Notice: What follows is a rant about small-talk conversations that I have attempted to have with people I know. I think that I’m being humorous and light-hearted about it, but if you are one of the people who I’ve had these conversations with you might disagree. Please continue reading only if you feel brave enough to be poked fun at a bit.
I have mentioned before the trials and tribulations that I experience daily as an introvert. In fact, there is a subtle persecution of introverts in our society and I think that every one of us will agree that there is a great social pressure to act more extrovertedly. Never have I seen the reverse.
Signs of this casual discrimination and bias are everywhere, but one example bothers me particularly. I have mentioned before that I’m not gifted at small talk. I find recounting the events of the day boring and trivial(yes, even when the topic is my day). I do my level best to generate interest in such things for my family, but it’s still difficult and some days I do better than others. When it comes to colleagues and casual friends however, I find it nearly impossible. This is perhaps ironic because the pressure to discuss such scintillating topics as the weather and someone’s impending dental appointment is at its peak.
What is the point of these conversations? Am I supposed to care about the trivial details of other people’s lives? Should I also note that you’ve been breathing more or less regularly during this entire conversation… how’s that working out for you?
Whenever I find myself trapped in this particular circle of hell I invariably try to steer the conversation into a more interesting direction. I will happily discuss the latest scientific breakthrough, or debate the finer points of Candidate X’s platform (always assuming they have one), or even openly question the structure and purpose of our education system with regards to its effectiveness. During those conversations I can be witty and animated. These are ideas worth exploring with other intellects! This is a proper use for one’s brain! Finally!
At some point, someone else will notice that I’ve become witty and animated and since this is a very rare occurrence they will wander over and ask what we’re talking about. At this point the extrovert that I’m talking to will (sarcastically and with great disdain) reply “We’re solving the world’s problems.” Everyone (including me, I’m sad to say) will then chuckle ruefully at the foolishness of such an idea and the extroverts, having reclaimed the high spot in the conversation, will resume talking about their latest batch of belly button lint.
Do you see how insidious and widespread the discrimination goes? Are you starting to get an inkling of an idea how oppressed the introverts in this country truly are? Every hour of every day we are not only subjected to the constant pressure to chatter inanely about who-knows-what, but whenever we honestly attempt to have a meaningful conversation we’re mocked for it.
How long will this abuse continue? When will the introverts finally rise up and declare with one voice, “Enough Already!” When will we finally recognize that introverts are people too and deserving of equal rights? This tyranny must end!