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The Introverted Asshole

Long has a battle waged for introverts: are you just shy or are you kind of a dick?

To answer this, the New York Times is on it. Columnist KJ Dell’Antonia reflected on the subject, musing over whether introvertedness correlates to assholeness. The answer: probably.

When I skip big gatherings of strangers, I’m not just being a little rude to the individual people around me, I’m being uncivil in a larger sense. The more we isolate ourselves from new people, the more isolated and segregated our society is likely to become. Those casual interactions in dog runs and at kids’ hockey games are the ones that are most likely to cross social and economic barriers. They expand my little world as well as the overlapping bubbles that create a society.

Absolutely. This insulatedness, the self-isolating thoughts of “I just can’t with people today.” maintain unnecessary barriers in society.

That’s obviously bad. But what can we do to help it? I would describe myself as a half-introvert, half-extrovert but mostly very, very shy and tired which means that I’m more than likely going to go out of my way to avoid interactions. It’s not that dealing with people is “so exhausting” it’s just that I don’t want to deal. In some senses, it’s the notion that I “can’t be bothered” which is a bad excuse for being “busy” which is a bad excuse for being an asshole.

Can this be fixed? Yes. As Dell’Antonia relays, it’s a matter of actually knowing what you are doing and making a change. Look at your social misanthropy like time management: is this something that you are hard-wired into doing or are you being a lazy asshole?

Years ago, I was habitually late. “I can’t help it!” I declared to an expert in time management (I’d turned my effort to reform into a magazine article, as writers do, which gave me the excuse to seek professional help).

“Have you ever missed a plane?” she asked. I had not. “Then you can help it. You just care more about yourself than about the needs of others.”

“You can help it.” That’s it. You, like me, are selfish and have to get out of your fucking way.

So are you an introvert or an asshole? You’re probably an asshole because you can help to change how you behave. Take that with you as you continue your week and finish off 2016: don’t be the asshole masked as an introvert.

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