|Introverts and Extraverts, a small rant
||[Aug. 13th, 2014|04:31 pm]
(I've thought about writing something like this many times. It's possible I already have. If so, sorry.)|
Y'know, folks (and I see a lot more of this on facebook, but I don't write longer format posts there, because facebook) could you maybe think a bit before posting your introvert are actually the bestest chosen people comments? Because there's a lot of extravert hate in there, and I'm really getting tired of seeing it. (This has generally been fading, but I just saw a few more of them recently.)
Apparently extraverts prefer small talk to talking about anything substantive, and are poor listeners, aren't socially sensitive, and like conflict. Also, they jabber all the time and dominate any gathering, and follow their poor introverted friends around and try to force them to interact. (Rather than spending a huge amount of time and energy taking care of their special snowflake introvert friends who apparently want social interaction, but only specific kinds of social interaction, and can't seek it for themselves.) Oh, yeah, and introverts are super rare and chronically misunderstood.* This is not even to get into the "introvert or extravert" quizzes that are all "Are you a good, sensitive, caring introvert? Or a brutal, clueless, and mean extravert."
One of the funny bits here is that I'm not really that extraverted. I mean, there isn't an agreed set of definitions here (so almost all of this involves someone talking out of their asses) but while I like my social time, you don't have to know much about my life to know that it's not really structured around social time. I'm fairly outgoing, I'm socially confident, and as least some of the time I'm reasonably socially clueful. None of these things mean that I'm an extravert. (Of course, enough people have told me that I'm *such* an extravert that I'm pretty sure when they post this stuff they mean me.)
Even assuming there's a good way to measure introversion, there's a lot of stuff being conflated here. And you want to watch those conflations, because even if there's some kind of measureable difference in the probabilities of this or that, on a population basis, that doesn't mean they are predictive for any given individual. For instance, men are fairly likely to be sexually interested exclusively in women. That's a way stronger association than most of the tendencies that are being discussed wrt introversion. And yet, I think most people get why generalizing along those lines is fucked up. When we're talking about the more common "this population is slightly - but statistically significantly - more likely to be inclined in foo direction" the generalizations are not only problematic, they're also really weak.
There are awkward, socially clueless extroverts. (Quite a few, really, especially in geek circles.) There are uncreative, oblivious introverts. I've had friends who insisted that they were introverts (and that I'm an extrovert) repeatedly try to drag me to parties when I just wanted to stay home and study. (Which is not to say I always want to stay home and study.)
I get that introvert pride is a thing. And I'm good with that. (Though most being in introvert majority communities, it's sometimes a little odd.) There are a bunch of different axes, here, that are at least partially independent. Also, putting people who are different from you down doesn't really reflect well on you.
* Depending on how you define it - and I distrust all the definitions, frankly - introverts are somewhere between a third of and slightly more than half the population. Of course, introverts might seem more rare if they don't talk to eachother very much. Though, people, isn't that why there's an internet?