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Pacific Northwest, United States
I am The Shytrovert a proud, moderately shy INFP and this is my blog. I write about society, relationships, current events and how shy and introverted folks can cope in an extroverted world.


WTF is Kwanzaa anyway? I’m glad you asked…

As Featured On EzineArticles 
Today is the 4th day of Kwanzaa, a holiday created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga a professor of Africana Studies at California State University--Long Beach. In the wake of the civil rights movement, black people were getting in touch with their heritage and feeling a renewed sense of pride.  Black history departments were burgeoning in American universities like UCLA and African states like Kenya and Botswana had gained their independence.  The time was ripe for a celebration of Pan- Africanism.
According to Dr. Karena:
“Kwanzaa is rooted in and developing out of the ancient origins of African first-fruit harvest celebrations and the modern origins of the Black Freedom Movement, Kwanzaa teaches and cultivates cultural grounding and ethical principles and practices dedicated to the cooperative creation and sharing of good in the world.”
Kwanzaa is a Swahili word that means first fruits of the harvest.  Karenga chose Swahili as the language of Kwanzaa because of its status as a sort of lingua franca in Africa. The holiday was intended as a celebration of history and a way for Africans in the Diaspora to celebrate their commonalities and come together in the spirit of brotherhood. 
Kwanzaa begins the day after Christmas and lasts until New Year’s Day.  The seven days of Kwanzaa are called Nguzo Sbaba (seven principles).  The ceremony of Kwanzaa involves a kinara (candleholder), Mkeka (mat), Kikombe cha Umoja (The Unity Cup) and Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles - three green, three red and one black) which symbolize the seven principles.  The colors of the candles are also symbolic:  black for the people, red for their struggles, and green for hope arising from their struggles.
The implements of Kwanzaa have a central place in the home.  The kinara goes on top of the Mkeka (mat) as does the Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) Mazao (crops), and two ears of corn to symbolize the children in the community.  Books on African culture and objects of African art are also placed next to the mat to reinforce the commitment to culture and education.  

Nguzo Saba
1.      Umoja (unity) symbolized by the black center candle on the kinara
2.      Kujichagulia (self-determination) symbolized by one of three red candles on the left
3.      Ujima (collective work and responsibility) symbolized by one of three red candles on the left
4.      Ujamaa (cooperative economics) symbolized by one of three red candles on the left
5.      Nia (purpose) symbolized by one of three black candles on the right
6.      Kuumba (creativity) symbolized by one of three black candles on the right
7.      Imani (faith) symbolized by one of three black candles on the right

The Kwanzaa Ceremony
On each day of Kwanzaa celebrates greet one another with: "Habari gani?" (What is the Word?) and answered with the corresponding Kwanzaa principle for that day, e.g., "Umoja", on the first day, "Kujichagulia", on the second, etc.
A candle is lit and a libation is poured to the ancestors in reverence and remembrance of those who taught us the good (Tamshi) in life.  Then a passage is read from a book that illustrates the principle of the day.  The celebration culminates in a feast (Karamu) and an exchange of gifts.  Generally, gifts are reserved for children and linked to education or cultural heritage.  

For more information about Kwanzaa and its history, visit Dr. Karenga’s website.  There’s also a cool film about Kwanzaa called The Black Candle.  Here's the trailer:


Overheard on the Interwebs: Newsflash Introverted Guys “Sensitive & Sweet”

As Featured On EzineArticles
Don't Overlook Strong Silent Types

I have a new column this month that I’m calling “Overheard on the Interwebs” I am a chronic surfer of all things that interest me, introversion being one of my top interests. I came across this touching story about a young lady who befriended an introverted guy and came to understand the treasure that so many of us can be. For any introverted guy out there who feels under-appreciated by the ladies, I dedicate this, my first “Overheard on the Interwebs,” to you:

“I had a good friend in college who was an introvert. He almost never left his apartment. He didn't like going out partying, but we'd get a beer together once in a while or walk to Geno’s for a cheese steak. We hung out almost every day. He was a great guy. He was very quiet, very shy (especially with women) and very sensitive and sweet. We could really talk about things and open up to each other. I felt totally relaxed around him. I remember telling him that he's the type of guy I'd like to be with someday. I cried when he graduated and moved away. He has a girlfriend now and I know he's a great boyfriend to her. I'm really glad he met someone who "gets him" and accepts him the way he is. Hopefully I meet a guy one day that has those qualities he had. I know there are women out there (including me) who'd really appreciate an introverted, shy guy...”

Very sweet.


Should you admit to people you are shy?

Various shyness experts around the blogosphere have suggested that if you’re a shy person you should admit this to others so as to avoid the misconception that you are aloof, unfriendly, or antisocial. However, given the propensity of folks to view shyness as a negative, how good an idea is this really? In my own experience, I have found it better to been seen as a snobby bitch-on-wheels than a weak, shrinking violet and potential pushover. Dr. Renee Gilbert, a Psychologist working out of Bellevue, Wash., has an intriguing perspective on the controversial issue of whether shy people should reveal or conceal. Here are her thoughts:

Your typical not-so-obvious shy woman 
“I think the problem arises because there are two ways to be shy--the obvious way and the not so obvious way. The obvious way to be shy is to blush, tremble, twitch or otherwise physically manifest your shyness. The not so obvious way is to avoid eye contact with people, not have much to say or decline offers from others you'd like to accept, but that are too far outside of your comfort zone for you to feel comfortable attending.

Not so obvious shy people are often mistaken as arrogant or aloof--even by fellow shy people--when nothing could be farther from the truth. We're terrified on the inside. It's just that we don't show it on the outside. Now granted, if you're a not so obvious shy person in the middle of a crucial business negotiation where power is everything, you may not want to admit to being shy. In fact, in this one case, your shyness may prove to be an asset. Why not keep them guessing? Or, if you're hanging around people who are known to be bullies or gossips--people who are likely to misuse the information--you may want to keep your shyness to yourself. The good news is that most people aren't like that. Most people are relieved to hear that you're shy. You see, odds are that unless they have a reason to know better, most people will interpret your not so obvious shyness as a sign of arrogance or being stuck up, or simply as a sign that you don't like them...

Your eyes are not deceiving you; I'm shy.
But if you are an obvious shy person, there's no need to hide your shyness. Let's face it. The word is already out. Trying to ignore your shyness only makes you and the people around you uncomfortable. Labeling your shyness makes things easier for people because they don't have to pretend they're not seeing what they're seeing. They don't have to avoid making eye contact with you, because they see you're uncomfortable. They don't have to exclude you from the conversation, because they see that your hands are trembling. By telling people you're shy, you've told them that you want to be a part of what's going on and that it's OK if they notice you're a little uncomfortable. And that helps them feel more comfortable, too.”

Source: http://www.shakeyourshyness.com/

So, there it is. If you're a not-so-obvious shy person, like yours truly, keep it to yourself. If you're obviously shy, may as well fess up. 


Review of “The Happy Introvert” by Elizabeth Wagele

 “The Happy Introvert: a wild and crazy guide for celebrating your true self” by Elizabeth Wagele, is an engagingly written guide to celebrating one’s introversion. 

The book hooked me from the beginning with this pithy quote on page 1:
 “Eastern cultures see introversion as a value and give it much esteem.  Western cultures prefer extraversion. For a balanced, safe, and caring world, we must learn to value both.”
From its conversational tone to its cute and illustrative cartoons, this book celebrates the strengths of introversion without putting down extraverts. The book’s overall message is that as introverts we’re different but that difference is not wrong or weird. 
I especially enjoyed the afterword which takes a look at the characters in Napoleon Dynamite.  Wagele praises Napoleon, a “grumpy-looking, slack-jawed teenager,” as an “exemplary introvert who triumphs through being talented and sweet…strong and virtuous – a loyal friend and…hero who is…comfortable with himself.”
I found Ms. Wagele's book to be inspiring, informative and a quick read for adults or adolescents struggling to find a comfortable place in a world that overvalues extroversion.
Elizabeth Wagele is an award-winning cartoonist, children’s book illustrator, musician and the best-selling author of "The Enneagram Made Easy" and other books on personality types.  She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, Gus.
To learn more about the book and Elizabeth Wagele, visit her website at

WTF? Really?! Dr. Laura’s Racist-ass Rant

I realize what I’m about to say will be controversial and it in no way represents the view of all black people, because obviously I am only one person who happens to be black.  But the whole Dr. Laura debacle got me thinking about where I stand on the use of the word “nigger” (I hate the n-word euphemism). There are literally hundreds of derogatory words used to demean black people. Jigg, coon, spade, mooley, you name it. Nigger is just one such word. And if people stopped using it tomorrow, another one would crop up in it’s place.  I won’t get into a big discussion about black American slang and how its mechanisms work.  That’s beyond the scope of this post.

Anyway, I have no problem with its utterance if it’s used in a historical or illustrative context. I also have no problem with blacks or anyone else using its variants “niggah” or “niggaz” to describe their homeboys. In that context, it has taken on a wholly different meaning. So Whoopi, Kanye, and other comedians and entertainers of all stripes, go ahead and keep using the word as you please. I don’t give a shit. However, white folks, you better not use nigger or any variant, to describe me.   The tongue lashing you’ll get won’t be pretty.

This issue with the Dr. Laura hubbub is that she wasn’t using it in a discussion of history or even to illustrate a “philosophical point” as she so speciously put it. She was using it in its original intent to hurt and demean. The caller asked for her help with a husband’s friends’ use of the word in her presence. What did Dr. Laura do? Tell the woman she was being too sensitive and defending the racist friends’ use of the word by saying that blacks call each other that all the time. When the lady objected, saying the word was offensive no matter what, Dr. Laura told her to not NAACP-her at once demonstrating her naked ignorance as well as her neocon political leanings. Then, knowing the caller objected to the word and found it offensive she went on to repeat, spitefully, the word nigger over and over.

Was she calling the woman a nigger? Not directly, but her tone made it clear to anyone with ears that the repeated utterances of nigger were meant for the caller. The topper of course was Dr. Laura telling the caller “if you’re so sensitive, don’t marry outside of your race.” Which in my mind was not only a warning for blacks to “stay in their place” but an indictment of whites as unabashed racists. She may have well said “We all think you’re a nigger, honey, and if you marry one of us you can expect to be treated like one.”

And with that, I’m done talking about Dr. Laura who is a bigoted ignoramus.  I learned today that she is going off air, which is good.  Unfortunately I’m sure that FOX will give her a show.  Why not?  Folks like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Man Coulter make Dr. Laura look like a Care Bear.  A wrinkled, bleached out blonde Care Bear, but a Care Bear nonetheless.  No offense meant to Care Bears.

If you're the last person in the blogsphere or the world of the living to have heard her rant, find it here http://mediamatters.org/blog/201008120045

In the meantime, enjoy this song I have dedicated to the good Doctor:

Well, Dr. Laura is a racist bitch, she's a wrinkled witch,
she's the biggest bitch in the whole wide world,
she's a racist bitch if there ever was a bitch,
she's a bitch to all the boys and girls.

On Monday she's a bitch, on Tuesday she's a bitch,
and Wednesday to Saturday she's a bitch,
then on Sunday just to be different she's a
super KKK neocon-nazi beotch!

Have you ever called Dr. Laura Schlessinger,
she's the biggest bitch in the whole wide world,
she's a racist old bitch and she has racist hair,
she's a bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch,

bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch
she's a racist bitch, WHOOO!
Dr. Laura is a bitch and she's just a dirty bitch,
Dr. Laura is a bitch, and she's such a dirty bitch. Talk to kids around the world, it might go a little bit something like this! ever called Dr. Laura Schlessinger,
she's the biggest bitch in the whole wide world,
she's a racist old bitch and she has racist hair,
she's a bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch,

bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch
she's a racist bitch, WHOOO!
Dr. Laura is a bitch and she's just a dirty bitch,
Dr. Laura is a bitch, and she's such a dirty bitch. I really mean it, Dr. Laura: she's a big fat fucking bitch! YEAH big fat fucking bitch Dr. Laura, yeah! chow!


I Hate Shy People? WTF? Really?!

Okay. Wow. This is another WTF? Oh, Really? This time from Facebook (I know, not Facebook! You would never find something like that there!). The page is called "I Hate Shy People (It's just rude) Some of us make an effort!"

As if countless shy people don’t make an effort just leaving the house every day. Un-effing-believable. Here’s the desciption for the page, unedited:

"I hate shy people. It is socialy rude. Everyone is shy but most of us make an effort to overcome this. However why should someone be allowed to be rude because they are shy?! I hate that 'Oh don't mind them they are just shy' Just Fucking rudethats waht they are. If your too shy to talk become a monk dont go out stay in your room."

You know what? I “hate” people that can barely spell, but do you see me devoting a Facebook page to that? While this poster has it right when they say everyone is shy - that’s in certain situations. Completely different from having generalized shyness and/or social anxiety – where a person feels consistently shy. So sorry, whoever wrote the asinine ‘I hate shy people’ page, but shy people are racked with anxiety nearly all of the time and find it difficult and scary to speak in many situations. They aren’t trying to be rude to you. And they probably are making the effort. That’s why they’re at your stupid party.

It should go without saying, but me remind you: all types of people are rude. Nobody has a corner on rudeness. So why not a Facebook page devoted to how much you hate rude people? We can all relate to that, and since nobody takes pride in being rude, nobody gets offended.  Shy people are not synonymous with rude people.

As a shy person you know what I hate? Outgoing people who think that quiet people are rude just by virtue of being quiet as opposed to being loud, non-stop talking machines. I also hate ignorant fools who create ridiculous Facebook pages saying they hate a whole class of people who can’t help the fact that they are shy and accusing those same people of “not making an effort.”

For years I made the effort to be polite, to say hi, to speak up, to talk more about myself.  But my efforts were NEVER rewarded by more outgoing people who still wanted to harp on how quiet I was! It seemed like for them, whatever efforts I made were never good enough. Well here's a breaking news bulletin: some people are shy and quiet and that’s just the way it is. They are not being rude just because they are not exactly like you, Mr. or Mrs. Extrovert-Without-a-Clue. Nor were they put on this Earth to stroke your fragile little extroverted ego with non-stop jabber. Get the fuck over it.


Ambivert, Shambivert. You’re either an innie or an outie! Period. End of Story.

Some people claim to be both introverted and extroverted but they’re full of shit! You’re one or you’re the other. Period. End of Story. It’s chemical - as in your brain chemicals. That means unless there’s a pill that rebalances your chemicals so you reach some neurochemical ambivert nirvana, you’re an innie or an outie.

You can certainly be a strong, medium, or low introvert or extrovert but just because you are an extrovert who likes downtime to read a book or an introvert who likes to party (like yours truly), doesn’t mean you’re some mutant offspring of both. I think when people say they’re both it’s because they are confusing introversion with shyness or extroversion with being a loud, party animal. One has little to do with the other. It's about how you prefer to face the world and how you draw, for lack of a better phrase, your psychic energy.  Extroverts need people and activities outside of themselves to feel alive and energized and Introverts need alone time and solitary activity to feel the same.

I would class myself as a medium introvert. I like a party where there’s food, dancing, or some type of activity which does not center on small talk, but the people and the activities don't energize me in the way they would an extrovert. Simply put: no after party. I was at the party, it was fun, and now there’s that thing called sleep I need to attend to. I seriously don’t need to stay until the last person stumbles out.

I also don’t mind, if I’m rested and in the mood, chatting up a stranger or two. I like people just fine, contrary to what some think (sadly my extroverted significant other thought I was a complete misanthrope until I set him straight). I just don’t need to engage them 24/7. Talking and hanging out is not my raison d’être. If I did that all the time, when would I read, draw, write or enjoy the movies? Exactly.

New Blog Feature: WTF? Oh Really? with The Shytrovert

Today I’m introducing a new feature on The Shytrovert blog. I’m calling it WTF? Oh Really? with The Shytrovert It will feature some of the un-effing-believable things I’ve come across on the interwebs about shy and introverted individuals. My first WTF? Oh Really? is an oldie but goodie from Yahoo Answers, a.k.a. the Headquarters of WTFs. My remarks are in italics. Here goes:

Do shy people deserve to live in our society?
It's shocking to see such introverted/dumb, boring psychopaths living in today's progressive, open-minded society. (Oh the irony) They have got no life and set a bad example on others. They are misfits in this world.

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

…these introverted "dumb" and "boring" psychopaths are the people working in the background. just because they're not up front and in your face doesn't mean they're not there.

famous introverts:

Einstein, Jane Goodall, Eisenhower, Marie Curie, Ghandi, Mozart, Speilberg... all of these people have contributed to society, hell, the WORLD, in ways that you would never even come close to if you keep holding your judgmental (and hateful) beliefs.

Now, there are plenty of non-famous introverts out there working as engineers, science researches, and analysts who are making quiet contributions to our society.

Introverts learn by observation, and thus have far more understanding than you obviously do.

Introverts do have a life. Unlike extroverts, who have a wide group of acquaintances, introverts prefer to a have a small group of very close friends. These friends and family mean the world to the introverts.

Just because someone doesn't fit in to YOUR definition of "normal", doesn't mean they deserve to die. They aren't misfits and make up 50% of the population. Introverts are normal, functioning members of society who, just because of their preference of solitary activities to constantly being with people, don't ever deserve to be looked down upon.

Do some research before you run your mouth off. Google "introvert".

Yeah! That response, by a rightfully indignant introvert I assume, deserves a 10 on a scale of 1 – 10 for absolute scorching BURN. Ouch.


If You're Skeevy and You Know It...

One of the biggest complaints women have about their men is how they perv on other women when they go out. Some men even go to insane lengths to get a glimpse at a woman they feel is hot and Ask.Men.com decided to hand these fellows even more techniques for their ogling pleasure: http://www.askmen.com/dating/curtsmith_100/132_dating_advice.html

Just disgusting. Anyway, this writer pinpoints just why staring down other women is not in a man’s best interest unless he wants to stay single:

A Message to Men Who Can't Help or Refuse to Stop Looking

First of all, let me say that I fully understand human nature and the urge to look at people, attractive or otherwise, male or female, striking and/or strange. The issue is not looking per say, but gawking, continually looking, or turning your whole body to watch as the other person strolls away.

If you have a significant other, needless to say, you should not be engaging in this behavior whether she is around or not. Why? Because it sends several messages, none of which are positive.

Such behavior shows:

• That you are untrustworthy

• That you have no respect for your significant other or her feelings

• That you are disrespectful of your relationship in general

• That you are single and still looking.

Finally, such behavior begs the question - why do you even have a significant other? You agreed to limit yourself to one sexual interest, after all. Besides, you can avoid a lot of fights by not ogling every woman within eyesight. Yes, men are visual creatures; you're attached but not dead, and so on. But believe it or not, it is possible to glance without being so obvious. You can at least learn to turn off the girl-dar when you're out and about with your woman. You and I both know that you really don't only have eyes for her, but why not pretend that you do? This will do wonders for your intimate life together. Believe me.

Read the full article here: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2352856/why_you_should_tame_your_wandering_pg2.html?cat=41


Nail. Hit. Head. 7 Misconceptions About Introverts from Dr. Irene S. Levine

a.k.a. The Friendship Doctor at http://www.Huffingtonpost.com

Does Dr. Levine know her Introverts or what? Here’s her insightful article lifted from the Huffington Post, one of my favorite sites to lurk in. Enjoy:

We Don’t Like Crowds

Yeah, they suck.

We're Not Antisocial. We don't hate people. We like people, especially people we like. Just not a lot of them all at once. That doesn't make us potential serial killers.

Don’t Tell Us To Smile
Wednesday's smile is full of woe.
Don't make her smile

"People tend to assume that if you're not grinning like an idiot all the time you're unhappy," wrote one reader. "As an introvert I don't always wear my emotions on my sleeve--or on my face."

We Do So Know How to Have Fun

Reading is fun...damental

But it so happens that what you're doing doesn't look like fun to us. See us sitting in an armchair reading? Hiking a quiet mountain trail? Drinking morning coffee in an empty house? That is top-of-the-line fun to us. Oh, and sometimes we have lot of fun watching you all have fun. Really. Go, dance, have a good time. We'll serve punch. We might even smile.

Don’t Try to Drag Us
This time it will be fun, not like the 100 other times you didn't think would be fun...

Especially when you're dealing with adults, you can assume that we already know what we do and don't enjoy. If we say no (and this applies beyond the dance floor) grabbing our arms and whining, "Oh, come on," or "It will be fun," (see above) does not endear you to us.

We’re Quiet Not Dead

How the typical extrovert views the typical introvert

Here's a bone-chilling introvert tale: "I was with a boyfriend at a party once and he and his boss were discussing personality types at the office...Type A, Type B...," wrote a reader. "And then he turned to me and said 'So you are, what, a type D?' 'What do you mean?' 'Well...you are practically comatose here.'"
We Have Personality and Passion
Simma. Down. Now.

We just don't have the need or desire to throw it all out there. If you want to know us, quiet down and see what happens.

Sarah Palin is Dumb – and the GOP are wackadoodles - Why Are We Still Talking About them?

Today I was reading on CNN about Sarah Palin and how her leadership is wrong on the question of a 911 Mosque. First of all, combining her name anywhere near the word leadership is wrong even though she’s right about the 911 Mosque thing. Moron’s luck I guess. No offense meant whatever to morons. I guess we have to pay attention to wing nut from Wasilla because she is a leading light in one of our two major political parties. How sad is that? But I swear every time I hear from her or any of these other morons on the far right I feel like I’m actually living in the movie Idiocracy. I mean, seriously? These people have so much power that they can with impunity spout pure venom and hatred from the airwaves 24/7 and never ever be called on it. Well, the NAACP spoke up about the tea party. By the way, the tea party is a GOP generated publicity stunt. Read about it here. http://jeffrey-feldman.typepad.com/frameshop/2009/02/tea-party-movement-planned-months-ago-by-gop-billionaires.html

So what do you think about Palin and her ilk? Do you think the Republicans have a good humor bar’s chance in hell of winning the upcoming elections.

Women Dressing Appropriately – what does that mean exactly?

I get so sick of hearing about women who don’t know what to wear now that they’ve turned whatever milestone age, be it 20, 40 or 50.  I’m also equally fed up with the idea that you need to be perfectly skinny like a Lara Flynn Boyle or somebody to wear cute, fashionable clothes.
Appropriate only because she's built like a 12-year-old.
I say wear what you enjoy, within reason. That is, adult women shouldn’t dress like teeny boppers or sluts. Speaking of which, why do they market slutty clothes to teenagers? What’s up with these short, short, shorts? Tiny shorts and miniskirts should not be worn by anyone with secondary sexual characteristics unless they are on stage – and sometimes even that is questionable.

Case and point.
When I see a girl in short, short, shorts or a miniskirt up to her pubic bone I think of street walking, I honestly do. On a little girl, a tiny skirt or itty bitty shorts is adorable. On someone who is fully developed it just looks obscene. What's weird is how older women often clamor to wear these in your face sexual togs. Why? I believe in the old saw that a woman's clothes should be tight enough to show she’s a woman but loose enough to show she’s a lady. And that’s all that needs to be said on the issue of appropriate dressing for women aged 21 and above, in my humble opinion, of course.
Appropriate and adorable.

Americans are Doughy, Fat Slobs and Why is No Mystery!

Americans are fat because we eat too much and move too little. That’s it, and that’s all. How many of us make chips, soda, and cookies part of our weekly grocery shopping? How many of us hardly eat any fruits or vegetables or eat out all the time (restaurants are notorious for large portions and high-calorie counts). We can sit down and watch hours of TV, but we won’t walk around the freaking block; and we wonder why our waistlines keep growing. It’s not a mystery.

Do this: find out what a portion size is and cut back. Add fruit and vegetables to every meal. Drink more water and walk around your neighborhood after dinner or before work for twenty minutes every day. See what happens. I can tell you from personal experience what’s going to happen: that weight is going to fall right off.

When I started on Weight Watchers® seven years ago now, and started walking on the treadmill every day -not three days a week (that’s for people who are already in shape) – I went from weighing 195 lbs (size 16) to weighing 135 lbs (size 6/8). My cholesterol dropped like a stone, my stomach muscles became visible, and suddenly I had arms of envy like Michelle Obama. All that from cutting back on my food intake, walking, and lifting weights several times a week.

As a nation we need to get off our lazy, gluttonous butts and lose weight.

Alvin Green – may not be the dummy he seems

Introvert Alvin “the turtle” Green has shook SC politics to its foundations and confounded the nation. Like many introverts and shy people, he was assumed to be an idiot because he was quiet, but now it’s come to pass that he is far from a dummy. The man is a former military intelligence office and has a degree in political science. He says he is looking forward to a debate against his Republican challenger, and I am looking forward to that debate as well. I’m betting that The Turtle is going to totally eviscerate - figuratively speaking of course – his opponent. I don’t know about you fellow, Shytroverts, but I’ll be keeping tabs on The Turtle.

Really?! 60% of married men and 40% of married women are disloyal a**hats

Personally, I have a zero policy for cheating, also known as infidelity. If my husband were to cheat on me, that would be the end of our relationship, period. If he stepped out on me, I wouldn’t want to work on rebuilding trust or whatever other BS issues he has. What’s to work out? He has already shown me that gratifying his “little friend” is more important than my feelings or our relationship.

The bottom line is this: cheating shows lack of respect and lack of integrity. It is a more serious offense than people give it credit for. Think about it: you are lying to a person you pledged to love, putting them in danger of heart break, emotional turmoil, venereal disease (there are diseases that condoms will not block and which are incurable). All this so you can get hot and heavy with someone else. Like the old saw goes a second of pleasure for a lifetime of pain. And talk about draaaama. Who needs it?

It is natural to be attracted to other people; but if you make a commitment to one person you should honor that - so set boundaries with your opposite sex friends and acquaintances. If you can’t or you won’t - for the love of all that’s right and good - don’t pledge fidelity to one person. Stay single or find someone who also wants the option of sleeping with and/or dating others.

Very few things in life are black or white – but be assured of this: CHEATING is WRONG, as in morally reprehensible. Only a complete a**hat enters into a relationship and then changes the rules mid way without their partner’s consent or knowledge. I have absolutely no respect for those who cheat.

If you find yourself in a relationship that is not working for you, have the courage (a.k.a. cajones or balls) to talk to your partner so you can decide what to do as a couple. Cheating robs your partner of choices while you have all the choices. This is unfair, disrespectful, and is the opposite of love or respect. Face it: you are acting on your own selfish desires. No matter what anybody says or whatever silly justifications the depraved human mind can dream up, there is absolutely no justification for cheating. NONE. You are always free to leave a relationship.

How to Talk to Quiet People

So you know a real nice, quiet person that you’d like to get to know. How best to approach them? First, you need to know which type of quiet person you’re dealing with. Is this person a shy extrovert who actually wants a lot of friends, longs to be social but is afraid? Or is this person an introvert who is not particularly interested in talking to a lot of people and may just not be in the mood and/or irritated by your overtures? OR is this a shy and introverted person (shytrovert) who feels anxiety when speaking to others because they lack skill, have poor self-esteem, or may just not be in the mood and/or irritated by your overtures?
Hard to know, right? Either way, quiet people typically do not like to be the center of attention. They also don’t like to be pitied. I can of course only speak for myself, being the third type of quiet person (shy + introverted – they are not synonyms) hence my web handle The Shytrovert. Don’t ever make a big deal out of me being quiet and/or shy. I FUCKING HATE THAT. It’s embarrassing and makes me feel like a freak in a side show. Don’t rush at me with a million personal questions, either. Extroverts are good at that. They want to get to know you - and know you now - because they are comfortable with strangers and love meeting new people. They get their energy from that. As an introvert, I don’t. And as a shy person, I’m not immediately comfortable with people I don’t know. A stranger isn’t a friend I haven’t made yet. They’re a drain on my precious energy stores. Getting to know me is a slow process and is best done incrementally.
The preferred way to get to know me is to do something with me and let the conversation flow from that. Like most introverts, I detest small talk. Not because I’m some super brilliant intellectual who looks down on people who enjoy it, but because frankly I find it to be mundane, forced and awkward. Like most people, I don't enjoy feeling awkward. Plus, like many shy and introverted folk, it’s not exactly my forte. Extroverts who want to talk with me often find I’m an easier shy person to get to know than most. This wasn’t always the case. When I was younger I had no clue about social skills –I didn’t know how to start or sustain a conversation –I was also too anxiety ridden to talk to anyone above a whisper. Time, therapy, and social skills training have helped a lot.
If you are dealing with an extremely shy type of quiet person, you may be better off just being polite and non-threatening. That means NOT jumping all over that person with questions and chatter or being all weirded out because they can’t finish a conversation. They simply may not have the skills to interact in the way you want. Just let it be. Just smile and say something like, "I enjoyed talking with you." Do not be sarcastic. Be kind and sincere. No pressure. Over time, when they see that you’re nice and not some pushy extrovert who is out to make them feel horrible about themselves, they may open up to you.


I Got Your Personality Right Here!

I Got Your Personality Right Here!

One thing I truly resent about extroverts or more outgoing folk is their tendency to believe that shy, introverted, or quiet people (shytroverts) have no “personality,” as if we were aliens walking around on Earth without souls or something. If being boisterous loud mouth making a spectacle of myself trying to hog the limelight means I have no personality, OK. I guess I don’t. But let’s bring it back to reality. According to Webster’s here’s the definition of personality a: the quality or state of being a person b: personal existence. For you nitpickers it can mean having charisma as well, but the first definition is simply BEING A HUMAN. And Shytroverts definitely fall under that category, like it or not. We’ve also got personality in the sense you mean, you’re just not likely to see it unless you get the privilege of being our friend. That’s because Shytroverts rarely show their whole selves to total strangers or people they don’t know well. So for the love of all that’s holy, stop saying we don’t have a personality and we’ll stop saying you’re a shallow, empty headed loud mouth. Truce?


Are Introverts Nuts?

That’s the question business communication coach Nancy Ancowitz asks in a recent Psychology Today article. Apparently The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is considering including introversion as a criteria for diagnosing mental disorders in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—commonly known as the DSM-5.

I think I speak for all introverts when I say weren’t not nuts, but those DSM-5 bastards sure are. Here’s what they define as introversion:

‘Withdrawal from other people, ranging from intimate relationships to the world at large; restricted affective experience and expression; limited hedonic capacity.’ Additionally, this definition includes ‘deficit in the capacity to feel pleasure or take interest in things.’

Ancowitz is concerned – as we all should be – that the stigma introverts already experience in society will only be exacerbated, especially in the workplace. To put it all in perspective she spoke with Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Introvert Power who said:

‘If an introvert is clinically depressed, that’s a problem. If an introvert is debilitated by anxiety, that is a problem... But if an introvert is simply an introvert, please don’t render that person ill. We are talking half the population here!’

I couldn’t have said it better. Stupid ass APA. Who’s running that? A bunch of extroverts? Geesh.

I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re all OK, OK?

For extroverts who derive their self esteem from constant social stroking, the shytrovert is a hated foil. We make them feel uncomfortable, and they’re not used to feeling discomfort in the company of others, so they lash out at us.  We’re wrong, flawed, conceited, aloof, cold,  unfriendly, and so on.  WRONG.  It occurs to me that only a jackass could hate a meek soul who is doing nothing but keeping to his or herself. Besides, science – and "Ask Alice" – have clearly stated that there are a many positive aspects to being a shytrovert: “Recently…scientists have identified positive aspects of shyness [and introversion]. For example, shy [and introverted] people tend to be good listeners and observers, and are more likely to think before they speak.” Not to mention our inborn cautiousness in new situations has served as a survival mechanism for millenia.  In other words, we don’t rush in where angels fear to tread, and therefore we don’t get killed off as much.  Hey, could that be the reason nature has allowed more extroverts to be born? Hmn...  *thoughtfully puts index finger on chin*


The Power of Politeness

Being shy and introverted is tough. Sometimes it’s all you can do to propel yourself out of the house, let alone endure those annoying extroverts who insist you snap in line and behave more like them. Not only does their constant socializing and talking drive you mad, but it goes so much against your grain – like Mother Theresa slapping an orphan. However, there’s one thing you MUST do at a minimum if you want to improve your social comfort: be polite. Learn what politeness looks like, speaks like, and moves like. From a kind attitude comes empathy, kind words, and kind actions.By learning to be more polite, you will help mitigate any negative attitudes that more outgoing people have toward you.

Also, know that you’re not being polite merely by virtue of not being an asshole and sitting quietly in a corner. To extroverts, if you don’t talk you’re rude by default. So learn to say hello with a big smile. Yes, you will feel like the biggest phony actor of all time, but no one else will know you’re faking it. Like I said in my previous post, you just need to talk!

I know you’ve been hearing this all your life. The difference is, those clueless people never told you what to talk about. So what should you talk about? It doesn't matter. Your talk can consist of anything from brief comments, uh-huhn’s, or even questions - anything really; you just need to demonstrate that you're present and paying attention. Even if what you say is a throwaway, people will remember that you said something and that simple act will demonstrate to others that you’re friendly and approachable.

Remember: you don’t have to impress anybody or say anything profound. Most people will not remember the precise content of your words, anyway. As you may have also heard, most people are too busy thinking about themselves! I know this is true because I have been practicing these very techniques in my life. Are you skeptical? Let's discuss.

Tough Love for the Shy

In my abject desperation to overcome my poor social skills I have read many books over the years, and I can tell you this, none has opened my eyes more or helped me more in the last few weeks than the e-book The Popular Club. It’s like the Skinny Bitch of social anxiety books. I highly recommend it for those looking to improve their schmooze-factor. A caveat: the language is pretty abusive. You will be called a loser, told that being an extrovert is unequivocally better than being an introvert, that being fat will screw you socially in a big way, and that you will need to conform, period. On the upside, it gives you a valuable glimpse into the world of extroverts to confirm what you've always suspected – their banter is often quite vapid, the content of what is said is frequently irrelevant, and all that matters is talking, so stop thinking about what you’re going to say ('cause only losers do that).

The Real World Test

After devouring The Popular Club e-book as if it was my last supper, I went out with my significant other's friends and just started talking, secure in the knowledge that as long as I was, nobody would zero in on me for being too quiet, and that what I said, even if it was stupid, would be quickly forgotten. For perhaps the first time in my life, a social encounter went exactly as I wanted it to. The suggestions in the e-book actually worked, people. And no, non-stop gibber jabber is not necessary, but contribution certainly is. All you need do to be in the game is to augh audibly along with the group, throw in a few yeahs, I think so toos or any commentary, smile a lot, and you’re good. People will actually LIKE YOU JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE CONVERSATION. Holy cow! Where was this dude when I was in high school? So, The Popular Club – essential reading for Shytroverts.

I'm So Quiet? We'll You're So Rude!

GRRRR!!! If there’s anything that gets under a shytrovert’s skin more it’s the phrase “you’re so quiet” or its equally annoying variant, “why are you so quiet?” I mean seriously! Not only are these questions rude, but they’re like asking someone “why are you so red headed?” or “why are you so black/white/Asian?” The horror of this is there never seems to be a decent enough comeback at the ready (shytroverts don’t think quickly on their feet and would be too afraid of sounding harsh even if they could). Luckily, what we lack in quickness as shytroverts we make up for with the introverted skill of reflection and writing ability. Using mine, I came up with a list of one-liners ranging from mild to spicy that I can toss out at the rude and clueless (extroverts). One-liners with asterisks have been real-world tested by yours truly.

1. It’s my ninja training: old habits die hard.

2. I was sent to Earth to observe.*

3. Well, somebody has to be the designated listener!

4. It’s easier to hear myself think.

5. I guess the cat got my tongue; I’m still waiting to get it back.

6. Oh, do you really think so? I’ve been practicing so hard!

7. Keep talking, I'm writing a book.*

8. I'm plotting a world-wide take over*

9. I don’t like to question God’s wisdom on such matters.

10. That’s very astute of you!

11. I am? Thanks for pointing that out!

12. Wow! Sherlock Holmes has nothing on you!

13. Nothing gets past you, does it?

14. That’s a conundrum wrapped in a riddle and dipped in an enigma.

15. Must be a good reason; God doesn’t make mistakes.

16. I read somewhere that about 30% of all people are quiet.

17. When I figure it out, I’ll get back to you.

18. Are you serious?

19. What do you mean, quiet?

20. Care to elaborate?

21. I am? Please, tell me how I can change!

22. If my shrink couldn’t figure it out, I’m sure I don’t know!

23. I'm saving my voice for primal scream week. Oh, you never heard of it?

24. I have a rare condition called introvertstendtobequietitis.

25. Why do you have blue/brown/gray/green eyes/ten digits/two ears?

Now it’s your turn. Let me know what you think. Do you have some zingers or comebacks to share that you’ve either used or want to use?