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Far from the madding crowd
by Peri Kinder
Apr 06, 2017 | 3024 views | 0 0 comments | 342 342 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper. 

I’ve never been socially dynamic, flitting from person to person at parties like a butterfly with a Mountain Dew addiction. In most social occasions, I’m standing under the exit sign, trying to catch my husband’s eye and pointing to my watch.

My hubbie is a card-carrying extrovert who loves the thrill of the crowd. He talks to strangers, tells jokes in public and uses phrases like, “I’m just thinking out loud.” I’ve never used that sentence in my entire life.

A recent personality assessment said my potential careers should include hermit, monk and/or crazy cat lady, which isn’t a surprise. When I watched The Martian, I wondered why (besides the lack of oxygen, books and food) Matt Damon would ever want to return to Earth.

I’m not anti-people, but as a loud-and-proud introvert, our overly stimulated society can, at times, be exhausting.

Introverts get a bad rap. We’re considered bashful and insecure when actually we’re super-observant, intelligent and creative individuals.

But still. Extroverts “help” me adjust to society by saying things like, “To feel confident, stand like Wonder Woman for two minutes every day.” I already feel confident. I would no sooner stand with my hands on my hips than I would stand with a pencil stuck up my nose. 

They suggest that introverts be team leaders to “boost self-esteem” without realizing that group assignments can push an introvert so far into a closet, they’ll wind up in Narnia. But give me a task and send me to my room, and I can accomplish pretty much anything.

Here’s how to make small talk with an introvert: don’t. Hell is an endless social mixer where I have to make small talk for eternity. But if you want to have a genuine conversation that doesn’t revolve around sports or weather, I’m all yours. 

Extroverts often mistake an introvert’s silence for shyness when we’re actually, what’s the word? Listening. In fact, we’re such good listeners, we often hear what’s NOT being said. Most introverts can read the emotional situation in the room, especially if there’s lots of standing with hands on hips.

Things an introvert hates: surprise parties. 

Things an introvert never says: “I’ll be working the crowd,” “Everyone gather around,” “I can’t wait for the company party.”  

If I was forced to post a profile on a dating site (which I’m not, dear), it would say, “Don’t bother contacting me. I’m not home. Well, I’m home, but I’m never going to talk to you.”

I dream of living in a library with a fully-stocked gourmet kitchen, warm blankets and a trapdoor that opens under the welcome mat when someone rings the doorbell. My personal space is a 20-foot circumference from the end of my outstretched arms. If an introvert hugs you, they really like you.

My husband has learned that if I don’t have some alone time to recharge, I get . . . irritable. (He uses a different word, but I can’t put it in this column.)

If I have two hours of uninterrupted alone time, it’s better than Christmas morning. I’ll plan which books to read. I stock up on really good chocolate. I’ll make sure my super-soft socks are clean. But if plans change and I lose that time? God help the world. Wrath is an understatement. 

I’m not saying introverts are right and extroverts are wrong, or vice versa. I’m saying the world needs both social butterflies and quietly introspective people who bring a sense of calm to an overworked culture. All I’m asking for is sincere connection and a spouse who is willing to leave the party early.

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