Squall (dudeofopinion) wrote,

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What the fuck does it mean to be an introvert?

I've been pondering this thought the past week, largely because I've been listening to the audiobook of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." And it's wild to hear this woman describe me so accurately so often and give explanation to these things.

I've also been wondering if I've always been this way. My mother says I wasn't, and I don't remember being introverted when I was young, but I don't remember EVER being extroverted either. So I'm not sure what's what there, but I'm pretty sure that, it's who I am at my core now. However I got there.
Oddly enough, I think I have enough extroverted capacities to not be completely useless in this American "extrovert ideal" as the book categorizes it. I feel adaptable. Which is so important.
But I also had it SQUARELY in my face today where the limitations of that exist.

I'm waiting tables. A decidedly NON introverted profession, but I handle okay for the most part. At least until it gets really busy.
Which it did tonight.
While there were only TWO waiters on. Both new, and one of which (me) who has no previous experience.
The REAL problem comes in with my boss' utter lack of sympathy and customers' sense of self-worth. IE: "I'm the most important person on the planet, why aren't you waiting on me hand and foot and getting everything RIGHT while you have ten other tables?"
Gee, fuckerball... I wonder.
And when I say my boss has no sympathy (or compassion for that matter), after the rush, while I was trying to get my blood pressure down (which took all night, really) she told me, blatantly, "you suck." Literally.
Now... I already know this, so the words weren't a shock. It's just the last thing I needed to hear when I was on the borderline of getting violent with people.
The kid who was hosting, sat me like three times in a row and looked at my section again when another group came in and I told him flat out, "don't sit me again. I swear, I'll kill you."
Which would have been funny, but I was beyond laughing at that point.
I haven't felt that burned out in a long time.

The funny thing is, that what really had me spent in the whole experience was maintaining an outward cool. Which I did. No customer saw anything, but smiles. I was just storming on the inside and ready to blow up.
It was tough.
And it made me realize... that work is not for me, or anyone like me.
It's time to move on.

I'm an introvert. I'm sensitive, calculating, analytical, careful, thoughtful and so on.
I perform better in a quiet atmosphere and work better one on one or even by myself, than in a group.
Groups and multi-tasking are distracting and inefficient. And people are often less competent than (except at waiting tables apparently) me.

I've been out of my element for too long, trying to develop traits that aren't inherently me.
Which is okay, I still want to do that...
But WHILE I develop, I think it's time I embrace my inherent STRENGTHS and go where I'm better suited to doing a good job. I'll never excel trying exclusively to fit shoes that were made for someone else.

What I mean to say is, I can and will expand my skills and capacities, but it's foolish to act like I already have while I'm working on it. I'm a proficiency freak. And not being good at what I do is a MAJOR distraction.

Bottom line is I need to embrace me while I improve who me is. Work from here while I move toward there.
It doesn't take a genius to figure that out...
...or does it?

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." Albert Einstein
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I don't know if you've ever researched, read, or believe in Jung's Psychological Types, or the misrepresented, easily mistyped MBTI theories that developed from them. But I keep trying to type you, and I bounce between Ti types. Do you happen to know what you are? Of course, it's hard to tell through writing. Writing, reflecting, and planning in a journal naturally has a Ti and N feel to it.

I can relate to the hardships of introversion. Specifically for me, accepting that I am not an extrovert, I never will be, and learning to not think less of myself for it. It's not so easy when, like you say, you're surrounded with the "extrovert ideal".

I've learned to deal with it, of course, particularly in the area of employment. I've worked in customer service jobs long enough to develop the ability to small talk with anyone, specifically in a strange, forced voice that is cheery and not my own; to smile when I don't want to; to focus my energy outward instead of inward. As an introvert, it's exhausting. I resented being made to project something I'm not.

It wasn't so bad once I let go of the resentment. I hate to admit it, but it probably developed my character in some ways, although whether it was that, something else, or just time in general... the lines blur.

Imagining you waiting tables is bizarre. Desperate times and such, I know, but it feels wrong.

I digress. What I meant to talk about was Jung's theories on introversion and extroversion. (I believe he is the one who coined the terms?--or at least thrust them into everyday usage.) The social understanding and the psychological understanding of the terms vary, but what I've taken from his work so far is this: introversion is subjective, while extroversion is objective. Taken from the scientific meaning of those words, of course. The most important thing this taught me is that the two attitudes aren't polar opposites standing on either side of a field, they're a yin and a yang, and everyone encompasses them both. To be high on one means to naturally be low on the other, but you never lack either. Is this a notion of common sense? Possibly. But it's a viewpoint I never encountered before recently.

Have you ever watched an extrovert while they're forced to be idle? Waiting rooms, public transportation, etc. It's an interesting thing. Their eyes are constantly moving, taking in everything about their surroundings. They're usually fidgeting. They'll say the dumbest things to the strangest of people, just to shut out the silence. No one around? They'll probably take out their phones and start texting.

I get the feeling sometimes that the more blatantly extroverted someone is, the less comfortable they are with themselves.

I enjoy being idle. I enforce it on myself regularly. I can daydream for hours, and I do, especially when brainstorming or picturing a scene I'm about to write in my head. My eyes gloss over, and I'm staring, but I'm not actually taking in any sensory data. I'm inside myself, and it's something I don't think extroverts can do, not as easily, not as comfortably.

Just some notes from a fellow introvert also trying to embrace herself.

As a side note, I heard someone tell a joke the other day. It wasn't really funny, but it made me think. It was stated through sarcasm, something along the lines of: "Extroverts can't read, only party. And annoy intelligent and deep introverts with their party talk." It sounded more like an extrovert projecting their insecurities to me.
Actually, I know Jung very well and it's a good thing too, cause he was referenced quite a bit in the book.
My Myers Briggs is: INTP (same as Jung actually. go figure)

And yeah, I've seen test with slider results. I'm very close to extroverted too, so I know we all have both tendencies. It's weird. Cause when it comes to the straight questions, my bias is easy to choose. I don't know? It's complicated, but at the same time, maybe it's not.
I would highly recommend the book. I swear I'm going to give it to friends and family. It explains everything so well. I think if people read it, they'll really understand me on a level that most people fail to. It's a loud country we're in. I really hate it sometimes and god... is my job ever making me hate people. In a way I haven't in a loooong time.