to say and much influence to give. And sometimes we need someone Shiny, boisterous and able to sway a crowd to get our point across.
Today I watched the documentary “The Punk Singer” about one of my childhood sheros, Kathleen Hanna.
I’m not sure how she identifies: I imagine as an Extrovert but she has definitely become more Introverted over the years, due to health concerns and lyme disease. She even created the Julie Ruin album alone, in her bedroom. But Kathleen is still a force to be reckoned with and has words that can inspire.
I’m including a little homemade meme of her quote, because she is an Extrovert that can inspire the quietest of feminist and womanist leaning Intros. She uses her Outgoing for Awesome. And fear of criticism stops us from growth, even if the critic is ourselves.
(Still from “Oh Come On” video by Julie Ruin)
Speaking of, check out the blog by an Introverted RiotGrrrl @QuiotGrrrl, who is having her very own Quiet Rrrevolution.
“While I am very proud of Introvert Camp and like when people know it came from my heart, IC is not about me. It is a camp of service, actually closer to a staff camp than a theme camp.
I don’t feel a desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extraversion and introversion because I want my camp to be successful.
I feel the desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extraversion and introversion because I want my society to be successful.”
I wrote that a few months back. Today I am thinking about Success, what that means, to whom.
As I get older, my ideas around success have definitely changed. I will have to work a long time, I think, before I can retire. And I imagine doing work that I find important and invigorating and that is what I am working towards now, in my late 30s. I know I am working towards the life I want. That seems successful to me.
Having and creating strong love in my life and being open to the love flowing all around me, and you; That is success to me.
Success is that magical moment we aim for, when we know we are safe, when we feel we have enough and have done enough. In what ways does Introversion influence success for the individual or the society at large?
1. We don’t want to overthrow Extroverts.
In terms of understanding introversion, success does not necessarily mean overthrowing the extrovert laws of leadership and communication and installing Introversion everywhere, forever! It does not mean all shamans and no warriors, to be extremely stereotypical in my example, one without the other would be boring.
2. Introverts and Extroverts are like Opposite Twins.
Extroverts and Introverts are like Ebony and Ivory, biscuits and gravy, Frog and Toad, Bert and Ernie; We are intrinsically drawn towards one another and can play well together, with the right awareness. But ignoring our differences is folly, our differences are the strengths we bring to the table. Our differences can lead us to our own definitions of success and what it means to share it.
3. Introvert awareness is not a special right.
Success means removing the stigma from needing time to process before speaking, asking questions when others demand fast action, acknowledging that a subtler, less showy or totally weird plan can often accomplish the directive just as well, and sometimes better, than a more direct, aggressive or competitive response. It means societal understanding of a quieter way. Success means no longer taking introverted children to the psychologist to push them to be more extroverted. It means everyone in the classroom getting a chance to speak. It means no more job advertisements that tell Introverts not to bother applying. It means accepting group work and independent thought as equally valid techniques in effectiveness and importance in our workplaces and in our relationships.
4. Introversion is far more than social stamina, disdain for group think or avoiding parties we feel obligated to attend.
When I make observations about what behavior is extroverted or introverted or talk about different ways of seeing things, I often accidentally offend extroverts and the intros who don’t believe in introversion. And the Asperger’s contingent throws all theory for a loop: My friends and acquaintances, when I say something too general about extroverts, say things like, “no, I also think out loud” or “well, I cannot shut up sometimes, it may be about missing social cues more than being about extraversion”.
Acknowledging intro and extraversion doesn’t mean I think it’s all that simple. In the Nature Vs Nurture argument, Introversion is both biology and environment. If you consider ADHD, PTSD, attachment mechanisms, social anxiety, the autism spectrum, sexuality, sensitivity, gender roles, hormone dominance, confidence, context, ethnicity and depressive diseases, you can see how complicated and fascinating the study of introversion and extraversion can be.
5. Understanding Introversion is really a way to understand and include half of our society.
Our success in working with one another relies on understanding why one person may need to brainstorm, out loud and off the cuff to generate ideas while another may need 10 minutes of quiet time, with no distractions. Achievement and innovation come from fostering environments where both are possible. As individuals and as a society, we cannot reach our highest aspirations if we are busy fighting for our basic needs to be met.
I run a camp specifically for introverts. For this reason, some folks believe that my zealot-like desire to note and understand the intro/extro dynamics of a situation is because I want to grow or promote my camp. I am a wise girl and can understand why someone would think that-it’s the most obvious choice I suppose. Babble at every and anyone about introversion to promote a camp of people who meet a few times a year. Purely selfish.
People make this mistake with me all the time. All the time. ALL THE TIME. They assume my big, sweeping analogies and statements are only related to whatever small, local, itty-bitty trigger made me have the bigger vision or helped me see the small puzzle piece in stronger relation to the bigger puzzle.
Anyone who knows me well knows my role with Introvert Camp, quite quickly became one of Consulting and Guidance and copywriting. IC builds itself. After the first few waves of promotion, Introverts just find us. Sometimes their stellar Extroverted partners help them find us J but it’s not difficult for us to reach 20 people with almost no promotions, meetings or recruitment events. We don’t need too much facetime to put this thing together: Surprise, surprise 😉
I provide the synthesis space, the attitude, the philosophy: Participate. Recharge. Repeat. The camp members structure/dismantle their own experience, not me.
While I am very proud of Introvert Camp and like when people know it came from my heart, IC is not about me. It is a camp of service, actually closer to a staff camp than a theme camp.
I don’t feel a desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extroversion and introversion because I want my camp to be successful.
I feel the desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extroversion and introversion because I want my society to be successful.