I am an introvert (here’s what you should know)

I am an introvert, and I’m OK with that. No, I’m way ok with that. It’s who I am, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not like “I have only one arm and I’m OK with that because I’ve adapted.” There’s no adaptation needed with introversion. It’s the way I am, and ever since I came to understand it better, I realize it’s not only who I am, it’s who I prefer to be.

Introversion has nothing directly to do with shyness. Shyness is on a whole other scale of things, although it is true that introverts often seem to be shy (and in many cases really are shy). But they are not the same thing, not at all.

Introversion and extroversion are personality types. One is not better than the other, although people who belong to one group often think less of the others simply because they sometimes have trouble relating to them.

Several years ago I heard an interview on CBC radio with a Canadian scientist – an introvert – on the subject of what makes the two types different. I wish I could conjure up his name, and the interview, but I can’t. But based on what I remember, plus what I’ve learned through further reading and observation, the fundamental differences lie in how people in the two groups handle external and internal stimulation. Thus (speaking in general terms and painting with a wide brush):


Introverts are all about internal stimulation. They have rich “inner worlds” that keep them from getting bored even when they have little to do externally. Introverts generally love reading and watching movies because those activities stimulate them internally. Introverts tire easily of the kind of external stimulation one gets at crowded parties and activities that require a lot of physical activity. Introverts generally don’t like a situation that involves a lot of small talk with a lot of people; they’d rather have in-depth conversations with a few people, such as at a dinner party.


Extroverts are all about external stimulation. They thrive on it. When there’s nothing going on they get bored quickly, even if they have a stack of books and magazines to look at. Extroverts certainly enjoy in-depth conversations, but they love lively parties with lots of people and noise. They love chatting with people and doing things. They also enjoy reading, but do so primarily for the sake of learning and gathering information, and less so just for the pleasure of reading.

But… but… but…

This next bit shouldn’t be necessary, but some of you might be skimming and missed the part where I say I’m speaking in generalities. Yes, introverts like parties. But we’ve all see the “wall flowers” at parties (and I don’t mean sullen moody people, just ones who stay at the edge of the action). Those are the introverts. They’re probably feeling a bit overstimulated, so they’re laying back a bit. There’s a lot going on in their heads, and they’re having a good time just observing and thinking about what’s going on. The extroverts, on the other hand, are out there in the middle of the room chatting everyone up. The more the merrier!

And yes, introverts can enjoy things like skiing and hiking and other physical activities. But if you asked an introvert and an extrovert what they’ve done over the past four weekends (barring neutral things like yard work and other chores) you’ll find the extrovert when skiing twice, went to a spa one other weekend, and relaxed on the fourth (but was probably a bit bored). The introvert, on the other hand, read four novels, saw a play, and went skiing once.


Above, I was not only speaking in generalities, but I was referring to binary opposites; people at the extreme ends of what is actually a continuum. Most of us lie somewhere in between, although most of us lean one way or the other. Few are at the extremes or at dead-center.

Five things you should know

Via Darkly Dreaming David, I found this list of “Top 5 Things Every Extrovert Should Know About Introverts.” I would say that introverts should know it too, as some of us are not fully aware that it’s OK to be an introvert. Know thyself, introvert, so you don’t have to feel bad about not wanting to go para-sailing every goddam weekend.

Here are the five things, in brief, but if you’re interested, go to the source for the full explanations:

  1. If a person is introverted, it does NOT mean they are shy or anti-social.
  2. Introverts tend to dislike small talk.
  3. Introverts do like to socialize – only in a different manner and less frequently than extroverts.
  4. Introverts need time alone to recharge.
  5. Introverts are socially well adjusted.
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Mystery claim check

I was cleaning out my wallet the other day and I found this claim check:

Notice a few things wrong with it? How about this; no date, no business name, no phone number, no address. What kind of an idiot designs a claim check like that?

WTF!? Where did that come from? Or more importantly, what did I leave behind?

It most likely came from somewhere in Montreal, and it would have been from some time in the last eight months. If this claim check looks familiar to any of you, please let me know, as I’d like to get my mystery thing back.

iPod help needed

I have a first generation iPod Nano that has served me well, but I’m upgrading to a third generation Nano this week. Apple products are known to be easy to use, and for the most part that’s true – when you want to accomplish an everyday task, the way to do so is pretty intuitive.

But sometimes you need to do something a bit unusual. Experience has shown me that “easy to use” and “workflow-based” software can quickly become nightmarish once you step outside of conventional tasks. The road to unconventional usage is pitted with rabbit holes that once you go down, you can never find your way back. The roadsigns all read “you can’t get there from here.”

Back in the old days, when applications were file-based, it was easy. You put your stuff on the device (or in the application) by moving files. If you wanted to remove the files you just moved or deleted them. But now everything is task- and workflow-based.

With this new way of doing things, workflow is easier for everyday activities, but when something unusual comes along you’re toast because you have no idea where your files are or how the machine interacts with them. All you have is a bunch of thumbnails and a magical interface doing the work for you. Yay progress. (You see this in iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, Aperture, and plenty of other such “workflow oriented” applications, and they’re not all from Apple.)

So now I have two things I want to do with my iPod Nanos, and both should be dead simple. But just try to find anything in Apple’s Help files, or even on the Web. Right. So I’m sending a plea out to you, my loyal readers, some of whom have not only drunk the Apple Kool-aid, but have analyzed and deconstructed it.

(1) I want iTunes to think my new iPod is my old iPod

I want to sync the new Nano and have all my stuff just magically flow into it as if it were my old iPod. Intuitively, it seems it should be easy – just give the new iPod the same name as the old one. But oh, those rabbit holes. I expect that when I plug in the new iPod, iTunes won’t let me give it the old device’s name. It will recognize it as a new device and will insist on a unique name.

Surely there’s an easy workaround, and if any of you know it, please share.

(2) I want to remove all my stuff from my old iPod

I plan to sell the old iPod, but first I want to remove all the stuff from it. I’m less concerned about the songs and the podcasts – it’s the photos, text notes, and contacts (synced through a Palm desktop plugin) that I really want to delete. I haven’t the faintest idea how to do this. Any ideas?