Freaking Nailed It

Caring for Your Introvert - The Atlantic (March 2003) includes such jems as:

“Hell is other people at breakfast.”

Introverts are people who find other people tiring.

“I’m okay, you’re okay—in small doses.”

Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs.

We tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking, which is why their meetings never last less than six hours. “Introverts,” writes Thomas P. Crouser, “are driven to distraction by the semi-internal dialogue extroverts tend to conduct. Introverts don’t outwardly complain, instead roll their eyes and silently curse the darkness.”

The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent- content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves.

“I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”

If the kid was an introvert, we would get along famously. As it is, our only real sticking point is the fact that he’s a textbook extrovert and I’m a textbook introvert.

My dad recently described me as “textbook introvert”–as a child, coming home from school, going straight to my room, and closing the door…reappearing in an hour. I will probably always remember that comment as a moment of deep understanding between us (or at least he of I).