Is Gluten Making You an Introvert?

Dr. Menachem Fakakta

Are you an introvert? Do you eat food containing gluten? Bingo! There’s your problem.

I’ve been treating people with Celiac disease (a condition in which the small intestine cannot digest gluten) for years. Extensive anecdotal evidence indicates a gluten-free diet can cure introversion and many other conditions including:

  • Homophobia
  • Pyromania
  • Beatlemania
  • Introspection
  • Contemplation
  • Heebie-jeebies
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • Cablevision
  • Ethnocentrism
  • Plagiarism

An introvert who changes to a gluten-free diet will notice immediate changes:

  • Small talk becomes easier. You’ll have no problem babbling endlessly about how you’d kill for a doughnut.
  • The fear of large groups of people will be replaced by fear that you’ll never eat another delicious bowl of pasta.
  • At meetings, you’ll stop sitting in the back of the room and start sitting near the pastry tray.
  • You’ll have fewer running inner monologues and more outer running monologues: “I remember pizza and Doritos and cake and…”
  • You’ll come out of your shell, asking anyone if they know of a cannoli shell that doesn’t taste like cardboard.

Warning: Changing to a gluten-free diet can cause side effects such as loss of joie de vivre, compulsive gambling, and temporary or permanent loss of life.

Dr. Menachem Fakakta is licensed to practice medicine in 7 Third World countries. He is the author of the humorous surgical textbook, “I know I Left that Scalpel Somewhere.”

Can You Fake Being an Extrovert?

SquarePegRoundHoleGuyBeing an introvert is great, but not during your company’s day-long “Get to Know Your Assistant Sales Manager” seminar.

Some experts believe introverts can fit better in extrovert situations by pretending to be extroverts. These experts also believe you can train a cocker spaniel to make a great cup of cappuccino.

Should you try being an extrovert just to fit in? Not if you’re comfortable in your solitary skin. The world can never have enough quiet souls in the back of the room, mumbling: “We work hard, play hard and kiss boss’ butt hard.”

But if you think acting like an extrovert will help get you through the day, get a promotion, or get to first base with Sally in Sales, here are some tips to guide you:

  • Proper body language is key to being a good extrovert. Stand up straight and lean into conversations. Extroverts love to guess what the other person had for lunch. Plus, “Would you like a breath mint?” is a great conversation starter.
  • Gesture a lot, the broader the better. It may be hard at first. Pretend you’re guiding a jet plane to the terminal.
  • Smile. Extroverts are drawn to beaming faces. But be careful: A sudden transformation from sullen data analyst to Cheery Charlie can raise suspicions about psychotropic medication changes.
  • Show you’re genuinely interested in others. Ask people what they think. Tip: Don’t walk away before they answer.
  • Get people to talk about themselves. You’ll feel more connected. However, a word of warning: Listening to someone talk about their fifteenth trip to Disneyworld may not be easy. Keep your cell phone handy for a fake emergency call.

Pretending to be an extrovert requires practice. Here’s a helpful way to rehearse your conversations: Go to a large apartment building, press the door buttons, and ask each inhabitant over the intercom, “What do you do for a living?” Review your conversations as you’re sprinting away.

Not every introvert can pretend to go both ways. Remember: You’re still a fabulous person. Well, maybe not if you’re a criminal or a politician but you get the point.

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.

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.



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.

Too Many Sounds of Silence

seven_reasons_men_dont_listen_womenExtroverts are lovely people but require constant care and attention. For example, nothing drives them crazier than an introvert’s tendency to be quiet – the quieter the more annoying. You are not officially an introvert until you’ve heard the words, “Why aren’t you saying anything?”

Scientists are unsure why extroverts require a constant stream of verbal stimulation. After all, who wouldn’t want to sit alone contemplating life for days at a time? However, until a cure is found, introverts must reply to an endless stream of queries about their lack of verbal communication.

Here are some helpful responses to popular inquiries.

When they say:

You say:

Why are you so quiet?

Actually, I’m speaking to my dog but at a frequency only he can understand.

Hello, anybody in there?

Just a minute, I’m bagging my emotional garbage.

Why aren’t you saying anything?

I want to wait until your day is completely over before I ask how it was.

You haven’t said a word all evening.

Excuse me, I’ve been talking non-stop to myself since the waiter seated us.

Do I have to talk to myself?

Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it.

Talking to you is like talking to the wall.

At least with the wall I have a fighting chance to get a word in edgewise.

Am I boring you?

No, I’m absolutely fascinated by the way your left eye roams a little to the left.

You didn’t say a thing to my friends.

 Doesn’t vigorously staring count for anything?

Would it have killed you to have said something?

 Funny you should ask. Here’s a note from my doctor.

Your silence scares me.

And to think I was going to surprise you next week by saying “Happy Birthday.”

Surviving Team Building Exercises


Nothing elevates an introvert’s blood pressure more than a good team building exercise. It’s like a Bataan Death March with fewer bathroom breaks. It’s also your employer’s way of saying “Total mismanagement of our company has failed to raise profits; how about trust exercises at a Holiday Inn.”

Look on the bright side. Your colleagues know you as that sullen woman who never talks to anyone and hasn’t made eye contact in a meeting since 1993. What better way to show your cubicle mates there’s more to you than the back of your head?

Still not convinced? Who can blame you? But if you don’t attend it might affect the bonus your company has been vaguely promising for years.

It’s not going to be easy. There will be times you think you can’t go on. But you’re a trooper, granted an introverted trooper.

Here are some Team Building Survival tips. They can make the difference between a horrifying experience and a merely traumatic episode easily managed with generous doses of psychotropic drugs.

  • Team Building Exercises frequently begin with each participant telling everyone something interesting about themselves. This is a trap. Do you really want HR to know you enjoy collecting stamps in the nude? Simply state: “If I told you I’d have to kill every one of you.”
  • When instructed to break into teams, declare you’re a free agent and go out for a cup of coffee.
  • Politely decline involvement in all games by announcing you are a conscientious objector.
  • After the first exercise, enthusiastically yelp, “I’m jazzed. Let’s rob a bank.”
  • Before the Trust game, offer to clean the room of hidden listening devices.
  • Pace yourself. Take quick 8-hour bathroom breaks.
  • Every time the spotlight of attention is pointed at you, nervously roll two steel ball bearings in your hand and mumble something about “a traitor in our midst.”
  • In every problem solving situation, say “I know a guy who can make that go away for $500, no questions asked.”
  • Keep insisting there is an “I” in “Team.”
  • When all else fails, revert to the fetal position.

10 Signs you’re an Introvert

You are constantly texting the voice in your head.

You often feel alone in a mosh pit.

Small talk is agony but small talk with a small person is torture.

It’s hard to make small foreplay at orgies.

When attending public events you always sit in the back row, even if it’s on someone’s lap.

You notice details others don’t. For example, you’re the only earthling at the party.

People keep telling you to “say something,” particularly while being interrogated by police.

Your favorite exit strategy for fleeing social gatherings is yelling “FIRE” while casually leaping out a window.

According to your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, you’re an observer, best suited for a career as a peeping tom.

You often get lost in your thoughts. In fact, your mind has drifted and you’ve stopped reading this.