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Fight the Extroversion Binary!

Illustration for article titled Fight the Extroversion Binary!

Hi! I’m an ENTJ! That means I’m smart enough to mentally kick your ass and social enough to explain to you the ways in which your ass was just mentally kicked, in plain English. In light of today’s “kick the nerds” article at Gawker, I felt it was important to explain the mechanism behind these introversion listicles and their popularity.


Listicles are like testicles: some people have them, some people don’t, some wish they were in a different item of this list. Sorry, I just hate the word listicle. I’ll start over.


There are some people who are true extroverts and there are some people who are true introverts. Most people have traits of each to some varying degree. These “About Your Introvert” listicles aren’t there to pick on extroverts or to explain introversion to extroverts; they are there to make people empathize with introversion. Now, how do you write an article that will get people to empathize with others? By making the struggle a struggle that everyone has to some degree. By making it relatable.

Let’s look at some of these listicles in detail:

27 Problems that Only Introverts Will Understand

When you need to take breaks and recharge after socializing for too long.

Key words here: “too long.” What defines “too long?” How long exactly qualifies before this trait kicks in? Because almost every person on the planet has a “too long” after which they need to take a break and recharge.

When people mistake your thoughtful look for resting bitch face.

Newsflash: extroverts also sometimes stare off into space while thinking and resting bitch face is pretty much not a personality trait.

When your friend wants to invite more people over, and you don’t want to sound like a dick by saying no.


Being an extrovert does not mean that you want unlimited drunk people that you don’t know in your home. This is a universal trait. Like the other traits here, what is important is the magnitude. Besides which, if we really want to go there, how many introverts invite people over who are inclined to invite friends? Did you say you just invited people over?

When people stop inviting you places because you keep canceling plans.

I have a chronic illness; I only make tentative plans because I may have to cancel. Other people are workaholics in denial and keep telling themselves that they’ll leave work on time this Friday. And then extroverts might overbook themselves, requiring that they cancel some plans to go to others! Or maybe, like one of my exboyfriends, you're just plain unreliable and it makes people mad. Again, this is not an introversion trait that is only linked to introversion.


Ready for the next testicle?

31 Unmistakable Signs That You’re an Introvert

This is your inner monologue during after-work drinks: I hate everyone.

Or maybe you’re a psychopath, which would likely make you an extrovert. Or maybe you just hate your coworkers who picked Hooters for after-work-drinks.

You know that canceling plans is like winning the damn lottery, especially when someone else does it.


Or maybe, again, you’ve extrovertedly overbooked. Or you don’t want to be rude but you really feel like you need a shower. Or man, you didn’t think you could get out of going to this work event but you hate bowling. Or you’d rather spend time with your kids. Or you don’t have clean clothes for tomorrow and you’d rather not run the washing machine at 2am because it’s off balance and will disturb the neighbors, who will be trying to sleep.

You’ve mastered the art of turning a day at home, doing nothing, into SOMETHING WONDERFUL.


Very few people literally do nothing. And when I say that, what I mean is that if you think you are doing "nothing" you are thinking, which is doing something. Most people do things that they enjoy but that they feel are looked down upon as an activity, so they call it “doing nothing.” Did you stay home and play video games or read a book or clean the kitchen or reorganize your closet? Guess what! You’ll probably say you did “nothing.” Did you spend all day looking at porn online and masturbating and your mom just asked you what you did today? "Nothing." This has nothing to do with introversion unless this is happens multiple times per week, like 6.

People often ask, “What are you thinking about?” because they haven’t heard you speak in a while.


Or maybe you’re interested in what other people are saying about a topic with which you are unfamiliar. Or maybe everyone else is talking and you don’t want to interrupt them like a rudey rudikins. Or maybe… getting the point yet?

So let’s move on to “Not Buzzfeed.”

6 Things You Thought Wrong About Introverts

All introverts are shy — and all shy people are introverts.

Oh, you mean I can still be an introvert if I’m not shy?

Introverts don't like to be around people.

Oh, you mean it’s not actually a binary and thus I can be an introvert even if I love to hang out with friends once a week?

Introverts don't make good leaders or public speakers.

Oh, you mean not all introverts are the same and I can be an introvert even if I work in radio, like a whole bunch of other introverts? Or as a comedian.


Seriously, I’m going through these articles with the items in order. They are designed to get you to empathize with introverts. By making introverts empathetic, we have made people identify with introversion; by not contrasting this with listing contrary symptoms, we’ve created introversion hypochondria.

People aren’t trying to hijack being an introvert. It’s not the trendy thing to do. There are no freaking Ironic Introvert Hipsters for crying out loud! There are no Fake Introvert Girls just like there are no Fake Geek Girls. Whether or not someone is introverted or extroverted is not a binary; it’s a spectrum. This is a false dichotomy; we are not at war with people of other personality types! People tend to be more introverted or more extroverted but rarely are people the extreme of either case.


And when you identify with those articles, you share them. It's clickbait. Someone made a great cartoon about introversion and introverts shared it on Facebook. Writers jumped on the bandwagon. The bandwagon isn't the people reading the articles and identifying with them; it's the people writing the articles. It's time to pull the bandwagon's emergency brakes.

So be nice to everyone and freaking lay off, ok?

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