Tech Life You are new data

The Song of the Introvert

You are a threat.

It’s a strong word. I don’t mean that you intend pain, injury, or damage. But I’m an introvert and you – as a new unknown human – are a threat to me. I don’t know what you want and you most definitely want something and until I figure that out, you’re a threat. See…

I have control issues.

I am mostly calm when I am alone in my Cave. My stuff is where I expect it to be, the furniture is how I like it and the walls are blood red – they surround me completely. There are rarely surprises in my Cave and that is how I like it, thank you very much. My Cave is where I avoid the chaos and…

You are chaos.

You are disorder and confusion. I haven’t figured out an eye contact protocol with you yet, and I don’t know what you want so I don’t understand what motivates you so you are unpredictable. You are an unknown, which means you are full of surprises and surprises aren’t the spice of life, they are new data that don’t yet fit in my system and…

I am addled with systems.

My love of calm predictability has come at a cost. I write everything down in a black notebook – no lines. There are boxes next to items that must be tracked, there are stars for ideas that must be remembered. A yellow highlighter and a .5mm Zebra Sarasa gel pen accompany me everywhere because the presence of this notebook is part of my well-defined system of never missing anything. See, paradoxically, while I would likely prefer to be hiding in my Cave, I also love signal and…

You are high signal.

I am fascinated by how you punctuate your sentences with your hands. You pause for as long as it takes to makes sure you are going to say something of value. Sometimes these pauses are maddeningly long. You are fiercely optimistic and state outlandish impossible things. You are fearless in giving feedback to strangers. You are less fearless, but you can deliver the same feedback with a momentary glance. It’s fascinating how all of you have built all of your systems to get through your day. I am fascinated because…

I am insatiably (quietly) curious.

My curiosity is a defense mechanism. I am desperately trying to get back to my Cave where the surprises are scheduled. I have learned the faster I can learn about you, the faster I will figure out what you want, and that will tell me what motivates you, and when I know what motivates you, I will better understand how to communicate with you. I am not trying to manipulate you, I am not trying to pander to you, I am trying to understand you because…

I am an introvert.

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17 Responses

  1. I’m an introvert, but little of this applies to me. I get exhausted by people, I get recharged when I’m alone.

    Extroverts get recharged by being around others; in effect they are stealing our energy.

  2. This sounds familiar. As an introvert, I don’t look forward to interviewing or changing jobs, for the reasons that you’ve described. “New” people are full of interesting surprises. Processing it all is exhausting.

  3. I think you have more accurately described “Obsessive-compulsive disorder”.

    Introverts are just people who expend energy in social situations (vs those who gain energy from them – extroverts). Some of what you mention here fits this definition of introversion, but all this stuff about chaos, fascination over how people talk, having to write everything down is not introversion.


    Anonymous Introvert.

  4. Stephanie 10 years ago

    I can 100% relate to it as an introvert. It actually blows my mind how much I can relate to it and thinking about curiosity as a defense mechanism is something I hadn’t thought of before but makes total sense. Thanks for such a well-written piece!

  5. I used to think that introversion was just being drained by social interaction, but of late I’ve come to expand that definition — and this post covers most of that. Nicely done.

  6. Julien Guezennec 10 years ago

    Thank you for these simple yet true words.

  7. DreamWeek #2 | C# Dreams linked to this.
  8. Vicki 10 years ago

    Nicely written.

    To “Nope”, he’s not describing OCD. But I would bet a box of donuts Rands’ MBTI type is INTJ.

  9. The analytical introvert.

  10. chuck palahniuk, is that you?

  11. Nida Ismail Shah 8 years ago

    I am going to read this every single day for a long long time. I am an introvert who gets distracted easily. I feel ashamed of being myself too often. You helped me. This is going to help a lot.

  12. Different Kind of Introvert 8 years ago

    I agree with some comments here about this not relating specifically to introverts. I find parts of myself in your article and it’s HILARIOUS to read, I love it, but I do agree that this whole “nerd-scared-of-world” thing is not necessarily an introvert described by most others. There seems to be some OCD as mentioned by one of the commenters, and some phobias perhaps? Or perhaps you just exaggerated the article a bit for humour, who knows.

  13. Valencia 7 years ago

    True. Three valuable tools for an introvert. Listen, watch and learn. Keenly observant, memory like an elephant. Learnt so much about people and things not just because I’m curious it’s because I’m facinated. Stepping out of my cave is a blazing adventure, returning is pure nervana. Life is better than any action adventure tv series or movie. Not speaking, silence, allows others to fill the gap or not. My entertainment! My secret source of amusment. My full throttle skill of communication thru body language and gesture. My superpower of learning quickly one’s motivation and true character. Self containment allows everyone to move freely and unincumbered around me. All the better to Listen, watch and learn the animal kingdom. To stand still observing all that is around. Quick study of social norms, heirachy, values and principals in different environments. Please return me to my cave, you can get lost in the chaos, become sad and depressed. To much information is sometimes overwhelming. The cave is restorative, allows quiet reflection. My cave is where my creativity ,activity and vast knowledge lays. My home.