Thursday, October 9, 2008

An Introvert's Bill of Rights

Despite the irony, coming up with a Bill of Rights for Introverts will be a collaborative project here at Shrinking Violets. As in all of you out there-- we need your input! I've been thinking about this for some time. Many of us have such a hard time telling the extraverts in our lives, those that we friend/date/love/marry/cohabit, what we need to stay balanced and living high in the Valley of Well-Being. The needs of extraverts sounds so much more reasonable, don't they? Why wouldn't you go have dinner with friends on Friday night after a long week at work? That's what grown-ups do. They don't hunker down with a book or iPod or ferret and flip on their internal mute button.

But W-E do, for god's sake! We absolutely must at times and it makes sense. Why does it have to look and seem so mental? Like there is something wrong or something went amuck. As in--Whoops! I didn't divy up my energy diligently enough this week and I came up short on Friday night. Mea culpa! It won't happen again.

Have you ever considered that the extraverts all want to go out on Friday night because they used up all their e-juice and want to plug in? They NEED to go out. Just as much as you may NEED to be alone. Everyone really should feel free to do what works best for them when batteries are low.

So, I'm going to get this started, and then Robin and I want to hear from you!



~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
1. Introverts have the right to claim a sacred space of their own for recharging, rebalancing or simply enjoying a single, solitary activity.

2. Introverts have the right to leave social events "early" as needed.

3. Introverts have the right to explore and choose the marketing and promotional activities that feel best suited to their unique style and preferences.

4. Introverts have the right to abstain from any marketing (or life) activities that result in boils, a resting heart rate > 120, and/or loss of any bodily function.

5. Introverts have the right to marry other introverts and bear children.

All right, your turn now. Let's hear some more! I'd love to get a list of ten and we'll post them in our sidebar.

Before I close this, if you've got time, I want to share a terrific essay on introverts by Hunter Nuttall that I read earlier today entitled The Introverts Strike Back. And, it your name starts with B and ends with E-T-H, this one's for you, girlfriend! :->

Later, friends! Robin should be back with us next week. Yipeeee!

Mary Hershey


Yat-Yee said...

#5 made me laugh. I married someone who scored as far on the E side as I did on the I side of the Meyer Briggs test, which is to say we're as far apart as possible on that scale. But I have detected some introvert tendencies in the last few years in him. Maybe maturing is a process that requires more introvert-type habits.

R.L. LaFevers said...

Great post, Mary!

And #6. Introverts have the right to retire to their rooms for quiet and recharging time during conferences!

Anonymous said...

I'd have to think about this for a little bit. However, I think that #3 and #4 should be combined because you're talking about the same thing: marketing and promotion. I think #3 should be something like this:

~ Introverts have the right to explore and choose the marketing and promotional activities that result in boils, a resting heart rate > 120, and/or loss of any bodily function.

What say you?

Anonymous said...

Introverts have the right to not say anything for 3+ hours and still be considered "cool."

Introverts have the right to make their roommates/significant others run errands because they "don't feel like going out."

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Introverts have the right not to have to explain why they need down time or alone time.

(Extroverts have the corresponding right not to explain why they need to socialize!)

Introverts have the right to use email instead of the telephone!

Anonymous said...

Mary, this is great. I've often felt that we need a Bill of Rights in order to be recognized as valid human beings!

I'm actually in the middle of a 1-week trial of extraversion, just to see what it's like. So far, I definitely prefer introversion!

Thanks for linking to my post!

Anonymous said...

Introverts have the right to wear iPods/MP3 players in ostensibly social contexts, thereby demonstrating not their introversion but their thoughtfulness.

Tanguera said...

Introverts have the right to not engage in conversation unless they so choose.

Introverts have the right to believe wallflower is not a dirty word.

Miriam Forster said...

Introverts have the right to recharge with video and/or computer games without being regarded as childish.
(That's for my husband)

Introverts have the right to screen phone calls or cut short exhausting phone conversations just because they're feeling antisocial.
(And this one's for me)

When my husband and I first got married, we tried to spend all our free time together. It was a disaster. Now we each have introvert-decompress time, and everything works much better.

Editorial Anonymous said...

I am right on the border between I and E, and it means that I can understand both types well. Sometimes I need to be alone, and it's that time that lets me feel I know the person I want to be.
And sometimes I need to be around people, and it's that time that lets me feel I'm doing a good job at being the person I want to be.

Absolutely everyone has the right to say, This is how I am. And this is how I healthily manage my life and relationships without trying to be something I'm not.

A Paperback Writer said...

I am an extrovert, but I would still like to claim #s 1 and 2.
I think this is because I am frequently an exhausted extrovert, and I must have time to recharge.

Other Lisa said...

LOVE the "email over phone" clause. That's so me! Even though I like talking to people I know.

Lessee. Introverts have the right to take walks in the middle of the day to clear their heads and recharge.

Hope Clark said...

Love all this chatter about introverts. I'm INTJ, so many of my readers think I'm not introverted, but they forget I'm online 99.999% of the time, painting my persona as I see fit. I wrote THE SHY WRITER because I was tired of hearing the same old promotional talk, which was obviously written by extroverts. Some ideas for your bill of rights:

1. Introverts have the right to listen for long periods of time.

2. Introverts have the right to email interviews in lieu of the phone or in-person techniques.

3. Introverts have the right to choose the size of the crowd they participate in.

4. Introverts don't have to raise their hand in class. (Even now, at a conference, my heart beats out of my chest when I contribute to a group.)

I use all types of tricks to stay true to my real self. I make sure I wear a name tag in groups - one I had made with my logo and name clearly identified so that I do not have to introduce myself so much.

Gosh, I could go on forever.

Hope Clark

Hope Clark said...

Sure wish you had a link so I could receive an email everytime you updated the site.

Hope Clark

Addie said...

Introverts have the right to ride conveyances of all types unmolested, and may use any ploy at their disposal to discourage small talk.

lotusgirl said...

I'm loving this post. My personal favorites are the "email instead of phone call" and the "not have to raise their hands in class" and I add:

Introverts have the right to attend a social function and say absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

Not so much an addition to the bill of introvert rights, but more of a reframing. My husband says not to think of it as being shy or introverted, so much as "selectively social."

How about: introverts have the right not to speak up in meetings until they're damn well good and ready, without being thought of as dull-witted.

Sabrina Favors said...

I love the prospect of introverts having the right to not raise their hand in class. I'm in a graduate English program and all the professors require class participation and discussion as part of our grade. Just because I don't want to say anything doesn't mean I'm not taking notes and thinking about the subject at hand.

(And at work right now, our boss wants us to go out and talk to other businesses and pull in more customers--I don't think I have to explain here how much I do -not- want to do that.)

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Introverts are allowed to (and actually like to) eat dinner at restaurants or go to movies alone!
SRjohannes (

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Oh got another one:

introverts dont have to be quiet all the time. they can still have a great personality and be funny!


R.L. LaFevers said...

Wow, look at all these great additions to the Introvert's Bill of Rights! Fabulous!

And welcome to all you new readers.

Hope, you're right, we should have a subscription link to make following the blog easier for people. I've been meaning to add that for a long time and your comment was the perfect gentle nudge. I've added it now in the sidebar, so thanks for the reminder.

Thomma Lyn said...

Introverts have the right not to be "dropped in on" and then made subject to three hours plus of having to entertain. In other words, please please please call first, in advance because I might be busy or recharging!

Loving this blog! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm LOVING all these additions, too! Wow, can't wait to put this all together. Thanks, everyone And, please DO keep them coming!

Mary Hershey

slvail said...

an introvert has the right to create a paradoxical public image, one that claims to reveal as little about themselves as humanly possible while doing the exact opposite. (doh!)

Shari Green said...

This is great, Mary! I love the "email over phone" one, and the "right to screen phone calls". Also, anonymous' idea about not having to speak up in meetings, without being thought of as dull-witted!

And your number 2 is a good one for me, although personally I'd amend it to add "or to not attend at all". ;)

Anonymous said...

What a great idea. May I add: an introvert has the right to spend time with other introverts in complete silence and not be mocked for it.

jama said...

Introverts have the right to say no to potential house guests, without being thought of as being rude.

Introverts have the right not to throw parties, and still be thought of as normal human beings.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog and love your bill of rights. I'll try to think of something to add to it. But in the meantime, just a tip: "extrovert" is spelled with an "o."

Anonymous said...

Loving this intro "Bill of Rights," however, I had a bit of a scare when I walked into Chaucer's today and found "Staff of Osiris." I thought it wasn't coming out until November, and had a panicky thought that I had slept thru the rest of October.

What a pleasant surprise to find it on the shelf. Any booksignings to tell my students about?

Ok, off to check in w/ Theo.

Anonymous said...

This list just keeps getting better and better! Thanks everyone-- wow.

Kate, had to laugh about the misspelling comment. Robin and I went 'round about this when we first started SVP. In the Jungian model, from whence it came, it is most frequently spelled with an "a". But you'll see it used with an "o" as well. We are using both here at SVP.

Mary Hershey

Anonymous said...

Introverts have the right to shut off the phone, close the curtains, lock the doors and hide at explanations required.

They also know that answering machines still work with the ringer off and the sound turned down, and they are a tool, not a necessity.

Beth said...

My name starts with B and ends with E-T-H, but I'm probably not the one you were referencing in your post. Still, I'd like to read that article you mentioned, but the link isn't working.

All of my suggestions for the Bill of Rights have already been suggested by others, especially including the one about having the right to say "no" to houseguests, or to sharing rooms on group vacations or trips to conferences.

Hope, I'm an INTJ, too...

Anonymous said...

Great post!

I would like the right to work in my office on the weekend without everyone in my family thinking I'm depressed.

I hear:

"Why don't you go outside and sit in the sun. It's such a beautiful day. And it's not healthy being inside all the time . . ."

Yes, it is a beautiful day and I will appreciate it from my window while I write.

I'm SO misunderstood.

Plot Whisperer said...

I love finding out there are so many other introverts out there. Had no idea I was in such terrific company...

This was an amazingly comforting post to read. I can't thank you enough!!

Anonymous said...

1. Introverts have the right not to answer the door unless they're expecting company.

2. Introverts have the right to ignore confessions, complaints and requests for company at bus stops and other public places.

3. Introverts have the right to not be at holiday gatherings, family or otherwise, from start to finish.

4. Introverts have the right to say, "Thanks for offering, but I'd rather do that alone."

5. Introverts have the right to not join committees and still be considered worthwhile people.

Anonymous said...

*Introverts have the right to prefer the company of animals to that of most people.

*Introverts have the right to say, "I prefer to go on my Nature walk alone OR "Please, would you stop talking? I'd like to listen to the wind and possibly see some wildlife."

I had no idea people LIKED sharing rooms on trips and at conferences. I thought it was a financial issue! I am a 47 year old, ignorant introvert who unfortunately appears extroverted (great smile).

Anonymous said...

Wow--this post clearly struck a huge chord!

I love anonymous' point about nature walks. I feel like I should walk with someone in isolated places for safety's sake, but I don't know anyone who would walk and be quiet!

My addition: Introverts have the right to kick their family out of the house occasionally for some quiet time without having to pretend to be sick in order to do so.

Not that I would do that or anything;>)

Anonymous said...

I love this, and I loved Sandra's comment. Introverts have the right to periodically be confused about how to navigate a society that *demands* to know why you are fabulous in 30 seconds.

Bigdot said...

Great SVP post! Sorry I found it late! Happy New Year!

Here's one for addition to the Introvert's Bill of Rights:

Introverts have the right to... simply observe their immediate surroundings in silence without being asked the all-time intruding question "Whatcha thinking?" It's entirely possible that my response would be deemed so inappropriate and irrelevant to the current event at hand that one or more of us would easily and embarassingly wished you didn't ask that question of me - especially if I answered you truthfully.

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

Anonymous said...

I agree with #5. Introverts should definitely have the right to have a normal family life.

This is a cool idea!

~ReneƩ Le Vine

Anonymous said...

To add to a list of "introverts' rights":
Introverts have a right not to be discriminated against, be it at school, workplace or elsewhere. This most explicitly includes selection criteria for various scholarships and for jobs.
Introverts have a right to socialize. (Surprising as it might seem, some of us introverts really want to socialize/participate in a conversation/get to know other people/form relationships. Seeing how we are often prevented by our personality trait from approaching people/making small talk, it is only fair that other people (extroverts):
1. Recognize/understand this.
2. Try and make an effort to engage in conversations with us/ be welcoming and friendly.
3. Do not assume that just because we don't approach people/ start talking to them we don't want to get to know these people/don't like them.
4. Do not assume that we don't know anything about the subject if we do not say anything.
5. Understand that we might need a longer time to develop trust/relationships and talk about personal matters.

Intoverts' rights can be conceptualized just like any other group of rights of marinalized people that has developed over time. Take the rights of the disabled: currently, in most countries, we do not expect the disabled to miraculously cure themselves (parallel: all those books that promise to teach you how not to be shy/intoverted), neither do we expect them to sit at home and take no part in the society's life. Instead, we change our world, our surrounding, our perceptions so that the disabled feel welcome in our society (expressly forbidding discrimination on the grouds of disbility and making all places accessable by wheelchair are some of the examples). It seems only reasonable that we afford the same level of support and recognition to the introverts and promote the idea that it is OK to be the way you are, that you do not have to change, often painfully, to fit the ideal the society currently favours.


Becca said...

Introverts have the right to remain silent...because we want to.
We have the right to NOT walk down the street with a goofy grin on our face because, who does that anyway?
We do not have to share what we are thinking because we are "draining the energy of the gathering"
We do not have to try to explain our reservedness as "I just don't do well in social settings"
We are just as "cool" as anyone else if not more, because most of the time when we open our mouths it's either funny, or quite intelligent.
That is all.

Marcus Steve said...

I'm here to let everyone know that there is a cure for HERPES, The doctors have succeeded in letting people living with Herpes know that there is no cure for Herpes and they have been enslaved to the antiviral and other supplementary Orthodox medicine just to help suppress the virus and not a cure. I got diagnose of herpes1 January this year 2021 and i did not believe in my doctor that no cure for herpes rather i went into research online and I was introduce to Dr PUMA a herbal healer by a blogger who also narrated Her story online on how she was cured of Herpes after using Dr PUMA Herbal Medicine. I got the herbal medicine from Dr PUMA and made use of it as I was instructed. I went to the clinic for a checkup after two weeks of using the herbal product. My result came out Negative and I was booked another appointment after 30 days to confirm my result and the test still showed Negative and I was given the green light that I am fully free from herpes. All thanks to God for using this Great herbalist to heal me. You can contact Dr PUMA in any over health problems like : HIV, DIABITIES, AUTIMS E.T.C no him email: or WhatsApp +2348050495479.