Parties and the Self-Conscious Dysfunctional Extrovert

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Barbara wrote an interesting post recently about introversion, linking to an article in Psychology Today entitled, "It'll Be Fun!" and Other Extrovert Lies.   Both were very interesting reads for me because I feel like I understand both sides of the fence.

The manfriend and I were discussing this introversion/extroversion thing yesterday while driving to the 40th birthday party of one of my closest friends.  I was dreading attending, as I always do these sorts of social occasions.  Parties are occasions of silent almost-torture for me.  Which I guess doesn't necessarily make me an introvert, though.  Possibly I am simply a self-conscious, socially dysfunctional, introspective extrovert :)  But I do feel like I can understand the terrain a little, given my personality inadequacies :)   The manfriend, being a true introvert and shy to boot, and knowing absolutely nobody at the party we were going to, was dreading it even more than I.

As we drove in the rain he was wondering what a social get-together of a bunch of true introverts would look like.  I wonder about that too.  What do you guys think?  

As Barbara mentioned in her post, there is a real tendency for extroverts to think that introverts are shy, arrogant and unsociable.  Some introverts may be any or all of those things, but to confuse those traits with introversion is really rather arrogant, when you think about it.  What extroverts are actually suggesting by that statement and others like it is that introverts are simply extroverts gone a little wrong somewhere, with a few minor personality disorders.  The comments in this article here are a real eye-opener about how irritating the misconceptions of extroverts can be :)

I would guess that the true-introverts-only social occasion would contain a pretty low incidence of small talk.  Introverts hate small talk, generally, and so do I.  And yet, despite that fact, the manfriend has informed me that I am not a true introvert, and as such will not be gaining an invite to the true-introverts-only social occasion.  And so all I can do is imagine how much more delightful and deep socialising with introverts would be, while not really having the right gear to be in the gang ;)  I do imagine, however, that a heavier dose of philosophy would go a long way toward making a night spent in a pub listening to people murdering karaoke songs next door just that little bit more palatable.


  1. Why is it you don't think you are a "true" introvert?

    I agree that many extroverts think introverts are just extroverts with a personality disorder. In fact, that's an awesome insight.

    I think a true meeting of introverts, given space and time, could solve some of the world's greatest problems.

  2. can totally relate to where you sit with this Sue

    i can put on an extrovert hat when required and talk the leg off an iron pot with meaningless small talk and party on with the best of them

    but it exhausts me

    a true extrovert can do that and feel energised afterwards

    i have a few friends who are more introverted than me, in fact next to them someone might say i'm extrovert (so perhaps it's all relative really) but what i notice when with them is there is comfort in silence, just being together is okay, we don't have to fill every minute with talk, noise and activity - we can talk, laugh, but when there are periods of silence we don't freak out and think the social gathering is a failure :)

    that's comfortable for me . . . but for someone like my sister, who is an off the scale extrovert, its a very uncomfortable space

    the question is - did you enjoy the party?

  3. according to my sources, introverts process information internally. Extroverts process externally. I always thought I was an introvert, but it turns out I was just socially traumatized and severely depressed...who knew? :)

  4. Kel makes a great point, about the comfort in silence. That is a very astute observation.

  5. Erin - why don't I think I'm a "true" introvert? Well, I do, but ... for example, yesterday I was talking to my friend Jane about this. Her response was that I am both introverted and extroverted, that I go quite strongly in either direction. So this is my dilemma! :)

    I think a true meeting could solve some of the world's problems also. I also think it's sorely needed.

    Kel - you can party on with the best of them? Oooh, I don't know if I could join you there. I would join you in the exhaustion :) So would you say, then, in that case that you are an introvert or an extrovert? Or both? In the end they're just labels, but they're sorta interesting to ponder :)

    Did I enjoy the party? Well ... I sighed with relief when I left. I was glad to see my friend and celebrate her birthday with her, but not around so many people at once, in a venue I actively dislike :)

    Monk - LOL. It becomes difficult categorising when we have to factor in our traumas and mood disorders, tends to blur the categories somewhat sometimes :)

    Anth - it is an astute observation. I guess that is part of what the true-introverts-only social occasion would look like. Periods of comfortable silence, lack of small talk, a smaller group, a more intimate setting. Sounds fantastic. Are you sure I can't come? ;)

  6. As someone who appears to be extroverted to some of her friends,perhaps due to my direct speech and occasional wit, I find this discussion quite interesting. I am an introvert, no question of it. I did appreciate the comment above about not having to fill every minute with idle conversation. I was at a get-together last Saturday and observed how quiet I was. I said very little all afternoon. It was a comfortable occasion, celebrating the weather and friendship. I suspect most of the people there were introverts. We had an interesting discussion on why apparently independent and intelligent women choose losers. I did contribute to that one.
    I will admit wondering if my introversion is some form of personality disorder, however.

  7. Barbara - yes, the joys of silence rather than idle conversation :) Your get-together sounds truly, rooly wonderful. How many of you were there, and how long had you known these people?

    Yes, I understand your concerns. I wonder if my extroversion is a personality disorder, and I wonder if my introversion is also a personality disorder ;P

  8. It was in a friend's garden and we had raclette with meat, veggies, salad and bread. I think there were eight of us -- 5 female, 3 male. It was the summer get-together for the Chapel choir. I am not a member of the choir but the flutist thinks well of me and respects my opinion and he throws the party. The priest-chaplain from the university was invited. I guess he knows me best, so it helped to break the ice for him. Sadly, I will not be part of the Chapel community next year. It was all a bit melancholy for me.

  9. Ahh, yes that would have been melancholy. But it sounds lovely. And I also think that perhaps the allowance of melancholy characterises the more introverted scale of gatherings. Extreme extroverts would be aghast at such antisocial behaviour :)

    Hooray for friends' gardens :)


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