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Summer Solstice (Litha)

Well, I was up nice and early to see the sunrise. But, alas, the part of the sky that I was interested in was covered in clouds.
This was about five minutes before sunrise, and you can only just (and barely) see it turning red.
Cloudy morning
Summer solstice - cloudy morning.

Coming home today, guess what, more clouds. This time with added rumble.

Cloudy evening
Summer solstice - cloudy evening.
AccuWeather told me that it will rain like hell at about half past six. It's quarter to seven and dry as a bone. That's how it is around here these days. Promise of rain, but very little actually arrives. I've just glanced at my phone, and it is saying "A break in the rain in 1 minute". Uh... <looks outside, bone dry>

Back in 2002-2005ish, going across the field to feed the furries would require some intricate footwork to avoid having mud pour over the tops of my shoes for, well, most of the winter and into spring. Now? If the grass was kept cut, I could probably do it in flip-flops or slippers without problem. It's just not as wet as it used to be. And remember, we're pretty much an oceanic climate, that which you'd expect to be "somewhat rainy".

 

I'm uploading this stuff with my S9 in hotspot mode, to save powering up the Livebox in a thunderstorm. It's a pretty miserable experience. 4G in and around the house is very iffy, it frequently downgrades. So right now it's trying to decide between 3G and H+, and spending more time bouncing between the two than actually sending anything. Grrr, just pick one already!

 

I need a tea

Saw this on Amazon, thought it was cute until my brain threw an exception over the wording.
I NEED A TEA sweatshirt
"I NEED A TEA" sweatshirt

Now, I don't know about you, but "I NEED A TEA" is oddly specific. To my mind, it would read so much better if it just said "I NEED TEA".

Or, perhaps, it's just us Brits that require multiple doses when we're in the red? ☺

Speaking of being in the red...

 

I'm not timid, I'm an introvert

Okay, I get it. From the outside we're the ones standing at the fringe of a party (assuming we even turn up) looking like we'd rather be somewhere, anywhere, else.

But just as far left and far right politics manage to come up with remarkably similar policies for very different reasons, timid people and introverts appear to behave in a similar manner...for very different reasons.

Timid people, generally, have a crippling fear. It may be a fear of rejection. A fear of being mocked. A fear of mumbling something incoherent and dumb when in the presence of that cute girl/guy (as appropriate). Sadly, in far too many cases this fear is actually internally justified and may go back to something as simple as being mocked by classmates and when going home upset about it, getting further mocked by their own parents.
That's why I wish people (teachers and parents) would take bullying properly rather than doing nothing, saying "man up", or even encouraging the one being bullied to lash out.
But, whatever, timid people fear social interaction. It's a great cluster of anxieties waiting to boil over.

Introverts, on the other hand, don't have a crippling fear. Well, we might freak out (quietly!) over spiders or something, but it's not because of interacting with other people. We also don't tend to care if we make a bit of a dick of ourselves because... well, if we want your opinion we'll ask for it.
Note, incidently, that it somewhat crosses over into stereotypical autism a little here - the whole "we are great conversationalists so long as you care to hear in intricate detail the functioning and maintenance of a Weber twin barrel downdraft carburettor".
However, the primary thing is that - put simply - we introverts derive no benefit from social gatherings. Extroverts, those who are the life and soul of the party, they thrive on being in the middle of everything. The more people watching, the better.
Introverts, however, tend to be at their best when alone. Social situations, group gatherings, can be emotionally exhausting.

 

How to understand and care for an introvert

  • "You're my best friend, I really like meeting up with you... for about half an hour a week." It's a bit of a stereotype, but there is some truth in it. We value alone time as much as we value social time with a friend. Social time in a group? We don't value that, it's draining.
  • If you manage to drag an introvert to a party, do not be surprised if they ghost you for the next three days. They aren't angry or upset, just recharging. Alone, quiet, by themselves (are you starting to spot a trend?).
  • If an introvert chooses to spend more time with you, it's perfectly okay to sit for two hours watching a river. No, you don't need to break the silence. You don't need to start conversation. You'll be much more appreciated if you can understand that for the introvert, it will be a lovely two hours spent with their friend (you can see why introverts and extroverts really don't understand each other).
    In concession, you might find an appreciate introvert is then willing to do something that you would call fun, even if it's outside of their comfort zone. Because they'll understand that if you aren't an introvert as well, two hours of silence doing nothing might have freaked you out a bit.
  • No, we are NOT f***ing broken, and no, we don't need to be "more like everybody else". You only think everybody else is an extrovert because they make so bloody much noise you fail to notice the other introverts.
  • Don't try to shame us by implying that you need to "fix" us. We will hate you for it, very quietly of course, so you'll never know, but screw you anyway, we're not broken.
  • Never, ever, ever say something like "you're so quiet, you're clearly depressed, seek help before you end up killing youself". It's enough to have the noisy mouth breathers always point out how different we are (and, yet, we number between a quarter and a third of the population), but to imply that we're so far gone that we need therapy to avert suicide? No, dear, the word you're looking for isn't "suicide", it's "homicide". Say that again, go on, say it...
    (if you really think an introvert is upset and you truly want to help, then there is a great way you can do this - simply bugger off (stronger words are available))
  • We're not a puzzle you need to try to solve. This is our life, not your entertainment. If you want a puzzle, buy a Rubik's cube.
  • Tea and a good book is a perfectly pleasant way to pass a weekend. If you can't understand this, you'll just never understand.
  • Also like autism, introversion is a spectrum thing. Some might just be called "reserved" while others get called "antisocial". Some lucky people are bang in the middle and can live it up in a party and quietly recharge later.
  • Give us a minute. There's nothing worse than somebody firing off questions and expecting immediate answers. We prefer to get out thoughts straight and work out what we want to say and how best to say it before opening our mouths.
    Being asked random stuff out of the blue, especially in a work or school environment while "I'll get back to you on that" is not an acceptable response, is an entire category of trauma.
  • Related to that, don't be surprised if we rarely (or just plain don't) call. Telephones are horrible nasty things that rob us of thinking time. If you want to get in touch, email or text messages is the way to go. If we need to get up and walk around the garden for five minutes before deleting and rewriting two paragraphs, you'll never know, and the final message should be a more worthy one. There's no such opportunity on the phone.
  • Understand that if we're invited to a party, we will probably decline. And declining, for us, will involve several days of freaking out about it, followed by a last minute babbled incoherent excuse to do with the cat puking on the carpet. Which is the best we could come up with under duress...
    But do please keep asking us if we'd like to participate, as it's always nice to have our existence acknowledged. Or, rather, it sucks to be forgotten.
  • We're a lot more likely to turn up if it's a group of five then a group of fifty. Contrary to popular belief, we actually do enjoy being with people we like.
  • If we do actually turn up, don't be upset if we bail early. Chances are we had a lovely time and we're just dropping out before it gets too much. But, as before, don't call us to ask if we're okay, we'll be in repair for a couple of days.
  • Some introverts can actually be quite amusing and fun at parties (given enough advance notice for preparation). But, as before, don't be surprised if they completely fall off the radar for a few days. A pretty universal theme is that social situations are draining, and we need to recharge in a quiet low-stimulus place.
  • Put more technically, extroverts have an energy-spending nervous system that really loves a good flood of dopamine. Introverts are much more sensitive to dopamine so their nervous system is more energy-conserving. We really don't need dopamine swishing around inside. So, yes, we're perfectly happy reading a book. No, seriously, leave us alone, we're okay.
  • Because our brains and nervous system just isn't wired to do the whole dopamine thing, there's little pleasure in gambling, taking risks, or being surprised. In the more extreme cases, this can come across as "dull surprise". That is to say, the chippie down the road explodes into a fireball due to a gas leak. People are running and screaming. The dull surprise introvert might raise an eyebrow and comment (to themselves), "well, that was unexpected".
    Of course, while it might sound awesome to keep your nerves together in the midst of adversity, it's probably not a great survival instinct to have that reaction upon meeting a bear...although there have been a couple of cases where the bear actually backed off because the whole "raaaaar!" thing not only failed to get the expected degree of incontinence, not damn near failed to get any reaction at all. Animals aren't stupid. A person who looks at a display like that and shrugs is either completely mental or amazingly powerful. Neither option is a good dinner choice.
    This isn't, of course, saying that introverts should ignore bears. That's just saying that if you are camping with an introvert and you meet a bear, for god's sake grab their hand and pull (the introvert, not the bear).
  • Don't be surprised if our friends can be counted on fingers. Perhaps even the fingers of one hand. We don't need a huge social circle.
    The flip side of this is that if you become friends with an introvert, you'll find the introvert to be an excellent friend. The lack of a big social circle means that we really care about each of our friends, and when people drift away, it is actually upsetting. We're not losing "him over there, what's-his-face, yeah, that guy", we're probably losing a fifth or a quarter of our entire social group.
  • Introverts are good listeners. Don't be surprised if they say nothing for an entire conversation. We do tend to be fairly blunt, so if the topic bored us we'd just say "excuse me" and amble off. Or, if there was no way to get a word in, just amble off. If we're still there, we're listening, processing, and we'll say something if and when there's something to add that hasn't already been covered.
  • Speaking of blunt, don't ask an introvert a question to which you are not anticipating an honest response. So, protip, if you are at all worried about "do I look fat in this dress", only ask an introvert if you can handle the response.
  • Please do not try to strike up a conversation with an introvert by saying "Beautiful day, isn't it?" or "It looks like it might snow.". The first is highly subjective on what "beautiful" applies to. One might say the weather, but is a glorious sunny day a glorious sunny day if you're going to a funeral? The second... is pretty much self evident. Look out of the window.
    You might just get away with "they are forecasting twenty millimetres of rain this evening" as that's more factual and not necessarily self-evident.
    But, generally, introverts detest small talk. I mean, how does one logically reply? "Beautiful day, isn't it? Yes it is." End of conversation. "It looks like it might snow. It sure does." End of conversation.
    We don't hate small talk because we detest people or social interactions, we hate small talk because it is inherently pointless. It's a trite way of engaging in polite social niceties because we've been raised to engage in polite social niceties. You, a new person who has just appeared in my life, are telling me nothing about yourself when passing comments on the weather. And if you continue with the small talk, you'll have exercised a whole bunch of words and utterly failed in any meaningful form of information transfer.
    It would be far better, from an introvert's point of view, to open a conversation with something that they can start to discuss. Depending on the introvert, that may include politics and religion. Some may think it as a private matter and not up for discussion, while others think it perfectly worth discussing (not for starting arguments, but hearing different opinions can help them better form their own). Tread lightly, but don't be surprised if you shake your head in disbelief after a half hour of existential philosophy. Trust me, the introvert will have massively appreciated it. Because, really, we despise small talk and would rather engage in a proper worthwhile discussion.
    We also like to work out whether or not you, as a new person, will be somebody to warm up to (slowly, of course, as is our way). We really don't give a flying flamingo if you noticed that it is raining. We have eyes. We already noticed. That you noticed means your eyes function. We don't need a report on the self-diagnostics. What next? You'll tell us that the current song playing is "Only You" by Yazoo? Good, your ears work and you have some familiarity with a decade of good music. So what's your favourite song from that decade? And why?
    If you're really stuck, ask us "what do you like to do, when you aren't reading?". The last four words are to indicate that "read a book" is a self-evident answer that doesn't need to be given.
  • But, note, you'll turn us right off if you open with personal questions. Asking things that are private is a massive red flag. The only reason somebody would do such a thing, especially if they aren't known, would be to cause trouble in the future.
    Also, don't be surprised if an introvert never discusses things like past sexual partners, even if you happen to be the current sexual partner. Things considered private are out of bounds. No if, but, or maybe. And no amount of prodding will change that.
  • Trust is important, and trust takes time. Don't push. And note what we give vague answers about. I, personally, am more than happy to talk politics (you might have noticed) while others think how and why they would vote to be a private thing.
  • Note that you may get a seemingly odd reaction of an introvert shying away from talking about a mundane subject. The problem here is our thought process. If we aren't trained in, knowledgeable of, or experienced in a certain situation, then it may make us uncomfortable to have opinions on it because we don't have a point of reference upon which to base our thought process.
  • Please don't ever expect us to enjoy or appreciate the time wasted in work meetings. These are typically run by extroverts that talk a lot, and talk their way through problems.
    Unfortunately, for the introvert, is comes across as an hour of complete bullshit that is best summed up as "we shall do this, no we shall do this, no actually we'll do this unless it might be better to do this". By the end of the meeting, the introvert won't have a clue what is actually going to be done, and frankly by that point won't give a crap, they'll just want to lie down.
    Extroverts process information noisily. By talking about it. Endlessly. Great, it works for them.
    Introverts process information internally. We observe, think, draw conclusions, and quite often switch to Devil's Advocate to see if we can find ways to shoot an idea down. Or, in terms of science, one can devise a hundred ways to prove a theory, but one only needs to devise a single way to disprove it.
    When we're done, we are happy to vocalise what we have thought about. If our idea runs to twenty seconds of speech containing three sentences, it doesn't mean we're lazy or just plucked something out of our arse. We easily did all the thought process as an extrovert, we just didn't provide a running narration. Which, actually, means we probably way outthunk (that's now a word, I said so ☺) the extrovert as thinking can run much faster than getting the words out. Plus, it just so happens that the thought process of an introvert is longer and involves a lot more of the brain. I'm not trying to big up introverts, this has actually been demonstrated (ref. "The Introvert Advantage" by Marti Olsen Laney).
  • Don't try to read too much into our body language. We internalise our emotions.
    However, like with autistic people, please don't make the mistake of thinking offensive crap like not showing emotions means we don't have emotions. We do. We can be happy, sad, ecstatic, hurt, confused, devastated... just like you. The only difference is, our emotions are our personal feeling that we don't feel the necessity to share with random strangers. So, no, if we feel the world has ended we won't be the ones lying on the pavement bawling our eyes out.
  • ...but don't be surprised if we like you and you ask how we are, if we tell you... with pretty much our default expression even when talking about horrible things.
  • Oh, and if you don't actually want to know how we're feeling, don't ask. That whole "How are you? Fine, you? Fine." is pointless small talk. If that's what you are aiming for, just say "Hey" and we can reply "Hey" and then we can both go on our way having only wasted six letters.
  • Something you can read into our body language is that if we're facing away, including facing a wall or something, we just kind of want to be left alone. Don't try to "just bring you out of your shell" as that's the exact opposite of what we're looking for at that moment.
  • Don't be surprised if we have some seemingly peculiar tastes in music. Because we don't tend to express our emotional states ourselves, we can sometimes enjoy them through the medium of music. So, really, a playlist that pitches Epica right next to Kate Bush should not be even remotely surprising. And sometimes we might throw in a bit of Birthday Massacre just to screw with you. We get the heavy lyrical dissonance. You... might not. And that would (quietly) amuse us.
  • If our eyes flit around when we're talking to you, we're not bored of you and we're not having a seizure. We are highly sensitive to our surroundings, and take not of all of the sensory details. It's not what you are saying, it's not your lips moving, it's the birdsong, it's the temperature, it's the feel and direction of the breeze. Which means that as you are engaging us in a pleasant and meaningful conversation that we are enjoying, we're also noticing that your perfume contains lavender and cinnamon and what would appear to be some form of citrus. Not mild like orange, but not as sharp as lemon. Perhaps... pink grapefruit?
    Yes, we notice stuff.
    (this also explains why we recharge in a low-stimulus environment)
  • Don't ask "why are you always so quiet?" Would you like it if we asked "why the hell can't you SHUT UP for five damn seconds?". No, you wouldn't. So don't ask.
    Really, just don't.
  • But since I know you'll bloody ask anyway: This is just how we are / We're listening / We don't know enough about the subject to feel worthy of giving an opinion / We're tired / We've been overstimulated and just want to go home / We didn't quite get that last joke / Dude, that's just not funny.
    Or, maybe after asking us too many times why we're so quiet we actually think you suck and would rather walk over to that wall and bash our bonce off of it than be in your miserable company any longer.
    Pick whichever response seems appropriate, and stop asking... Really, just stop.
  • DO. NOT. TOUCH.
    Some of us are happy with handshakes. Others cringe internally but accept that it is the done thing. If you think you're going to hug, you better be damn certain we like you otherwise you might find yourself pushed away in an unexpectedly assertive manner.
    For my part, I consider grabbing my hand and shaking it to be only marginally better than grabbing my dick and shaking it. Yet oddly, one would likely get you arrested while the other is supposed to signify a bond. Ugh. Hands off.
  • Finally, you would have to seriously upset or annoy us in order to get a response the indicates so. We are extremely unlikely to let you know if you hurt us. This is pretty much a learned response from the times we have said something, to be met with a pained "what did I do? you're the weird one" behaviours. Yeah, remind me, who's the victim here? Given that some people are pathologically incapable of understanding the mind of an introvert, it's not really worth the hassle of trying to say anything, and for my part I'd rather be seen as antisocial than attempt to explain this in a way an extrovert could grasp. Maybe what I've written here might help, a little? But the hurtful comments still hurt. We just don't show it. So you'll never know.

Upon rereading this to check for typos, it's rather startling the cross-over between introversion and autism, isn't it?

 

 

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Rob, 22nd June 2022, 00:37
Bookmarked... 
I'd not typically call myself an introvert, though I see a heck of a lot of things in there that resonate! I hate "social" situations.. 
 
Mind you, when I did an online Autism test a few weeks back, I scored really high, so it's probably that instead.. My step-son is autistic; When my wife met me, she says I was different from other men. I suspect it was more I was like him! But we've managed 22 years so I guess something works. Friends? Apart from family, just a few people online, (I include Rick here,) none of whom I've ever met.
Rick, 22nd June 2022, 07:12
https://heyrick.eu/blog/index.php?diary=20151211 
 
I wonder if there isn't a bit of a crossover between what people call "introvert" and some form of mild autism?
Frank, 22nd June 2022, 07:44
Yup. Recognise most of that. 
By the way, you'll need to reread it again to check for typos ('take not'?).
Rick, 22nd June 2022, 19:41
Reading it again today, yeah, just a few typos. 
 
In my defence (here comes a lame excuse!) it was a combination of paying more attention to the markup than the spelling because by then it was half ten and I had planned to eat at half eight and be in bed asleep by eleven, bit kind of got "in the zone" (you know?). 
 
And, also, I probably should have saved the "we are not broken" part until the end. Thinking about that and the times I've come across that, *AND* the arsehole that suggested I seek help before I kill myself (yes, that really happened), I think it would be fair to say I was mildly miffed.
Rick, 22nd June 2022, 19:44
Note: "mildly miffed" is British for exceedingly pissed off. 
 
But a combination of introversion and just, you know, being British, it comes across as a bit of shoulder tensing coupled with a Kubrick stare. 
And, of course, the necessary amount of understatement. 
David Pilling, 24th June 2022, 15:29
Homo-dymo the ape that likes sticking labels on things. A bit like going to the doctor and coming back with one's symptoms translated into Latin. 
 
The unhappiest thing I've heard recently about Autism is that it is caused by the environment of young children. So someone with a severely autistic child that will spend a life in care, can console themselves with the thought it is all their fault for letting the kid sit too long in front of the TV. 
 
"fear is actually internally justified and may go back to something as simple" 
 
A past event - a theory but can anyone prove it. 
 
Anyway a thought provoking post. 
 
Rick, 24th June 2022, 21:30
Nearly spat my tea across the room reading about homo-dymo. Well played.  
 
I've heard so much bullshit about autism in my life (sadly a lot from people who ought to know better, like teachers and social workers) that my response is ☕ in order to stop me being 😠.
Pieter, 25th June 2022, 05:54
Right, I recognize much of this spectrum, whatever they call it.
J.G.Harston, 27th June 2022, 01:59
I have a mug that says: 英国の茶道:牛乳,砂糖,急ぐ
J.G.Harston, 27th June 2022, 02:08
Oh god, I *hate* people phoning me on my mobile and then demanding I get into a deep detailed discussion on something. I DON'T KNOW! I'm two hours into leafleting the valley in the hot sun, with 300 more to go/trying to do my shopping/am halfway down a carpark staircase, THAT INFORMATION IS AT HOME! Email me, dammit.

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