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Re: Being nice to introverts/the highly sensitive (was Re: "Breaking Cliques at Events")

]] Sean Whitton 

Hi folks,

> Given the above, at DebConf17 -- my first free software conference -- I
> sometimes worried that I had imposed myself on others by
> enthusiastically and expectantly introducing myself and asking them
> about themselves.  By 'expectantly' I mean that I approached them in a
> way that might make them feel obligated to respond with a similar level
> of energy.  This is not a reasonable nor a kind demand to make of
> someone who has difficulty meeting new people.

I think «has difficulty meeting new people» feels like a crude
approximation. To me, it depends a lot on the person and the context and
probably the time of day, the moon phase and the colour of the
neighbour's cat.  I'm terrible at small talk (both in the «not good at»
sense, but also in that I find it draining), but if your and my
interests intersect, it's quite possible we'll be having interesting

In your particular case, I did enjoyed meeting you and sure, you were
bouncing with energy, but people like that are quite often fun to talk
to, and I felt no particular obligation to be as bouncy.

> 1) am I right that those of us who have no difficulty with new people
>    need not worry about those introverts/etc. who make it clear that
>    they know how to look after themselves viz-à-viz their
>    introversion/etc.?  Or are there steps we can take?
> 2) for those people who have difficulty with new people but are /not/
>    like you -- do not have techniques to handle their energy levels; not
>    fully aware of how they are -- what can those of us who have no
>    difficulty with new people do to avoid imposing ourselves upon them?

Not sure, really.  While I appreciate the thought of you trying not to
impose yourself too much, I'm not sure there's much you can do there.

>    This is especially relevant when there's an age/seniority
>    difference.  E.g. a more senior/older person who has no difficulty
>    with new people talking to someone junior/younger who does have
>    difficulty with new people.

It can be hard the other way too, because that because you've been
around a long time, people expect that you can cope with whatever.

> (I'm deliberately avoiding the term 'extrovert' because (i) I am really
> not sure what it means; and (ii) I want to discuss a much more specific
> dichotomy which is probably not all of extroversion, namely "those who
> have no difficulty with new people" / "those who do".)

It's also not binary or static (both introversion/extroversion, but also
the other thing we're talking about).

Tollef Fog Heen
UNIX is user friendly, it's just picky about who its friends are

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