The Blank Exterior

“Don’t be so serious.”

“You need to smile more.”

Are some of the most annoying and most common admonishments an introvert receives in everyday life.

Highly social persons mistake an introvert’s typically closed expression as being dour and unfriendly.  Rather, the introvert being concerned with persons rather than people is far more prone to compartmentalize their life.

They do not emote in front of strangers.  That is to be done around the carefully chosen group of individuals they have let into their life.

If they spilled their pearls in front of everyone, the act of sharing itself would become meaningless.  One does not see people on a subway or bus treating each other like old friends.  Uninhibited friendliness is sacred to an introvert and is for those who whom they hold closest.  Like trust, and respect, it is earned.  All others are approached with caution and respectful reserve.

The unconditional exuberance of extroverts seems superficially sunny by comparison, endearing perhaps like a dog wagging its tail, but not indicative of any deeper feeling than that which moves them at the moment.  Since it’s how they act around everyone one must wonder:  are they being sincere underneath that happy veneer?

From the view of the introvert:  the highly social person so habitually ventures into histrionic hyperbole of expression, that there is no means, no language they might even employ to indicate any extraordinary feeling for another human being.

Is one really their best friend or the love of their life or is it just another mood of the moment or attention getting behavior?

Perhaps it disturbs the extrovert that the inward looking person tends to wear the same blank exterior we all wear on the subway when in public places.  However, this exterior is in a way a test as well as a defense.

What one sees in a blank exterior says a lot about them; it is a mirror of sorts.  Those who stand a chance of moving inside an introvert’s inner circle are those rare few who look at that initial blankness and see something good and unthreatening in it.

Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion.  The Blank Exterior appears here by permission.

[image:  Joshua Conley, Stilled Water, via Flickr]

on 12/9/10 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

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