Survival for Introverts

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PlicketyCat's picture
PlicketyCat
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Survival for Introverts

*note to reader: this is a bit of a rambling brain dump 

So, I've been reading up on all the Transition Town initiatives and similar community overhauls. I also find a lot of community-based postings here. While I think the ideas and actions are good, something about them kept giving me the willies. I spent a long time trying to figure out what it was... then "BINGO!" I re-read one of my posts with Paul (VanityFox) and realized what's been bothering me... I'm an Introvert not an Extravert.

My temperament leads me away from "sustained community" to "self-sustaining"; away from "reliance on a group" to "reliance on myself".  It's not that I don't see the benefits of an organized communal effort, but I just wonder if there a real place for Introverts in Transition Towns anymore than in conventional society? I remember there were problems with Introverts in the Hippie Communes and other Intentional Communities. Is there any way for an Introvert to be loosely federated with a community without actually having to be immersed in it?

I'm more than happy to do my thing in my space to provide some benefit to my neighbors. I'm more than happy to lend brain or hand power to public projects that benefit everyone... but I think my definition of "benefits everyone" is different and my tolerance level is way lower. Community social events, group-thinking/brain-storming, assuming "leadership", etc... ack, it all makes me want to fly out of my skin!  If you want me to plan/lead a particular project because I have some sort of expertise in the area, that's fine... but it needs to be finite and definitely not a popularity contest. This really concerns me because I ran into a million times at work... I'm the expert, you "hired" me as an expert, don't quibble and bitch about my solution just because I'm not all warm and fuzzy or you don't understand why/how I came up with the solution (i.e. if you're an expert, why are you bothering me? if you're not an expert, then shut the hell up).

I know that makes me sound terribly misanthropic and arrogant, but really it's more about the amount of effort it requires for me to "think out" rather than "think in". As an Introvert, I am not motivated by social or external things... it's pretty much all internal. It drains my energy to be around other people and focus outward. When Extraverts are gaining energy interacting with each other toward common goals, my energy is depleting. I work fairly well for a group, but really not well in a group. I know several Introverts who feel and act this way... but only 25% of the population is Introverted, and probably less to such a deep degree.

Maybe this is why you see some people bugging out to the hills, and others trying to bunker down and build-up their communities. An Extravert would most likely find the thought of living in near-isolation having to do everything themselves rather horrifying; but it's heaven to an Introvert. I think maybe this why so many people who think homesteading is great, but then get disillusioned and quit in a few years... they are Extraverts and literally need other people to stay energized. I'm not saying that one is any better than the other, they're just different and I wonder if that division will increase or decrease when TSHTF. One could argue that an Introvert is more uniquely skilled for a true survival situation because they can and do function extremely well fending for themselves without societal constructs. But, conversely, one could also argue that Extraverts have a better chance of survival because they can more easily band together to share work and responsibility.

I think that both types are needed, but Extraverts really seem to have a hard time accepting Introverts or realizing that they are motivated by completely different things. They tend to see it as "bad" self-centered selfishness, but it's really just a difference in the way the brain works. Introverts tend to be able to accept Extraverts much easier because they think "Hey, whatever, do what you want, just leave me out of it." Extraverts don't seem to be able to do this as well because they are more "inclusive" thinkers/actors... everyone has to play together and enjoy it. So, again, this makes me wonder whether Introverts will be driven out of communties, consciously or unconsciously, when TSHTF... or whether the necessity of both will be appreciated.

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SagerXX
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Re: Survival for Introverts

It's funny.  I feel as if I'm an introvert, and people always find it preposterous when I assert thusly.  I guess I'm an introvert that, as a survival skill, developed an extrovert 'overlay' I can rev up when called for.   

If I was organizing a TT or a SurvivingTSHTF community, I wouldn't care if our members were introverted or extroverted.  If they had skills, dedication and a work ethic I'd welcome them.  A good leader would recognize who was what and would manage them accordingly.  Let the extroverts work in groups and collaborate and let the introverts alone to do what they do best.  The best manager knows when to get the hell out of the way -- and "when" usually = "ASAP".  All I care about is outcomes.  

Seriously, p-cat, if you and your pardner were in the Hudson Valley, I'd be ready to collaborate w/ya'll on surviving SHTF yesterday. And if you wanted to work alone at odd hours wearing Starfleet uniforms whilst listening to Gregorian chant on your iPod headphones, I couldn't care less as long as your contributions to the community were sound.  (And from what I know of you from the boards here, your contribution would be *exceedingly* sound.  [smile])

Viva -- Sager 

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capesurvivor
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Re: Survival for Introverts

Hey Plickety,

That's the least of anyone's worries. BTW, you might find "The Speed of Dark" by Elizabeth Moon to be interesting She has raised an AS child and the book, though fiction, provided me, as a psychologist, with the best understanding so far of folks with AS.

 

SG

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becky
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Re: Survival for Introverts

Hi PlicketyCat,

Great insights.  I consider myself to be a shy extrovert.  For years, I thought I must be an introvert because I'm quiet.  But, then, it dawned on me (just like you describe) that I get a lot of energy from being around others -- just don't want to be the center of attention.  So, you're right, all kinds are needed and hopefully will be appreciated.  And, I agree with Sager -- I definitely would want you in my post- SHTF community (even if you only popped in from time to time Smile).

becky 

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stpaulmercantile
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Re: Survival for Introverts

 

Plickety,

I'm also an introvert.  And yes, introverts are often looked down upon, as though we have defects in our personalities.  My first mother-in-law would say that "he has no personality".  Sure I do - I'm just not a loud-mouthed talkity type like you, I'd think to myself.

Myers/Briggs helped me learn about different personality types and appreciate what I am, and what I'm not.  And I've been wondering about the community aspects of survival as well, as I prefer to do things myself.  I don't think it's going to be a problem for me.  I plan to be very well prepared for tough times, and I plan to make a small number of contacts with people who have skills or knowledge or things that I might need to borrow or barter for.  Introverts typically have a small number of close friends, rather than a large number of friends/acquaintances. 

We live in a rural community in the mountains of western Maryland.  We go to local church suppers and generally sit with people we don't know.  I'm not good at chit-chat but my wife is, so she usually gets the conversation going.  I typically bring up the economy and see what their reaction is.  If they seem genuinely concerned, I ask more questions to find out what they are doing to prepare.  We met a couple a few weeks ago and found out they raise their own beef.  So I asked if they had chickens, as I was starting to plan to have chickens.  Yes, they have chickens, and they enjoyed talking about them.  By the end of the conversation, I had a new friend and perhaps a future source of beef.  I'm going to visit him to see his chickens, and I'll ask him about the possibility of raising an extra steer for us this year. 

Since I sell preparedness supplies, I have a warehouse full of stuff that will be good barter items in a collapsed economy - kerosene stoves, water filters, ovens that work on kerosene stoves, magnesium fire starters, emergency radios, crank LED flashlights, kerosene lanterns, garden seeds, etc.  That, plus a good food storage plan, plus a garden and a canner and some chickens, should put me in a pretty good self-sustaining position.  There will still be things I'll need, and that's why I am making contacts.  I need to get to know my immediate neighbors better.

I don't think a surviving community has to even partially resemble a communal lifestyle.  Just do as much planning as you can, identify the things you don't have or can't do, find a few people who can fill in the empty spaces, and work on setting up mutually-beneficial relationships with those few people.

 

Take care,

John

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Linda K
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Re: Survival for Introverts

Being a quiet person myself, who's preference is to be alone with my own thoughts as much of the day as possible, I find this an interesting and unusual post. Seems we have found the same thing - more socially minded folks not grasping that interactions can be draining rather than energizing. For me, it's a matter of quality rather than quantity. My friends and loved ones are very bright stars in my system, each is highly valued, and all know when to back off.

So here we are posting - isn't that odd? A way to be quiet but interactive at the same time. My current thinking is that community in the future won't be radically different than it always has been. After all, this site is a community and accomidates a wide variety. I'm hoping to be of service by polking quietly in some corner and then sharing the fruits of my efforts. There's a lot of activities that are best accomplished alone (ask any reader).

Plickety - your picture makes me wonder if you might think of yourself as tiny but with a voice that needs to (and wil) be heard. From one cat lover to another, thanks for piping up.

ccpetersmd's picture
ccpetersmd
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Re: Survival for Introverts

I'm not sure why I clicked on this thread, but I think it was simply because I liked the title so much!

I'm a pretty typical extrovert, I suspect many who meet me would say. But, introversion and extroversion are actually just extremes of a continuum, and most of us actually reside at different points along that continuum at different moments. For example, while I can be very comfortable being entertained by a group of people, I eventually will reach a saturation point and wish to be alone with my thoughts. Others might be less comfortable around others, some more so, but that is rather the fun of it all, isn't it? The differences?

I wouldn't want to be in a community full of people exactly like me (my wife would actually shiver at that thought, I'm sure). I'd welcome any of the above posters in my community! 

PlicketyCat's picture
PlicketyCat
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Re: Survival for Introverts

Sager - it's interesting that you mentioned your extravert "overlay". I have what I call my "perky mask" that I put on whenever I have to interact with people in real-time (face-to-face or on the phone). Being extremely introverted and also having Aspergers made this an extremely paramount survival skill, but also the most difficult one to maintain.  See, I couldn't even organize a TT or SHTFCommunity because I'm terrible at networking and reciprocal conversation... I can talk for hours (usually one-sided) about a topic that interests me, but I'd need an extravert who understood my "masterplan" to go sell it to other people :)   Good to know that you wouldn't find me dancing around my garden by moonlight wearing pixie clothes with Inagaddadavida playing in the background the least bit strange!

Capesurvivor - I'll have to check that book out of the library, it sounds interesting. AS is so hard to explain to people since it manifests differently in every person who has it. I was told I couldn't possibly have AS because I seem so "chatty" -- but I actually babble when I'm nervous, essentially a verbal form of stimming.  Weird!

Becky - I'm just the opposite! I wouldn't call myself shy at all, I just don't "do people". As for being the center of attention, I was totally cool when I was acting in Drama because, even though all eyes were on me, I didn't actually have to interact with anyone. It's the interaction part that wigs me out.

John - I love MBTI! Since I don't have good empathy skills, it really helped me understand other people's motivations. I'm an INFP and hubby is an INTJ... in social situations, I'm usually the one who has to put on the perky face and start conversations even though I'm more introverted and have AS, so I guess the FP half lets me step up to the plate when needed even if I have to take a 12-hour nap afterwards. Seems that I break the ice, but it's up to my husband to maintain the networking. This works pretty well for us, actually, since we've made several contacts with the locals out where our homestead will be and they all seem happy to have us. Of course, they're "weirdos" who prefer to live out in the middle of nowhere, too... so I guess we already have that in common LOL!

Linda - I personally think most activities are best accomplished alone (with one obvious exception of course!). I have my two special people and my cats and that's all I need on an emotional front... drives my family crazy. I also find that emails and forums are all the personal interaction I need. It's so much easier to not respond if you have nothing to say or don't feel like talking at the time (or to ramble on when something is spinning around in your brain).  I never really thought about that implication of my avatar... perhaps you're right though. I don't talk much, but when I have something to say it's usually something big. My other avies are "you make kitty scared" or my chubby kitty girl... but they are all cats :)

Christopher - I'm definitely on the far end of the introversion spectrum for sure! I've never found myself thinking "Gee, wouldn't it be fun to go to a party?" or "Wouldn't it be lovely to stop over at Stella's for coffee and a chat?"  I normally reach my saturation point in a few minutes in active environments, maybe a couple of hours in situations that are more "chill". In comparison to most physicians, I guess I'm more of a combat medic -- get in, get done, get out :)  Hmmmm maybe this is why my surgeon (a.k.a. bio-mechanic) likes me, I don't want or expect any bedside manner?!

Well, at least it's good to know that there are some extraverts, and less introverted introverts, out in the world who would welcome the skills of an extrme introvert even if they were a bit odd. If a community can handle my "midnight raid" style of getting things done, I guess I can handle a community barbecue now and then. 

I'm serious about the midnight raid thing too... I once designed a drainage & irrigation system for the community garden after my neighbor mentioned she was going to be part of the planning committee. I drew up all the plans and completed the entire project under cover of darkness, leaving detailed drawings and explanations behind for the "day-timers" while they were still trying to figure out who be in charge of the project.

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poisonivy113
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Re: Survival for Introverts

As a fellow introvert, I think I know what you mean. I too, am most often drained by interactions with others. I have found, though, that activities with a purpose don't drain me as much - as long as I have down time to myself, I'm fine. 

 I have had to learn to be more outgoing recently - I've started a small business venture that requires networking. I find it's much, much easier to enter a room where I don't know anybody when the focus is specifically on networking..where everyone is there to meet new people and a standard set of icebreaking questions is expected. That said, I"m glad that these events usually only last a couple of hours and I can go home and be alone afterward. 

 I did attend the conference in Rowe, MA in Feb. I went by myself and didn't know anybody. And shared a room with 4 other people I didn't know. The setting there was very heavily community focused - communal meals, communal KP, shared bathrooms and sleeping quarters. I managed to enjoy it, though because it was great to be around people who didn't think I was crazy. I wasn't the life of the party, didn't want to be, and bonded with a small number of people. I did need to spend a little time alone, which mostly happened early in the am ( I am a morning person so that makes morning downtime easy enough)

 The effect it had on me is that I saw how being too introverted can create a sub optimal situation for SHTF scenarios. I have increased my efforts locally to create a community. What I'm finding is that being around some people is much less draining. And realize it's impossible to manage worst case scenario along. I think you will find that there are more introverts than you think, that we are willing to contribute to a group, and that there will be groups who will be willing to accept our contribution but honor our need for alone time. I think that when people are pressuring  me to join them, they are usually extroverts who a) don't understand my need to be alone and b) believe they are being friendly and helpful by treating me as they would want to be treated. I think it would just be a matter of comunicating and doing your "fair share" of work. After all, in any community there are tasks that are best done alone...those are tasks an extrovert would struggle with. 

Bottom line, I think you'll be fine. I also think that if you practice being a little more outgoing - you'll find your tolerance of and enjoyment from being around people will improve - without changing your basic personality. 

 

 

 

 

ccpetersmd's picture
ccpetersmd
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Re: Survival for Introverts

Plickety, I completely understand your midnight drainage and irrigation project! I have tended to do the same myself for some things. However, I wonder if this has less to do with introversion versus extroversion, or more to a differing abilities to tolerate the inefficiencies that frequently occur with working in a group. Some things are just more efficiently accomplished alone!

For some projects, such as surgery, I can only be productive as part of a team, in which everyone has a defined role, and in which I am comfortable as one of the leaders on the team. But when it comes up to setting up committees, seemingly endless debates, etc., I just want to leave the room. Some others, on the other hand, seem to thrive in that environment (one of my brothers-in-law, for example). I admire those with that ability, but am completely perplexed by their patience and focus.

The best communities work by embracing all members.

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Arthur Vibert
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Re: Survival for Introverts

Thank you for starting this important thread.

I am also an introvert. I have a very few friends, though I value them deeply. I can't be bothered trying to "cultivate" more friends. What for? I'd rather pound carpet tacks into my gums than attend a cocktail party, though I don't mind dinner parties, as long as they have at least one of my very closest friends (mentioned above). 

I think that introverts have a lot to offer. Spending all that time alone allows us to do more thinking that extroverts.  Leisurely contemplation allows us to find solutions to problems that someone who is managing a bunch of relationships can't. Many scientists, artists, writers, philosophers, etc., have been introverts. Newton, for example. In his spare time he invented Calculus, a theory of gravity that we still use and much else. He did this alone.

My point is that we have a lot to offer that any smart community would want and need. Extroverts make things happen in a way that introverts do not - introverts take care of the deep thinking. Working together, they can make great things happen, but there needs to be mutual understanding and a respect for personal borders.

Revel in your introversion. The world needs you. 

Arthur 

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Vanityfox451
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Re: Survival for Introverts

Plickety,

This is a nice thread you've created! We did bounce a lot of stuff between us and you've set me thinking on a track while going about my daily chores, as usual. Knowing myself, as I do now, gives me a pang of nostalgia from how I used to be when I had no idea of the introvert within screaming enough is enough. I'd wear my extrovert mask and get myself in all sorts of interesting corners. Such as being the 'life and soul' of the party, which was an act, and bumping into someone there who knew me and thought he was experiencing an 'out of body' moment, seeing me command an audience. A guitar and a few drinks can draw the best (and worst?) out of people, but I always went one stage further than most, if I could. I can still see the 'pink' audience, when I blew a condom up on my head through my nose and woke up the next morning wearing a rubber necklace; how far we go to please!!

But here on the farm, with all of those pops and cracks of recollection dropping into my thoughts, and my routines now a value to running the place, I see now that I was doing myself no good in trying to be something that I really wasn't at all. The scrapes you get into. My idea then, was that being someone out-going was like being in the body of another person, who acts and challenges. Yet on reflection, my little window of the world never really looked my own, and the friends I gained over this time must have shed some doubt in me as to what was really going on behind my blue eyes.

I don't know what it was that finally made me stop and reflect. I don't even know when. It's like that moment where you leaned your pushbike in the shed at your parents after getting your drivers licence. You never realised at the time that it was the last time you were going out cycling with your mates again. Now when you ride a bike for recreation and without a destination in mind, it is all but nostalgia, but it never quite feels the same.

Here I am on the farm, with my nature finally at peace within myself and my crop growing, my pig sunning and my dog yapping and it all seems quite natural. But what of the introvert and all of the work involved in making this homestead work for myself and family. It would be nice to share the load with others. Some extra ground cleared with a little more crop planted would feed an extra mouth or three, four or five, and they'd take on some of the burden; mucking out is fun!!

We're looking at the political climate here with a little fear of the darkening clouds in the distance. 650 Neo Nazi's marched the streets of Budapest last sunday, with a few legion of police in riot gear to protect them. The good old Prime Minister had a baracade and turnstyle to his podium venue that visitors could only enter with either a passport or identity card. Things are smouldering and fit to ignite. So what if we'd taken the more solid extrovert route and joined a commune of like-minded people and saved ourselves the bother of upsticks and making Hungary home? I think maybe the future will tell us that we've to leave here and make our way to one of 'those' to protect our future. In that case, maybe my internal dialogue will get fuzzy again, trying to please people into never tapping me on the shoulder and saying, "Hey, you weren't invited, what are you doing here?" Such a great deal of energy to maintain the fraud and my internal monologue.

The end of that last paragraph isn't really true anymore, but I like my humble little fall-down-crumbly-cottage I call home now, with all of our homely things in place and visitors making a day of it, but only when invited. No value is higher than your own space and, as an Englishman, it is said that 'His Home Is His Castle', even a pock-marked old cottage that at night, with the wind noises sounding like a moaning old man with tooth-ache, is my moaning old man with tooth-ache, that no other hears in the dark hours snuggled down to bed, except for my nearest and dearest.

I travelled for years, so England to me now is a place that I've visited along the way. It has changed so much since my 'youth', with the old streets of my home-town looking more polish in some areas, and haggard in others, from my tortured memory of it. No, this is the home of an introvert. My books, my bangles and beeds, spirited off in my nooks and crannies, with everything in a place - I can find it, so my quietened mind can relax...

Best,

Paul

Liam's picture
Liam
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Posts: 16
Re: Survival for Introverts

The hopi elders reminded us a little while back that the time of the lone wolf is over. I don't see how a person is going to survive the transition on his/her own, because our needs are not only physical. Just because you can't stand to be in constant intimate contact with other people doesn't mean you can't survive in a community. A good solution is to look at indigenous models for guidance on how to live. Often the most aloof persons in the community were aloof to fulfill their duties. For example, someone with your inclination would most likely be a healer, protector, or advisor. Do you see yourself fulfilling any of these roles? Or can the role you already play be acted out in a way that simultaneously regenerates the people and fills your emotional needs.

Good lusk, Liam 

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PlicketyCat
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Re: Survival for Introverts
poisonivy113 wrote:

As a fellow introvert, I think I know what you mean. I too, am most often drained by interactions with others. I have found, though, that activities with a purpose don't drain me as much - as long as I have down time to myself, I'm fine. 

 I have had to learn to be more outgoing recently - I've started a small business venture that requires networking. I find it's much, much easier to enter a room where I don't know anybody when the focus is specifically on networking..where everyone is there to meet new people and a standard set of icebreaking questions is expected. That said, I"m glad that these events usually only last a couple of hours and I can go home and be alone afterward. 

 I did attend the conference in Rowe, MA in Feb. I went by myself and didn't know anybody. And shared a room with 4 other people I didn't know. The setting there was very heavily community focused - communal meals, communal KP, shared bathrooms and sleeping quarters. I managed to enjoy it, though because it was great to be around people who didn't think I was crazy. I wasn't the life of the party, didn't want to be, and bonded with a small number of people. I did need to spend a little time alone, which mostly happened early in the am ( I am a morning person so that makes morning downtime easy enough)

 The effect it had on me is that I saw how being too introverted can create a sub optimal situation for SHTF scenarios. I have increased my efforts locally to create a community. What I'm finding is that being around some people is much less draining. And realize it's impossible to manage worst case scenario along. I think you will find that there are more introverts than you think, that we are willing to contribute to a group, and that there will be groups who will be willing to accept our contribution but honor our need for alone time. I think that when people are pressuring  me to join them, they are usually extroverts who a) don't understand my need to be alone and b) believe they are being friendly and helpful by treating me as they would want to be treated. I think it would just be a matter of comunicating and doing your "fair share" of work. After all, in any community there are tasks that are best done alone...those are tasks an extrovert would struggle with. 

Bottom line, I think you'll be fine. I also think that if you practice being a little more outgoing - you'll find your tolerance of and enjoyment from being around people will improve - without changing your basic personality. 

I do agree that some people are definitely less draining than others. Other introverts fall into this group, as well as understanding extraverts... who I usually classify as my mediators. I've gotten pretty good at locating one or more extraverts in a group who I can communicate with and then let them leverage their skills to get my point across without requiring me to be immersed in all of it. This works really well when it happens. I think the community we'll be moving to will work out better in this regard than others I've lived in because the people are more reserved in general and a couple of the town "butterflies" seem to get me.

I don't think I'll ever really enjoy being around people in groups larger than 2 or 3, but I can learn to tolerate them better especially if focused on a single, defined objective other than socializing. This is probably more to do with the Aspergers than my Introversion though ;)

PlicketyCat's picture
PlicketyCat
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Re: Survival for Introverts
ccpetersmd wrote:

Plickety, I completely understand your midnight drainage and irrigation project! I have tended to do the same myself for some things. However, I wonder if this has less to do with introversion versus extroversion, or more to a differing abilities to tolerate the inefficiencies that frequently occur with working in a group. Some things are just more efficiently accomplished alone!

For some projects, such as surgery, I can only be productive as part of a team, in which everyone has a defined role, and in which I am comfortable as one of the leaders on the team. But when it comes up to setting up committees, seemingly endless debates, etc., I just want to leave the room. Some others, on the other hand, seem to thrive in that environment (one of my brothers-in-law, for example). I admire those with that ability, but am completely perplexed by their patience and focus.

The best communities work by embracing all members.

I think you nailed my perspective in that bolded emphasis. I find it a frustrating waste of time trying to make sure everyone understands, has offered input, and buys in to plans. In many group projects I've worked on, we could have completed the project three-fold in the time it took to debate everything to death and herd the cats. It's not that other's input isn't important and necessary, it's just that the average person doesn't know what they want or how to communicate it, or (worse) doesn't know what they're talking about at all but gets huffy if they don't have a say... so you get all these random requirements and features that have no practical or logical relation to the problem and the solution.

I do get your surgery example though. And I think as long as people have defined roles and clearly defined objectives, then a group or team approach is optimal in many circumstances. It's just getting to that point that is difficult for me... either I'm the "expert" and need to be the leader in some aspect, or someone else is the leader and I need to do my part. But in either case, defining and communicating a clear role and objective is paramount to my successful integration in the project... I'm great at the defining & organizing of things, bad at the communicating & organizing of people. So, hopefully, there is a leader and organizer of the project/committee who can leverage whichever of my skills are appropriate and not expect me to be good at the others (and hopefully won't waste my time either). 

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PlicketyCat
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Re: Survival for Introverts
Arthur Vibert wrote:

Thank you for starting this important thread.

I am also an introvert. I have a very few friends, though I value them deeply. I can't be bothered trying to "cultivate" more friends. What for? I'd rather pound carpet tacks into my gums than attend a cocktail party, though I don't mind dinner parties, as long as they have at least one of my very closest friends (mentioned above). 

I think that introverts have a lot to offer. Spending all that time alone allows us to do more thinking that extroverts.  Leisurely contemplation allows us to find solutions to problems that someone who is managing a bunch of relationships can't. Many scientists, artists, writers, philosophers, etc., have been introverts. Newton, for example. In his spare time he invented Calculus, a theory of gravity that we still use and much else. He did this alone.

My point is that we have a lot to offer that any smart community would want and need. Extroverts make things happen in a way that introverts do not - introverts take care of the deep thinking. Working together, they can make great things happen, but there needs to be mutual understanding and a respect for personal borders.

Revel in your introversion. The world needs you. 

Arthur 

Arthur, that made me laugh so hard I squirted coffee out of my nose!! Yes, I'd rather pound carpet tacks in my gums as well :)  Having a couple of close friends around for a dinner part isn't so bad, but I'd rather set myself on fire than go to ToastMasters or one of those networking events.

I agree that many of the "great minds" in our history have been introverts... especially introverted "intutives" (the thinker/conceptual types) but some have been introverted "sensers" (the doer/concrete types). I think being a soliatry thinker type allows for the cultivation of major innovation, especially of processes, because the breakthrough needs to occur at the conceptual level first which requires deep introspection and the ability to see the big picture. Sometimes those skills aren't as helpful in the immediate, and aren't necessarily obvious or appreciated by those who are more grounded in the here-and-now and what is currently tangible or already known.

All types are needed in order to come up with the best solutions and to implement them... heck, even to keep the "brainy" folks in check sometimes!

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PlicketyCat
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 26 2009
Posts: 680
Re: Survival for Introverts
Liam wrote:

The hopi elders reminded us a little while back that the time of the lone wolf is over. I don't see how a person is going to survive the transition on his/her own, because our needs are not only physical. Just because you can't stand to be in constant intimate contact with other people doesn't mean you can't survive in a community. A good solution is to look at indigenous models for guidance on how to live. Often the most aloof persons in the community were aloof to fulfill their duties. For example, someone with your inclination would most likely be a healer, protector, or advisor. Do you see yourself fulfilling any of these roles? Or can the role you already play be acted out in a way that simultaneously regenerates the people and fills your emotional needs.

Good lusk, Liam 

Interesting that you should mention native elders. In my travels across the country, I've had the opportunity to visit many native villages of different tribes and the one thing that always happens and that I find remarkable is that the tribal elders seem to seek me out to have long dicussions with. I don't know what that is all about, but I've always felt immediately at ease in these situations when most "white folk" would be uncomfortable; and, conversely, feel totally uncomfortable in similar situations with "anglo" elders and leaders. Perhaps the elders recognize something in me?

I could see myself in the role of healer, protector or advisor... a medicine woman or a shaman in vernacular terms. The term most commonly used to describe my temperament is "The Healer", and I do function in this capacity in many ways, usually better with animals than people, but my drive to create harmony is very strong... and this includes physical illness and injury, as well as emotional disturbances. Unfortunately, I am very lacking in tact and diplomacy due to the Aspergers, so any of my "patients" would have to be ready for the tough-love approach and limited bedside manner. I find it very difficult and exhausting to be responsible for other's emotional needs as this aspect of the human animal continually confounds me (much more convoluted and neurotic than other animals).

In a community scenario, I would say my best functions would be crisis management (it's just another problem that I don't get emotional about), strategic healing/medic, and technical advisor in several areas. My biggest "claim to fame" is my bizarre ability to learn anything from a book or looking at an example and dissecting it's workings. I might not be proficient at any of these things immediately, but I can make it work and then I can take random bits from all that I know and devise something else completely different. So I guess I'd probably be useful as a stand-in, fast ramp-up, expert on any subject that the community doesn't already have an expert in... as long as we have a book/manual or enough time for me to grok it conceptually.

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PlicketyCat
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 26 2009
Posts: 680
Re: Survival for Introverts

Paul,

Isn't it amazing to look back on all the embarassing and potentially dangerous/unhealthy things we used to do in order to fit in the extraverted world? There are days when a memory will bubble up and it just makes me shudder. Not only did it ultimately not make me part of the group, but I put myself in a very bad position turning myself in the "omega wolf" seeking approval by the pack. I'm so much happier with myself and my close people now that I've seen and abandoned that futility.

I never feel more like myself than when I'm surrounded by nature. When surrounded by buildings and throngs of people, I feel as if I have temporarily stepped outside myself and there is a Pod-Person inhabiting my body. It's like watching the world through a split-screen TV and very disconcerting over long periods. I think other people notice this after a while and it makes them cautious of my "oddness". It's like I'm always a beat out of measure with everything else. This doesn't happen out in the woods... I'm perfectly in tune with the beating heart of nature and my own thoughts.

I know what you mean about how nice it would be to have some extra hands to help out with the farming and other projects. It's one of the things that I face in my situation as well... how much help I can ask for and manage without being seen as a drain or taking on more "subtextual obligations" than I can handle (or even recognize!). I'm not motivated by profit, so I have no problems sharing any bounty with my neighbors, especially those that helped... it's all a fair exchange of time vs. goods. I'm more than happy to help my neighbor, whether or not they help me in return... as long as they aren't taking advantage of me, but it's not like I keep a tit-for-tat tally of favors owed to favors earned (but I realize that many people do).

I look forward to having a home I can truly call my castle... no matter how humble it may be. Actually, I think I'd be more comfortable with it if it is humble... grandeur makes me anxious and I'm always afraid I'll break something or make a mess. The more expensive and fragile something is, the more I avoid it, especially if it's not mine (I won't touch my husband's entertainment system). I wonder if this goes back to constantly getting in trouble for such things in my childhood?! I know the feeling of waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder and ask you leave because you don't belong there... it's a subtle (sometimes blatant) reinforcement within our society for those that cannot or will not conform (or at least appear to conform). And it is my biggest concern with regards to post-collapse communties... try as I might, valuable skills or not, my inability to even appear "normal" has led to shunning on more than one occasion and it makes me nervous.

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