Thursday, July 7, 2011

If Introverts Spoke Like Extroverts

As most people know for extroverts the act of thinking and the act of speaking are very much intertwined. The moment their brain conceives it is usually the moment the say it. And if both they (and you) are lucky, all of that talk leads to the bull's eye of the conversation or question. Eventually.

Introverts of course tend to not speak at all until their mind has processed the situation, stimuli, or point. They want that quiet moment or two before speaking, and when they do speak, their speech is often slower and more deliberate than the enthusiastic, exploratory chatter of the extrovert.

Introverts are very familiar with the exhausting experience of being engaged by an extrovert.

Perhaps it is best that introverts do not speak before they think, given the nature of what and how they think. But what if your average introvert worked like your average extrovert? What if just for a brief time introverts vocalized what they were thinking the moment they were thinking it? Here are some things I believe you would hear them say:   

-"Please stop talking so loudly. I'm the only one here and I am right in front of you."

- "You know, I just hate maintaining eye contact. I can hear you just fine if I don't so I'm just not going to do it."

- "Okay, I will keep looking at you while you speak, but it is very difficult for me to do that, so how about you stay in one place for a few minutes to make it easier on me? I would appreciate that."

- "Could I please answer your last five questions, before you either ask me another question, or begin to tell a story?"

-"I don't care."

- "That has zero relevance to what I just said. I totally respect the fact that you have the right to say whatever is on your mind. That's terrific. But your response has given absolutely no indication that you have heard anything that I just told you, and this irritates me."

- "You saw me sitting here in the corner with my eyes closed. That was a polite giveaway that I didn't want to converse with you, and yet you did so anyway. Please go away for a few minutes until I indicate I actually want to speak."

- "It's so rude that I'm usually no more than halfway through a point I am trying to make before you decide to change the subject to something you prefer. Or even worse, you decide you know what I was going to say, and say it for me. This is a conversation, not a monologue. Am I that boring, or are you just afraid of having to think for too long?"

- "I have not met any of the people in the story you are telling me. So I am not enjoying it."

- "When I am having fun, I am the first person to know it. Stop telling everyone else that I am not having any fun."

- "No, I don't have to get up to enjoy myself. I am enjoying myself sitting here, thank you."

- "Do we really need the television, the radio, and the internet on at the same time, while you are trying to talk to me?  How can I be the only one bothered by all this damn noise? Turn something off."

- "That was the clumsiest attempt at a segue into another topic I have ever witnessed. You just want an excuse to bring up something random, and we all know it."

- "I'd be happy to tell you what I think of that, if you agree to say nothing until I have completed my thoughts on same."

- "You do realize that nothing bad will happen if you just sit down for a minute and not do anything, don't you?"

- "I have no problem with you personally, but if you mention anything about coming out of my supposed shell again I am going to find a way to cram your fucking head into a shell."

- "Nothing personal, but I have no idea whatsoever how to respond to most of what you tell me. So I am just going to remain silent instead of talking out of my ass about something."

-"You would be wise not to confuse my quietness with detachment from my environment. I am probably more aware of what is happening in the room than you are."

-  "This conversation does not interest me at all. You are not saying anything that makes me think or laugh. To be perfectly frank I would like this conversation to end at this point. You and I can either start another one, or we can both go find something else to do. Either option is fine with me, but this is not working and I am tired of pretending it is."

- "Hello. I hate being here with all of these strangers, and I don't have the slightest desire nor the remotest intention to approach any of them. If anybody wants to meet me, I strongly prefer they come to me, and even then, I would be lying if I guaranteed that either one of us would enjoy the encounter."

And finally...

-"For the love of life, just shut the hell up!!!!!!!!!"

Not a pretty picture is it?

This is part satire, but largely fact based. I had some fun making this list, and I hope fellow introverts, as well as extroverts had fun reading it. But the truth of this matter is that as rude, aloof, strange and cold as introverts sometimes appear to extroverts, they may find us even less appealing if we spoke as often or as quickly as they do all of the time. If we can accept that yes, introversion can confuse and sadden extroverts, and that extroversion can just bug the piss out of introverts, everyone can better understand their individual friends of both types.

What did I miss? What else might an introvert say in an extroverted world if they didn't stop and think?






5 comments:

7thDirection said...

"I feel as if I'm interrupting you if I make a comment relevant to the topic while you are speaking, so I wait until there is a pause. But there never is one."

Ty Unglebower said...

Excellent addition.

Tina Beth said...

That's fantastic. I have entertained this idea as well. Just saying every little thing that crosses my mind like they do. Maybe we could proclaim a National Introvert's Day (no fireworks please) where they have to sit down & be quiet (for a lovely change) & we do all the talking. I like it. My most common thought when under fire from an extrovert is usually, "Please shut the fuck up." But that's usually because it's the best I can come up with due to all the noise. And I honestly no longer care if I am considered rude or aloof or socially unacceptable. They simply talk way too much & I would much rather be home alone, quiet & happy.

Susan said...

Wow -- these are all fantastic! The one about just sitting down for a minute and not doing anything is my favorite. My best friend is an extrovert (we're polar opposites on Myers Briggs) and she's one of those people who can get by on about four hours' sleep each night. I know she thinks I'm a slacker.

I also liked your point about introverts actually being more aware of what's going on than extroverts. Extroverts, I think, don't filter their input; they just take it all in. Introverts are so selective that I think we usually have a better idea of what's actually happening.

Love your posts on introverts; look forward to reading more!

Anonymous said...

"No, hearing the details of your day is not interesting to me ... unless they're somehow interesting. Or funny. Or told in an amusing way. For instance, a 20 minute story about your trip to the grocery store, featuring a word-for-word retelling of the meaningless conversation with your former neighbor you ran into, is exhausting to me, not interesting."