I read a piece on introversion lately that was mostly kind of cool, but one line made me want to explode.  It dealt with karaoke and why an introvert doesn’t want to get up and perform karaoke.  Something to do with being terrified of getting up in front of the public and performing, if I recall correctly.

Friends, this is no more a hallmark of introversion than is blue eyes.

Being an introvert is not about being scared of being in the public eye.  In fact, being afraid of public speaking is an incredibly common fear that runs across the introvert/extrovert lines and has more to do with being a human being than it does with one’s mental orientation.

What’s actually a pretty common pattern is for an introvert to be a pretty accomplished public speaker, but find that she detests noisy parties.  Being an introvert isn’t about being scared.  It’s about being drained by too much interpersonal contact.

The introversion=shyness thing tends to get to rub me the wrong way.  I think partially because there is an underlying implication that the introversion needs to be cured, but also because if someone doesn’t know me well, they’ll deny I’m an introvert and interpret my behavior from an extroverted frame of reference.

Ferinstance, if someone sees that because I am not shy that I am an extrovert, but only want to socialize with them on a limited or irregular basis, they’ll interpret that as me not liking them very much, but don’t want to say so.  If they were to see me as the introvert that I am, they recognize that I just need to be alone a whole bunch and it has nothing at all to do with my fondness or not for them as people.

I remember once teaching a class and mentioning being an introvert.  I forget why it was brought up, but since I was teaching, I was probably looking for an illustrative example of something.  One of the class members immediately said, “But you’re not shy![1][2]

No, I’m not.  I even enjoy public speaking.

For the last time, fear of being in the spotlight is not an introversion/extroversion thing.  It’s a not-too-unusual people thing.  ‘Kay?


[1] Nancybuttons sells a button I really should buy.  “I’m not shy.  I’m studying my prey.”

[2] I am a very animated public speaker.

mental health, rant

2 thoughts on “For the last time, introversion is not shyness!

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