Talking about introversion and extroversion over the years has gotten me into a lot of strife, and lost me a lot of friends and acquaintances.
Mostly because people leap to conclusions so fast they break their legs.
Here are some common myth-conceptions I’ve encountered repeatedly:
- Introverts are shy wallflowers. If they do venture out to parties. They’re hiding in the kitchen or outside, talking with the dog or cat.
- Extroverts are gregarious, life-of-the-party, A-list, popular people who hate their own company. They also get more crumpet or schnitzengruben than Sinatra or Madonna.
- I’ve forgotten the third because I got carried away with the second point.
I have a little knowledge on these matters, but that’s all it is: a little.
And you know what’s said about a little knowledge? It’s truly a dangerous thing in the wrong hands.
I am no authority on personality types, Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, Belbins roles, psychology, psychiatry, or any of the other dark arts.
I know a little and enough to instruct enquiring minds in the basics, and then to inwite them to use their finely-honed critical thinking skills, to seek peer-reviewed research and findings and further study, and to locate credible and authoritative sources for their fuller enrichment.
Ack hack gargle ptooiee splat.
Sorry, just had to spit the academic-speak out of my throat.
I’m credibly and reliably informed as recently as last night at Corinda Compounding Pharmacy in south-west Brisbane (a fine, fine establishment with a wide selection of medicines, corn plasters, essential oils and unguents) that there is a lurgy going around Brisbane.
I’ve remained immune, but that’s purely good management, not good luck.
Where were we? Introversion.
I believe I am innately an introvert.
For many reasons.
But let’s just skate over that and speed through to 1983 when a Year 12 career library-dweller at lunch and recess decided this is no way to live, and asked if he could accompany his mates down to the quadrangle.
Um, derr, of course. You don’t need an invitation! (Well, actually I did. For me. I have a massive allergic reaction to and aversion to inviting myself to places.)
Then in 1985, I was a mild-mannered, quiet, reserved, clerk class 1 in the Australian Public Service, dressing like a computer programmer who thought Billy Joel and Jackson Browne were the height of hip.
And sat in the corner not saying a lot.
Until Monday 1 April 1985 when I burst into the office in an old suit with suspenders, outrageous fedora, huuuge fake moustache, carrying a violin case with my lunch in, and smoking a big fat cigar. Smoking bans in the office were a couple of years away.
I jumped in one leap onto my desk and announced to a variously amused, bemused, c-mused, embarrassed and calling security office:
“Hey ever’body! Ima Luigi Quinn! Ima Bill’s a-cousin from Verona. I come-a into work-a today for him cos-a he’s at home. He’s a-sick. He’s-a in bed. With my sister! I told you he’s a-sick!”
I did not break character even once for three, three and a half hours until midday when I leapt onto my desk again and announced (while slowly taking off the hat, moustache, etc.) that they had all been fooled and, “It was me all the time!” (Kenny Everett.)
There were a few head-shakes, a bit of a titter, but mostly: crickets and tumbleweeds.
Ok gag (for 1985). Wrong crowd, wrong setting, and such.
I toyed with the idea of repeating the effort, coming back stronger in 1986. But by then I had left Chandler Street, Belconnen and was all the way across town at Department of the Special Minister of State, West Block in the shadows of Parliament House (now Old Parliament House; the new one was just over two years away from being opened).
At DoSMOS, I did not need to wait for April Fool’s Day to be a dork. It had passed into my daily schtick.
My favourite gag was to walk in the entrance to our large open plan office, and get from there to my desk at the far end of the room, near the window looking east out to the carpark – and not touch the floor.
Desk-hopping. The floor is lava.
We debated whether I would be covered for compo if I fell. Most older, wiser heads said no, but my boss, mentor, and occasional micro-manager fully believed I was covered under a ‘youthful exuberance’ clause.
Funny bloke, Bruce. A wonderful morass of conundrums and enigmas (much like personality types and typing). He had a gorgeous French wife, and one night when we were all out, Fifi and I talked and talked and talked, me in my idioglot level of pigeon Creole conversational almost-there Frenchi-speak.
And danced. Oh, how we danced. Tutti Frutti on Rudi waa the highlight. Lowlight for those around us. Fifi was in stitches.
And I was beginning to develop those extrovert skills that I really wanted and have honed and continue to this day to develop and practice daily: talking, engaging, connecting, interacting, sharing with beautiful* people with no sleazy, slimy, nefarious agenda.
* My use of beautiful in this context comprises inner and/or external beauty. They’re overlapping, not mutually-exclusive concepts. Not in my book. But my use of the word has really given me some grief. Mostly with les partnters du jour.
The above could be the first couple of pages to my introduction to a book on personal insights into the two personality types, and how I’ve seen them present, and 36 different facets of each.
It may well be one day.
But I’ll finish with this.
In 1986 I did a Myers-Briggs test for the first time and rated INFP.
In 1992 I tested again at a middle-management week-long retreat and rated ESTJ.
In 2012 I tested as part of my AEC communication section’s team development workshop and I rated ESTP.
A couple of days ago, a new acquaintance heard me precis the above (without the fine detail) and dismissed my reaction to the meaning of it.
“Your MBTI score doesn’t change. Your personality type doesn’t change.” Or words to that effect.
Here’s my takeaway point which you can extrapolate to almost any observation on humans and the human condition: we’re seven billion carbon-based, ape descendant life-forms. (Douglas Adams.)
Consider that when you make any sweeping statement about people. Does your Yoda-like wisdom apply to Bill Quinn, currently of Capalaba Queensland, as equally as it does to Hank Jeugen Fleugen Of Heugen Deugen in Hoofddorp, Netherlands and Sun Ji Park in Seoul, Korea?
Then keep moving through the other 6 999 999 997 – please correct me if I haven’t got enough digits up there, as the proctologist said to the masochist.
And if you remember only one thing from this eclectic spray, it’s this: the most important letter in MBTI is the I.
It indicates a possible reality or experience. It does not dictate nor guarantee it.
I think we’re done. Shall we end the lesson here?
The Strawberry Flavoured Big Cheesey
05:36h, Tuesday 6 September 2016
‘All I Want’ by Sarah Blasko. All rights reserved.
I have a love-hate relationship with this song. The melody, the lyrical richness, the production values are just sumptuous and relentlessly infectious. The lyrics give me the heebie jeebies.
I met Sarah in 2008, I think, and introduced her on stage to about 2-3000 adoring fans and new likers.
That experience of meeting Sarah, getting her to sign my copy of her then current double album – I’m going to say ‘Songs From The Sea’ or ‘She’ but I won’t Google it. Please tell me if you feel inclined.
That whole process of meeting, chatting briefly, having her sign my album copy, giving her the drum about the on-stage intro (“I’ll be brief; they’re here to see/hear you not me,” then casually observing her in the hour leading up to go-time, and the introduction and performance is enough to explain quite a bit of the mystery of introversion versus extroversion.
But that is for another time.
I make a lot of comments on musicians’ pages and their personal Facebook walls if I’m friends with them. The issue is that most musicians tend towards the INFP which is GREAT for art creation, but hopeless for admin.
Just this week I have tried to engage with a dozen or more artists to offer my old services/new title at no cost to them, lots of added value – and have got nothing in return.
Even a comment on social media to them directly should at least get the tacit acknowledgement of a click on a thumbs-up button. But no.
One band I’ve tried through three different media to ask about helping them publicise a CD are an extreme example. My most recent attempt went unanswered, and just now, one of the members has posted this to their timeline: I like everything bagels with peanut butter.
That may be my new ironic rallying cry to get these lovely creative petals to open up.
Drop the bagels. Step away from the peanut butter.
And FFS: just tell me how much are you selling your trio’s CDs for!
END OVER END