Tag Archives: Introvert

4 Stress Triggers for the Introvert

  1. Losing sight of an exit. Introverts often find themselves settled near an opening or on the perimeter of a room. Upon request, they could demonstrate escape routes faster than a seasoned flight attendant. Tip: if you dread interacting with an introvert then plant yourself smack in the middle of a party. They will never find you.
  1. The question of what to wear poses a slightly different conundrum for the introvert going out on the town. They aren’t steeped in concerns of fashion or trends. Instead they’re pulling a Sherlock Holmesian (Cumberbatch version) examination of a potential outfit in an effort to recall if it’s the same thing they wore last time when out.
  1. Suggesting more than one location in an evening during a social gathering ignites a mental cramp. Introverts, when opting to be social, feel comfortable committing to one place. If the party migrates, the introvert Ubers.
  1. Group weekend getaways. Introverts love quality time with their friends, just not an entire weekend out of town. If an introvert agrees to such a weekend they’ll spend the week before going through the following stages: a) Is it possible to be polite and decline? b) I can’t decline! Initiates strategies for survival, c) Wonders why an entire weekend is really necessary, and d) Acceptance.


Are You A Book Addict?

*This post is inspired by “12 Signs You’re Addicted to Reading” on 101 Books.

Here are 12 more indicators of book addiction:

  1. You have a book bucket list.  It never really gets shorter, only longer.
  2. There are books in every room of your home instead of televisions.
  3. There is no such thing as a partially used or unused Barnes and Noble gift card in your possession.  In fact, when gifted it is most likely spent within a week.
  4. You’ve tweeted a #shelfie.  You object to shelfie being underlined in red by the computer as a misspelling .



  5. If you read a book based on someone’s recommendation and love the book that person becomes an instant BFF.
  6. You facepalm when someone announces they liked Twilight.  Don’t blame yourself.  It’s practically an involuntary reflex.
  7. Scouting out bookstores on vacation is a must.
  8. Hunger poses an irritating interruption during a reading binge.  You’ve most likely grabbed food and brought it back to your reading space.  You shouldn’t be judged for bits of crumbs on your shirt and surrounding area.
  9. When people come to you for book suggestions you can match a book to their interest and personality.
  10. Your version of a gossip magazine is a biography.
  11. You feel compelled to tell everyone about the book you are reading and only notice about 20 minutes in that you’re giving a lecture and not engaged in a conversation.
  12. This is your purse.  Well, it’s mine.

    photo-29 copy

    My everywhere-I-go-bag.

Pros to being Introverted

1. Research shows that people develop envy and feelings of emptiness when scrolling through social media news feeds like Facebook and Instagram.  Not so for the introverts.  This is an entirely foreign phenomenon to the introvert.  Pictures of others out and about never summon feelings of envy.

2. Letting people know we are introverts gets us out of awkward conversations quickly.  “It’s not you.  It’s me.  I’m an introvert and must dash off.”

3. This works as well: “Oh no, I can’t go to that thing.  I’m an introvert.” (Sounds much better than “I’m totally into this mystery book at the moment, so…I’m staying in.”)

4. We have “introvert radar.”  When spotting fellow introverts we can have entire conversations comprised solely of eyebrow movements.

How Others Benefit

5. Introverts are awesome sources for book recommendations.

6. That one weird guest who hasn’t noticed that everyone has left the party but still feels like hanging out.  Yeah.  Never the introvert.

7. Gift shopping for us is less than mysterious.  Comfy clothes and coffee will always be the perfect gift.

* Number 1 inspired by the blog post Oh no! FOMO!

Shhh! I’m an Introvert

Intrigued by the title, I picked up Susan Cain’s book Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.  My initial interest was geared towards the latter part of the title “a world that can’t stop talking.”  I assumed the book would be a sort of sociological/cultural analysis of American society.  But, after plowing through the first chapter, I found myself a bit startled to see so much of my own personality in her description of an introvert.  In fact, she lists twenty “yes/no” questions for the reader to determine the extent of one’s introversion; the more one marks “yes,” the more one is introverted.  I answered “yes” to 18 of the questions!   The more I read on I could feel a sort of weight lifted off my shoulders.  Indeed, because I am not particularly shy I had not thought of myself in this fashion; however, Cain points out that there is a common confusion between shyness and introvertedness.  Introverts are not necessarily shy.  Quite the contrary, introverts can give presentations and be social.  The distinguishing trait is that introverts retreat from interaction in order to re-boot.  Some introverts need more time than others.

I should back up here.  Why was I feeling like a weight had been lifted?  Cain explores the dynamics of being an introvert from biology, psychology, and referencing famous historical figures who were introverts.  As I was reading I realized not only that I expressed the traits of an introvert but that I have spent of good deal of my life apologizing and feeling guilty about being introverted.  Let me be blunt: I thought I was just plain weird!

From when I was young and throughout my college years, for example, I attended social gatherings but I was usually one of the first to leave.  After two hours of chatting I wanted nothing more than to be at home and to read.  Now, at the end of a long week of teaching, I notice that I need a day (or three) for myself to recover from all of the interaction.  I absolutely love teaching, but to be effective I must take a time out from the world once the work week is over.  I will plant myself at home with a book, turn off the phone, and sometimes postpone or reschedule social plans.  Even emailing gets suspended for this re-booting time.

Reading, an inherently solitary affair, has been and remains a large part of my life.  I read for nearly five hours a day. (Some days I have been known to read all day.  When I started The Brothers Karamazov, for instance, no one saw me for a week.)  I read a novel a week (give or take) in addition to reviewing my lectures, grading, and of course, reading Philosophy.  This is something I would rarely share with anyone because I knew it was…well…weird.  However, Cain’s book has assured me that this is quite typical and dare I say it, normal, given the disposition of being introverted.  She traces the trend to become extroverted as part and parcel of an American “success” to the publication and phenomenon of How to Win Friends and Influence People.  With the onset of this popular book, the ideal mode of communication swayed towards talkativeness and being outgoing.  Success meant, in part, imbibing the extrovert persona.  This inevitably eclipsed the power of the introverted disposition.  Qualities such as listening and retreating to problem solve (rather than group think) were undervalued.

At different points in my life a few people have said things to me along the lines of I needed to be out more or that I must spend time alone because of some childhood trauma. (Side note: childhood IS traumatic.) While reading Cain’s book these memories sprouted and gave me pause, for I had allowed people to make me feel sheepish about me being me.

After reading Cain’s book I not only know more about the sociological and biological dimensions of introversion, but I’ve actually come to be more comfortable about myself.  I’m not weird.  I’m not anti-social.  I’m an introvert!

For my dear readers, extroverts and introverts, never let anyone try to make you feel strange for delving into what you love.  I think that is the overarching reason I wanted to create this post.  Be stylish, interesting, social, quiet, creative, mathematical…whatever!  Just be tuned into what makes you YOU and flourish.

Click here for my Amazon Author Page.

Gaffes and Awkwardness

The other day, while teaching my 8:00 am class, I began to write “architect” on the board but stumbled.  Maybe my coffee had not kicked in yet.  I was also terribly exhausted from giving evening lectures the night before. I stared at the board, my hand holding the marker, and the letters I had already written: a and r.  I could not remember how to spell “architect”!  It was a Dan Quayle-esque moment (you remember the “potatoe” incident, yes?) Paralyzed I turned to my students and asked “What am I missing?”  Oh the humanity!  Three or four students chimed in to spell it out while my brain remained in a funk.  The caffeine-gods had definitely forsaken me. This was only the beginning, for I made two more gaffes that week which involved embarrassing confusion and a joke that came out all wrong and potentially offensive.  Eeek!

We all make gaffes but some of us recover from them better than others.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I give three 2hour lectures, and on Wednesdays I give two 2hour lectures so the odds are not in my favor in the gaffe department.  When I’ve spoken to other teachers and professors they always have their own moments to share.  They range from fresh coffee stain on the front of the shirt, unaware of a belt unbuckled, making statements that were seemingly intelligent in the mind but came out sounding horrible to mispronouncing hors d’oeuvre.

One of my all time wondering-why-god-had-done-this-to-me moment was a few months ago when I rushed to get to school and spilled a full container of water in my car that created a pool in my bucket seat.  I was already running late so I sat in the water for the 30 minute drive.  When I stepped out of my car my pants looked like….well it wasn’t good.  On top of that, the entrance to my classroom was at the back, so I needed to pass all of the desks to reach the front of the room.  I stood at the back of the room and began my sad explanation: “Everyone, I have an announcement.”

Students are sometimes in awe of the awkwardness of professors and I think I know why this is.  You see, as an academic we are drawn to reading and researching, an essentially solitary affair.  The kicker is that when you are good at it, then for a living you must stand in front of people (you, the students and other academics at conferences) to present your knowledge. Chances are most of the professors you encounter are introverted, which is exactly the sort of disposition that led them into academia and teaching in the first place.  This is certainly the case for me.  Indeed, this is how you’ll find me in my natural element:

Given the number of hours I spend standing in front of people and speaking, my gaffes are inevitable.  One day I hope to be able to brush them off with more grace instead of toiling over them as I rock back and forth hugging my knees…okay, it’s not that bad.

So, dear students, when professors have their moments, be gentle.  Don’t get too snarky. Help them out.  We’re only human.

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