Introverted Does Not Mean Shy

A lot of people have this misconception that introversion means shy. They often say that introverted people need to come out of their shell and socialise with others at parties. Well, take a look at this video. It’s called Body Language for Introverts. You’ll notice that I have the top comment at the moment (if you go to the YouTube page for the video). I love how one person goes on a rant about how North Americans are all extroverts, and that’s what makes North America so great and powerful.  Too bad for him many major business leaders and actors are introverts.

The video gets off to a really bad start. It equates introversion to people who have social anxieties, always having trouble figuring out what to say, or a lack of confidence.  Wrong!

I was once a shy person. Being shy means the above three things. I am not shy now. I’m still introverted, though. What introversion means is that you gain energy by doing more solitary activities, while being in a social situation drains us of energy. We need more solitary time to recharge our batteries, basically.

Let’s look at these three points Vanessa Van Edwards brings up. First, we have social anxieties. Not really, no. That’s what a shy person has. I have no problem being at a social gathering with many people around me. I just prefer to talk to people I know. I’m not nervous at all.  If I’m sitting at the side being quiet, people immediately assume there’s a problem and ask me what’s wrong. Nothing’s wrong, I’m just observing. Think of it as information gathering. I’m also studying people’s behaviour, which is extremely useful when speaking to them. I use this information to adapt how I speak with them. Extroverts tend to speak to everyone the same way. Introverts learn to adapt to different people’s behaviour, and I feel we become better communicators in deep conversation.

Second, she says introverts have trouble figuring out what to say.  Well, that hesitation that introverts have at the beginning of a conversation is usually something called “thinking.” We’d rather start off saying something that’s not inane or unimportant. We’d rather not do small talk, you see.  It’s just talking about the same thing over and over again with different people. We’ve done that conversation, so let’s move on to an actual conversation, please. When we’re in a conversation that is actually about something of substance, we don’t shut up.  Really! Take this example. When doing small talk, people will often bring up the weather.  Last night, a typhoon passed by.  In regular small talk, they might say, “Be careful tonight. There’s a typhoon coming.” “Oh, it’ll be so windy and rainy. You be careful, too.” It’s not really communicating any information that’s useful. There’s nothing being said other than acknowledging that they know the same information.  But, put me into the equation, and I say, “Yes, it should be here around 6 pm this evening. The rain is supposed to be the heaviest around midnight, but not so bad. It actually won’t be a typhoon at that time. It’ll be a tropical depression.” That then goes into a rather detailed discussion on both sides about typhoons, hurricanes, tropical storms, etc. What would have normally been a rather meaningless exchange on something we already knew turned into an information exchange that was far more meaningful.  That is how introverts like to talk. And we do talk a lot.

The third point is that she says we’re not confident.  That is complete BS.  Shy people are not confident by definition. Introverts are quite confident, especially my personality type, INTJ. We’re known for being straightforward and often a bit too blunt in what we say. We’re honest, we say what we think, and we’re confident about it. We just say it in a way that has a lot of thought behind it, rather than blurting out something that we might regret.

So, people, don’t confuse introversion with shyness. They are not the same thing. Vanessa Van Edwards does not know what an introvert is.  Take this from a real introvert: we are not shy. Quiet, yes. Shy, not all of us.

The Problem With Technology in Science Fiction

I love science fiction. I love seeing how authors view the future and how far we’ve advanced technologically and as a society.  I’ve seen some amazing things in science fiction. But there’s a problem. Some of it is already obsolete.

Take a look at the original Star Trek. Knobs and levers, cathode ray tube displays, and horribly outdated decor. It looks old. But looking at each device they use shows how far we’ve advanced in the past fifty years. The best example is the communicator. The designers of it very accurately predicted cell phones, especially flip phones. However, those cell phones developed more than a simple LCD which showed the phone number, they actually had full colour screens capable of video. That was only about ten to fifteen years ago. I remember my first cell phone in Japan. It had TV, radio, compass, internet, web browser (although archaic), and camera. It was incredibly advanced, I thought.  Fast forward ten years, and I have an iPhone, which is not actually a cell phone, but a handheld computer with wireless communications capabilities. It has completely blown Star Trek’s communicators out of the water. Cell phones of today are more powerful than the computers that ran the space shuttles in the 1980s, and for a much lower price and compact form.

It seems a lot of our technology outpaces what we predict in science fiction. We already have ion propulsion in spacecraft.  Star Trek said it was more advanced than anything Starfleet had, including the warp engine.  Of course, now we know that ion propulsion is a fairly simple concept, while warp is beyond our reach for now.  Replicators exist now in the form of 3D printers, and they’re getting better all the time. We’re even on the verge of making food 3D printers (or food replicators). We could even be close to achieving the technology seen in the Holodeck. Star Trek: The Next Generation had the PADD, which is now a modern device called the tablet computer.  Teleportation exists today, though only for energy and information.  Quantum computers are being developed now, and that’s something never envisioned by Star Trek.

In my writing, I find it difficult to predict what we will use 150 years in the future. I imagine things like 3D printers will have evolved into some kind of fabrication system that is quick and efficient. It could mean a complete change in the way we manufacture, or even do construction. Transportation is another difficult thing to predict. Will mass transportation be through the air or by maglev trains? Who knows? How will our spacecraft look? How fast will they go? How about agriculture? Will we still have fields or will we be using vertical farming?

It’s difficult to imagine the future, but it’s fun. I’ve already worked on the spacecraft that take the colonists to Ariadne, and I have an advanced version of the 3D printer in mind. And nuclear fusion is a reality.

What do you predict for technology in the future?