I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time. No preamble this time. The myths speak for themselves.
Myth 1. Extroverts don’t have feelings.
I can only assume that introverts think this about extroverts when I read articles like Revenge of the Introverts.
I get it. I talk too much. I’m loud. You feel overlooked and marginalized. You’re afraid you’re being left out.
WE ALL FEEL LEFT OUT.
You don’t have the market cornered on feeling unwanted or under-appreciated..
I’m not your enemy, and it hurts my feelings when you label me as one. Stop it.
Myth 2. Extroverts are naturally outgoing.
For reasons completely beyond my powers of comprehension, introverts think they have the market cornered on social anxiety.
Well, I’m here to inform you otherwise. Take a moment to dip into my world.
I consistently embarrass myself in public, because I just can’t seem to STFU.
Do you even know what happens to the loud kids? THEY GET LAUGHED AT. ALL THE TIME.
I wish I could be like you. You know when — and how — to keep your mouth shut. It protects you from the particular brand of bullying, wherein kids pick on what you have to say. Do you know how demoralizing that is? It’s enough to make a kid feel like the world’s biggest loser.
Now, I know there’s rampant bullying in schools, and it gets a lot worse than tricking a girl into thinking you want to talk to her, just so you can pick apart her words. Body snarking. Class warfare. It all goes on, and it needs to stop.
Can we set that side for a minute, just so you can feel what I’m saying?
I’ve been burned before, publicly. I’m just as scared to open myself up to you, as you are to me. Some extroverts present as shy and don’t even realize that they are, in fact, extroverts. Because somehow we’re not allowed to feel insecure.
Myth 3. Extroverts aren’t introspective.
A common argument is that introverts think and extroverts act.
As my counter-argument, I present this entire blog.
Myth 4. Extroverts don’t want to hear what you have to say.
Nothing could be further from the truth! I’m intensely interested in other people. That’s kind of the definition of extroversion. I get high off being around you.
But I do understand the source of the confusion — and it’s something I work on every day.
When I get excited, I tend to talk my ass off. I can’t seem to help it, although I am getting better. Later, I am totally traumatized, because:
A: I am petrified of being a bore, and I’m certain you don’t like me.
B: I wanted to learn all about you, and I totally sabotaged myself.
So I stop myself, sometimes mid-thought, to turn the conversation back on you.
But here’s the thing about us extroverts. We aren’t comfortable with silence. For me, silence = social rejection. This is problematic, because introverts generally take more time to choose their words. So when the silence stretches on too long, we freak out and start to fill it.
Opportunity lost. :(
Which brings me to my final point.
Myth 5. Extroverts are self-absorbed bastards, who are stomping all over you.
Isn’t this the crux of those articles? That we’re at war.
Extroverts, by their very nature, really, really, really want to get to know you. We don’t win by marginalizing you.
Sure, we can — and should — work on being more sensitive to your needs. I agree with that. Every human being should work on empathy. That’d be awesome.
Also. It goes both ways.
If I have to get over my fear of prolonged silences, then you can work on being more spontaneous with your responses. (Tip: something as simple as saying, “Let me think about that for a second,” works wonders to allay our fears.)
Reject the dichotomy. We’re in this together.