It’s a Wonderful Strife

happy-guyTodd Gellman

Being an introvert used to depress me. Then I read an Internet article that changed my life: “Twenty Thousand Fabulous Things about Introverts” by Naomi Lobotoberg. I learned that my life isn’t horrible and depressing; it’s great!

I discovered I’m not a lonely guy longing to connect with the rest of the world. I’m a solitary individual who feels more comfortable spending weekends alone, wondering what it’s like to have a girlfriend.

I used to hate going to parties at which I didn’t know anyone. I’d struggle with small talk and counted the seconds before I could make my escape. Naomi has taught me to celebrate my ability to barely get through the evening without wetting my pants.

Spending much time in my head used to depress me. No more! Yesterday, I thought, “I feel good about myself” 500,000 times!

I’ve learned how to be a pretend extrovert. With only a small amount of anxiety, I can interrupt co-workers again and again until I’m asked to leave the meeting.

People used to think I was aloof. I felt hurt and alienated. Now I don’t pay attention to those fools and I feel pumped!

Before, I couldn’t respond quickly to people’s questions. I’ve learned to relax and say, “Give me 10 minutes and I’ll tell you the Emergency Room phone number.”

I could provide countless other examples of how Naomi Lobotoberg’s insight has changed my life. If you want to celebrate your introversion, craw into a fetal position and read “Twenty Thousand Fabulous Things about Introverts.” As Naomi says, “Things couldn’t get worse.”

Todd Gellman is a senior data analyst. His desk has been featured in “Better Cubicles and Conference Rooms “magazine.

Introvert Singles – Featured Profile – Alone Malone

alone_on_dockMy heart has visiting hours for you

I am looking for: A woman who will share my hopes, my dreams, my time zone.

Occupation: Online chiropractor

Education: Bachelor in arts, Hampshire College, majored in Science Fiction, minored in 23rd Century Literature

Proudest accomplishment: In a previous life I conceived the idea for the marshmallow while watching Joan of Arc burn at the stake.

Last great book I read: “Eat Pray Love from the Privacy of Your Home”

Music that puts me in the mood: The Velvet Underground Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, Vol. 2

Favorite movie: “All Quiet on the Western Front” It makes me long for the serenity of World War I.

My perfect getaway weekend: Flying to Zurich on my private jet, making passionate love at the airport, then flying back.

The five items I can’t live without: George Foreman Isolation tank, Daily 16-hour meditation, iPad, mePad, mylfPad.

Turn ons: Lusty Esperanto accent, Slender hand waving goodbye, Playful inner voices.

Turn offs: Talking about the weather (hot looking weatherwomen excluded), Being told I look like a James Bond villain, Inner voices that don’t respect my space.

More About Me: I’m just an average guy who lives alone on my private island somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. I value my solitude, having last encountered another human in 1992. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room in my heart for a special woman — if you don’t mind living in my guest compound. I won’t lie; I’ve been called eccentric. But who are you going to trust, me or 30 eminently qualified psychiatrists and a government profiler?

What I’m looking for: I’d love to meet that special woman who knows the difference between being treasured and being held captive against her will. If you’ve dreamed about spending the rest of your life with a terrific guy via close circuit TV, dream no further. I can have a driver at your door within 30 seconds.

You Say Potato, I Say Enough Already

arts_theater_092712_photo-by-Rob-Harris-ProductionsRelationships are never easy – even when both people have much in common. Ask any Siamese twin.

Relationships between introverts and extroverts pose unique challenges. But it can be rewarding if both people want to make it work.

Just ask Susanne, an introvert and Jeremy, an extrovert:

Jeremy: Growing up, my family frowned upon introverts. My father used to say, “I have no respect for a man who won’t bring attention to himself in large gatherings of strangers.”

Susanne: My family felt the same way about extroverts. My uncle was shunned after he asked a stranger for directions.

Jeremy: Susanne and I met at a party. I was high-fiving 15 or 20 friends after telling a joke. I saw her across the room. She was sitting alone reading the instructional manual for the host’s DVD player.

Susanne: I was halfway through the troubleshooting section when I sensed someone was watching me. I looked up and it was Jeremy.

Jeremy: We talked for a while. At that point, I didn’t realize she was an introvert. I thought she worked for the cable company.

Susanne: He asked me out. I thought it would be a quiet evening for two but we met a large group of his friends at a sports bar. I almost made it through the night but collapsed from conversation exhaustion.

Jeremy: I realized Susanne was an introvert as I watched the EMTs loading her into the ambulance. After giving her a few months to recuperate, I asked her out again. This time I suggested we meet in an empty parking lot where I knew we’d be alone.

Susanne: I was so touched when Jeremy invited me to my favorite empty parking lot. The night was magical! We’ve since bonded. I am now, with proper medication, able to spend short periods of time with him and his throngs of acquaintances.

Jeremy: I’ve learned to sit with Susanne in silence for hours. Hint: When dating an introvert, never go ANYWHERE without a smartphone and three days of podcasts.

Susanne: It’s corny but true; when you meet the right person, love – and separate apartments – will keep you together.

Greatest Quotes by Famous Film Introverts


Rick Blaine (Casablanca) – Here’s not looking at you, kid.

Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) – You talkin’ to me? If so you’re boring the hell out of me.

Terry Malloy (On the Waterfront) I coulda been a contender. But I’m horrible in job interviews.

Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind) As God is my witness, I will never have three roommates again.

Cole Sear (The Sixth Sense) I see dead people and they’re asking me about the weather.

Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry) – Go ahead, make my day. Tell me the chief’s retirement party isn’t mandatory.

George M. Cohan (Yankee Doodle Dandy) My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you. Oy, I need to decompress.

Lou Gehrig (The Pride of the Yankees) I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I’d be luckier if I could deliver this speech from my apartment.

Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz) There’s no place like home alone with a good book.

Jennifer Cavilleri Barrett (Love Story) Love means never having to say, “Please, I need my own space.”

Schmooze it or Lose It

schmoozeAsking an introvert to master the fine art of schmoozing is like asking an extrovert to gather his thoughts; it ain’t gonna happen.

Like it or not, it’s a schmoozer’s world. Do you think Attila could have attained the title “the Hun” without mastering a vicious handshake and fatal eye contact?

Schmoozing is a required skill for most jobs. Even a shepherd has to press the wool now and then. Fear not. You don’t have to be a super schmoozer to get a choice cubicle. Just pretend to schmooze. It’s easy. Follow these simple steps.

  • Appear to be a good listener. Nod your head every few seconds. If you become sleepy, count the speaker’s nose hairs. If that doesn’t work think about whether they’ve had a nose job.
  • Pretend to be open and genuine. Does that sound phony and shallow? Begin a job interview with, “How the hell did you ever get to be CEO?” and see where that gets you. Noting “It’s amazing what you’ve managed to accomplish” isn’t that different.
  • Firm handshakes are deadly for introverts. People expect you to follow up with eye contact and small talk. Take a different approach. Squeeze the hand until you feel a bone break. Your schmoozee will either a) Be impressed with your powerful handshake and offer you a promotion; b) Pretend he/she is not injured and ask you to call an ambulance “for a friend,” thus shortening the interaction; c) Acknowledge you’ve broken a bone in his/her hand which, at the very least, changes the conversation to something more interesting than Excel spreadsheets.
  • Carry someone else’s business cards with you at all times. If the encounter goes poorly it will reflect on someone else.
  • Master the art of pretend conversation. Always agree with the other person no matter what they say. Respond with “I hear you,” “You don’t have to tell me,” or “You’re the boss.” Pretend conversation also frees up time for more important things like conversations with yourself.
  • Names are hard to remember when your inner thoughts are racing at warp speed. Be prepared for when you forget a person’s name. For example, if you can’t remember the name of a marketing VP with bad breath, fall to your knees, cough, and mutter something about being allergic to garlic and onions.



Advice – Mindy Menorah – 25 or More is the Loneliest Number


Dear Mindy,

Frank and I have been together for two years. We’re your typical extrovert/introvert couple. He’s gregarious. I occasionally make eye contact with my cat.  I prefer to socialize with a few friends – by few I mean in numbers from zero to Frank. Frank prefers rubbing shoulders with the Mormon Tabernacle choir.

Last week I made reservations at a small intimate restaurant à deux. Frank invited a pack of cousins, five of whom belong to a “Deliverance” renenactors club. I’ve never been a devotee of one-tooth banjo players, but I couldn’t bring myself to say no.

This happens all the time. Frank always insists we socialize as part of a mob. (I’ll save our evening with the Gambino family for another question.) I love him dearly and want this relationship to work. How can I convince him to respect my need for solitude and shorter conga lines?

Mobbed in Manhasset

Dear Mobbed,

Introvert/extrovert relationships can be a mixed blessing. I once dated an extrovert who wanted to have a three-way with me and my inner voice.  This same extrovert introduced me to the amazing world of group rates.

A loving and thoughtful extrovert can help you emerge from your shell and broaden your world. But stand up for yourself. Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t be an introvert princess warrior. Frank sounds like a keeper. Tell him how you feel and tell him to keep his friends at a distance.

Mindy Menorah, Ph.D., LCSW, PDF is a licensed, bonded, and insured couples therapist. For 23 years she was the official Osmond family mediator.

Connecting in the Non-Connector Forum

  Avatar_01 Connecting with people is a big challenge for me.  How do you get past hello? Or for that matter, how do you get past leaving your apartment to get past hello?
  Avatar_08 I read that whenever you’re speaking to people you should imagine yourself naked. That usually makes things worse for me. But it might work for you. I also talk about the advantages of speed reading.
 Avatar_07 I heard you should listen carefully for the other person’s name and use it in the conversation. Take it from me, that doesn’t work when discussing sexually transmitted diseases and Nazi war atrocities.
 Avatar_05 Asking someone if they’ve “had that mole checked out” sometimes gets the conversation going. Also, if I sit or stand very still people will ask me if I’m okay. Then I tell them about the metal plate in my head.
 Avatar_03 I know how you feel. I find it so hard to make small talk. I mean, how many ways can you respond to someone who asks, “Doc, how long have I got to live?”
 Avatar_02 I read in a magazine you should comment on a topic common to both of you. I just wish I could meet someone who knows something about Kafkaesque body builders.
 Avatar_04 Have you tried the Steroid-Free Kafka forum?
 Avatar_01 Thank you all for your wonderful insight. You’ve given me the courage place an order in the MaDonald’s drive thru.