Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm pretty sure people write these things just to annoy me.

I have a long history of over-reacting to posts/books on poor misunderstood introverts, but is this post not asking for it?


When I was with my [extrovert] ex-boyfriend, I used to have this strange problem of “shutting down” around him. Completely out of the blue my brain would just freeze, making me literally unable to speak or do pretty much anything at all. He would try to talk with me and ask me what was wrong, but I just couldn’t bring myself to answer or even look at him. On more than one occasion, I went completely mute for what must have been at least 30 minutes. And for some reason– and this is the really weird part– this total shut-down seemed to happen only with my boyfriend and no one else. As you can imagine it wasn’t very pleasant, and it put a lot of stress on our relationship as it happened quite frequently. Other weird things happened too. Sometimes when I was with him, I would just start crying for no reason at all. I mean, I literally had no idea what was wrong, but suddenly I couldn’t stop myself from sobbing uncontrollably. It was disturbing. I thought I had some sort of mental illness.

Obviously things never worked out with that boyfriend, and we never found a solution to my strange problem. I felt a lot better after breaking it off with him though, at least.

Then later I read The Introvert Advantage, and suddenly it all made sense! You see, my ex-boyfriend was very much an extrovert. He was a lively, active, talkative person who loved people. He had a ton of friends and was always chit-chatting with everyone he met. He was also extremely intelligent, with a brain that soaked everything up like a sponge. He was well-educated and thoroughly read, and probably could have easily won a boatload of money on Jeopardy or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. There was nothing that didn’t interest him, and it seemed like there was nothing he didn’t know. So he would go on and on telling me all about the intricacies of Chinese politics, or the successful business strategies of a certain clothing company, or the state of the economy in some random country.

But the problem was that those things didn’t interest me. I was sorry they didn’t interest me and kind of felt like they should, but they just didn’t. Unlike his, my brain was not able to retain every piece of information that came pouring into it. And unlike him, I couldn’t claim to be interested in everything. Sometimes he did talk about things that interested me (like languages, which he was also quite knowledgable about), but not always. Unfortunately he also seemed to get quite hurt or offended if I didn’t remember something he’d explained to me, or if I didn’t seem engaged or interested in what he was talking about. So I couldn’t very well just flat out tell him that I wasn’t interested. I listened and tried my best to pay attention, but despite my best efforts I still couldn’t manage to appear fascinated by Chinese politics. He often stopped to ask me if I was listening or not, and then got really upset because my responses weren’t clear enough to him.

He also tended to ask a lot of questions that seemed completely pointless to me, and that I often had trouble answering. Things like, “So what did you eat for lunch yesterday?” My first thought in response to that question would be ‘Why would you care about some insignificant thing like that?’ And then I would proceed to try to remember what I had eaten for lunch the day before, which would often take quite a while. It might seem silly, but sometimes I simply could not remember what I had eaten for lunch.


_____Um... Love... That's not just introversion/extroversion at play. You've made him sound like an odd and socially awkward person (which is not very nice of you) and you've made yourself sound like a non communicative, passive victim. I don't think that introversion/extraversion was the primary problem in your relationship. If he is as bad as you make him sound, why go out with him in the first place? And why blame his social cluelessness on extraversion? And are your insecurities, helplessness and poor communication skills also more the problem than your introversion?


  1. Reminds me a bit of Raj from the Big Bang theory though. Her, not him.

  2. That's the trouble with the internet these days. There's too many introllverts around.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Simone, I love your strong opinions, but I think making harsh judgments about Internet strangers (and encouraging your readers to do the same) is not gracious!