Human contact – the final frontier.~THE SIMPSONS
Surprise, surprise – the majority of the blogging universe is compromised of introverts. It doesn’t just stop there, though; gamers, coders, hackers, writers – all of us prefer the company of our keyboards, laptops, and properly back-lit screens to five minutes of conversation with another human being. We’re very easy to spot out in the wilds of society: sunglasses (sometimes even when it’s cloudy), hoods drawn low over our faces, ear buds in place (are we actually listening to music or podcasts or just trying to avoid listening to you? You’ll never know!), and a book or technological device in hand as a universal signal that we do not want to be disturbed. Let me clue you in on a little secret:
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: we are happy and content in our little bubbles! We don’t want to participate in small talk, we don’t want to make eye contact with strangers, and we really don’t want to get embroiled in a long-winded discussion about whatever you are dying to spew at us. If we could have our way, we would never venture out into public; we would spend our lives in our blanket forts, surrounded by our books (or games – every introvert is different), while our one extrovert friend (it’s a necessary evil) plies us with nourishment so we don’t die. We are SAFE in our homes where we know where everything is, and while a book or game may take a sudden turn we weren’t prepared for, that risk is something we’ve committed ourselves to. There are no loud noises (gamers are an exception – they’ve made their peace with it), there are no stressful news bites, our extrovert friend has been properly trained not to frighten us, and the worst anxiety we can expect to encounter is what to do when we reach the bottom of our To Read pile (just kidding – that pile never truly empties).
Introverts can still have fun, though – we just prefer the company of other introverts. If you have ever experienced the wonder that is DragonCon (or any of those amazing sci-fi/comic conventions – DragonCon is just a personal favorite of mine), then you’ll understand. Get a big group of us out, in our element, and we start to look like extroverts! (Just don’t engage us on our own too far away from the herd, okay?) We relax, we participate (vociferously) in discussion, we make eye contact, we shed our ear buds and hoodies (and don amazing costumes and cosplay), we STAND UP STRAIGHT! Why the difference?
Our fellow introverts (and – if we’ve managed it – our pet extrovert) don’t expect us to be anything than who we are. They know that we spend 90% of our day in the shadows, our nose pressed into a book or up to a screen, existing in worlds of imagination – so do they. They know that the thought of venturing outside among “normal” people gives us hives; they share the same anxiety. They know that, once the Con is over, we’re going to return to our blanket fort brimming over with new ideas and excitement that will tide us over for months, because they’re brimming over, too. We’re not trying to seek validation from each other, and we’re not trying to gather attention from one another; that isn’t what resides at the core of an introvert. Instead, we’re sharing in the experiences of what it’s like to BE one another. We’re looking across the room and smiling as a silent, “I see you. I am you.”
So, if you’re curled up under your blanket right now, skimming through this, or if you have your ear buds in this while riding public transportation, or even if you’re someone’s extrovert and stumbled here by accident, let me take a moment to smile and let you know, “Hey, I see you over there. I know what it feels like. We’re on the same page.”