Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Fricassee

Apparently this is my 4,800th post.  I'm not sure why Blogger offers silly information like that, but there you have it.

So once again you've written comments that have made my heart sing.  Wouldn't it be amazing if we had a big lounge where we could actually meet?  Though, something tells me the introvert/extravert ratio would be way off.  As in, lots of writers are introverts.

It might be a very silent room.

Though, "introvert" doesn't mean "socially inept" and it doesn't mean "hates people".  In fact, introversion has gotten a bad rap because of its darker side--the side that develops when introverted children are made to feel that it's wrong, somehow, to prefer a single friend to an entire classroom, or to stay inside and read a book instead of throwing feed corn at the neighbors' windows.

"You're shy."  "You're awkward."  "You're no fun."

Grow up believing those things, and you will become those things, right?

Anyway, I am an introvert who has finally realized that it's okay to be one.  People are usually shocked to discover that I'm not an extravert; I'm incredibly chatty, I banter with strangers, I don't mind leading groups of people.  But don't make me walk into a room of people I don't know.  And don't ring my doorbell when I'm busy doing something.


Recently, I've learned the term "ambivert", which seems to better describe me, despite my Meyers-Briggs score.  "Ambivert" is somewhere in the middle, and that seems about right--I'll organize the neighborhood autumn picnic, but I'll need to be alone in my hole to recharge afterward.

I'm actually happy curled in bed in the evening with a good book and a glass of Chardonnay.  I sincerely like sitting alone in the coffee shop, writing.  And I'm okay with that.

So our little (huge?) MSFV lounge would likely ring with my incessant chatter and occasionally raucous laughter.  At least for a while.  If I'm sensing that I'm on the outside of the circles of conversation around me, I'll retreat.  Because I will never foist myself upon people who are already engaged with each other.

Unless, of course, I know them really well.  Then it's "safe" to barge in.

So, picture it:  A large, round room, dimly lit, with soft jazz playing in the background.  Collections of overstuffed chairs, positioned conversationally, with scattered low tables for drinks.  A buffet table at one end, with round tables and seats for people who don't like dropping food on overstuffed chairs.  And dorky, con-esque name tags so we can all identify each other.

Where will you be?  On the perimeter hiding behind your plate of sushi? Curled into chairs with two or three of your crit partners? Dancing from group to group, telling jokes? Standing on the buffet table in your latest steampunk constume?

(Oh, wait.  I know that gal.  It's J.M. Frey!)

Let's create our lounge and see what happens.  (Notice it's a round room, so you can't hide in a corner.)

Love you!


  1. I'll be curled up in an over-stuffed chair hanging with my crit partners. The only guy in our small group is an extrovert and very funny. That's what my little group will be doing-- laughing at Bob's jokes.

  2. Yeah, that oddly shaped lump in the curtain? That's me. I'm an introvert, but I also have social anxiety. I hear this party is full of awesome writer folks, though, so I may scurry out on a quick reccy to find other shy people and keep them company, and maybe pester them for info on their amazing creative projects.

    :) This is a fun imagining, Authoress.

  3. See that large potted fern off to one side? I'm at the table behind it with two or three of my writing friends. There are plates of nibbles, glasses of wine, iced tea and water on the table. We take turns telling our honest and funny real life stories, and every once in a while peek out between the ferns to be sure we aren't keeping the waiters past their closing time.

  4. I'm not sure about the term "ambivert." I think we introverts have to adopt these extravert characteristics just to survive in the world. After years of practice, the behaviors begin to feel more natural. I, too, have no problem speaking in front of groups, and people in supermarkets always feel compelled to tell me their life story. Well, I've said enough, it's time to retreat to the oversized chair in the back corner, next to the wall, and quietly watch the numbers on my cell phone clock move forward until they reach the point that tells me it is a socially acceptable time to leave.

  5. I'm an introvert as well. The scariest thing for me to do is initiate a conversation, especially with people I don't know.

    That said, I've been to a writer's conference recently. Knowing that everyone in the room is a writer can help immensely to get over your qualms with social interaction. Just the (somewhat cheezy) line of 'What's your genre?' gives you a jump-off point you wouldn't normally have with other people.

    So yes, I think the first half hour of your gathering will be pretty quiet. But once we writers start talking about writing, I get the feeling that we wouldn't stop until the sun rises.

  6. I'm looking around the room desperately, searching for someone I'm at least nominally acquainted with. If I find him/her, I will immediately latch on. Otherwise, I will sit in an overstuffed chair and nurse a beer while I wait for someone to approach me. Something tells me it's going to be a long wait. :)

  7. I'm a lot like you, Authoress - a very talkative, very friendly, very perky introvert. I love hanging out with people and having a fun night out, but if I don't have time to recover after that, it won't be pretty. Most people don't believe I'm an introvert, so I explain it to them as my social gauge: when I'm in the green, let's do something fun, but when I'm in the red, I need somewhere completely quiet to curl up.

    Regarding the lounge (and this is assuming I didn't talk myself out of coming, as I often do) I'd probably nervously hover by the drinks and look for a friendly face, but once I got comfortable, I'd probably get into a raucous conversation about writing and/or various nerdery.

  8. I've been an introvert my whole life and still consider myself one. But as adulthood approached, I forced myself out of my comfort zone on some occasions to try to change doesn't always work. Now I own my introvert characteristics. If I know someone at this gathering, I'll definitely stick with them. It would probably be my editing partner who is a total extrovert. She may leave me at the table alone while she mingles (she's done that before) and I will sit patiently observing until she returns...and I'm okay with that.

  9. I've always said I was part cat and part dog. Like a cat, I need my alone time, my time to be aloof and introspective. But like a dog, I definitely need my social interaction! Sometimes I think I hit the store just to chat with my favorite employees and "be" with people.

    So it all depends which mood I'm in as to where I will be. I could be the one dancing from group to group telling jokes. I could happily be in a chair in deep conversation with some excellent new friends. I could also sit back and just watch, taking mental notes of the way people act like it's a social experiment (although that wouldn't last long- too many new people to make friends with!)

    I could also be the one dancing on the table. That is, if we ditch the soft jazz and get something funky going on. And we have strong tables.

  10. Ha! Who would of thought a bunch of introverts would get together for a party. When I arrive, I find a small quiet corner and hope that someone approaches me to talk. Then I'll talk their heads off. If no one introduces themselves to me, then I'll sit there wishing I were home.

    I have often been accused of being stuck up because I don't talk. Sheesh, I can't even ask the waitress for stuff I need. I make my husband do it.

    But I love chatting with friends and actually, I'm comfortable being the center of attention. IF I know the people I'm in the center of. Weird I know. But that's me. And I'm not stuck up at all.

  11. I'm naturally an introvert, but when I decided to be a teacher, I had to make a lot of changes in my outward personality in order to survive and be happy. So, for me, it depends on the situation too - I can be both. For this, I'd be chatting with my crit buddies!

  12. I think Jemi has a point...there's the inner me that can be solitary for a very long time and LOve it. Then there's the public me and I have to climb out of myself and allow new people and experiences into my day.

  13. I'm definitely a perimeter player in these sort of events. I'll smile and be pleasant (though my face will no doubt sweat profusely any time someone asks me about what I'm writing, yuck), but it's very hard for me to initiate in these sort of settings. But I'll no doubt walk away having had a great time.

  14. I'd be standing about three feet away from some group of people having an awesome conversation, wishing they'd invite me in but trying not to look desperate (and too shy to invite myself). And I'd periodically look around, hoping to spot my crit partner, or wandering away to a /different/ conversation. And repeat until I'm included somehow.

    I'd probably also be checking my watch for an opportune time to leave!

  15. I'm an Ambivert as well.

    I'll be sprawled in from of the fireplace, surrounded by snacks, my laptop, and my writing friends. Alternately writing quietly, talking, and showing people silly youtube videos.


  16. I must be an ambivert too. I often refer to myself as a walking contradiction. I love to be around people and will often be the one trying to make others laugh but I also need my alone time. So sometimes I will be in the center or other times I will be alone on the side of the room reading a book or playing a game on my phone.
    I think if I was to walk into a room for the first time, I'd probably look for a friendly face and sit next to that person first. I can usually tell immediately who I will connect with. I have been recently told it's a psychic gift. Who knows?
    Another great post!

  17. I am a (rare?) writing extrovert. I would LOVE to get to know all you that are quietly standing/sitting alone. I don't mind getting the ball rolling and asking all the nosy questions. But once it all gets going, I love sitting back and listening to all my new amazing friends share their cool ideas and awesome insight into stuff I've never figured out (yet).

    I love people and learning about them. And I love getting to know a new group of friends.

    However, if I get a "you're annoying the heck outta me" vibe, I'll retreat to some curtained alcove, eat a slab of chocolate cake and hope for my own extroverted savior to save me from my solitude.

  18. Ambiverts Unite! What sweet relief to finally have a name for it. At this party I could make the rounds, and dance a while if the music matches my mood, and admire the lovely fire. But at the end of the night and for the next couple of days, it's back to a quiet sunny room, noise reduction headphones, my laptop and a big glass of iced tea.

  19. Ambiverts Unite! What sweet relief to finally have a name for it. At this party I could make the rounds, and dance a while if the music matches my mood, and admire the lovely fire. But at the end of the night and for the next couple of days, it's back to a quiet sunny room, noise reduction headphones, my laptop and a big glass of iced tea.

  20. Ooh, total introvert over here. I'm an INFJ on Myers-Briggs with a *very* high I. Last time I took the test, I think I was maybe two points away from having NO extrovert tendencies. Oy.

    That said, INFJs are supposed to be what I think of as the "people-person introverts." We like to make two or three close friends and glom on to them, and we're highly empathetic. I absolutely could not live on a desert island all by myself. If I were Tom Hanks in Castaway, I would've made Wilson a whole lot sooner and probably gone crazy (-ier) when he got lost to the waves.

    I've found that in smaller groups with lots of other introverts (especially if there's already some sort of connection or common interest I'm aware of), I tend to initiate conversation and get things going. It happened somewhat frequently in high school and college. But get an extrovert--or even an introvert who beats me to it--taking over, and I'll sit back and offer the occasional comment.

    Also, with sufficient practice, I've faked being a decent public speaker. I think part of that is my last-born child, attention-seeking syndrome, combined with the NF of my personality. :)

    So, where I'm at in our party: If it's a big one, I'm hanging with the couple of people I know. If my friends caught the flu or something and had to miss on the fun, I'm at the snack table and scoping out likely groups for me to edge in on. Or I'm looking for other loners who look like they might be willing to chat, and I'm heading over there.

    Fabulous question!

  21. And I wanted to add that in all seriousness, if you ever organize MSFVCon, I will see what strings I can pull to get there.

  22. I'm also the rare writing extrovert (on MBTI I actually score a zero in the introvert column, cause extroverts can be freaks, too).

    I'd hope we can have some dry erase or chalk boards hung on the walls because I like drawing silly diagrams of stuff when I talk.

    Also, I'd be happy to plan the ice breaker. ;)

  23. I think you'd probably find me skulking around the edges of the room, looking for someone who looked as awkward as I felt. Then I'd glom onto them and chat and let everyone else come to us.

    I love love love the term "ambivert."

  24. Holy schnikes, Authoress! You've got us pegged. Look at all the introverts!
    My jaw dropped reading through the posts. I could identify with every single post, well, except for the one extrovert. If I saw her at your party, heading in my direction and trying to be friendly, first I'd try to hide in one of the corners that you've so cruelly taken from me then, realizing retreat is futile, I'd back into a wall, clench my butt cheeks with fear, suck it up and, after a few moments of conversation, realize I wished I talked to her hours ago.
    You can keep your ambivert. For me, I will always be the introvert (INTP, heavy on the I) hiding behind a mask of extroversion. I don't know how the extroverts do it. I love interacting with others, but, dang, it's exhausting!

  25. I'll be the one standing alone, somewhere at the edge of the room, nervously sipping wine too fast. If someone comes over to talk, I'll stick with them and hope other people will come and join us.

  26. I'm an ambivert so I am going to alternate between dancing on the low tables (don't want to break a hip after all!) and hiding in the bathroom with a picture of Mr. Darcy.

    P.S. Soup Momma: Ambiverts are people who score in between 55 and 59 on the extroversion scale.

  27. I'm the dorky introvert. Which is kind of weird given my love of steampunk. So I would be curled up in a chair by the fire, wearing a corset and bustle skirt and probably talking to 1 or 2 people I know really well.
    And hoping to make another friend or two but too nervous to make the first move :)

  28. BTW~ 4,800 posts? That's amazing! If Blogger rated them, it would be ten stars for every single MSFV post!

  29. Well, LOTS of those are contest and crit posts. I didn't write those. So I can't take credit. :D

  30. I tend to think of it as scale. introvert on one end and extrovert on the other. People fall somewhere on the line. Some people are more introverted and some are less. My husband and I, for instance, have different scales. He needs more recharge time and less people time than I do. He is farther on the introvert scale than I am. I am more on the extrovert side.

    I'd be flitting from group to group. Stopping at the ones that look interesting.

  31. I'd be moving between groups, probably dragging my crit partner with me so she'll talk to people. Or choose a spot and try to orchestrate some kind of big group discussion. Or possibly performing stand-up by the snack table...hey, it happens. I'm one of those weird extrovert writers. Which means if I spend too long locked in a room with my WiP, I eventually become too depressed and run-down to work.

    It's not all roses and sunshine at this end of the spectrum, folks. If I'm mentally exhausted and there ARE no other people around (hubby's an introvert, so I try not to "use up" all his energy) then I'm just out of luck on recharging. Knowing that I have this need for interaction can lead to crippling social anxiety. I'm terrified that I'll annoy people and they'll refuse to talk to me anymore. I don't like being dependent on others (though I do love getting to know people), but I have no more choice than the introverts who find me exhausting!

    Maybe I need a different line of work?

  32. According to the Meyers-Briggs, I am neither an introvert nor an extrovert. I like sitting on the fence. I'm equally happy sitting alone all day writing as I am getting dressed up extravagantly to go out.

  33. Yeah, intorvert here, too. I also find my eyes glaze with small talk, and dont like initiating converation with strangers.

    Which is why I'd be happier in a room full of writers. I could bring myself to initiate a writing conversation, ie, "So what do you write?" is an opener I can cope with, and my eyes wont glaze over at somebody's description of their steampunk picturebook.

    So I'd be an undercover introvert in that situation, chatting away with others and being genuinely interested in hearing about the snags they hit when plotting.

  34. So an extrovert! I would be waltzing around trying to make you guys feel welcome. Putting groups of personalities together and wondering why there were so many people under it behind things like curtains and plants;) My heart would be so happy being around so many like minded people!

  35. I know you are all meeting. I want to go. Very much. But I don't know anyone. I worry about it. I um and ah and finally decide yes I'll go. I'll wake up on the morning and find a dozen excuses not to go. But I really want to go. Really, really want to go. I am shy but I'm not you see. I'm an introverted extrovert. Or I'm an extroverted introvert. Maybe both. I'm funny and witty and quick based on a life with someone who constantly tests my reaction to nanoseconds of having a reaction to some thing with irony and all that... but I am shy as all get out too. Constantly afraid I'd be rejected from one group or another. If I know somebody who has gone with me - they are my refuge and I will hover back to them if all else fails. At least they will stop me from being a total wallflower. If I know lots of people I'm at home, and home and hosed. I don't like conferences very much because I have this problem.

    But I also know how to fill in awkward moments if there's total silence because absolutely nobody knows anybody... then on that basis that we all need to get to know each other, trust me...

    I'll say something silly, or try to get a laugh and it would work.

    I don't dance on tables. I get jealous of lion tamers because they've got balls. They do things I can do without that glass of chardonnay I need first. But I hate loud showoffs - I can detect them a mile away with my trusty b.s detector.

    I hide my shyness behind a cloak of class comedian. I learned and honed the skill in school.

    I am Zara Penney. I'm commenting under anon because half the time I write a comment and the technical hitches in the land of computering can wreck a message and render it into the ether. It's just lazier and easier to just do it this way.

  36. If you haven't already done this, the site breaks down the Jungian (Myers-Briggs) personality test further and explains the types in detail. A professional turned me on to this site; he says it's just as good as the ones you pay for.

    It's so fun, I had my whole family take the test so we could type them! I'm an ENFP (Idealist Champion) and it actually lists writer as a possible occupation!

    It also says I get distracted by shiny things. And it didn't say I could make a living at writing, so I guess I'd better practice my lines: "You want fries with that?"

    (Zara- You want to try lion taming? Come over and brush my cat's teeth! =^..^= )

  37. Depends on how much alcohol there is on that there banquet table. Two beers later or a gin and tonic and I'll be chatting up strangers. Otherwise, I'll probably go running for the hills. In my ultimate fantasy of having written a book, gotten an agent, been published (successfully), and asked to be on a radio interview, I have a flask of whiskey in my pocketbook. Otherwise I'd, you know, run for the hills.

  38. Curled in a chair, chatting with CPs, but breaking off to watch and applaud the table-dancing.

  39. I love this post! I reminds me of an epiphany I had about myself recently...

    I could never figure out if I was a "people person" or not. I mean, on the one hand, I can charm the socks right off just about anyone! Job interviews? Pft! Handled!.... BUT, on the other hand?... my version of a Friday night well spend is a good book and a soft blanket. Alone.

    With a cold Diet Coke and a box of Cheese Its too, of course.

    So, people person? Or not?

    I FINALLY realized that there is a difference between being a "people person" and being "good with people." I am definitely "good with people"... heck, I'm FANTASTIC with people! (Brushes shoulders off... haha!) But when it comes to socializing and large gatherings? Meh, I'd rather be left alone, thank you very much!

    I think a large portion of the population believes that if someone likes to be left alone, this must mean they are social incompetent. Weird. With the old house, hundred cats and smelly laundry. But the more writers I meet, I'm finding, this just isn't the case!

    Well... maybe we're weird ( :

    But not socially incompetent. We just wanna be left alone.

    I don't know why it took an epiphany of magnanimous proportions for me to realize that I could be "good with people" without actually being a "people person." But there ya go.

    Apparently, though, I'm not the only one thinking about this! Great minds--as they say--MUST think alike!

  40. There's a lovely TED talk by Susan Cain about our culture's bias against introversion: In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

    People are often surprised when they find out I'm an introvert. I think they confuse simply being friendly with extroversion. I've always thought it was about where you get your energy. Do you have to go out into social situations to get energized or do you have to retreat from the world to get energized?

    I'll go to a big party where I don't know anyone and look like I'm having a good time, but I'll find it completely exhausting and leave early.

    My dream vacation: a road or train trip by myself with my laptop and a stack of books.