You’ve probably heard a lot about introverts lately, if you’re the online type.
There’s been a big uptick in articles about introverts- how to treat them, make them comfortable, aid them with grooming- that I felt you could use a little peek at the other side.
I am an extrovert. Yes, you see us everywhere- that’s the problem. But what you glean offhand might be a superficial gloss.
Here, then, are some thoughts from my side of the ice.
1. We Are An Iceberg And The Top Is The Worst Part
This is a defense of extroverts, so I’m going to be slim on the apologies.
That said, I sincerely apologize for all the things and people that suck.
You know what I mean; the loud, thumping parties at 3 AM by people who want to shove you and shove each other and who somehow imply you’re the idiot for not wanting to go. That’s the worst part of extrovert culture- that Monster-canned impulse for more, for bigger, for insane that wells up now and then.
But there’s more than that.
Extroverts are noticeable in the extreme, and in the extremely annoying. Because it’s about outgoing, you notice when someone intrudes, as you should. I get it. A drunk dude meandering up to you at 1:30 asking for a bite of your pizza slice isn’t friendly. It’s vaguely assaultive and not as innocent as the dude believes.
So I would like to apologize for that, but in the way I’d apologize for friend’s behavior. Those people and circumstances are the tops, the extremes of extroverts that get coded in as the standard. But they aren’t.
Just like you have depth, we do too. There’s a humanity beyond the insufferable peaks you notice.
2. We Like You More Than You Think.
Any time you came up in conversation it was always about how cool you were and how much we liked you. Seriously. There was a bafflement at the cool removal, of being funnier and smarter but letting us seize attention.
If anything, we felt guilty. I needed attention, fiended for it, lusted for laughs and eyes, and you did not.
I needed attention like a vampire needed blood. It was a drug and a necessity- without attention, how would I draw the boundaries of where I was?- and you did not.
I felt grateful and guilty. I still do.
3. We Double Down On Extrovertism If We’re Not Getting Across.
You may have felt ignored, slighted, annoyed, bothered, muttering and eye-rolling around us, but the only way I thought you’d like me was if I had an even funnier joke after the first one.
I always just assumed everyone was like I was, and that if you were quiet it was because you didn’t like me, and that I (as an extrovert) had to win you over. And so I doubled down when I should have shut up.
I’m sorry, and that sucked for me too. But it makes a certain basic logic, and I hope it gives you some comfort to know how much we just wanted you to like us.
4. We Aren’t Any Dumber Than You Are And Would Prefer Not To Be Generalized As The Idiot Villains Who You Are Better Than By Comparison.
Extroverts aren’t trendy- we’re the popular kids, the loud ones, and would rather be at a party than with a good book. We speak because we can’t handle the silence, and we flourish in the superficial and the fake.
The problem is that lumping that occurs. “Loud” is a coded word for obnoxious, and a “party than with a good book,” is an excuse for intellectual elitism, coding quiet with depth and thought and us, by extension, as idiots.
If you’re the protagonist of your story, then we, by default, are the antagonist.
We’d much rather be different people. Lend us some of our humanity, even as we annoy, bother and prod. As mentioned above, we don’t mean it.
5. We Do The Same Things In Different Ways
Introverts spend time with their thoughts. That’s the stereotypical image, of course. But extroverts do that too; the difference is we may talk about them, debate it over coffee or whiskey or struggle with them on long phone calls.
Introverts need to recharge. So do extroverts. The difference is while some introverts might prefer to spend some time alone or with a book, many extroverts need to recharge with friends or activity to recharge and regenerate the energy spent throughout the day.
Introverts like to eat food and drink water. Extroverts, it’s rumored, do the same.
Basic humanity remains consistent through personality types. Love, loss, fear, sadness, hunger, and joy remain in similar hues.
What you see on the surface is just that: the surface. Deep down, we’re as complicated and specific as anyone else might be, with the same worries kept hidden, the same struggles and thoughts and smiles weighed alone.
We’re just more annoying about it.