I leave Introvert Awareness Month by sharing a Manifesto on the power of Introversion by one of the world’s most public Introverts, Susan Cain. Lots of people write about Introversion, but Cain has the big picture vision. And that is why she has been able to communicate with so many people, helping lots of us see ourselves as part of a bigger network of thinky types, in a bigger sea of fellow Intros than we may have imagined. Thanks Susan!
Laurie Helgoe was the first writer I read who described the scientific aspects of the Intro/Extro spectrum. For more on that, this site is super awesome. It examines brain patterns and dopamine vs acetylcholine, or, the two dominant neurotransmitters of extroverts and introverts. Fascinating.
I know some folks no longer believe in left-brain vs right-brain dominance in people. But I can feel the difference.
I love my fellow introverts but I have historically had a more frustrating time with Intros on the left side of things. Except for some of my very close friends, who are gentle with my passions. (Thank guys!) I have a tough time, at least, if I am talking about something I am passionate about. Have you met me? I am super passionate or I wouldn’t be talking about whatever the topic may be.
Being told not to be attached or passionate about a topic sounds like gobbilty-gook. Being told not to put my heart into artwork is pure insanity. Left-Brained Introverts, often mathy-science-y folks, feel detached, less emotional, and more logical to me. I am very passionate and visual. Passion and cold facts do not always mix. Left brained folks are often less observant of people’s emotions or feelings and more observant of people’s wording or logic points. I guess I am thinking of a few specific people in my life. I do understand everything is a spectrum.
I realized the people who attack me the most for starting a Theme Camp for the Introvert spectrum (and our allies), they are left-brained Introverts. Who often refuse to believe in introversion, partially because non-scientists came up with Myers-Briggs. I love being told Introversion does not exist-by super obviously Introverted people.
Happens about as often as obvious Extroverts telling me they are Introverts. ;p
Add in Aspergers, Bi-polar, Social Anxiety etc and truly empathizing with each other becomes more complicated. It takes an extra level of gentle-ness and care to understand without alienating each other. I know I have made statements around out-loud processors only to accidentally insult an Aspy who is also an Introvert. (More needs to be written on the Intro and Extro natures of the Aspergers spectrum. The Aspy revolution is coming!)
For more on this topic, check out:
The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olson Laney
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’ 😀
Many of us have more to say than we voice outloud. Sometimes, we get talking amongst people we sense will listen and understand us. Sometimes we are right and our words do not fall on the wrong ears. Often enough, our brave moment sharing our inner thoughts, results in a room of people staring at us, dumbfounded. Either way, contrary to popular opinion, we can talk your face off.
And then we STFU.