Category Archives: Introverts/Extroverts

Being Open to the Serendipity of Sharing

A good friend (almost 40 years younger than I am) asked me last week what I thought of the message in this vide0.

I wrote my friend back yesterday and what I’ve posted below is my response unedited.

“So as someone who has essentially lived by herself her entire adult life–I have absolutely no problem with being alone. At the same time there is nothing I value more than having good conversations with people I know well–and also with new people who bring some interesting new dimension to the way I think.

I have personally found social networks very enriching because I learn so much more about people, both the ones i know in real life–though truth be told most of them hardly use social networks–and the ones I have met NIRL. I don’t think I’m confused about the difference between conversation and connection; that said I think some of my on-line relationships are quite substantial. These individuals appreciate the way I think and I appreciate the way they think and we bring interesting ideas to each others’ attention. If I post something unusually negative for me, they notice and ask me if something is wrong. This is not something that replaces IRL friendship but is an interesting and developing complement to it. (It is very helpful when I’m sitting in an airport waiting for my flights, for example. I always have the best on-line conversations in that hour at the gate.) I’ve often heard the 150 number and while I generally think there is a limit to whom we can know, the 150 number is based I think on experiments done before the advent of these new technologies. I’d like to see research done about the conditions we find ourselves in now.

The video doesn’t talk about what I think is one of the great new phenomena today–how near or complete strangers can delight each other through things they share online. I share a slice of my inner dialogue on-line. I see something interesting that makes me think; now I post many of those in case someone else might find it interesting as well. Some great exchanges happen as a result of being open to the serendipity of sharing.

What I actually think has been much more corrosive to the quality of people’s lives, much more so than sharing and the online life, is the culture of entertainment, which long predates Facebook and Twitter. I’m really troubled when I see people seemingly living their lives through the entertainment they consume. It drives me nuts really. Living your life as if the purpose of it is to be entertained is my definition of hell on earth.

Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for asking me what I thought about the video.

Your IRL friend,

Carmen”

Advertisements

What ARE Extroverts GOOD For? An Incomplete List

RecoveringFed is not an extrovert. I am an introvert. I was reminded just how much of an introvert I am in the aftermath of a talk I gave on innovation recently at a Federal Government agency. I think the talk went well. I really enjoyed it. I got asked lots of interesting questions, including–tough one–what I still wanted to do with my life that I had yet to accomplish. (I said write a book and learn to play the marimbas except, in hindsight, I would reverse the order.) I was up talking and answering questions for at least an hour I think.

But as I was driving home later that day I realized how desperate I was to get to my house so that I could, I realize, cocoon into my little den and recover my energies. My car couldn’t get me home fast enough. And that evening all I did was quietly play endless games of Bejeweled. By myself. Ecstatically….in an introverted kind of way.

And this got me to thinking….

What ARE Extroverts Good For ANYWAY!
And I came up with a LIST.

(Before I go any further please note position of tongue in cheek. I have very many extroverted friends whom I love dearly.)

Extroverts are Useful:

1. During snowmageddons and similar natural crises. Their penchant for volunteering information without needing to be asked can be very helpful when you need to know exactly how bad the roads are or where is the best bar to wait out the storm. (At other times, however, this is probably the quality I like least about Extroverts. When I meet one for the first time, and they start relating just about everything that’s ever happened in their lives, I always want to interrupt. “Forgive me but I don’t recall asking you how your drive into work went this morning.”)

2. Organizing Surprise Parties. I’m tempted to say this is a made-to-order opportunity for Extroverts. They are cracker jack at pulling everyone together and bring lots of energy to the festivities. A very good friend who is an Extrovert–of sorts–put together a whopper of a surprise retirement party for me a few years ago. Thanks again!

3. As waiters. This might be controversial, I realize, as many introverts want to eat quietly and do not want to be bothered with excessively friendly dining banter. But I actually like a waiter who–again–volunteers information about the menu and jumps in to prevent me from making a horrible choice. I would also put bartenders in this category.

4. At difficult business dinners. Over my career I had to host many lunches among analytic types who kept trying to look at their shoelaces even while seated for a meal. This put all the pressure on me to keep the conversation going. One day perhaps the only extroverted analyst at the CIA was among the luncheon guests and what a difference he made. He took his seat in mid-sentence and hardly stopped to eat or drink. He even seemed to have mastered some simple ventriloquist skills so he could talk while he was eating or drinking. His conversational flow was effortless and–I have to admit–even at times amusing.

5. Hosting charity telethons/fundraiders. Two Words: Jerry Lewisjerry lewis

6. As cabaret performers–or really any kind of one-person show. This also requires little explanation.

7. As informal social affairs coordinators at large US military commands.

Image

I’ve amended the title to indicate this is an incomplete list. I’ve already had one excellent addition posted in the comments. Yes, indeed, Extroverts are very good at dealing with customer service problems.