How to pass as an extrovert.

Our society expects you to be extroverted, especially in the workplace. For people who are more or less profoundly introverted, this can be a harrowing fact of life, a constant reminder of how non-conforming you are. People may hassle you because of it.

No doubt every introvert develops their own methods of dealing with this. This entry is my own personal list of things that one can do to deal: perhaps it can help some people. I’ve found that the advice available on the Internet is incredibly bad and glosses over the hard parts, portraying introversion as a shining beacon of light in a sea of mediocrity. That may be so, but it’s also hard.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that the objective is to pass as an extrovert, not to become an extrovert. Your goal is to fool people. As J.R. “Bob” Dobbs used to say:

“Act like a dumbass and they’ll treat you like an equal.”

In no other area does this maxim apply more than passing as a Pink in the workplace. Imitate them enough and you won’t stand out.

I won’t spend much time on obvious advice that you’ve already figured out, like trying to get a job or a role that requires the least contact with the public or coworkers.

The most important skill in passing is how to deflect attempts at conversation through verbal self-defense. There are many resources on this topic, but insofar as passing as an extrovert goes, your main focus should be on shutting down unwanted/unsolicited conversations through sarcastic comments or white lies.

Ignoring people or responding aggressively can only make you look even more out of place. You want people to leave you alone, but you work around people (I presume) and rejecting everyone will lead to a hostile work environment for you.

As an antinatalist, I don’t want to have conversations about having children. So here’s how I shut it down:

“Do you have any children?”
“Nope.” (curt answer, not offering anything)
“Why don’t you have children?”
“I’m already enough of a child, and we don’t want to have another one. *laugh*” (sarcastic comment, shutting down the conversation)

At this point just walk away and don’t be afraid of leaving it at that point. This is normal enough not to arouse suspicion. If there are questions or conversational patterns that occur time and time again, think of pat answers to shut them down, either a sarcastic comment or a white lie. If anyone asks you to come to a party or whatever, come up with a good-sounding excuse not to go and you’ll be scot free (don’t use the same one every time unless it’s something that can always apply, like having a second job or needing to babysit or whatever).

Developing a persona may help you deal with people better. For example, being known as a harmlessly grumpy person will allow you to evade conversations much easier. Getting an intellectual reputation may also help. Depending on the place you work at, this may be ridiculously easy: I have the reputation of being an intellectual at work just because I read non-fiction books.

Always take care never to speak your mind, unless you trust the other person or unless you can turn it into a good conversation stopper. I’ve gotten into some amount of trouble by not being able to control my mouth, and I don’t easily stay on guard, so that’s something I have to work at.

That’s why finding that one person you can relate to can be very beneficial (unless of course you’d rather not talk to anyone at all). But finding them may be difficult. I’ve had some success with wearing a t-shirt (when possible) which was funny to most people but had a message that would be obvious to the few people who understood it (when someone came up to me and said “they let you wear THAT?”, I knew I’d found someone!). I’ve also had some success talking about the books I read or judging people’s answers to points I make.

Charismatic personalities are another major problem for introverts. You know who I’m talking about, that one person who’s friends with EVERYONE and wants to be your friend too. In that area I feel like it’s better to just get along with that one person and get them on your side, if you can grin and bear it. Charismatic personalities have a big influence on everyone else around them and can “vet” you. Rejecting such a person may be a huge hindrance to your attempts to pass.

All of this can work because you can get away. Family is another matter entirely. I don’t have personal experience with that and I can’t imagine how hard it is to have to deal with a prying or bossy family. My main advice would be to just go along with whatever they say, agree with their “advice,” but don’t actually do anything. Delaying and trying to set down clear boundaries seems to me to be the name of the game, although neither might work with an abusive family. Please post in the comments if you have experience in that regard and have more suggestions.

2 thoughts on “How to pass as an extrovert.

  1. plasticgirl April 16, 2015 at 16:15

    Very nice article. I loved the white lie part. I deal with Charismatic Person by becoming extremely shallow, agreeing with just about everything they say (faking it!) and cover everything with pretty white lies.

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