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!