Monthly Archives: March 2015

Communication Takes Work

Group of pelicansThis page says, “Introverts (i.e. normal people) are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement…”. Let’s examine why this aversion to gatherings* is a common feature of normal people.

Picture a gathering. What happens almost immediately? The idiots in the group begin talking, because… well, it’s what they do best. Meanwhile, the normals do what they do best: listen, comprehend, evaluate, think. The larger the group, and the more blabbermouths who are talking, the more work is involved for normals to listen to everyone, comprehend what everyone is meaning, evaluate those thoughts and their own related thoughts, and think about how they might meaningfully contribute to the conversation, if it’s even appropriate to do so.

Normal people don’t talk endlessly and assume everyone else around them cares. Rather, they listen, think, and respond with purpose and compassion; i.e. they respect the thoughts of others and choose to consider their words carefully before sharing them, if they do at all. Normal people have an aversion to gatherings because it’s exhausting to listen to people flapping their jaws, absorb and understand it all, and contribute meaningfully. Normal people are exhausted by such situations because they’re trying to communicate, not merely have their voice be heard. I wager that any blabbermouth who actually tried to listen, comprehend, and contribute something valuable would be much more quickly exhausted than any normal person, simply for lack of practice.


* “Social gathering” is a redundancy. “Social” literally means “of or related to a gathering or group.” Any situation in which more than 2 people have gathered together is simply a gathering.

“Introverts Need More Time to Think Before Speaking” and Other Bullshit

783250_39852654I am damn sick of reading “introverts (i.e. normal people) need more time to think before they speak.” It’s more bullshit spewed by the so-called “extrovert” crowd to make their obsessive mouth-flapping seem less psychotic.

Normal people think before speaking. We respect the person listening enough to put a bit of thought into what we say to them. We’re not obsessed with the sounds of our own mouths flapping. We take into account the feelings and sentiments of the people we communicate with. We feel as though a bit of thought is a good thing to include in conversation. Once again, good manners and respect are labelled as mental deficiency by those who lack them.

BoldomaticPost_Communication-starts-with-youLet’s be clear: In communication, listening is as important as — and arguably more important than — speaking. You can’t do that with your mouth open. When you take time to think about what you’re going to say before opening your mouth, you stand a chance of not sounding like a squabbling idiot every time.

Who’s the mental deficient here, really?

Phone Calls are Rude

Telephone
From Wikimedia.org

Every list of so-called “introvert” traits seems to mention a preference for email versus telephone. Let’s cut to the chase and explore why this issue is pure bullshit.

  • Telephone Calls are Rude & Intrusive: When you pick up the phone and call someone, as when you approach their door and rap on it, you are interrupting them and demanding their immediate attention. A telephone call says, “Hey you! Stop whatever you’re doing and give me your attention immediately!”
  • Emails are Courteous & Respectful. When you text/email someone, you’re delivering a message that they (via their personally-chosen system of notification) can see, consider, and respond to in their own time.

I’m sure there will be questions, such as:

  • “What about emergencies?” I’m not talking about emailing the fire department if your house is on fire. I’m talking about the 99.9% of communication that you do every single day. Do you need me immediately for a good reason? Then call. Otherwise, have the decency to realize that I may be busy with something else, and email me. I’ll email you back, because I respect your privacy as well.
  • BoldomaticPost_Phone-calls-are-rude-intrusive“It’s just easier for everyone to use the phone.” It may be easier for you to rudely interrupt someone else’s privacy to force them to listen to whatever is on your mind at that moment, yes. That’s not an argument, that’s you being an asshole.
  • “I like it when my friends call.” That’s fine — you may not often be doing anything that requires your unfettered attention. But other people are not the same as you. If you want to chat on the phone, why not text message and ask, “Have time to chat?”

Susan Cain’s Intro/Extrovert Test is Bullshit

a150d72f0fd79f5aa59d8d53f1213f99Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts, has built a very public career around the bullshit “introvert” label. I leave you to consider the logic of that. In the meantime, let’s look at the so-called “introvert” test on her website (link):

  • “I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities: T/F.”

These aren’t opposites, and this is a false choice. A conversation is, by definition, one-on-one. Even if there are three people discussing something, it’s one-on-one-on-one. It’s about individuals contributing to a discussion. “Group activities” could describe football, or tug-of-war, or genocide.

  • “I often prefer to express myself in writing: T/F.”

WTF does this have to do with anything? Writing is a form of communication with strengths and weaknesses in different areas. The same can be said of speaking, smoke signals, and semaphore. What she maybe trying to ask is: “When you decide to initiate conversation, do you prefer in-person/phone or email/text messaging/other? The real question there is: when you have something to say to someone, do you think it’s appropriate to abruptly intrude on their privacy, or do you initiate contact in a respectful way that allows them to choose when their privacy ends?

Phone calls and knocks on the door are one thing in a business, when you have posted business hours, and you’re basically saying, “during these hours, I’m available for communication at any moment.” In real life, phone calls and door knocks are intrusions. They say, “Hey, whatever you’re doing, stop right now and give me your attention.” That’s not a choice of introvert or extrovert labels, that’s a choice of courteous versus rude.

Related post: Phone calls are rude.

  • “I enjoy solitude: T/F.”

Not “Do you enjoy lots of solitude?” or “Are you terrified by solitude in any quantity?” A normal person enjoys solitude for some non-zero quantity which will vary from person to person. Another example of pointless bullshit.

  • “I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers: T/F.”

For fuck sake, Susan. “Care about” in what sense? Do I worry about having too much wealth? Do I obsess about not having enough? And what “peers” are you talking about: work? personal? quilt club? This question is vague enough to be entirely pointless.

  • “People tell me that I’m a good listener: T/F.”

Another pointless question. All this can indicate is whether people (1) believe you are a good listener and (2) are judgmental enough to tell you. Yes, judgmental — even a compliment is a judgment.

Nonjudgmental  =  “When I talk to you, I feel heard”
Judgemental  =  “You’re a good listener”

Listening is comprised of hearing + comprehending. Since hearing = shut mouth + open ears, Susan is correct in thinking that normal people (who she calls “introverts”) have an edge in that department. Comprehending, however, is a voluntary choice a person makes, and even a normal person who’s sick and tired of everyone talking so damn much may be more apt to choose not to listen.

The test continues, but I don’t want to keep fiddling with it.

There Are No “Introverts”

Being an “introvert” is a thing now. Google “introvert blog,” I dare you. Everyone has a book, or a class, or some goddamn wisdom about why it’s OK to be an “introvert,” why “introverts” are great assets for companies, or why you should nurture and celebrate your inner “introvert.” It’s a badge of honor. “Introverts” are uniting to protect their common culture.

It’s entirely a load of bullshit.

A normal peson isn’t titillated by mindless blather. A normal person’s mind is developed enough that distractions from actual thought aren’t necessary. A normal person enjoys communication with others when it’s useful and productive — which accounts for possibly 1% of communication that actually takes place in the modern world. A normal person is psychologically stable enough that they can be comfortably quiet when they have nothing to communicate.

1150833_16764320If it sounds like I’m saying that so-called “introverts” are really just normal people, and that so-called “extroversion” is a sign of mental disorder ….welcome to “Crabby Hermit.” Notice that I’m not saying that being energized by social situations makes you crazy. I am energized by some social situations; such as ones that don’t involve pointless blathering and masturbatory self-marketing. That’s normal. That means you’re learning something, and expanding your mind.

This isn’t an “introvert” blog. The concept of “introvert” is bullshit. I’m won’t be towing any “sensitive” lines here. It’s normal and healthy to recognize communication for what it is: a useful tool that doesn’t need to be used nearly as often as it is. In a world where everyone has a hammer, it’s not normal to smash everything you see. Put the hammer away until you need it, and keep your goddamned mouth shut unless you actually have something useful to convey.