Extreme introverts are able to go through life believing they are the only one because all others, like them, are driven underground.
However one can find members of a tiny minority by going to places where the like-minded naturally gather.
While there are no introvert bars, there are hobbies that select predominantly for introvert traits. By taking up or seeking out practitioners, one might drastically increase their otherwise small probability of finding a fellow Subtle person.
-It occurs to me that most types of collecting, especially in areas that demand a large amount of specific knowledge, attention to minute detail, and patience, are good candidates:
One must be gentle and careful with pipes. They are expensive and one can easily ruin them through reckless behavior. There is a fairly elaborate process just to prepare a new pipe to be smoked. Quality is favored over quantity. If one’s first priority was to keep a nicotine habit going or being socially acceptable, they would smoke cigarettes instead. This is also a collector’s hobby that requires a lot of specialized knowledge.
-Anything that involves computers:
Indoors and away from people.
One can often pass up a coin shop without even noticing it. They often don’t have conspicuous signs. People who go there actively look for the place. It is not about fast paced impulse marketing. From outside the interior seems almost like a dark empty cave filled with safes and glass cases. This sort of setting is naturally intimidating to extroverts who prefer bright light and crowds.
One must be familiar with a large body of knowledge to be at home in this environment. Those who come are those who have the patience to sit down with books about coins. Party people eliminated.
-Used rare/book stores
Books and collecting in one. Dimly lit and quiet inside. Just the musty secluded smell says it all. The musty scent of aging pages is a tried and true extrovert repellent but a delight to one who lives in seclusion.
Requires patience and remaining silent for long periods of time. One must be able to stay focused and absorbed even in the absence of a party or concert. Able to take pleasure in the natural world all around, shooting things but one facet of the experience.
Most people today must have the patience to sit down and learn it as adults.
Once very much a social activity i.e. ‘knitting circle,’ it is now a ‘traditional craft.’ ‘Traditional’ meaning most people below 60 don’t do it. Because of scarcity of practitioners, this is now by necessity a hobby one patiently pursues alone.
-Distance endurance sports esp. running/cycling
Selects for those who are self-contained and contemplative. For such people, covering miles is trance-like bliss, not torture as it is for the more social.
Furthermore it is a means of spending large amounts of time alone in the outdoors.
A haven for nerds in high school, anyone who pursues it seriously as an adult must be comfortable living within their mind and using it as a tool for complex tasks. One who requires outside stimulation clearly could not concentrate long enough or intensely enough.
These are some possibilities that immediately come to mind …
By extending such criteria, a Subtle person could find other communities with high potential.
I would welcome visitors here to add their own insight concerning where and how to find communities that select for introversion.
Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion.
Introvert Hobbies appears here by permission.
See comments thread on original post here.
[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]