It has become quite clear to me that the people behind the blog LifeHacker have a certain thing against introverts. I honestly don’t know what brought it on from them, but they seem to go above and beyond to not only misunderstand the very basics of what an introvert is, but also to then abuse, offend and insult them.
This is a sore topic with me because I am sick of being told I am a lesser person for being an introvert myself. I am sick of being told I am inadequate for being an introvert myself. I am sick of being told I am broken for being an introvert myself. I am sick of being told there is something wrong with me for being an introvert myself. All of these things I am told, are wrong. They are incorrect. They are insults whether they are intended as insults or not, and I am sick of it.
Today for example LifeHacker had an article up about uncomfortable people. It starts off by talking about introverts, and right off the bat it insults them. “People who don’t know what to say”. What? No. Introverts are not idiots. We are not clueless morons. We are not social retards.
There are MANY reasons why people may not talk, less than half of which have anything to do with introversion. For an introvert it could be because they have nothing to contribute to the conversation. We’re happy to just listen to a conversation taking place. We tend to be thinkers, and add to conversations when there’s something worthwhile to say. We’re not empty noises. It’s not that we can’t think of something, it is that we quite simply are often happy not to.
What do LifeHacker suggest to remedy this? “Ask A Simple Question That Requires An Opinion”, “Show Them You’re OK With Their Discomfort”. In other words either dumb things down for them and belittle them, or get in their faces and make the situation extremely uncomfortable, all the while trying to jack-knife and force words out of a person. Yes, a great way to endear someone to you is by annoying the crap out of them and getting in their face, not giving them any escape.
Some better advice would be quite simply DBAD, something LifeHacker itself has trouble with. DBAD of course stands for Don’t Be A Dick. Find someone else to converse with, and let the introvert remain happy and comfortable. You do NOT cheer an introvert up by annoying, aggravating and draining them. You cheer them up by giving them the space they need to be happy, and leaving an opening there for them to join in when they do in fact have something of value to contribute.
What’s worse than their suggestions for a quiet person, is that in it they link to an article where they quite blatantly call introverts weirdo’s. Yet again they get introversion wrong, confusing it with a psychological disorder where people are afraid to go outside. Introverts aren’t afraid of the great big outdoors in the slightest. What I think you’ll find they’re referring to is Agoraphobia.
The association to Howard Hughes was just downright insulting.
Below is a little feedback I left to LifeHacker. I’m posting it here on this blog because they really did piss me off by their articles, but I suspect I won’t hear a single thing from them. I am highly insulted and hurt by their thoughtless and incorrect writings.
I would like to point out something about the following two articles:
Both articles refer to introverts as being weirdo’s and freaks. That is in no way shape or form the case, they are a much larger portion of the population than you may realise, and the kind of language used here by your writers and editors is also EXTREMELY abusive, insulting and offensive. I am very hurt by such flippant inaccurate comments being made about me.
Introverts seriously aren’t that hard to understand. They are simply people who get drained by contact and confrontation rather than getting recharged by it. They have limits to social time (for some these limits are VERY high). They also have the capability to spend time happily with their own thoughts and little more.
They are NOT afraid of human contact, they’re simply not recharged by it. They are NOT afraid of going outside, they are simply capable of spending time without it to no detriment. They are NOT too stupid to come up with things to talk about, they simply don’t always have something to contribute and don’t feel the need, the desire, to open their gob anyway for the simple need of hearing their own voice. They are NOT lacking self confidence, if anything they are more comfortable in themselves and don’t feel the need to get external validation for confidence.
Please have both of these articles removed until such time as they can be corrected, and take more care in the future not to insult and abuse your readers. Introverts are a significant percentage of the population after all.
Links to positive information and facts about introverts and introversion:
The Power of Introverts – Scientific American – A positive article about introverts.
The Power of Introverts – TED Talks
Caring for your introvert – The Atlantic – How to treat an introvert (unlike LifeHacker’s advice).
10 Myths about introverts – CarlKingdom – All 10 myths are mistakes LifeHacker regularly makes.
The Upside of Being an Introvert – Time
Extraversion and introversion – Wikipedia
Edit 15/02/2012: As expected, no response was ever given to the feedback I provided to LifeHacker through the “proper channels” (ie, their feedback/contact forms). They have however finally put up a story that is positive towards introverts rather than insulting to them. I’m hoping this article isn’t an exception to the rule as far as their treatment of introverts goes. It really is a brilliant article, I very highly suggest you read it and check out other things by Dr Boyes.
Edit 19/02/2012: I was suspecting the previous article was more an exception to the rule rather than a turning of the tides, and it appears that suspicion was accurate. Another article appeared yesterday that angered quite a lot of introverts long before I got to it. Personally I didn’t find this latest one as insulting as the previous two, nor as insulting as most of the other commenters seem to find it, though they still did get things very wrong in misattributing shyness and social anxiety to introversion.