Caring For Your Introvert

In 2003, Atlantic writer Jonathan Rauch penned an essay entitled “Caring For Your Introvert: the habits and needs of a little-understood group.”

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is “too serious,” or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren’t caring for him properly.

So begins a semi-tongue-in-cheek but heartfelt exposé of a put-upon group, besieged daily by garrulous, chattery people whose idea of a good time is sapping the energy of unwilling conversational partners and who can’t (or refuse to) empathize with the introvert’s condition.

The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books—written, no doubt, by extroverts—regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts’ Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say “I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”

So what’s this really all about? Put most simply, introverts lose energy as a result of interacting with people – in particular new people, and in particular small-talk interactions that aren’t moving toward a specific goal – while extroverts gain energy by contact with social packs. (As we’ll get to, shyness and introversion are distinct phenomena.)

Another key factor Rauch touches on is that of extroverts thinking by talking and introverts thinking before talking – which means that a mixed discussion or idea exchange is going to contain a lot more talking than an introvert is comfortable with to come to a fully-formed idea, while the extrovert will be hamstrung by an introvert’s aloofness as ideas are incubated.


I had been exposed to the concept of intrinsic introversion before that story came out, and immediately recognized it in myself. Finally it explained why I couldn’t go more than an hour at a party without feeling the need to hide out in the bathroom for five minutes! It was liberating to discover the mechanism of my social exhaustion, and to understand that I didn’t have some bizarre social disease, it was just the way I was built and there were thousands more like me.

Building on that realization, two interesting things came out of my taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire a few years ago. The first was that I was typed as strongly introverted, confirming my hunch (since confirmed twice more). The second was that nobody I knew believed it.

The combination of two factors:

  • My ability to go on at length about subjects of interest and passion
  • My keeping a small group of close friends who share my interests

means that most people close to me have spent hours hearing me talk their ears off about one thing or another. So they are flummoxed and probably a bit offended when I tell them what a bother it is to be pinned in conversation.

I’ve come to explain my condition to some of those around me, and have left more than one social event by simply saying, “my E is empty, I’m going home to recharge it.”

(The closet metaphor is not an accident…in an enlightening follow-up interview, Rauch hints at his homosexuality; without a doubt the process of coming to terms with a world not built for your style resonated with him in more ways than one.)


When I first entered high school, I became very shy. I still don’t really understand why – maybe I was afraid of making a bad impression, or sensed people wouldn’t like me for the guy I was, I was a lot more intellectual than most of my classmates at the time (and more than many of them ever got) and I suppose I sensed that it wouldn’t go over well. I had good friends who were alphas of the class – and would have been glad to pull me up – but for whatever reason I never believed I could stand alongside them. Now I know that I could have, and still stay congruent to my personality, but that’s many years of hindsight talking.

In any event, I worked on it, because I wanted things from life I needed to be assertive to get, and I refer to myself as a recovering shy person. (My learning game has only been the most recent step in a decade-long multi-phase social improvement project.)

Shyness is not introversion, a depletion of social energy – it’s an anxiety that you’re not good enough, and that people won’t want to hear what you have to say. Shyness brings with it an emotional sensitivity, a pervasive fear of negative judgment, and runs the gamut in intensity from discomfort to panic. Of course it’s a vicious cycle; when you have that mindset, anything you do say is laced with trepidation and low confidence anyway.

Shyness can also be the result of a fear of agency. My sister went through a shy phase where she offloaded matters of authority on other people, including having me ask waiters to send wrongly-prepared food back to the kitchen because she didn’t want the bother and discomfort.

Likewise, introversion and betatude are not the same thing. The essence of beta (in the Roissy sense and not the Vox Day sense) is secondary social status, manifested in supplication and a resigned conviction of one’s lot in life. There can be extroverted betas, loqacious and energized in their race to the bottom of the social ladder. And introversion doesn’t preclude a high-status personality profile as not all alphas are life-of-the-party types. In fact, one of the alpha stereotypes, that of the brooding, strong silent type, is textbook introversion, and an introverted mindset can allow for the development of mastery in mental pursuits that is part of the alpha persona.

Shyness, however, will fairly readily produce a betatized social status as the person in question can’t adequately assert himself in his social environment. Shy extroverts must the most tortured of all – with a natural need for personal contact, but paralyzed by fear from getting it.

The Smiths’ singer Morrissey made shyness and its associated anxiety a key feature of many of his songs’ tortured characters.

There can also be a sort of “reverse shyness,” a compulsion to constantly interact with people. I dated a woman who exhibited this behavior, she got very anxious if she wasn’t milling in groups on a regular basis; it combined with my natural predilection away from large groups to create many impasses for us.


Like my friends couldn’t believe my introverted status, it’s funny how people can be different than you might expect. My boss and mentor at a previous job was a classic mentor/counselor personality – a skilled listener, a polished reader of people, calmly intelligent and committed to his work, and always one to understand the other side before making his case. He blew my mind when he told me he scored extroverted every time. He had taken on behaviors in accordance with his character and ideals, but that didn’t change his fundamental type preference (a preference he filled in his spare time by being on stage as a musician, dancer and public speaker, and leveraged for career success by getting to know everybody in the building).


The Atlantic solicited reader feedback on introversion and extroversion in relationships. There’s no code to making it work, no prescribed success formula for the I-E balance in a relationship, but the readers’ thoughts were fascinating. Some readers noted that the social expectation of the “extroverted woman, introverted man” stereotype was damaging to couples who didn’t fit that profile; in particular introverted women felt put upon by those assumptions.


Rauch ends with this:

How can I let the introvert in my life know that I support him and respect his choice? First, recognize that it’s not a choice. It’s not a lifestyle. It’s an orientation.

Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don’t say “What’s the matter?” or “Are you all right?”

Third, don’t say anything else, either.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get away from people for a few minutes.


Filed under primary sources

64 responses to “Caring For Your Introvert

  1. Gwen

    My favorite analogy for explaining introversion: “I’m like a car that doesn’t have an alternator. Extroverts have an alternator – the more they go, the more it charges their batteries. Since I don’t have an alternator, my batteries get drained fairly quickly, and then I have to withdraw to recharge.” Most people seem to understand that.

    I love the way Rauch makes the point that shyness and introversion aren’t the same thing at all. It seems like everyone conflates the two. I would disagree, however, that shyness is about fear. Shyness is, in my opinion, about uncertainty regarding the expectations in a given social setting. Any fear felt stems from this foundation. I find that when I have a clear understanding of what is expected of me, I experience no feelings of shyness. The more unfamiliar the setting is, though, the more paralyzed I am by the fact that I don’t know how to act. So, I hang out in the corner and watch people until I have the expectations figured out. (This was a huge disadvantage when I was young and single. I couldn’t figure out flirting at all, which made me completely invisible to men.)

    Did you know that shyness can be identified at birth?

  2. Wow, Badger, what an awesome post! I love your personal story layered onto the Rauch piece.

    Ahem, I will be emailing this around.

  3. Alexamenos

    I’m off-the-chart introverted….the Rauch comment about presentations and small talk really hits home. I can give a presentation to 100 people and be completely comfortable, but anxious as hell during the small talk that follows the presentation.

    And yeah, (most) extroverts really don’t *get* introverts. The chairman of my company’s Board of Directors is as extroverted as I am introverted. He can’t understand why I get irritated by directionless small talk during Director’s meetings, and his idea of trying to alleviate my aggitation amounts to talking about our feelings.

  4. Y

    Yes, completely agree with this. I recently started writing about introvert game, you should check it out.

    Beta, shy and introvert are all different things.

    I was all three but the beta and shyness are a lot less now.

    I experimented with extrovert behaviors, while I learned a lot, it was too tiring.

    Now I’m comfortable with being an introvert and know how to make the most of it.

  5. allie

    Great post! I relate to a lot of it myself. I just don’t know how two introverts would be able to sustain a relationship… Currently I am shy and introverted, especially around people I don’t know very well. I think people take it as disinterested, aloof, and potentially bitchy but It just takes me a while to warm up to people. I’ve actually been on dates with quite a few engineers (now that I think about it) and the conversation felt painful at times and I just took it as lack of interest.

  6. CL

    I saved that article a long while ago and I still like it. It really does a great job of explaining us introverts to all those annoying extroverts!

  7. johnnymilfquest

    I’m INTJ according this test:

    The “T” stands for “Tosser”.

  8. There are some friends I can only meet once a month or so. We try to spend the whole day together to make up for all the time we don’t see each other, and that can get exhausting. I figured out last year that if we meet up in groups of three, the other two will always be able to talk to each other while I sit next to them, still basking in their presence while reading a book.

    In general, I think it’s harder for women to be introverted than it is for men. Women are expected to reach out to people, to make everyone feel welcome, and to set the tone at social gatherings. If a man wants to be the “strong, silent type,” that’s more okay. A friend of my grandmother’s once told me something a very proper teacher of hers liked to repeat to her all-girls class: “Shyness is a mild form of rudeness.” (As you point out, though, Badger, shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Perhaps the teacher was an introvert, too, but knew all about this higher standard.)

  9. Hope

    My husband and I are both INFJ. He’s less introverted than I am, but we’re both basically nerdy people that like to hide out and do our own thing.

    Personally I like being the more introverted than him. It puts him more in the “running the show” mode, so he appears more dominant. But that is a personal bias.

    Internet socializing is less tiring probably because there’s virtually no small talk. It’s all about ideas and intellection. I love it.

  10. Pingback: Wrap up. Please don’t call me a “Natural” ever again « dannyfrom504

  11. Badger-
    “The combination of two factors:

    -My ability to go on at length about subjects of interest and passion
    -My keeping a small group of close friends who share my interests”

    BINGO!!!!! as a fellow introvert, this is my only reason for being as socially functional as i am. if i get in a crowded area (even in the company of close friends), i need to bail pretty quickly. PTSD only exacerbates it. fml.

    nice post.

  12. Ceer

    I’m a natural introvert who’s known about his status for a long time. One of the most annoying aspects is how people come up with these rules about how to act in a supposedly “anything goes” society. Apparently “anything goes” means that we have to talk about worthless crap because something meaningful might scare people off. I can definitely see what Badger is talking about, but it goes way deeper than that. Extroverts have a natural fear of introverts. In my presence, it’s gone so far as one person actually asked me to my face if I was a serial killer. Americans often go to the far east and face significant culture clash because the introvert/extrovert balance is more evident…as opposed to our clear extrovert only culture.

  13. L

    Not a huge fan of the Meyer’s Briggs designations, but there is something to be said about I – E:

    Intro: Won’t shut the fuck up in front of people they are comfortable with.

    Extro: Won’t shut the fuck up in front of random strangers.

    Complete dick: Won’t shut the fuck up, period.

    [Haha. Thanks for commenting.

    I find the I-E and P-J spectra the most accessible, I think because they are easy to observe in myself and others. The N-S and F-T are tougher to explain and understand.]

  14. I knew this post would bring out the introverts. Hope, I’m an INFJ tool; not to get too babbly about it, I think I fit the type in that I’m very analytical but also have a holistic, whimsical sensibility.

    Ceer and Bellita both hit on how cultural stereotypes and expectations can make life very tough for us.


    “I just don’t know how two introverts would be able to sustain a relationship…”

    The same way everyone sustains relationships – accepting that it’s not the other person’s job to give you all the stimulation and excitement in your life.

    “I’ve actually been on dates with quite a few engineers (now that I think about it) and the conversation felt painful at times and I just took it as lack of interest.”

    “Dates” as we understand them are torture for truly introverted people. I advise introverted people to plan dates where you DO something rather than be expected to yak for two hours.

    Game for introverts consists of hooking interest and then standing up a strong-silent, “make her work for your words” frame.

  15. Mark

    Scored as slightly extroverted on the humanmetrics MBTI that johnnymilfquest used. Regarding E/I as an orientation, not a choice, I was very introverted until 9th grade when I made a conscious decision to peacock like mad. I figured it was the only way I would get any action. It worked so well I became addicted to it and exhausted by it. Now I’m the buffer for every friend I have who is shy and/or introverted. But, I can still hole up at home with a stack of books and an artpad for a month at a time.

    “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only 1, but the light bulb has to really want to change.”

    Also, I think Myers-Briggs might be a glorified Cosmo quiz/horoscope.

  16. wow, excellent post badger. great find, gotta read that article.

    did you read what mike wrote on his blog, crime and federalism. very good advice:

    of course, i am a mega introvert. that is something i really really wish i could change. people wipe me out.

  17. Pingback: Need to read and reread « Rivelino in Spain

  18. The N-S and F-T are tougher to explain and understand.

    F-T is still a bit of a mystery to me, but I got N-S before I got J-P. As someone explained it to me, you can give an N the letters A, L and Z, and the person would understand the rest of the alphabet. An S would need to go through all the letters in order. (This person was also an N and admitted that S people drove him crazy and that he indulged his annoyance whenever he described them.)

    Another explanation I heard involved an anecdote. A teacher divided a small class into two groups based on whether they were N or S, gave each group an orange, and asked them to come up with the most comprehensive description they could in five minutes. After five minutes, the S group’s representative said something about the orange’s color, texture, smell and taste (which they had determined by taking it apart and eating it). The N group’s representative, on the other hand, had prepared a short speech that included Vitamin C, why it’s good to have orange juice at breakfast, and even the value of Orange Julius stands.

  19. CL

    A lot of INFJs – it’s the rarest type!

  20. We’re all uniquely alike, CL.

  21. Bellita,

    I was in a class where they asked us to describe a dollar bill. The S’s described the color, texture and features of the bill. The N’s described the tender value and symbolic meaning of the bill.

  22. allie

    “The same way everyone sustains relationships – accepting that it’s not the other person’s job to give you all the stimulation and excitement in your life.”
    – I had never thought of it that way before.
    I advise introverted people to plan dates where you DO something rather than be expected to yak for two hours.
    – So is it alright for me to counteroffer with something that is more activity based or just go along with the dinners etc?

    “Intro: Won’t shut the fuck up in front of people they are comfortable with.

    Extro: Won’t shut the fuck up in front of random strangers.

    Complete dick: Won’t shut the fuck up, period.”

    @ L haha that is perfect.

  23. Random Angeleno

    ISTJ here. Many of my friends simply don’t get my introversion at all. Heck, my best friend didn’t understand the term when we talked about women in general. Sigh … I can be sociable, then I have to shut down. No two ways about that.

    The triumvirate of introversion, shyness and betatude is a real killer. I had it bad, getting away from shyness (social fear and anxiety) and betatude (supplication) is real work, but I’ve come to recognize and embrace my introversion over the years.

  24. i’m an INTJ. a “strategist”. uuuuuh, i guess.

  25. ok, i read the description. yeah, VERY me…

    “INTJs are introspective, analytical, determined persons with natural leadership ability. Being reserved, they prefer to stay in the background while leading. Strategic, knowledgable and adaptable, INTJs are talented in bringing ideas from conception to reality. They expect perfection from themselves as well as others and are comfortable with the leadership of another so long as they are competent. INTJs can also be described as decisive, open-minded, self-confident, attentive, theoretical and pragmatic.”

  26. just visiting

    Hmn. According to the test, I’m INTJ as well. I’ll have to read up on it.

  27. Mark
    This addresses the horoscope vibe I was getting while I answered the test.

  28. I get INTJ no matter what test I take (and this includes a test from my guidance counselor in high school), but having read the descriptions of different Myers-Briggs types, I’m pretty positive I’m actually an INTP.

    For the real INTJs here, I share this post by an INTJ man I know in real life: How to Seduce an INTJ . . .

    Has he got it right?

  29. JKL

    My last gf was an INTJ (i’m INFP). She was a friend of a friend and added me on facebook. I saw her online one night, and decided to chat her up. I was at the time worrying about whether an event I was planning for a social club (a not very social social club) was going to go over well. That struck her interest and somehow that turned to the discussion of starbucks vs. independent coffee shops which turned into a coffee date since she’d never been to a coffee shop besides starbucks (well the vague excuse I gave for a coffee date).

    She was pretty removed the whole first half of the date. I cracked jokes about her major (psych) and her dissecting people’s thoughts or reading their minds. She was polite but I could tell she wasn’t biting. We had really boring small talk for a while then I brought up that I wrote poetry and had gotten a piece in a small school publication. I showed her my blog with my poetry right next to posts on various thoughts one would not normally bring up on a first date. Completely changed the dynamic of the date. Coffee date ended up turning into a location-hopping 5 hour evening.

    She was an awesome gf too. Super supportive, practical, intelligent, reserved, and really didn’t bitch unless she had a legitimate reason to. I dated an E girl before her, we just valued completely different things. Miscommunication to the max. I really would suggest Introverts stick together.

  30. Pingback: How to Seduce me….. « dannyfrom504

  31. Ribbon Butterfy

    Dear Sir Badger,

    It’s Ribbon from HUS. You said that I might ask your advice sometime, and I think now might be the time.

    Recently I’ve been asked out by an introvert. I met him at a mixer for professional students. I think he was feeling daring, because he asked for my number AND asked me out for coffee after a few nights’ texting. (I played my part with deliberate smiles for him, a little purposeful kino, judicious use of emoticons.) He has great potential. He revealed at coffee that he had been working out really hard and his physical attractiveness was at his adult best; also that I was his first date. (We are 23 years old.) He has a serious personality, and he seems like a real sweetheart. He is looking for a long-term relationship. He’s a real nerd for history and political science, and nerds are my favourite.

    He asked me to dinner on Thursday. I accepted and intend to go Dutch. (This prevents him from feeling like a chump and me from feeling bought.) Things we haven’t yet discussed: sexual exclusivity and religion. These are major, and I will provide data as it comes up. A hump we have to get over already is that we have different visions of where we’ll be in our careers, going forward – I dream of simple family practice in a smaller city, he dreams of Bay Street (which is like Wall Street for Canada).

    What can I do to nurture him as a man? It’s his first year living away from home (in his undergraduate he commuted), and he’s staying on the graduate-students’ floor at a dorm at the university. Seemingly, it’s also his first relationship. He needs some help developing a little alpha, confidence, and relationship skills in general, methinks. What are tips and tricks and clues I can give him? What actions can I take to build his confidence?

    (Other than jumping in bed with him right now. :-P)

  32. I absolutely love it that Ribbon used the word kino.

    I’m on the edge of my seat for Badger’s response here.

  33. And by the way, Ribbon, I give you soooooo much credit for this thoughtful request for advice. You have clearly understood where to mine for real gold.

  34. Lavazza

    What kind of personality are you if you listen to people, think about the subject, then say what you have to say, leading to everybody shutting up and having nothing more to say about the subject?

  35. Hope

    “I really would suggest Introverts stick together.”

    Yay! Another recommendation for I-I pairings. :P

  36. nate

    I greatly appreciated this post as I am an INTP (the “Thinker”.) I’ve seen a few comments regarding the I vs N and the F vs T. It has been my experience that these types hold pretty accurately as well, they are just a little bit tougher to grasp and identify because of the way they are presented in conversation. Since my type is the type that likes to add structure to anything and everything while constantly refining, I have made it a game to try and identify people’s personality types then have a conversation with them about it. It is pretty useful in mid-game and allows you to have a fairly in depth conversation with somebody that is actually meaningful, which is part of the crux of being an introvert. It is also nice because it comes across initially as “small talk.”

    The person who said Introverts won’t shut the fuck up with people they know is absolutely correct. This is something I continually have to remind myelf of while holding conversations I find interesting. Another aspect of this realization is that I am willing to posit points of view I may not agree with or that I know the other person does not agree with to see if they can explain their point of view. I do this because the debate is interesting and although I mean no disrespect and the exercise is merely pedantic in my eyes, others do not appreciate it.

  37. Danny is INTJ like me? I can’t believe it.

    Ribbon: I’ve said it before, but, here is the beta/introvert krpytonite:

    1. Get into his personal physical space.
    2. Brazenly and repeatedly signal that you wont reject a physical advance. This is not slutty. Keep doing it. It might take a while to sink in. (You decide how long you can wait before you’re bored. No need to save his soul.)
    3. Let him lead.

    If you are feeling charitable, bless you, then you can break rule #3 once, if you escalate once intensely. Kiss him once hard. If he doesn’t *recoil* then he likes you.

    Oh, and don’t talk about sexual exclusivity and/or religion for a good long while, unless you want to risk him running for the hills.

    As for encouraging the alphaness, you don’t want to try to think of him as a up fixer-project. Concentrate on responding positively to the things you like, and not cutting him down on things you don’t.

  38. 108spirits

    What would two introverts do together? Do they write long ass blog posts to communicate to each other instead of talking?

  39. johnnymilfquest

    “What would two introverts do together? Do they write long ass blog posts to communicate to each other instead of talking?”

    Ha ha!

    No, if L’s formulation is correct I think they would have very animated discussions with each other and then need plenty of time apart to recharge.

  40. OTC-
    so…we are indeed kindred. lol. i see i’m in good company.

    as a former bookish encyclopedia brown reading geek that i used to be, i can tell you that praise and coddling his ego should work wonders. NEVER underestimate the power you have by making the most mundane things he can do seem monumental. i ALWAYS eat that up, i can’t help it. praise him, and make him feel like he’s king of the world.

    to add to what OTC said: IF you go in for the daring kiss, after you deliver it. look him in his eyes and say, “i’m sorry. i couldn’t help it. you drive me crazy.” then jump right back into being a “shy girl”. bite your lower lip after then step back into the submissive lass bit. coax out his masculine with the allure of you’re feminine.

    hopefully this will draw out his more daring side that you seek. might take some time though, especially if you’re his first relationship. have patience though Love. nerds are usually worth the effort as one of my readers recently shared with me.

    best of luck to you.

  41. Anacaona

    Great essay. I think I’m going to make a Toastmasters speech out of the subject. Like mentioned before I’m extrovert and my husband is an introvert, contrary to what other people express here. I totally get it. I just can’t explain it to others right now, because there is huge general consensus that that you have to like people and work around your issues by talking to people, is not the same for everyone, and there is nothing wrong with that, now try to explain to the “charisma capital of the world!”

    Question: any fictional introverted characters? It always help when you can point out examples.

    Personal anecdote:
    We do joke around our relationship being Ying and Yang with him telling him that “I want to talk about my feelings” and then he says ” feelings? What is that ? Can you eat them?” Then I say “Not only I have feelings I l have them classified by colors and figures. For example I feel pink with black dots today that means…”
    He then makes the sign of hanging/shooting himself. I hope is sounds as funny as it is, it does cracks me up all the time. :)

  42. JKL

    “What would two introverts do together? Do they write long ass blog posts to communicate to each other instead of talking?”

    No I would say, introverts actually probably talk more when they’re one on one with another person. Well talk more about subjective stuff. Introverts are head people so they talk about the outside world as viewed from their mind. They’re more interested in understanding the world than doing a lot of things in the world.

    You’ll see lots of introverts at movie theaters, museums, bookstores, going out on hikes. You won’t see them at a lot of parties, overcrowded rock concerts, political demonstrations, State Fairs, performing extreme sports, etc.

  43. JKL

    “Any fictional introverted characters? It always help when you can point out examples.”

    Batman (no seriously)
    Any Clint Eastwood Character
    Abraham Lincoln
    Jane Austen Heroines (though often played up as E’s in the movies)
    Severus Snape

  44. @108spirits
    What would two introverts do together? Do they write long ass blog posts to communicate to each other instead of talking?

    I realize you were joking, but my own experience makes the answer YES.

    There was also a time I met up with an extrovert friend after we hadn’t seen each other in a while. During the time we were too busy to meet in person, we at least had the time to IM for hours. When we were finally sitting face to face at a cafe, I had the crazy desire to pull out my laptop, get online, and start another IM conversation with her.

    Other than this, what you’ve said about long, animated conversations with lots of alone time in between is pretty accurate.

  45. Anacaona

    Batman (no seriously), Spider-man

    I will say most superheroes should be introverted, unless they are attention whores like Tony Stark. I like those examples because Batman introversion is full of guilt, darkness and depression and he is most of the time and anti-hero, While Spidey can be emo sometimes but most of the time he is in high spirits not all his girlfriends die/get insane and he is a happy chap when he can make enough money to not lose his apartment and pay for a hamburger with MJ/Gwen/Felicia.

    Any Clint Eastwood Character

    The serial murderer or the kid scientist from Dexter’s lab? Of course Dexter’s lab had a classic intro/extro animosity with DeDe being extro, dumb and noisy, her poor brother was in hell.

    Abraham Lincoln
    Mmm really? Can you elaborate in this one?

    Jane Austen Heroines (though often played up as E’s in the movies)
    Showing my Twilight obsession I realized that Bella Swan that is based in many of Jane Austen’s works is an introverted.

    Legolas, Severus Snape

    My two crushes. No wonder i get the hubby :), Funny enough I can’t stand Batman,
    Going from that list I would guess Dr. Manhattan, Spock and Data are introverted.
    But is true that very few women are depicted as introverted in fiction although my guess is that very few women are introverted too, calling to evo-bio women’s social skills were probably sexually selected and the quiet in their head girls were probably ignored and didn’t marry or mated late in life producing few offspring.

  46. blogster

    great post badger. Introversion is a topic that is not only generally poorly understood, but also largely ignored in the game/mano sphere. Particularly from the roissy-esque end of the spectrum, I often see comments deriding ‘aspergic’ like tendencies which show little understanding of distinctions which this article has.

    Great work in separating betaism, shyness and introversion. As someone who has been moving through anxiety treatment and has become more accustomed and accepting of their introversion, the separation gives a clear template for self acceptance and self development.

    Of the comments before I think most are spot on, but would say to Bellita that while women may get the ‘bitch’ comment for being introverted, by and large it is MEN who suffer as a result of being introverted, particularly in today’s self absorbed, narcissistic, short-attention Kardashian style culture, particularly in dating.

    Because forwardness and assertion are prime attraction cues for women, introverted men are automatically marked down. Before the last couple of years when I have learned to balance my introversion, I can’t count the number of times I see people responded to me differently because I think before I speak, or internally process before responding, or because I don’t feel the desire for inane conversation, or jump into the social fray etc.

    I realised this made me largely invisible as a result and I had to put considerable effort into learning strategies to get what I wanted.

    A great website for introversion b.t.w. is

  47. @blogster
    while women may get the ‘bitch’ comment for being introverted, by and large it is MEN who suffer as a result of being introverted

    I didn’t mean to turn this into a bragging contest about who suffers more, and I would agree that introverts of both sexes would have difficulties dependent on what is expected of their respective group.

  48. Hope

    I am very rarely called “bitchy” in real life despite being very quiet and introverted. Bitchiness is a whole other trait, and unrelated in my opinion. :P

    BTW, I re-published my blog, and here’s my entry on the MBTI a while back:

  49. just visiting

    Not bitchy as in complaining but as in being perceived as a bitch. I remember in junior high I went through an awkward year where I had shyness as well as introversion. I felt nerdy and bookish and hated crowds. A lot of times I just wanted to be by myself and rebuffed others offers to hang out. It didn’t take long before I was referred to as a stuck up bitch. It’s also in part to a natural inclination to aloofness. It’s funny, because reading some of the men’s blogs, they’re trying to cultivate aloofness, and since junior high, I’ve tried to catch myself and stop it.

  50. Ribbon Butterfy

    Dear all, but in particular to Lord Brocktree,

    I am scared.

    Last night, as planned, we went on a dinner date. He met me at my door and we walked. I linked arms with him, and I was just enjoying his presence and the night air when he turns to me and says, “I’ve been thinking about this, and I want to formally ask you to be my girlfriend.”

    Flustered, I said yes. It was my cardinal mistake; what I should have said was, “I only met you a week ago, and this is our second date. I need time to think about this.”

    In my headspace I never quite recovered, though dinner went well. I still like him, and I made it obvious. (We covered “stuff you can learn about people by looking at their hands” recently, so I demonstrated at the table.) But inside I am afraid.

    We had a sweet kiss (his first kiss, but not mine) after he walked me home, and I was starting to feel pretty good. Then he texted and said, “I’m going to change my relationship status on facebook.”

    I freaked out. I called him and told him he was taking things too quickly, and he needed to slow down. I think he was hurt, and that he didn’t understand. Unfortunately, I don’t understand either.

    1) Why am I in such inner turmoil? (Philosophical; theory)
    2) Neither attraction NOR comfort are on the up and up right now. What action do I take to regain balance? (Note that I can’t exactly change how he acts- I barely know the guy!) (Practical; application)

    Ever seeking insight,

  51. Ribbon,

    I think your nerves are justified; one week and two dates is pretty quick to think about being somebody’s girlfriend. So your instincts are not in the wrong. It’s also understandable why he is confused, as you’ve reneged on his request, but this can be a speedbump rather than a derailment.

    Date #3 is a perfect opportunity for you to re-initiate; plan something and ask him out. You’re better off doing things rather than talking about them. I’ll leave it open to the commenters as to how to actively get him to hold his horses, but you will have to articulate your expectations at some point. Cop a line from Yohami, “I’m just enjoying this and seeing where it goes.”

  52. Ribbon Butterfly

    Thank you, Badger. I will plan the next date. (An astronaut is coming to lecture at my university in the evening! With dinner, that’s a good one, right?)

    How do I build my attraction to him? The signs point to the idea that he’s pedestalizing, and I can’t live up to that. I am not a paragon of amazing, and I don’t like spotlights. Putting me up on the pedestal without teaching me how to climb down the Corinthian column feels like being on display in a museum.

    (Each time that he expresses that he’s thrilled to have his first X, Y, or Z, I become more alarmed and less attracted. Is there some emotionally-appealing train of thought I can use to hammer that alarm down? Build that attraction up?)

  53. Ugh, Ribbon, this makes me cringe. Looks like you have a clinger on your hands. Now, I’m all for giving beta guys a chance, and you’ve done so — but it’s clear to me he’s blowing it out with his neediness. I think he isn’t ready to have a girlfriend, or really date for that matter.

    Why do you feel turned off? Game theory clearly states everything he is doing are strong “DLV” (display of lower values). This strongly communicates to you that you’re his only option, which reeks of desperation. It is unattractive behavior.

    You did the right thing by being honest about your mistake — tell him you’re not his GF, but you still want to see him.

    You’re good egg for giving him a chance in the first place, and practically a saint for giving him a second one.

  54. Pingback: Russell Brand May Walk Away Up $30 mil From 14 Months Of Marriage To Katy Perry | The Badger Hut

  55. Bob


    I don’t think needy so much as naïve. It sounds as though he is a very direct guy. Perhaps the direct approach?

    Tell him to take it easy. You don’t dig the seeds up every morning to see if they’ve sprouted already. He doesn’t have to give you the news bulletins.

    Perhaps fewer talk dates and more where he can display competence would be good. Check to make sure he will be competent, first. That might help your attraction. I think a woman can only look down on a man in one area. Set him up to reassure you.

    I hate to read about him botching this. It gives me flashbacks.

  56. Bob

    Ouch. I should have checked the date stamps sooner. The story is probably over, with no way to know how it turned out.

  57. Ribbon Butterfy wrote at November 6, 2011 at 10:27 am:

    What actions can I take to build his confidence?

    (Other than jumping in bed with him right now. :-P )

    You expected that someone will suggest that? ☺

  58. Pingback: Happy Birthday to the Badger Hut, Part 2: Best Posts | The Badger Hut

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  60. Reblogged this on Mommy Fiercest’s Parlour and commented:
    Folks think that because I blab about my life on the internet, organize community events and have a performative side, that I am an extrovert. THIS IS JUST NOT SO!

  61. Pingback: For The Last Damn Time: Shy, Quiet and Introverted Are Three Different Things, And Introverts Are Not Broken People | The Badger Hut

  62. Pingback: Insecure Extrovert Thinks Introverts Have Gotten Enough Attention | The Badger Hut

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