An Open Letter To Extroverts

Dear Extrovert,

Hi! Remember me? I’m the Introvert you met at that party last week. Oh. You don’t remember? That’s okay. I’m used to it. I know I’m not a memorable person.

Maybe you thought I was antisocial? But really, I’m not. At least, not in the Christian-Bale-American-Psycho sort of way. Admittedly, I’m terrified of big crowds, but plop me in my natural environment of 1-3 other close friends and hear me (ROAR) be completely sociable.

Maybe you thought I was dumb? I know, I looked a bit awkward as I stood at the edge of that circle of people, not quite in the conversation, but just… there. But really, I’m listening to everything being said and thoughts are running through my mind. I just never feel compelled to interrupt the loud, boisterous flow of words to interject my own calm observations. So I keep them to myself.

Maybe you thought I was boring? When you asked me how I was doing, I was fine, thanks. When you tried to strike up a conversation about the latest episode of Glee or this one Indy band that you’re sooooo into, I could only nod and smile. I’m sorry we don’t watch the same shows, listen to your type of music, or like to gossip about this and that and him or her. But talk about the books I worship or start a debate on property rights or economic theory and I will rouse up and start brimming with opinions and energy. I love exchanging ideas and intimate personal connections, but shrivel up at the prospect of shallow chitchat and meaningless drivel.

Maybe you thought that I just didn’t care about you? I know I can seem aloof sometimes. My smile is more wan and tentative than warm and inviting. But I do care — indeed, I care way too much — about people, especially those that I perceive to care about me. Embrace me as a friend, welcome me into your world and you’ll find that I am passionately loyal, caring, and would rather die than let you down. Yet, I am too private and painfully shy to be the first to extend the olive branch of trust.

And so, dear Extrovert, next time you see me in a crowd, stop and remember that behind that timid insecure exterior is a wonderful and loving person. Next time, as you flutter around the party like the gregarious butterfly that you are, don’t forget to sit down next to me and braid a genuine connection. I hope you’ll discover that I’m worth it too.

Sincerely,

An Introvert TC mark

image – Angela Marie

More From Thought Catalog

  • Suokzjpb

    Wow you looked straight into my mind

  • Nobody cares

    You sound like a self-absorbed asshole. 

  • Dwr74

    I feel that Thought Catalog serves as a means for those who feel slighted by society to provide commentary in the most passive aggressive way possible. “Oh, poor us! Poor little introverts!” Stop it! I realize people like to feel oppressed in groups but the constant bemoaning of the extroverted majority is tiresome and pathetic.

    • Asdf

      Cool story, bro.

  • ami

     That “shallow chitchat and meaningless drivel” is not an invaluable waste of time. These kind of conversations are just as important to a social situation as a “debate on property rights” which actually seems really out of place here for some reason. This is an all new level of humblebrag.

    • Rongjie

      You make a good point. I don’t think small talk is a waste of time – some people really enjoy it and for them, it does help build rapport. But for me personally, it’s feels meaningless – and that the point: the huge difference in perception and preferences between various personalities.

    • RKP

      Ah, “humblebrag!” I use the term “bragplaining” myself.

  • almost had me

    As an introvert, you had me until the property rights piece as well. Gossip and small talk is often a good way to get into deeper subjects, and distancing yourself from that or seeing yourself as uninvolved in the conversation unless it’s something that gets you intellectually jazzed/is an opportunity to show your vast academic knowledge and impress others will always make you seem like a snob/total drag in social situations. 

    • Rongjie

      You’re right – I think the way I phrased that was definitely awkward. But I (personally) don’t think it’s possible to get into ‘deeper subjects’ in a large group. That involves a exchange of trust that’s hard to come by when lots of people are talking all at once.

      I was more referring to the fact that in large social settings, especially, (sober) people are reluctant to dig beneath the surface level of interaction. And as an introvert – that makes me sad. :/

      • ALMOST HAD ME

        From your comments back to everyone and myself, you are super nice and I totally take back the snob impression … and you’re completely correct that sobriety unfortunately often hinders depth in normal 20-something conversation. Almost even more unfortunately, the depth, bonding  and even intimacy that can occur from “deep” non-sober talk is often forgotten or embarrassing the next day (sometimes, unless it resulted in ending up in bed with your conversation partner). 

        Anyway, sorry to be quick to judge off of an awkward sentence!

  • macgyver51

    Ahh, to gaze into the mind of an introspective 15 year old. Bless your heart.

  • Ronan

    I’m sorry that you think bonding over having similar tastes in shows / music / culture is shallow and meaningless. You probably should have just stayed home.

  • MicoC.

    Incredible! As an introvert, you had me at a “debate on property rights.” I can’t seem to sustain a shallow and meaningless conversation, or small talk as some people call it.

    • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

      :(

    • Maggiebex

      It must be great knowing you’re so much better than everyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

    I’m a shallow introvert.  What’s a girl to do?  

    • mookie

      ME TOO. I don’t give a fuck about property rights, but I do like ‘Indy’ bands. Like ‘Talladega Nights- the Band’. So great. Shake ~ ~ n ~ ~ Bake bb!!

  • Welp

    Yeah, you do sound incredibly self-absorbed and to delve into a topic like property rights straight from the get-go of meeting somebody sounds quite jarring. There needs to be an actual avenue of getting to topics like those, and small talk is often an important step.

  • Tdonasci

    too cliche

  • Maggiebex

    To summarize:

    –You don’t like large groups, yet you go to a party anyway, then judge everyone there who is actually enjoying themselves.

    — You think that all extroverts are mindless and only care about
    shallow topics, whereas you as an introvert are Deep and have Big
    Important Thoughts that extroverts are incapable of.

    –Despite your presumption that extroverts have a lesser intellectual
    capacity than you, and can’t even remember you a week later, you also
    think  that they expend a lot of thought on you. Are you antisocial,
    dumb, boring, indifferent? Well, you certainly must be very important,
    or at least fascinating! 

    Yet, all evidence to the contrary, you are a “wonderful and loving
    person”, so it is worth it for an extrovert to work hard to welcome you
    into their world — a world that you hate every aspect of and want them
    to change. And it will be work, all on the extrovert’s shoulders,
    apparently: They must come to your preferred environment of “1-3 other
    close friends”, although a stranger would, by definition, disrupt such
    an environment; they can only talk  about topics that interest you; and
    no shallow chitchat or meaningless drivel (as you have so judged it) is
    allowed.

    Wow. As the term “introvert” gets tossed around more and more, I thought
    it was being misused to mean “socially unskilled person.” I now see
    that it has actually taken on the sense of “self-absorbed,
    passive-aggressive, judgmental ass.” Thanks for clearing that up.

    • Asdf

      Uhm. I think you read way too much into this.

    • Rongjie

      Since you put in the effort of writing these paragraphs, I feel like I ought to respond:

      Frankly, you’re missing the point. Partially my fault for not making it more clear, so here goes another attempt:

      It’s not that introverts are incapable of small talk, or gossip, or fun banter. These things are perfectly fine, but just not as interesting or as much fun for us as it is for extroverts. We prefer more intimate conversations (about family, relationships, life, whatever), the kind that’s harder to find in a huge group setting .

      “Despite your presumption that extroverts have a lesser intellectual
      capacity than you”  <— umm, where did you even get that from? All I said was that in a huge group, I'd rather talk about ideas (because they are safe/don't require intimacy and are interesting to me). Extroverts tend to like to talk about other things in a social setting because they're people-oriented and love to find commonalities and swap stories and share laughs. And that's totally cool!

      Again, it's all about different PREFERENCES. I'm not condemning your social interaction (indeed, I wish I were extroverted because there are more extroverts in the world, and interactions would just be way easier). I'm just pointing out that introverts are wired differently, and suggesting that if you want to befriend one, you have to go about it in a different way.

      I'm sorry to offend you – it really wasn't the point of the article. I just wanted to increase awareness and give a window into the world of this minority segment of the population with a different approach to social interaction.

      • Anonymous

        I didn’t say that introverts are incapable of small talk, rather that you seem to be saying that extroverts are incapable of deeper talk or thought. Also, though you may be capable of small talk, you also seem to think it is beneath you.
        You may not have meant to insult extroverts, but it clearly came off that way, to other commenters as well as to me. So maybe you’re missing my point.
        Might I suggest that if you want to befriend an extrovert, perhaps *you* have to go about it in a different way, instead of giving them a list of instructions for doing everything on your terms.
        I also doubt that introverts are a minority. This has to be at least the third post about understanding the poor introvert that I’ve seen recently.

      • super guest

        only on the internet are introverts NOT  a minority

      • Anonymous

        Where are the stats? Extroverts are more visible, I suppose, but that certainly doesn’t guarantee that they are more plentiful. Or are you equating minority with protected class, rather than fewer in number?

  • Natalie

    Next time you get invited to a party, why don’t you tell them you can’t come because you’re too busy being better than everyone else. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessi.smith1 Jessi Smith

    indie* band.

    That is all.

    • Rongjie

      oopsies. My bad! :P

      • Burnddrumma

        Unless its a band from Indianapolis.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessi.smith1 Jessi Smith

    indie* band.

    That is all.

  • Joy

    Ugh, can you not..

  • Guest

    thankyou.

  • Howardkn3

    Loved it. Thank you.

  • megabeth

    are you a scorpio?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

    I wasn’t aware that “introvert” also meant “asshole”.  Seriously, get over yourself and maybe you’ll have some fun.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cathy-Reisenwitz/41801462 Cathy Reisenwitz

      I’d light up. I LOVE talking about property rights. Rongjie hit me up some time, we can talk self ownership!

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