s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: The Introvert Dodges a Bullet

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Introvert Dodges a Bullet

Saturday evening I got a phone call, which my caller ID identified as coming from someone in the ward. My first thought was that she wanted ask me about something to do with my calling. In fact, she wanted to invite me to see a late showing of Cars with her and some other ward members.

As an introvert, social events are tricky. I don’t like socializing, but I also don’t know how to explain to people that like them fine but I don’t want to spend any more time with than I already do. This article claims that introverts are outnumbered by extroverts 3:1. If we’re such a small minority, it accounts for the difficulties in being understood by the more common social butterflies. (I actually think it’s more likely that introvert/extrovert isn’t a strict binary division, but the endpoints of a spectrum of personalities. Even so, I’m in a rather high percentile on the introvert scale.)

In the interest of preserving my evening as well as my emotional contentment, I present five excuses, à la manière de* Cyrano de Bergerac:


On a good night I can catch 6 or 7 hours of sleep. I’d rather not lose 3 more hours (especially since I can’t sleep in on Sundays).


I pretty much promised the Hulking Man-child that I’d see Cars with him when I get back to Provo. (We have a long tradition of seeing Pixar movies together.) I’d can’t break that promise!


I just started a book on the psychology of categorization. Nothing you say this evening is going to be nearly as interesting.


I’m an introvert and I already talked to three people today.


Unfortunately, I am otherwise engaged for the evening. I had planned to read a bit, work on a blog entry, maybe cast on a new knitting project – you understand.

So, what excuse did I finally give? None. My first thought was that she wanted to ask me about my calling, but my second thought was that she might invite me to some social event. Given the risk, I let her leave a message on my voice mail. No direct human contact means no excuse necessary and no harm done.

I had a lovely evening.

*It would be more natural to say “à la Cyrano de Bergerac,” but the French major in me can’t stand to use “à la” + a masculine noun, and I’ll lose non-francophones if I use “au.” I feel like a mythological character who must offend either the god of French grammar or the god of intellectually accessible prose; nothing will suit both of them and both will punish me for the offense.


At June 13, 2006 12:18 AM, Blogger JB said...

Well done. Crisis averted. :) I'm glad you had a good night.

Also, the introvert/extrovert thing is so interesting to me. I'm something of an extrovert, and I adore introverts. They make me want to be more...pensive. They often make me want to leave them alone, but not in a mean or "I don't like you" kinda way.

At June 13, 2006 11:36 AM, Blogger Becca said...

Is it odd that I don't picture you as an introvert? Maybe not an extrovert, but you are talkative and not... well... introverted.

At June 13, 2006 1:25 PM, Blogger Logan said...

au contraire, isn't it the case that no amount of French is gauche in intellectual prose? Or to put it another way, English has appropriated the French lexicon en masse to use whenever we feel that nostalgie de la boue, n'est-ce pas?

At June 13, 2006 10:23 PM, Blogger Th. said...


But you missed Cars! Hoo. That's a tough one. I sympathize thoroughly with the crisis, but my love for Pixar makes this a tough one.

At June 14, 2006 12:16 PM, Blogger Katya said...

becca - Well, you first met me around Melyngoch, and I'm not very shy or introverted around her. Plus, I've always been less introverted around Board people than around other people. It's a special group.

logan - I never said I thought using French would be gauche, I said I thought it would make my writing less accessible. (Or, as the French say, less . . . wait, never mind. It's the same word.)

Th. - Yeah, I know. But I can still see it in a couple of weeks. (Hopefully this won't be a repeat of my last trip home when I desperately wanted to see New York Doll and ended up being sick for a month!)

At June 14, 2006 9:51 PM, Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

Why do you even need excuses? How about, "thanks for the offer, I'll meet you there if I can make time."

And say it's much worse to offend the French grammar gods, they are bigger snobs. The snobbier the entity, the greater the reaction to an infraction of their laws.


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