Do you have a friend, relative, spouse, and/or companion that you suspect of being an introvert? Are you a self-described extrovert that desires guidance in navigating the inner workings of your more reflective mates (we humans are such funny and complex creatures, aren’t we)? After reading Part One of this field guide, are you still perplexed by this quiet yet extraordinary culture of people? Please, take a moment – remember how we did it quietly last time? – to sample this second part of a comprehensive field guide to the introvert, compiled entirely from the author’s own enlightened, first-hand experience with this most subdued of sub-species.
1. Many introverts will complain excessively about their extroverted friends for a variety of reasons. Your introvert may find you to be any combination of noisy, compulsive, judgmental, exhausting, and/or unfiltered. If you are lucky, your introvert will have keen communication skills that she will utilize to explain her complaints to you. If you are unlucky, your introvert will find you annoyingly chatty but will never say so, and you will be left bewildered when she greets your detailed description of the 39 cat videos you’ve watched in the past hour with a disinterested glower.
Note: It is highly likely that your introvert is complaining about you because she is jealous of your social skills. Do not lord this reality over her. In fact, don’t mention to her that you think she’s envious of you at all. Females – regardless of their introverted or extroverted tendencies – do not like to be told that they’re “just jealous”.
2. Like the Moon to the Earth, introverts will gravitate to extroverts in an effort to reap the benefits of their superior social skills. Do you find it strange that your introvert prefers the company of extroverts at the start of a public function, as opposed to settling down on the couch with a red Solo cup and his best brofriend from the get-go? Your introvert, just like you, is highly aware of the social morays that dictate his world, and has no desire to find himself at the bottom of the food chain as a result of his introvertedness. Being a smart and capable individual, your introvert will have at least one extroverted friend in his arsenal of acquaintances who will be able to introduce him to others at parties and whom he can rely on to coax him into various socially acceptable activities throughout the night, like beer pong and spontaneous drunken dance interpretations of Gangnam Style.
Note: The introvert/extrovert relationship, while at times tempestuous, can also represent the perfect balance of yin and yang (SEE Part One, point 5). While the introvert can rely on his extrovert for a wild night out, the extrovert can likewise count on his introvert for a soothing night in.
3. Most introverts can trick others into thinking that they are extroverts by mimicking their extroverted companions’ activities, actions, and vocal volumes. The author of this field guide has surmised that this is because introverts are actually superheroes. By day, the introvert will don her Clark Kent suit and tie, mixing with the public confidently as she outwardly expresses her opinions, doles out her business cards, discusses retirement saving tactics and The Bachelor with her girlfriends over coffee, and busts out a painful rendition of Single Ladies at karaoke night. When she is finally alone in the comfort of her quiet home, however, the introvert’s true superpowers are at play. Donning her super suit (which, to the untrained eye, would resemble a stained t-shirt and a pair of ragged sweatpants), the introvert superhero will thoughtfully and methodically solve every single one of the world’s problems in the hazy twilight interim between asleep and awake.
Note: Introverts really are superheroes. It’s time the world knew.4. Introverts have the ability to sit in silence with other introverts and not feel awkward about it. This strange phenomenon is captured very effectively by Emily Blunt and Jason Segel in the movie The Five Year Engagement. Tom (Segel) has just had a fight with Violet (Blunt), and tells her that he needs to be alone with his thoughts for a while. Confused, Violet starts to leave their bedroom to give Tom the space he’s asked for. When Tom sees Violet heading for the door, he stops her, slightly incredulous, and says, “I don’t want you to go. I just need to be alone, with you here.” Likewise, your introvert genuinely enjoys being around other people, but is just as happy to be around them in silence as she is to be around them with conversation.
Note: If you watched The Five Year Engagement and didn’t understand Jason Segel’s character at all during the above mentioned scene, it might be a sign that you are an extrovert. It might also be a sign that you thought the movie was super lame. It is up to you to be the judge of that.
5. Introverts, like extroverts, defy categorization, and as such this entire field guide must be taken with a grain of salt. The author of this field guide, for example, is an introvert who expresses many characteristics that would typically be considered “extroverted”. Human nature is inherently incapable of concrete definition, which means that we are all beautiful and insanely infuriating subjects for science.
Thus ends this current version of A Field Guide to Understanding Your Introvert. The author hopes that it has been somewhat enlightening to extroverts everywhere, and that it will temper their thoughts and feelings about the quieter side of humanity. This list is not exhaustive, however; as such, the author readily welcomes additions and comments to enhance this field guide.
Carry on in peace, my introverted superhero brethren.