‘Am I introverted or just rude?’

by Méme

I don’t have to write a blurb – the title speaks for itself. The comments are mostly from introverts trying to figure out why it is considered rude not to be social. I think this might overlap with elitism for some – my time is too valuable to waste on you, your conversation is too plebeian, but for most of us (I am not an introvert, but I hate parties and chit chat) it is mostly just how do I want to spend my limited time.

Am I Introverted, or Just Rude?


112 thoughts on “‘Am I introverted or just rude?’

  1. “casual interactions in dog runs and at kids’ hockey games are the ones that are most likely to cross social and economic barriers.” I doubt that, unless you intentionally leave your neighborhood.

    I’m an introvert, but think I’m pretty well socialized. I get worn out talking to people, and don’t seem to have the urgent need for others’ faces that some report but had a very tough time transitioning away from the casual encounters with others that public transit and bike commuting bring. I have no problem approaching anyone if I have a reason to do so, as long as that reason isn’t “conversation”. Unlike many Americans, I don’t find the absence of public chatter in some European countries to be stifling, but in the US, I often chat with cashiers or the person at the call center on the phone. I’ve pretty well gotten over the image of myself as oafish and clumsy that I used to have; calling myself “fat” these days is a reflection of reality, not self-worth. I think that has helped with a lot of social things. But too much chitchat still wears me out.

  2. Pretty sure I can be both an introvert and rude and also perceived as rude when just being introverted.

    In one work review, one of the comments was that I came across as if I don’t care. Leaving aside the part of that comment related to my appearance and wardrobe, I’m sure I do come across at times as disinterested, rude or not willing to make the effort (unwilling to fake interest, fake cheerfulness) because some people exhaust me. It really is an effort sometimes. I don’t mean to sound condescending or arrogant; just stating a fact.

  3. As an introvert who undoubtedly has come across as / been judged to be rude to others I agree with “your conversation is too plebeian” making me remember:

    “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
    – Eleanor Roosevelt

    Too often the reason I get bored at e.g. cocktail parties is that the conversation most / too much of the time runs to the first, and not enough to the second and especially not the third. Maybe that last is understandable since people are just trying to have a good time and they don’t want to talk about e.g. “what would be the best way to fix the nation’s poverty problem?”

    “Those casual interactions in dog runs and at kids’ hockey games are the ones that are most likely to cross social and economic barriers.” +1.

  4. SM – I related to the hockey game idea because my kids have played hockey since 1998 all over the northeast, Ontario, Quebec. Before / between / during / after games and practices I’ve been with lots of people in the bar in the building, whether parents of kids on “our” team or another one, who live completely different lives than I do. Even got to fracture French some of the time.

  5. Fred, that’s become a favorite quote of mine. I think of it when dealing with particular individuals. Are you agreeing with me on the hockey game/dog run quote, or the articles author?
    I’ve sometimes been criticized as aloof, but nowhere near as much as my inability to keep a poker face is criticized.
    Keri, great first observation! The parts of that work eval you left out would make me scream. If you are still participating in a discussion after you’re too worn out to react (Ibtdt), I’d say you care a lot!

  6. Fred, gotcha! Your kids play at much higher levels than I was thinking of. DS didn’t get past our Y in BB, not even traveling to other area Ys.

  7. OK, I really don’t get the dichotomy she sets up. “When I skip big gatherings of strangers, I’m not just being a little rude to the individual people around me, I’m being uncivil in a larger sense.” Yeah, no.

    Introversion/extroversion is about how much you enjoy others’ company and how much time you need to recover after. Manners is about how you interact with other people when you are in contact with them. Introversion is not an excuse for being rude when you do choose to go to a party, nor is choosing to skip a “big gathering of strangers” rude (unless that big gathering is, say, your sister’s wedding).

    Conflating these two separate things is what causes the problems in the first place. E.g., when workplaces define an individual’s worth based on their willingness/ability to work in loud wall-less environments and attend happy hours every evening. Or when introverts decide that the fact that it is just so tiring to interact with other people gives them the right to ignore/be rude to others when they find themselves in a social situation for one reason or another.

    Tl;dr: introversion/extroversion = what you want to do; manners = how you behave when you *don’t* want to be doing what you are doing. Neither is an excuse for ignoring the other.

  8. I’ve never had the opportunity for a social life that would exhaust me so I don’t know how much socializing I would like. I know that days at a time home with young children and no adult interaction was “not enough” social interaction. My kids are starting to be fun to talk to, but as infants and toddlers, they weren’t. I enjoy talking to other parents at soccer games, for example, but most people are silent or talk to the people in their group. Since Mr WCE is coaching and I’m chasing Baby WCE while watching the game, I’m not particularly social. I like the level of social interaction I have at work- an occasional meeting and a few social sentences exchanged each day, interspersed with lots of e-mail and spreadsheets.

    I’ve commented before that the advent of smartphones has virtually eliminated socializing with the other mothers at the park, etc., that was more common when DS1 was a baby.

  9. “We predict that we prefer solitude on our commute, for example, but consistently report a more positive experience when we connect with a stranger. “

    So true, and although I’m an introvert these positive experiences motivate me to reach out more frequently than I might otherwise.

    “Suddenly, a resistance to social intercourse became, not just acceptable, but cool. “

    I recently noticed this and similar posters advertising a meal delivery service.

  10. While I am fairly extroverted, I still feel socially awkward at times. I don’t really follow sports, movies, celebrities, or music, which seems to be the go-to chit chat. I did learn pretty quickly once in the work world that a lot of informattion flows through the informal communication channels. I find this true at work, at my children’s schools, and even in volunteer organizations.

    I think the label of “rude” varies by the environment you are in. I worked in one office where most of the folks were introverted and it took them a while (like 6-8 months) to warm up enough to a new person to talk to them, unless it was purely for work purposes. I worked in another office where within a week of being there, I think all 50 people on my floor had stopped by to say hello, tell me what they did, and chit-chat for a few minutes.

  11. Laura, her point about the parties ends with “uncivil”. It connects with the bit about hockey games and dog runs (which are apparently better mixers for some people than they are for me) She is saying that civil society needs people to interact with others.

  12. After reading some of the comments, I re-read the article. I think taking the argument to the extreme – reading a book in my car during a family-oriented athletic function – is rude. At that point you are saying – I came to the location, but I refuse to interact with you.

    I agree with LfB – that not attending a function, with some exceptions, in itself is not rude. You are allowed to choose what you spend your time doing and with whom. Heck, extroverts don’t always choose to attend every function!

    I also agree with S&M – we need people to interact with each other it is how we reach compromise and consensus as a society.

  13. @SM — yes, but it begins with “not just being a little rude” to the individuals involved. I.e., she begins from the assumption that her conduct is rude and then goes on to find that it is also uncivil. I reject her starting assumption, even as I agree that society as a whole requires civil interaction among its members.

    Yeah, ok, I’m talking like a pompous twit today. Sorry, I’m apparently in a mood. Not that that excuses pompousness. :-)

    I do think there are big connections between social interaction and happiness and the health of a society — people need connections to be happy, and they need some rules-of-the-road to keep those interactions pleasant. I also think those interactions are the best way of breaking down walls and assumptions that cause us to see people who are different from us as the “other”/bad/scary/etc. And those are the kinds of things that help create and maintain a healthy society

    At a personal level, I think the primary difference between introverts/extroverts is how *much* of that interaction you need to be happy.

    From a societal concern level, I think the most important thing is the idea of manners to smooth those interactions and make them pleasant. E.g., the whole concept that you don’t actually have to say every little thing that pops into your head.

    But certainly the overall decline in the number of generic social interactions has implications far beyond individual happiness — that is a trend that has been noted and explored for years (e.g., “Bowling Alone”). I do think there is a trend towards “I only have to do what I personally enjoy and want to do,” which manifests itself in all sorts of ways, from “thank God I have a break” texting through kid events, all the way to the purely egotistical expecting/demanding that a wedding you are invited to will cater to your dietary preferences and only require you to wear comfortable clothes and provide suitable entertainment/spectacle to justify the cost of your gift, and if it doesn’t well then I just won’t go or will harumph my way through it complaining about how it doesn’t live up to my standards. And that, in turn, makes me wonder if the cultural move toward “doing only the stuff that I want to do” means that we don’t get necessary training/experience on how to interact with others when we are doing something we *don’t* want to do — which, in turn, leads to a breakdown in civility (manners), which makes these experience even less pleasant and creates a vicious cycle where you want to go out and interact less and less.

  14. LFB- totally nailed it- wow, very incisively taking apart the article!
    I’m borderline introverted, in that I need alone time to recharge way, but not too much. After many years I’ve realized my facial and posture appearance is a huge advantage. I have a very wide bright smile and have that “I’m interested in you” eye contact. I stand or sit in an alert manner. This means people get a positive impression of our interaction even if I don’t say anything, and it doesn’t cost me much of my “interpersonal energy.” It’s like the opposite of “resting bitch face” and I get a lot of credit for it even though I’m not doing it on purpose!

  15. Mafalda, I have RBF, but also tend to look people in the eyes and have good posture. So when I’m on, people think I’m really into them, and when I’m off, they think the opposite. In either of those situations, I might actually not care very much.

    Laura, so in the end of sounds like you agree with the author that there is a connection and a continuum from manners, like not calling someone’s religion a cult to their face or telling them they have a disorder for thinking differently than you do, to the things civil society needs, like not making laws based on such self-centered (in the truest sense) assumptions? (There is a grammar word for such continua, like good-better-bast. I wish I could think of it in English).

  16. So I agree that social interactions are important both for the individual and society. I think there are too many introverts getting their social interaction from the internet and judging by the angry commenting in a lot of places they feel free to speak their minds (which they would never do in polite company). I think all of this is bad for society because this is spilling over to rudeness in real life.

    I’m an introvert and sometimes I do just want to stay home in my pajamas and watch a movie but always remind myself that when I do socialize I end up having a great time. Sometimes what I think I want to do with my time is actually not what will make me happy. It’s easy to fall into an introvert trap and not make the effort, so I do force myself out of that mind set.

  17. @Saac — well, I’m not sure I’d tie it that strongly to a particular continuum. I think you can have manners without what I would consider a healthy society; think the Jim Crow era (or, writ smaller, my passive-aggressive midwestern forebears, where everyone just sort of politely seethed but got on with their lives). And I think you can have a functioning society without tolerance for others’ differences or rules against self-interested behavior; witness the Roman Empire, or how many hundreds of years of English civilization pre-Parliament, etc.

    I will say that in terms of the kind of civilization *I* want to live in, yes, I agree that there is a connection between social behavior/manners and how we think about/implement the laws that we live by, because both require a degree of empathy for/consideration of others’ needs/desires. In some ways, the bedrock of a democracy has to be effective communication with others so that you can cooperate and negotiate yourselves into a functioning civilization.

  18. Re Atlanta’s 2nd paragraph: yep, that’s me. DW is much more the extrovert, but it seems lately that I’m the one who is making sure we take people up on invitations to do stuff or issue the invite to others. As easy as it would be for me to say “Let’s just stay home Saturday night” because the down time sounds good, I’m very likely to just spend the time watching sports vs a good movie, reading (which I hardly ever do, periodicals excluded), or getting something productive done and then later claiming that I never had time for it.

    I think I’m realizing that once DS is off to college next year, it’s going to be just the two of us and we damn well better still have our friends and things to do with them. I certainly don’t want to be living my non-work life thru my 3 sons. As interested as I may be in what they’re doing, that’s their life (yeah, bad grammar), not mine. I’m not sure DW gets that, or maybe she does and it depresses her, leading to her not being as up for being sociable as I’m making myself/us be.

  19. I’m an introvert working an extrovert environment. I sort of fell into this career and I like it, but it requires a lot of work on my part. At the end of day I often just want to stay home with my little family. I agree with Laura and Atlanta that all too often the internet can make us anti-social, and that it is more acceptable everywhere you go.

    Off topic – I need brag a little bit. This morning were teacher conferences for my 2nd grader. She struggles socially and her learning style does not match the classroom norms. She has to work so much harder to grasp concepts than other kids her age. She recently took the math and readings tests (MAPS) and placed in the top 9% and 3%. I have tears of joy with these results because it is the first time we have a test that validates her learning disability and her intelligence (taken with a grain of salt since it is state testing). Maybe I shouldn’t shun the calculus track after all?

  20. Ditto to Atlanta. I am always the one to make plans (not often enough, I think) bc DH and I always have more fun when we do GTG with people. He is more of an introvert than I am so sometimes I will also fall into the never-doing-anything trap.

    I think the likelihood that a serial killer lives in that house, or otherwise an ‘artist’ with a love for glitter puffy paint, is about 110%.

  21. I am an extroverted introvert. I love being alone but I cannot not interact with people around me. I talk to the cashier, I talk to people in line, I talk to the guy with the Wyoming license plate because I love Wyoming. I rarely want to go out and do things but almost always have a good time and feel better after I do. I’m not a fan of the small talk but that is how you meet people and just like dating, every friend was a stranger at one point. I think if you want to be a part of a community and enjoy the benefits of a community then you gotta do your part of that. I know that my neighbors, some of whom are good friends and some of whom are acquaintances are all people who make my life richer and provide a safety net that I need since we don’t have family. I have 20 people that I could call in the middle of the night if I really needed help and any of them would come without question and I would do the same for them. I wouldn’t have that if I didn’t go to the neighborhood ping pong game, the book club or host the annual BBQ in the fall. Fair trade I say.

  22. YAY LEMON!!

    Regardless of the objective worth of the tests themselves, it means they can’t just ignore you as one of *those* moms, because *their own damn tests* demonstrated your kid is really bright.

  23. Lemon, that is great news, and a relief, I’m sure.

    I am about halfway between introvert and extrovert. I enjoy spending time with good friends and don’t find that too draining. But spending time in loud environments or with people I don’t know was well really sucks the life out of me. When I work from home, I got all of the silent time I needed, and was more interested in socializing in our off time. My DH is very very introverted, and we have fallen into a rut of not doing as much socially. When old friends moved away, we did not pick up new people to spend time with. I do things socially with girlfriends, and he spends time with his bike club and other people that share some of his hobbies. But we as a couple do not go out with other couples often or entertain like we did when we were younger. We should probably do something about that, but I’m not sure that either of us has the energy or interest to fix it right now. With our kids grown, both of our close work friends laid off and moving on, it’s hard to meet new couple friends. Our neighborhood has an Empty Nesters group. Maybe I’ll drag us to one of their events.

  24. Yay Lemon!

    And if it helps, second grade seems to be a social struggle for most of the girls. The relationships get much more complex.

  25. I come across as antisocial because I am so tired (running 3-6 miles per day but averaging less than five hours of sleep still).

    I’ve started just telling new acquaintances that I have no functioning short term memory and so they should not be offended if I ask them their name again next week :)

  26. I’m in the middle, but I generally have a good time when I’m out so I make plans, or say yes when the opportunity is there to meet friends.

    I’m happy with other couples, a few girlfriends or even a bunch of people. I just don’t like really large parties, and we are about to start a year of attending a large party at least once or twice a month. We’re entering the bar/bat mitzvah cycle and we’ve been invited to a few because we’re family friends. DD will have one almost every week due to local and camp friends. I couldn’t do that, but she loves a big party.

  27. Lemon – That’s great. Empirical data always feels good in your pocket. I hope things get easier for her.

    Sky, I forget names all the time. Especially with people I only see every three months or so – like at the band concerts. I tell them – “I will remember where you are from and your dog’s name but your name not so much. I don’t know why.” I told a friend last night about how Larry Hagman quit smoking but I’m sketchy on the exact dates of the Civil War – it is a mess up there!

  28. Moxie, that sounds so exhausting to me. We don’t know anyone locally like that (nor did we in the last house).

  29. This is a great topic and so many of you have posted great insights. We seem to skew toward the introverted end of the continuum here, which is no surprise. I will add only that during my hiatus I spent many days without the physical or emotional energy to get up off the couch, which was more hell than one would have expected given my introvert status, and that my slow recovery was greatly helped by the small talk with the barista and the scone lady and the nice old man at Mass. Total time with all three might have been well under 10 minutes but it *really* made a difference.

  30. I don’t know what I am. I always prefer to have others around me, but I hate to be the center of attention and would rather be on the fringes. I confess to not really understanding real introverts. My SIL is one and she is always doing what I perceive to be rude things, like staying at our house when the rest of us go to dinner because she needs a break or refusing to go to a movie if she doesn’t get to pick which one. My husband and their parents say that is just how she is but I think it is so weird!

  31. I can remember names, but not faces.This is a real problem for me at work, as I focus a lot of effort on being outgoing and sociable, so I forget to take the mental notes of “Bridget – brown curly hair”. At school events, unless their child is standing with them I have no idea who most of the parents are. even if I just met the parent a week before.

  32. “My SIL is one and she is always doing what I perceive to be rude things, like staying at our house when the rest of us go to dinner because she needs a break or refusing to go to a movie if she doesn’t get to pick which one.”

    The former is regular introvert behavior (something that I have periodically employed while visiting my sometimes-overwhelming in-laws, or even in big groups of my family). The latter is flat-out rude and gives introverts a bad name.

  33. Yay, Lemon!

    My SIL is one and she is always doing what I perceive to be rude things, like staying at our house when the rest of us go to dinner because she needs a break or refusing to go to a movie if she doesn’t get to pick which one.

    I’ll go to movies, because I can just sit there and zone out. But DH has finally, finally recognized that I can’t socialize with his family indefinitely. Even with the kids. With his family, he will happily spend every single minute from morning til bedtime with them. Forget it. We had a huge, horrible fight last Christmas because I was at the end of my rope after three days. Uh, so I guess we haven’t worked it out entirely. But he’s lots more willing to let me go lie down in a darkened room for a few hours. We used to have terrible fights about all the damn lawyer events where I had to go be Mrs. Lawyer-Wife and he insisted on staying til the bitter end.

    To some extent, after 23 years of marriage, we just got tired of fighting about it so we’ve slowed down. I try not to throw in his face that he literally never went to any of my office events, and he tries not to overtax me. He at least prioritizes which events would be good for me to attend and which I can safely skip.

  34. Sky – maybe you should stop running until your sleep improves? It sounds like it’s not helping the sleep situation…

    I think introverts can sometimes be bad w/names because they are using so much energy on small talk and extroverts can be bad at names because they are just waiting to talk.:)

    I’m probably more of a combo introvert/extrovert like Kate – I like down/alone time but also like to socialize (at least I do once I make myself go). The extent that I lean towards introversion or extroversion has varied throughout my life. In high school was content with my small group of friends/boyfriend. In college I joined a sorority, lived with six girls and went to parties three or four nights per week and loved it. Now as I get older and spend so much energy on my kids, it’s sometimes hard to want to spend the energy with new people.

  35. It also doesn’t help my social life that I’m a lark rather than an owl. I get sleepy pretty early. I was always this way and frequently dozed off at parties in high school, much to my friends’ amusement. There was one New Year’s Eve where I made it all the way to midnight (partly because everyone was being so loud) and then instantly fell asleep on the host’s couch.

  36. I was trying to write this from the opposite perspective: Am I extroverted or just rude? It was tougher to right than expected and turned into more of a rant from an introvert’s POV on facetime and forced “spirit” events. Would be interested to see an actual extrovert try to write from that perspective.

  37. DH is an extrovert. I am kind of an introvert. When I go to work events or parties, I have fun and socialize with everyone. However, I can only go out after work about twice a week. Anything more than that makes me tired. Networking is a big part of my job–it’s fun in moderation.

    That said, I love being home alone. Love, love, love it.

  38. So I kind of get being overwhelmed with other people’s families. My husband often disappears for a bit when we are with mine. They are loud and crazy and a huge departure from what he is used to being around. And that is fine. But he happily goes out to dinner or whatever without a fuss. But I think it is so strange not to do dinner with everyone when you literally eat 4-5 meals a year max with your family.

  39. Kate – is it better to drink heavily at dinner or arrive stoned? Both tactics used by relatives in my extended family to cope with the big family meals.

  40. I relate the most to Atlanta’s post. I was extremely social and extroverted through HS, college, and my 20’s, but I find I need more downtime now that I have more responsibilities. I have little interest in making new friends right now too. I used to hate spending the night at home alone on the couch, and now I love it – at least most of the time. I get the itch to get out if I’ve spent too many nights at home with just DH & DS. I still enjoy socializing, especially with actual friends (close or not that close). I talk to strangers much less than I used to – I have lost interest and don’t have the energy. Going out and socializing with work people who I may or may not like as much or going to a networking event is still not fun for me though. I have to drag myself to those.

    I do think that there are cases where people use being introverted as an excuse to be rude – like Kate’s SIL refusing to go to the movies. I have one relative who constantly posts stuff on social media about embracing his introversion and whining about how no one understands him. And then the very few times we see this person, uses it as an excuse for rude behavior. But haven’t experienced that being normal, frequent or accepted behavior at all.

  41. @Kate – exactly. I get overwhelmed by DH’s family. There are a lot of them. But taking a 5 minute break to go into a spare room and breathe is quite different from just disengaging for the entire time by sitting in a separate room on his iPad (which is what my family member does).

  42. @Kerri 1:10

    One of the starred comments to the original article.

    as a thought experiment…would this article be imaginable the other way around? “I used to think I was just an extrovert, but perhaps my incessant need to go to parties and meet new acquaintances is selfish – I conceitedly assume that the people at these events will benefit from having me there, and all this busy-ness keeps me away from my intimates and from important solitary work.” Hard to imagine, right? My point: neither introversion nor extroversion are selfish by nature, but our society is heavily biased towards extroverts, so introverts often think there is something bad about them merely because they like to read, think, take solitary walks, and so on. Yes, rudeness and self-indulgence are real dangers for introverts, but extroversion has plenty of temptations as well: conformity, opportunism, and power-mongering, for example.

  43. L – it really isn’t exhausting. I’d say we do something every other month or so? I haven’t seen my next door neighbor in probably 2 weeks but I can count on her for sure. When you don’t have family near by this gets real very quickly.

  44. Besides power-mongering and other more extreme things, extroverts also just have to watch out for being rude by interacting with people who would prefer not to engage. Like on a plane, at a ballgame, on a bus, at the grocery store, etc. Read body language & don’t just keep talking. This goes for both strangers and for friends/family. Also – don’t try to guilt trip/bully friends into going to social events.

  45. I’m a mix of both, I enjoy people and like to hear their life stories, I don’t enjoy large parties but do enjoy dinner parties – 6 to 8 people or I should say I used to enjoy giving dinner parties., Now everyone wants to know what you are serving and start telling you what they can and cannot eat not based on actual doctor’s orders but on their own preferences. My husband and I like to talk about what is going on in the world, politics. We used to have lively conversation with different points of view – now in the past few years there is no frank discussion of views but acrimonious turning down right nasty at times with not giving consideration to all points of view. Sad.

  46. I’ve noticed what WCE mentioned – smart phones have made it hard to strike up conversations with other parents. People are either directly supervising their kidlets or staring at their phones. And while I consider myself extroverted, I’m not awesome at striking up conversations with strangers. I do think it breaks down the fabric of community when you don’t have those ties with the neighbors, classmates, etc. And I think it’s a lot harder than it was 10 years ago.

    I think it is easier, often, to not interact. I think that is why introversion comes across as rudeness – it seems like the easy way out.

  47. I am in between an introvert and extrovert. I have gotten much better at small talk. That’s because with my kids I interact with more people. Previously it was my family, school/work and a few friends.
    I still struggle with closing a small talk conversation – so I search my brain for “see you next week”, “nice talking to you”.
    I must say I am terribly surprised by my kids. Though not total extroverts they quietly talk to peers everywhere. I was very shy and didn’t do that at their ages.

  48. Also, I don’t know anything about Avon, CT or it’s real estate market, but it seems that house could be work 20k more with a coat of beige paint. But really amazing that someone took Pinterest that far….

  49. I get the impression that many people still think introverts don’t like to socialize or are shy. Introverts usually enjoy socializing, but they just need more down time to re-energize. Only the unusual hermit type of person dislikes all socializing. And shyness doesn’t necessarily correlate with introversion.

  50. I am an only child, currently married to an only child, whose first wife was also an only child, and whose son is an only child. (My first husband was the eldest and a son with two sisters, so he had little experience of having to subordinate his desires for different reasons. My mom was the second least favorite in a family of 10 sibs and never until she left home could do what she wanted. I have 4 surviving children who helped me over the years to learn more about myself.) I was probably 60 years old before I really understood that my choice to stay home rather than go out with a group to do something they have agreed on that I did not care for was considered antisocial, rather than gracious because I did not try to impose my own desires on the group. (When visiting with family out of town, I knew that there was a lot of “herding cats” and you did not get to choose. My main objection in those cases and when times were leaner for me was the involuntary expense.) But why should that apply to non family in your own community? The electronic revolution, the online community, the opportunity to time shift entertainment and make it personal not communal, all of this has made my life much more pleasant.

    I also never learned, possibly because I had no sibs or cousins to train me, boundaries for conversational topics, loudness, directness, reining in my impatience when folks don’t get to the point – much of what LfB referred to as “manners”, but what is often a bit more than following rules – understanding the larger purpose of social interactions and how they fit into life and picking up on social cues from others. Mandatory work events were always a disaster, but I think I could have been taught how to “pass” if they gave training. My natural RBF doesn’t help either.

  51. Ada, that house is horrifying. Like I think its a tear down! I wish I could unsee it! I think that is definitely the home of an introvert! It makes me wonder if it is the work of a couple or just one half of one and the other just can’t fight it – kind of like my husband and the floral duvet cover.

  52. “But why should that apply to non family in your own community?”

    I’m wouldn’t extend that beyond family in a lot of cases. That is why I am more of the mind that it is rude of the extrovert to try to engage with a stranger or even other mom at a soccer game who is on her phone or reading a book or who doesn’t respond with enthusiasm when engaged.

    I lived in the Avon area, and it was a pretty upscale community. And that house seems to sit on a large lot. So the price seems about right since you’d need to practically burn it down and start over. But it’s been 15 years since I lived there – it may have changed.

  53. Sometimes I’m on my phone because I don’t have anyone to talk to so it helps pass the time and make me feel less alone – and I welcome someone engaging.

  54. Ada – I love the description – “unique finishes by a professional”.

    The only thing I know about Avon is there were a few guys in college who went to Avon Old Farms for high school.

  55. Ivy, your post could be titled “am I an extrovert or just rude?” Honestly, once someone has shown a preference not to converse, it is rude to continue pushing. I think I’ve mentioned on here before how I hated the “what are you reading? question when I was at the park with my little one so he could play without interrupting reading I had to do. Most “fun” was when they’d shudder and try to engage me in complaints about how awful that was to read. Um, no. It’s not awful–your behavior is.

    As far as making friends now to have friends in a later stage of life, or dating now so you aren’t alone in your old age–no thanks. If I need a partner, I’ll go looking for one then.

    Rocky, I think your husband would be perfectly within his rights to ask you to come to a meal with his family, but three straight days without leaving the room? Yeesh! My son and I don’t even do that (even when he was tiny)! Would he allow you to go work out? That’s better inspiration to get going on some sport than I can think of, even if you just bike around the corner to sit & pick belly button lint alone.

    Milo, you were asking about women joining the military. Here is a young woman going to great lengths to attend a military school.

  56. CoC, enthusiastic agreement with your 2:00 post, especially when combined with Fred’s 10:24.
    I really enjoyed a visit with an old friend last winter. We did a candlelight tour of an early nineteenth century village and then discussed the ways they had brought out various themes, while sipping hot cider. Had she invited me to a raucous party, I’m not sure if I would’ve gone, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

  57. “much of what LfB referred to as “manners”, but what is often a bit more than following rules – the larger purpose of social interactions and how they fit into life and picking up on social cues from others.”

    Oh, yeah. Just because at 50 I am beginning to recognize the of managing those social interactions appropriately doesn’t mean I’m actually any good at it. :-)

  58. @S&M – you said — Ivy, your post could be titled “am I an extrovert or just rude?”

    You mean the one where I was actually responding to that very question in response to the comment from the NYT that Meme posted? Where I said that extroverts have to be careful not to push introverts too hard to engage lest they also be rude? I think that’s the common flipside – while we are obligated to be polite to family, coworkers and friends, and introverts do have a social obligation to engage in some situations, the extrovert can become the rude one if they keep pushing a stranger or acquaintance to engage when uninterested or keep talking long after someone has given signals that they are done with a conversation.

    That said, like Moxie – sometimes I am on my phone at a school function, but I would be happy to chit chat with someone. So it’s not an automatic no-go to talk to someone on their phone. Just reading body language/response, etc.

    I admit that I read this article & immediately thought that it would likely show up here.

  59. “Maybe I shouldn’t shun the calculus track after all?Maybe I shouldn’t shun the calculus track after all?Maybe I shouldn’t shun the calculus track after all?”

    You are a totebagger, aren’t you?

    At your DD’s age, the totebaggy default assumption is that she will move to the honors track and eventually take AP Calc in HS. Deviations to that should only be considered when it is clear that path is not appropriate.

  60. Moxie — I agree that the house is horrifying; but I’m not sure it’s the house of an introvert. The Susan Cain book (which I read and really related to) said that one of the hallmarks of introversion is that introverts are easily overstimulated — not just from social interactions, but from other things as well. I am a strong introvert, and I cannot live with a lot of patterns or other visual stimuli in my house. Even things that many people would find classic are just too much for me visually — like black-and-white checkerboard floors, multicolored tile backsplashes, brightly-colored accent walls, etc. I think an introvert’s head would explode from all the visual stimuli in that house.

    My husband is an extrovert, and we have to do a lot of compromising about a lot of stimuli-type things in our lives, like how loud the music is in the house (he likes loud, I like quiet), the kind of lighting we have in the house (he was fine with daylight CFLs, I couldn’t stand them and replaced them with warm LEDs), how many activities we do on vacation days (he likes to go, go, go, I like a lot of downtime), etc.

  61. Article for Finn, saac and anyone else interested in an interview with a cognitive psychologist:

    I really liked the concept that we have “folk concepts” (athletic, musical and intelligent come to mind) that have many different definitions based on how they are used, the context and the people using them. This ties into yesterday’s discussion about whether concepts like sex (generally) just “are” or whether they are subject to individual perception.

    I decided not to submit it for a post so the people who hate the topic aren’t subject to it again.
    Favorite quotes:
    1) Which do you think is more important, high IQ or high intellectual curiosity?
    The relationship between IQ, curiosity, discipline, and achievement is like that of length, width, depth, and volume.

    2) In a democracy, it is of vital importance that make of us have many good templates from which to draw. Without deep knowledge of the history of the early Roman Republic, George Washington might not have seen the wisdom of relinquishing power after two terms. Without deep appreciation for history, his contemporaries would not have called Washington “The American Cincinnatus,” renaming a new city in Ohio in his honor. It is one thing for voters to understand in the abstract that term limits are there for a good reason. For a republic to be dictator-proof, it must have a long tradition of honoring powerful and popular leaders for stepping down voluntarily.

  62. Thanks for sharing that link WCE. Since I’ve spent so much of my off-work time over the last decade or so trying to understand my kids’ learning issues, then the mechanics of learning in general, I find the study of learning and the measurement of how the mind works to be fascinating. I think I would have enjoyed pursuing that as a career had I been aware of it in my younger days.

  63. Personally, I thought this passage hit it.

    At the individual level, most people define intelligence in their own image. Engineers define it in ways that describe a good engineer. Artists define it in ways that describe a great artist. Scientists, entrepreneurs, and athletes all do likewise. My definition would probably describe a good academic psychologist.

  64. RMS, thanks for sharing your response. My thought was, “If those people weren’t intelligent, they couldn’t be artists, engineers entrepreneurs OR scientists.”

    Our different responses definitely support the idea that we all bring our own “folk concepts” to certain words.

  65. MBT said “RMS that passage made me smile. I think it pretty much sums up this board.”

    And how!

  66. I am an introvert who usually has fun when I go out. I may leave the house kicking and screaming (mentally), but then when it is over I say “that was fun”. I do however seem to want to leave before everyone else. 3 or 4 hours of being with a group of people beside my immediate family is plenty for me. DH always wants to stay longer, so we sometimes have a bit of a battle with raised eyebrows, a poke in the side or something similar!

  67. WCE, great article. “Our society at this time in history values the ability to make generalizations from incomplete data and to deduce new information from abstract rules.” You know, that’s exactly what I do, although I never thought about it that way. The funny thing was that growing up I felt like square peg in round hole, because school seemed more to value memorization and recitation. It makes me wonder if maybe I found my niche because society changed in a way that valued what I do naturally.

    “In this universe, there is universal uncertainty, including uncertainty about what we should be uncertain about.” I totally love this line.

  68. MM — on the yesterday topic, re your podcast problem — get PocketCast on your Android phone, set it to download only over wifi so it doesn’t use your data allowance, listen to your podcasts from your phone. It automatically downloads the ones you’ve subscribed to for later playback and you can tinker with how many of each it keeps in the settings.

  69. LfB, I often think that Mr WCE missed his calling by not being a cartographer during the era of the explorers. He loves drawing maps and has an excellent sense of direction. But the need for cartographers right now is low.

  70. SSK, that’s what happens repeatedly with ‘saac. I force him to leave the house, and if I can get him to do whatever activity, he nearly always says “that wasn’t so bad” or even”that was fun”‘afterwards. This fall he has sat out a waterpark visit and a play (for which he had a ~$30 ticket). We are now on a waterpark kick because I got him to go there with me once. He is absolutely an introvert, wants really peaceful surroundings at home, and can get overstimulated by his surroundings.

  71. Totally off-topic, but BOY am I Ms. Grammar Twit today. I am currently drafting a response to a request for information from the government. In the definitions section, they define “and” to include “or” and “or” to include “and.” I could not help myself: I am objecting to this on the basis that defining a term to include its opposite is Orwellian doublespeak, and the gov’t is perfectly capable of stating which one they mean in a given situation.

    Of course, it is possible that the three glasses of wine at tonight’s break-the-fast may be playing something of a role here tonight. . . .

  72. Ahh, Louise, my voice of calm and reason. But I’d so much rather be a righteously indignant smart-ass. :-)

    (Should I even mention that the definition of “document” includes more than twenty lines of *examples* of categories of documents? Down to including business cards and those little telephone message slips? As if anyone actually keeps those — or could ever find them if they do).

  73. LfB – the only documents I store are on the company network. I don’t like paper, so I hardly keep anything in paper form.

  74. Don’t worry, Louise — eleven of the lines of the definition to which I am objecting specifically address electronic documents like yours.

    I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. . . .

  75. Can someone explain why it took the board
    of Wells Fargo this long to fire Stumpf? And he wasn’t even “fired” he resigned effective immediately! How epic is the failure of the board that they couldn’t even get up the nerve to fire him for cause?

  76. Wow, LfB, your job sounds like it’s as much fun as reviewing 100 page vendor contracts transliterated from the original Japanese.

  77. @Rhett – they perhaps weren’t expecting the fallout to be this big. Remember, since the financial crisis most banks have been fined millions of dollars not only for mortgages but their other lines of business as well. If the regulators find any irregularities (and those may have been acceptable business practices pre regulation), they want institutions to go back, investigate and make customers whole.
    In many cases banks have exited business lines these have deemed to be more regulation intensive even though at one time these were very profitable. Sub prime mortgages, student loans come to mind. The current environment requires zero error in processes and people and that is something banks have to adjust to.
    Now, it is no fun being a fat cat banker when your millions may not save you from being put in jail.

  78. I wanted to add that bright kids who used to want to go into iBanking are now going to Silicon Valley. But even there the news from start up land isn’t that rosy.
    Lauren might have first hand knowledge of the shift.

  79. WCE your linked article is fascinating.  In particular, the Section 6 from which you pulled the quote about George Washington explains why “memorization/inflexible knowledge” and “general knowledge” are so important.  It refutes the assertion that we don’t have to learn many things because we can always just Google stuff.  And why testing of knowledge is valuable.  Also, why our public schools should teach facts and not just “learning skills”, especially to disadvantaged students.  Because it can be argued that ‘it’s mostly facts that end up separating rich kids from poor kids’.

    Well-designed knowledge tests do not just measure memory for stupid facts. Rather, they measure understanding of certain cognitive tools that facilitate reasoning and problem solving. To take an obvious example, knowledge of basic math facts (e.g., 6×7=42) enables a person to perform feats of reasoning that are otherwise impossible. In a less obvious way, knowledge of certain words, phrases, and stories facilitate reasoning. IQ test measure knowledge of well-chosen words, phrases, and stories because people with this knowledge are likely to be able to exercise better judgment in difficult situations.

    OTOH, the article also points out that false negative IQ test results are more of a problem than false positives are.  Too many people get dinged on low scores because of their disadvantaged background.

  80. Hurricane update – still no word on my specific house, but we did hear that everyone with major structural damage has been notified, so there’s some relief in that, and again, first world problems. Adding to our previous conversation about NextDoor, it has been helpful and enlightening in this disaster situation. Lots of good information via that medium. It has also been amusing to watch how truly self-centered people can be. Case in point, a couple of people defied state and county mandatory evacuation orders and door to door visits by security personnel and stayed on the island. A post of “85 mph winds. No water, sewer, or power. Alligators out of their habitat and visible in floodwaters around my house” received about 300 replies sort of like “so #blessed that you stayed on the island! Could you run by my house at 312 Octopus and push the porch furniture under the house? If you could photograph it from all 4 sides, and maybe throw a tarp over the roof, that would be great! Feel free to use our gas grill if you need something to cook on while the power is out!” Bonus points for those who checked in later with “any word on 312 Octopus? Getting anxious here!”

  81. “Feel free to use our gas grill if you need something to cook on while the power is out!”

    How thoughtful.

  82. HFN – relatives in Miami stayed but luckily that area was spared the total wrath of the hurricane. They didn’t evacuate as they had survived Hurricane Andrew. They think they are invincible.

  83. Have we heard from PTM? And HfN, hurricanes are actually not a first-world problem.

  84. “And HfN, hurricanes are actually not a first-world problem.”

    But worrying about your second house is.

  85. HFN – glad to hear you weren’t on the call list for major problems. That Next Door stuff is nuts!

  86. But worrying about your second house is.

    I bet it isn’t. I bet rich people in developing nations have multiple homes.

  87. “I bet rich people in developing nations have multiple homes.”

    Misinterpretation of the term (and it’s not actually a term I’m particularly fond of). But if someone in the Bronx said “My EBT card was stolen and I have no way to buy formula for my infant,” nobody is going to respond “Eh. First-world problems.”

  88. Good point. I hadn’t really given the phrase much thought, mostly because I don’t care if things are first-world problems, because I live in the first world, and that’s where my problems are. It’s really rich people’s problems. And that fits well with Weird Al’s video.

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