The (un)definitive guide
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
I don’t know how you spent your August break, but mine was pretty tame. Once my courses were out of the way and my student loan coffers had dried up, I was left to spend two muggy weeks refreshing my Facebook newsfeed and reading every Buzzfeed list—twice. Because of this fruitful use of time, I now know everything there is to know about cat GIFs, the ‘90s, and what introverts are like.
The battle between introverts and extroverts is the longest running social war of all time. I imagine it started in a cave somewhere, when two cavemen noticed that one caveman didn’t feel like going out too much: “Hey Grug, I noticed that Ug seems to spend a lot of time under that tree, and he doesn’t seem to be energized by social interaction in the same way we are. I asked him about the weather and he just rolled his eyes!” “I dunno Dug, maybe Ug is an introvert.”
Since that first fateful discussion, humanity has decided that you must fit neatly into one box or another. And this summer, the online presence of introverts seems to have reached its zenith. Extroverts just can’t keep up with the slew of lists, image macros, and blogposts dedicated to the supremacy of introverts—perhaps it’s because they were too busy meeting people at pool parties to update the Internet on how great they are. Just kidding introverts, that was a cheap jab.
After sifting through myriad articles with names like, “10 things you didn’t know about introverts” and “42 things you thought you knew about introverts but didn’t,” I’ve come up with a pretty definitive idea of what constitutes a member of the quieter half of society. First, introverts aren’t necessarily shy. So if you’re someone who has no problem walking into a crowded classroom full of strangers to check if you left your laptop cable in there, you might still be an introvert. Second, they hate small talk. Seriously, do not try to make small talk with an introvert. If you ask an introvert if they’ve seen any good movies lately, they will throw a ninja star at your face. Third, all introverts carry ninja stars. And lastly, leave introverts alone. The only type of thing you should say to an introvert is, “How can one know that their experience of consciousness is the same as other people’s experiences of consciousness?” Any other type of talk is too “small” for them.
When it comes to extroverts, I’ve learned that things are a lot simpler. First, you should treat an extrovert like an over-hyped child at a birthday party. Speak loudly and firmly. Second, the best way to an extrovert’s heart is to invite them to a party. A party is probably the only situation in which an extrovert is comfortable. If there are currently no parties to invite your extroverted friend to, perhaps head over to visit one of your introverted friends instead, dropping the extrovert off at a McDonald’s PlayPlace on the way. Third, never try to make “big talk” with an extrovert. Keep the conversation limited to the weather, weekend plans, and funny Vines. Talking about pop culture is dicey: use your judgement. A show like Real Housewives of New York might be perfectly good conversation fodder for an extrovert, but you could be on thin ice when discussing a heavier show like Breaking Bad.
My main takeaway from my mid-semester studies has been that extroverts and introverts are everywhere! In fact, you yourself may be one of them. The best way to check is to place two fingers flat on your wrist. If you feel a pulse, that means you might be an extrovert. Or an introvert.