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Archive for August 2013

23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert

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Photo; Flickr/Brian Guest

Photo: Brian Guest/Flickr

Think you can spot an introvert in a crowd? Think again. Although the stereotypical introvert may be the one at the party who’s hanging out alone by the food table fiddling with an iPhone, the “social butterfly” can just as easily have an introverted personality.

“Spotting the introvert can be harder than finding Waldo,” Sophia Dembling, author of “The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World,” tells The Huffington Post. “A lot of introverts can pass as extroverts.”

People are frequently unaware that they’re introverts -– especially if they’re not shy — because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone. Instead, it can be more instructive to pay attention to whether they’re losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure.

“Introversion is a basic temperament, so the social aspect — which is what people focus on — is really a small part of being an introvert,” Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, psychotherapist and author of “The Introvert Advantage,” said in a Mensa discussion. “It affects everything in your life.”

Despite the growing conversation around introversion, it remains a frequently misunderstood personality trait. As recently as 2010, the American Psychiatric Association even considered classifying “introverted personality” as a disorder by listing it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), a manual used to diagnose mental illness.

But more and more introverts are speaking out about what it means to be a “quiet” type. Not sure if you’re an innie or an outie? See if any of these 23 telltale signs of introversion apply to you.

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance. For many quiet types, chitchat can feel disingenuous.

“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people,” Laurie Helgoe writes in “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength.” “We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”

2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.

If you’re an introvert, you may sometimes enjoy going to parties, but chances are, you’re not going because you’re excited to meet new people. At a party, most introverts would rather spend time with people they already know and feel comfortable around. If you happen to meet a new person that you connect with, great — but meeting people is rarely the goal.

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.

Ever feel like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings and group activities, even with people you know?

“If you tend to find yourself feeling alone in a crowd, you might be an introvert,” says Dembling. “We might let friends or activities pick us, rather than extending our own invitations.”

4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.

Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.

“Networking is stressful if we do it in the ways that are stressful to us,” Dembling says, advising introverts to network in small, intimate groups rather than at large mixers.

5. You’ve been called “too intense.”

Do you have a penchant for philosophical conversations and a love of thought-provoking books and movies? If so, you’re a textbook introvert.

“Introverts like to jump into the deep end,” says Dembling.

6. You’re easily distracted.

While extroverts tend to get bored easily when they don’t have enough to do, introverts have the opposite problem — they get easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation.

“Extroverts are commonly found to be more easily bored than introverts on monotonous tasks, probably because they require and thrive on high levels of stimulation,” Clark University researchers wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “In contrast, introverts are more easily distracted than extroverts and, hence, prefer relatively unstimulating environments.”

7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

One of the most fundamental characteristics of introverts is that they need time alone to recharge their batteries. Whereas an extrovert might get bored or antsy spending a day at home alone with tea and a stack of magazines, this sort of down time feels necessary and satisfying to an introvert.

8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

Introverts can be excellent leaders and public speakers — and although they’re stereotyped as being the shrinking violet, they don’t necessarily shy away from the spotlight. Performers like Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera and Emma Watson all identify as introverts, and an estimated 40 percent of CEOs have introverted personalities. Instead, an introvert might struggle more with meeting and greeting large groups of people on an individual basis.

9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle.

Whenever possible, introverts tend to avoid being surrounded by people on all sides.

“We’re likely to sit in places where we can get away when we’re ready to — easily,” says Dembling. “When I go to the theatre, I want the aisle seat or the back seat.”

10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you’ve been out and about for too long? It’s likely because you’re trying to conserve energy. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they’ll need to go back and replenish their stores in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.

11. You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.

It’s true that opposites attract, and introverts frequently gravitate towards outgoing extroverts who encourage them to have fun and not take themselves too seriously.

“Introverts are sometimes drawn to extroverts because they like being able to ride their ‘fun bubble,'” Dembling says.

12. You’d rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.

The dominant brain pathways introverts use is one that allows you to focus and think about things for a while, so they’re geared toward intense study and developing expertise, according to Olsen Laney.

13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.

Because really, is anything more terrifying?

14. You screen all your calls — even from friends.

You may not pick up your phone even from people you like, but you’ll call them back as soon as you’re mentally prepared and have gathered the energy for the conversation.

“To me, a ringing phone is like having somebody jump out of a closet and go ‘BOO!,'” says Dembling. “I do like having a long, nice phone call with a friend — as long as it’s not jumping out of the sky at me.”

15. You notice details that others don’t.

The upside of being overwhelmed by too much stimuli is that introverts often have a keen eye for detail, noticing things that may escape others around them. Research has found that introverts exhibit increased brain activity when processing visual information, as compared to extroverts.

16. You have a constantly running interior monologue.

“Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” says Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later.”

17. You have low blood pressure.

A 2006 Japanese study found that introverts tend to have lower blood pressure than their extroverted counterparts.

18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.

Introverts observe and take in a lot of information, and they think before they speak, leading them to appear wise to others.

“Introverts tend to think hard and be analytical,” says Dembling. “That can make them seem wise.”

19. You don’t feel “high” from your surroundings

Neurochemically speaking, things like huge parties just aren’t your thing. Extroverts and introverts differ significantly in how their brains process experiences through “reward” centers.

Researchers demonstrated this phenomenon by giving Ritalin — the ADHD drug that stimulates dopamine production in the brain — to introverted and extroverted college students. They found that extroverts were more likely to associate the feeling of euphoria achieved by the rush of dopamine with the environment they were in. Introverts, by contrast, did not connect the feeling of reward to their surroundings. The study “suggests that introverts have a fundamental difference in how strongly they process rewards from their environment, with the brains of introverts weighing internal cues more strongly than external motivational and reward cues,” explained LiveScience’s Tia Ghose.

20. You look at the big picture.

When describing the way that introverts think, Jung explained that they’re more interested in ideas and the big picture rather than facts and details. Of course, many introverts excel in detail-oriented tasks — but they often have a mind for more abstract concepts as well.

“Introverts do really enjoy abstract discussion,” says Dembling.

21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”

Many introverted children come to believe that there’s something “wrong” with them if they’re naturally less outspoken and assertive than their peers. Introverted adults often say that as children, they were told to come out of their shells or participate more in class.

22. You’re a writer.

Introverts are often better at communicating in writing than in person, and many are drawn to the solitary, creative profession of writing. Most introverts — like “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling — say that they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.

23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.

Introverts can move around their introverted “set point” which determines how they need to balance solitude with social activity. But when they move too much — possibly by over-exerting themselves with too much socializing and busyness — they get stressed and need to come back to themselves, according Olsen Laney. This may manifest as going through periods of heightened social activity, and then balancing it out with a period of inwardness and solitude.

“There’s a recovery point that seems to be correlated with how much interaction you’ve done,” says Dembling. “We all have our own private cycles.”

~ Carolyn Gregoire

Here Comes The Sun

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Grateful that, after almost 2 weeks of cold, windy, and rainy weather – finally the sun is up!

Written by MattAndJojang

August 24, 2013 at 8:42 am

Happy Birthday, Mom

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Mom's Family

Matt’s Mom, Matt’s Maternal Grandmother, Lola Moning, and Matt’s Mom’s Siblings, Tita Sonie & Tita Pilaring

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.

~ Abraham Lincoln

Happy birthday, Mom!

Written by MattAndJojang

August 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

Has Our Culture Killed Class?

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from Pinterest

from Pinterest

My grandmother, if she were here today, would be thrilled knowing her unwavering insistence on manners and etiquette were not lost on me. With perfect posture, hair always coiffed, nails always painted, she was perfectly composed. She believed in a classic, elegant attire with accessories to differentiate her looks — whether it be a handbag, scarf or jewelry, she always made a statement. That statement was simple, understated elegance. She was the picture of class.

I hear her voice in my head when I find myself appalled at the absence of class in our society today. She would surely roll over in her grave. Today she would be saying, ‘Never show your underwear in public. Leave something to the imagination. Put your phone down! Ladies don’t sext!’ They sure don’t, Grammy. Her advice would be endless given today’s culture, or she would be just plain horrified.

I am by no means a Proper Patty. My grandmother had many bones to pick with me, even as a three year old (‘you are never too young for etiquette’). But I was raised with a certain standard that I considered ‘the norm.’ Manners and class went hand-in-hand. One did not exist without the other. However, in today’s society, expecting ‘the norm’ is like looking for water in the desert.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but being ‘old-fashioned’ speaks to one’s character. It is common courtesy to hold the door for someone, give up your subway seat for someone older, pregnant, handicap and yes, gentleman, for a lady. It was understood phone calls were made after receiving birthday cards and thank-you notes were sent acknowledging gifts. When invited as a guest to someone’s home, you brought a gift. When you sneezed, someone blessed you. Saying please and thank you was expected.

I cannot count the number of times I’ve held the door for someone without receiving a thank you…how many sneezes have gone unblessed or the numerous wedding and baby gifts that I’ve sent without receiving written acknowledgement.

In the modern world, where sit-down-family-dinners are a thing of the past and children are being raised with a sense of entitlement, there is an absence of discipline and an abundance of self-centered behavior. When every child receives a trophy just for showing-up, consequences for a lack of hard work no longer exist. Instead, constant praise and rewards are given, perhaps overcompensating for our parent’s generation of ‘tough love,’ creating a society with overly high self-esteem. Throw in social media sites and their huge influence on our culture, and extreme narcissism has followed.

Inevitably, self-centered behavior breeds bad manners and tests our morality. So how do we integrate manners and class into a modern day society of ‘MEs’? What would my Grandmother say?

It’s your image.

The connection between manners and morality is becoming more apparent. How you present yourself in public defines you. First impressions are everything. Whether that public image is true, you have created it.

A cross around one’s neck and attending church on Sundays does not make one pious. Simply saying please and thank you certainly does not make one moral. But there is definitely a correlation between the well-mannered and the classy.

When your private life becomes public through social media, you open yourself up to judgment based on what you share with the world. Have you ever wondered why no one posts to Instagram from church? (posting to Twitter from a funeral is OK, according to Alec Baldwin) Instead, posting after Church when the real ‘Sunday Funday’ begins, with a drink in one hand, a dress barely covering ‘the goods,’ dancing atop a table. Because in the attention-starved culture we live in, the latter scenario garners more ‘likes.’ And, apparently God is not on Instagram.

Ladies, I’m not wearing the turtleneck or ankle-length skirt to the bar, but what happened to leaving something to the imagination? If you wear the completely sheer, leopard-print top with nothing but a very visible bra underneath, why wear the top at all? When you risk giving up ‘the goods’ by merely walking, maybe you could use an extra inch on that dress? And when your cleavage suggests that you should guide tours of The Grand Canyon, an extra button would go a long way. You may have just come from church. And you may not be the town tramp. But that is the image you portray.

Our icons used to be Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly…now we have the Kardashians. That doesn’t bode well for our generation. In the words of Ron Burgundy, ‘Stay classy!’

It is not always about you

We seem to feed into this generation’s sense of entitlement creating the egocentric narcissist. Have you ever been on a date and the other person talks about themselves incessantly? Or the ‘friend’ you bump into on the street and in the five blocks you walk together, never asks about you? Or the consistently late person who thinks your time is less valuable? I say to those people, ‘It is not always about you!’ Take an interest in others. Ask questions. Inquire about someone else’s life other than your own.

You may be beautiful, have the best this or the best that… But there is nothing more tasteless than the ‘selfie.’ Enough already! You may think you’re fabulous, but you’re certainly not humble. No one needs to see you in your sports bra showing off your abs, or bikini-clad, sporting the duck face.

By all means, take it all off and get freaky in the bedroom…or kitchen…or wherever your escapades take you. Just keep it private! A little modesty will go a long way.

Never flaunt your money

I recently saw an Instagram post of a Chanel-themed birthday cake. As I shook my head, disgusted, I wondered, is this how we are defining ourselves?

Money certainly doesn’t buy you class. There is nothing tackier than flaunting one’s wealth. It used to be uncouth to discuss the money you earned or labels you owned. Now we have the red carpet culture where the first question celebrities are asked is, ‘Who are you wearing?’ I’m guilty of it too, on occasion. But truthfully, I find the question to be tasteless.

The question used to be a faux-pas. Your status was recognized by how you were composed and the manners you elicit. You didn’t depict your wealth by the amount of monograms you wore. The label was on the inside. Now, we are walking advertisements for the brands we wear. The exclusivity and allure is gone.

At one time, if you were part of the upper class, most likely, you were predisposed to proper manners and etiquette. Currently, the lines between manners and class are unclear.

When “Keeping up with the Kardashians” has become the standard, needing and flaunting ‘stuff’ in excess has become the norm. Instead of hard work and praising others for their achievements, our culture has become a materialistic competition. Through social media, we are privy to luxury vacations, yachts, champagne, Ferraris, and frequent postings of Louboutins and Chanel bags. The mentality that ‘if they can have it, I can too’ has warped our appreciation for luxury items. We have become a shallow culture of excess, greed…and credit card debt.

When you’re 30 and live with your parents, maybe the Louboutins weren’t the smartest purchase? Maybe it’s time to look for your own home? Start paying rent and then see what you can afford. Or, just keep your purchase offline. This isn’t show-and-tell.

Be humble. What you own shouldn’t define you or anyone else. Your only competition should be yourself. The nice things you own and the travels you take should be a personal reminder of the hard work it took to attain.

Manners invoke Morals

One can certainly be polite without being virtuous, or have etiquette without morality. As children, we are taught manners with the intention of becoming moral or virtuous. The hope is that we internalize and rationalize etiquette to transform basic rule-following into genuine morality.

A civilization without basic rules is no longer civilized. These etiquette ‘rules’ or protocol, although vary from culture to culture, the underlying principles are the same. They give us concrete tools to communicate our moral attitudes effectively.

So as my Grandmother would say, ‘Remember to mind your manners!’ And if our generation doesn’t thank you, I will. Thank you. 

~ Rachel Jablow

Written by MattAndJojang

August 3, 2013 at 7:33 pm

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