In this day and age, you’re nobody until you’ve been given a label. It’s particularly “empowering” if you’re given some kind of victim label.
In my line of work, most of the people I associate with feel the same kind of repulsion for this modern development. We often chide those who insist on adding yet another letter to the LBTQALMNOPQRUST spectrum in order to accommodate yet another victim group.
However, over the last few years I began to notice another victim group pop up, this time even popular among my ideological peers and journalism colleagues: Introverts.
Suddenly there were glut of posts and quizzes on my social media feeds about introverts.
My friends started sharing these things at an increasingly rapid rate, and proudly declaring themselves introverts.
“Finally! Someone put it to words why I’m so different and everyone else is too stupid to understand! I’m not anti-social…I’m just an introvert!”
Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, “introverts” but chances are you’re not actually an introvert…you’re just a narcissist.
Are there real introverts? Yes, of course. They’re simply who we used to call “shy”. There are lots of shy people. They’re not special, they haven’t figured out some magical revelation of life that the rest of us who aren’t shy are just too dull to notice. They’re just…shy.
The fact is, most of the characteristics listed for TRANStroverts (average personalities who identify as introvert) don’t really qualify as “introvert” characteristics. They’re just things regular people do because people are people and no one is “on” all the time.
Take this Buzzfeed list, for instance. It lists a lot of very normal attitudes towards social interactions but seems to view those as some kind of introvert badge of honor, as if these revelations somehow give them an elevated intelligence to those annoying extroverts WHO JUST DON’T GET IT. Here are a few examples.
When you need to take breaks and recharge after socializing for too long.
Sorry. That’s everyone. Even those we might think of as natural exroverts cannot be “on” all the time. I’m an extrovert but you best believe after a weekend of networking and socializing I’m just as ready as any introvert to retreat from interacting with humanity for a bit. We call that “normal”.
Having visitors stay with you is a nightmare because you have to be “on” at all times.
Yeah, again…everyone has to be “on” for their guests…unless those guests are close friends or family whom you can truly relax with and be yourself. You won’t find one person who doesn’t stress about visitors to their home in some way.
When you’re asked to do a group project and you know that you’re going to hate every minute of it.
Hey, introverts…you know who really hates group projects? Extroverts! Strong personalities typically prefer not to delegate and often try to manage many tasks on their own. Working in groups is annoying. Since we all seem to be divided into “introverts” and “extroverts” this pretty much means that most people hate working in groups. Sorry, you’re not special.
When you hear “Are you OK?” or “Why are you so quiet?” for the umpteenth time.
No. Shy people don’t get asked this question because most thinking adults understand when someone they are socializing with is just a shy person. This is a question that a regular person, or an extrovert, gets asked when they are quiet because typically they are interactive and engaging. If someone keeps asking you this question it’s because you are not an introvert.
That feeling of dread that washes over you when the phone rings and you’re not mentally prepared to chat.
Hey, transtroverts…it’s 2018. No one likes talking on the phone anymore.
When you have an awesome night out, but have to deal with feeling exhausted for days after the fact.
Welcome to aging. Sorry, once again this quality does not make you special it just makes you old or getting older or just a tired person.
When you’re trying to get something done at work but you can’t because everyone else is talking.
If you think this, you’re for sure not an introvert. You’re a passive-aggressive douchebag.
When you carry a book to a public place so no one will bug you, but other people take that as a conversation starter.
Yeah, I hate that too. So does my friend Jill. And Darion. And Andrew. And…you get the drift. It might come as a surprise to introverts that extroverts enjoy reading books alone or taking in movies or dinner alone as well. Maybe more so than introverts as we are confident enough to not be constantly expecting perfect strangers to understand our “struggle”.
And what is at the heart of the transtrovert craze? Too many are simply narcissists who can’t fathom that other people who are not like them might actually share the same experiences and inner lives. Also, too often these “1000 Signs You’re an Introvert” posts speak to a type of arrogance. It’s quite irksome to hear a self-described introvert say something like “I’m an introvert because I can’t make small talk. I’d rather have meaningful conversation.”
Small talk is what you do in polite society. Do you honestly think that those people at that one party spent ten minutes talking to you about the weather because they just love weather talk so much?
They’re doing something called “engaging in conversation”. It is immature to think that deep, meaningful conversations are the only type of conversations worth having. In modern western society, particularly at events where we are meeting new people and networking, we don’t bring up our deepest personal issues because that is something you save for people you have a genuine relationship with…people you trust. You get to know who you can trust by starting out with small talk and developing a rapport. That’s what grown ups do. You don’t get a pass on politeness because you’re just too smart.
Again, there’s a certain narcissism at play here.
For the record, I’ve taken the quizzes and I’m (of course) an introvert. Or am I?
There was a brief moment where I believed this might explain some of my behaviors after extended social interactions even though everyone who knows me (save my husband) would 100% describe me as an extrovert. I get drained by small talk. I like to be alone after a night out. I prefer a night in over a raging party. Also, I love to learn new things. I know I am enriched when I come outside of myself to get to know another person, even superficially. That boring small talk at a party could turn into my next job, or my next treasured friend, or a new beloved hobby I never thought about taking up before.
Are there genuine introverts in this world? Yes. As I said before, we call those people “shy” and it’s just as valid a trait as being “energetic” or “cheerful”. Let’s stop labeling ourselves as an excuse for our own needs or shortcomings. Just be you.
There are probably as many “introverts” in America as there are people with gluten allergies.