#2. We Don't Hate the Mainstream
I'm about to take some broad strokes here. Feel free to make your own masturbation joke. Once you're done giggling, we'll move on.
Done? OK, obviously, I can't sum- No? Really? *Sigh*.
Christ. Take another minute.
We good? Awesome. OK, so obviously I can't sum up all introverts by throwing a "here's what we enjoy" instruction manual into the box. But I have talked to enough people to know that there are many who make really simplistic "therefore" statements about us, based on very little information. "He doesn't go to the movie theater. Therefore, he hates movies." "He doesn't go to concerts or parties. Therefore, he doesn't like music or half naked girls puking vodka and grape Kool-Aid in the sink."
If you've had a miserable movie experience lately, you're closer to understanding introversion.
I suppose some of that is our fault. We're not usually very liberal with handing out unsolicited information about ourselves, and that leaves outsiders to supply their own guesswork and assumptions. But the sweeping generalization is that we actually do like the same things as everyone else. We just prefer to enjoy them without a buzzing hive of people around us.
We like movies -- we just prefer to wait for them to come out on DVD and watch them in our own living room. We'd rather watch a concert on TV than packed in an audience like sweaty, constantly bouncing sardines. We attend just as many orgies as the average person. We just do it with our hand and a vivid, well-trained imagination.
Unfortunately, though, for everyone involved in the assumption that we hate all things mainstream, it's not going to go away anytime soon. As long as there are activities that force us to leave the house, we will always look like we're avoiding it because it's not in line with our vastly superior taste in entertainment. Extroverts will continue to call us "hipsters," and, in turn, we will continue learning new MMA choke holds in preparation for our eventual assault on the outside world.
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No one's a hipster for being tired of Imagine Dragons.
It's one thing to make those assumptions about entertainment, but where it gets weird -- like Criss Angel weird -- is when it's made about our connection to society, itself. And if you take nothing else from this article, at least remember ...
#1. We Are Not Socially Disconnected Outcasts
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A couple of years ago, Christina H talked about how society generally assumes that quiet people lack social skills. She makes some great points in that article. You should definitely read it with your face's eyeballs. But I've found that with outright introverts, there's another tier in which people believe that we lack any social connections at all.
Modern humans must tweet and brag about every life experience to present a healthy social life among peers.
When I was a kid, we had a neighbor who came outside once a week and sat on his steps, just looking around and enjoying the weather. He was the stereotypical creepy old man who never talked to anyone or went anywhere. His clothes had a faint smell of cat piss and cigar smoke. I always liked to think that he didn't smoke, himself, but all of his cats did, and he hated them for it.
Anyway, I knew about that old man for more than a year before I finally saw some of his family show up to visit him. And the sight of those cars pulling up to that house was almost surreal. As soon as I saw him come out to greet them, he ceased to be the creepy old cat/cigar dude and became ... well, human. Up until that point, I couldn't even imagine him having a conversation with another person, let alone laughing and hugging, getting his cat urine all over their clean clothes.
It wasn't until I was a full-grown adult that I understood that you can be an introvert but still have friends. That we can go to social functions like "normal" people, but we typically do it on our terms. "Thanks for inviting us. We can't stay long, but we thought we'd stop by and say hi to everyone. Maybe snort some cocaine out of your mom's ass crack like old times."
Before retreating to our respective "life caves."
"We can't stay long" is our go-to phrase, by the way. On top of doing everything on our own terms, we also do them in small doses. If we're forced to attend something that requires an extended visit like a wedding or birthday party, we can show up and function just like everyone else. We'll just do it with a constant feeling of, "Holy shit, is this over yet? I just want to go home, take off my shoes, and jack off to a Game of Thrones torture scene on my own couch." And that feeling will show up every five minutes until the event ends.
No, most of us aren't disconnected from our fellow man. Online, I am a social goddamn machine, baby! I talk to people on my Twitter all the time. It's that whole "physically going somewhere" part that we have trouble wrapping our desire and motivation around.
I'd love it if we could get past assuming that introverts are all depressed, social outcast freaks who hate joy. Yes, those people do exist, but surely there are just as many extroverts who fit that same description. Otherwise, I don't know how to explain Bill Maher.