March 27, 2011

Confessions of a Gay Introvert and How to Survive in a Gay Extroverted World


In my first post, I introduced myself as an introvert, specifically an INTJ. I am now here to speak, to both introverts and extroverts, about who we are, some of my own confessions, and how introverts can survive in a world that favors extroversion.

1) Who we are: We are misunderstood. We like being alone to think and recuperate from the day's events. We have to be dragged to parties or Shooters. You mistake us for being shy, loners, reserved, arrogant, quiet, and rude, and you couldn't be more wrong. Just ask my friends. They will tell you that I'm far from shy, I love talking, I'm (usually) really nice, and I'm rather loud. But you, the outsider, won't recognize these things about us until you get to know us. We think differently, from a figurative and a literal stance; our neurological wiring is different so we process information in a different manner.

We are often left out and oppressed. We don't have a huge hold in the political world or the social scene. I will focus on the social scene for this case. As a gay introvert who rarely (read: never) frequents the clubs, parties, etc. where I might find other guys, I am at a huge disadvantage. My dating pool, which was fairly small to begin with, is now much smaller. But what am I to do? Change myself and become extroverted, when I'm not? Never. When it comes to being an introvert with an extrovert, Jonathan Rouch writes it perfectly when he says in an article, "I'm okay, you're okay-in small doses."

2) My confessions: I'm mostly attracted to extroverts, or at least so far, that's what I think. To be honest, I guess I've only ever been exposed to extroverted guys, and very few introverts guys. Extroverts, if you can just be empathetic and imagine what it's like for introverts to come out. When it comes to groups of people, coming out is basically out of the question. Now 1) having to be out to that group and 2) expecting another introvert to be in that group will both occur with tiny probabilities.

So we are mostly exposed to the extroverts, but at the same time, the extroverts typically don't go for the introverts; that's just a conflict of interest. For some introverts, they want an extrovert to balance them out, but we introverts have no idea how to approach. So what's an introvert to do? Well in my case, I freak out, and leave. Or I get upset because nobody understands how I think/feel when I say "I just don't feel comfortable here."

I confess that hookups are not a possibility for me. To an introvert, a connection with a person is special and unique. We have ourselves a great group of friends, typically small, but within that group are our very few friends, like one or two, who I trust enough to tell everything and talks deeply about my feelings and emotions. Hookups completely violate that principle, but here at Duke, hookups are a common option, but again, that would require me to attend parties/clubs. So that's ruled out. So what's an introvert to do?

3) Surviving in an extroverted world: It seems like the LGBT community is meant for extroverts. As much as I loved going to NC Pride Parade this year, I imagine that introverts feel slightly out of place. I know I certainly did. But there are plenty of introverts out there, gay introverts even! We are here, even though we may be hard to find. You shouldn't let a fear of extroversion be a reason for not being comfortable as a gay introvert.

For the introverts still in the closet, I advocate coming out to close friends who already love you for who you are. As an introvert, you have already done a great job picking amazing friends who will support you through everything. It's the introvert's intuition.

Overall, be proud to be an introvert! Your perspective, your thoughts, and your personality are all wonderful things to be treasured. Introversion is not a choice, but rather an orientation; embrace it! What may seem like a world for extroverts can still be cohabited by us introverts.

Introverts of the world, unite!

15 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this post, Cameron! It's nice to know that there are other introverts out there!

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  2. Cameron! I think this is an awesome topic that you chose to write about! =)

    I think your point about Pride is most interesting-about how maybe it feels uncomfortable, not because you're "coming out" or from homophobia, but simply because one might be an introvert! I had never thought of it that way. I think I'd identify as an extrovert, so I'm really glad you brought that up.

    I guess my question in response to this would be, are there situations or ways where you show pride? That make you feel more comfortable? I'm wondering if there's some sort of middle ground activity that an introverted LGBTQ person could participate in, and would still feel super proud and super comfortable!!! Cause that's awesome! And we need everyone for this movement to work. :D

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  3. I totally get what you mean and see how all of this can be true. As someone who is questioning, I feel that I am having a harder time seeing if I am gay or not because I am an introvert. I don't really "put myself out there" and as a result don't know many gay people which in my opinion is making the process harder. Sure, I know a bunch of gay people because they are friends of my friends but I don't truly "know" them. I basically just know the name that's on the face.

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  4. One comment: maybe your preference for dating extroverts is misguided in the same way that their overlooking you is misguided. I'm an introvert myself. Dating another introvert, I've found, can take some of the pressure off. Imagine someone else who'd rather stay in than go out. Someone else who wants to avoid the crowded bar and go to a quiet one. What a relief!

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  5. hey anonymous above me!

    one thing a lot of people seem to do, is email people on this blog who they might not feel comfortable approaching face-to-face or in another format, but feel like a conversation online or via email would work for them. it's just an idea! a lot of people here who write on the BDU blog are really, really awesome about trying to provide support, and even a random message on FB isn't random-it's super normal and has happened to me and others a bunch. I know I personally love it, and maybe it's just an idea for you!

    good luck!

    p.s. haha, and I'm meganweinand@gmail.com.

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  6. Megan! Thanks so much for your comment! I think this article naturally begs the question of how can introverts be involved. For me, I know that writing on this blog is one of the best ways to voice my opinion. I seem like an extrovert on-line, so that works for me. Regrettably, I know at Pride that I was a little overwhelmed at some points in the day, so it may just not be for everybody, and that's by no means an attack on Pride, it's just an observation. I know that I can make my voice heard when I vote, so that's another way. I'm interested to hear from other introverts who can think of some activities that they participate in.

    To anonymous above: Megan beat me to the punch on that one, but yeah, I've had people write to me via facebook and e-mail who want to just talk to me further about something that I write. I would highly recommend that if there is a writer who you want to ask advice from, by all means, we love to help out!

    Btw, my email is cmk30@duke.edu, if you, or anyone else, would like to talk. I'm more than willing to speak about anything.

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  7. Damn, dude. I never would have guessed you were an introvert. You hide it well, and inspire the rest of us.

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  8. yeah this can definitely be really hard. especially when contemplating coming out. for someone with no ties to the gay community, the idea of having to meet new people is so daunting that it can seem like there's no point...

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  9. I just wanna say, I love this photo with your post. It makes me laugh every time I look at the blog.

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  10. A moment of silence for the introverts.

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  11. A great inspiration for introverts, Cameron, great job!

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  12. I sympathize with everything you say. I am also a INTJ, and it very hard for me to mingle, or do anyhing outside hanging with one or two friends. Social situations bring so much stress and make me feel insecure. But I know for a fact that I am beautiful inside and out and maybe, just maybe one day, I can find someone that understands me for me because like so many, we understand people just not the need for excessive social interaction

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  13. Cameron. Thank you for writing this article. I've been an introverted since high school. Then later, I discovered I was gay and closeted & it was even harder to connect to people at social settings like family reunions and at work and school. Especially when people ask questions like are you married, have any kids. Or with Str8 guys talking about sports and girls. I'm out to close friends only. I have an extroverted bf that is out to his family and friends and I'm out to them as well. I try to be social and talk to them since he can easily talk more but i'm still shy. I'm embracing it. I'm accepting who I am and just a long as i'm comfortable with myself and that there are other people just like me. I know I'm not alone on this. =)

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  14. so how other tips to get gay ext or int people?

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  15. I am the same way. My family are all extroverts they are so competitive so they dont really get me when I dont wanna hangout, or if i just wanna stay in my room while they play poker or something. Please do add me in facebook bingengot18@yahoo.com I need some introvert friends who understands me.

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