Are introverts just pathological liars?

Pinocchio lies

The apparent defining feature of the introvert is that, compared to extroverts, they find socializing to be stressful and mentally draining. That is not to say that they dislike the company of people, which they are quick to point out, they just have a supposedly lesser appetite for company.

Explanations for this phenomenon usually include the assertion that introverts are more socially aware, more emotionally sensitive, and that these perceptions make interaction tiring. Others prefer the idea that the introvert’s inner cinema is so compelling that interacting with others is so much of a distraction from their enormously entertaining mindscape that they simply seek to return to it as quickly as possible. Some claim to have a kind of social disorder that prevents them from interacting with people productively, others claim to be misanthropes.

My assertion is that introverts are pathological liars.

Introversion begins when the individual discovers that people can be manipulated by behaving toward them in a congenial manner. Obviously, people prefer those who are agreeable to them. Introverts realize that adopting a different persona is easier than changing their true nature, so gradually they learn to mask everything about them they think is disagreeable with a socially-acceptable veneer.

In manufacturing an outward persona that is at odds with their true nature, their lies accumulate to the point where almost everything about them has become a lie. They act in a friendly manner when they feel antipathy, brave when fearful, generous when selfish, openminded when dogmatic, agreeable when averse, calm and happy when anxious and troubled, uninterested when eager, and so forth. Having lied to everybody, and eventually even to themselves, it becomes necessary to perpetuate the deception in every social interaction thenceforth. It is well known that lies can be detected on account of the extra cognitive effort required to tell them believably than to just report the truth as it is perceived.

Therefore, for an ‘introvert’ to interact socially, it requires considerably more effort than for someone whose thoughts and actions are consistent.

In fact, it’s exhausting…

Over time, the introvert comes to associate social interaction with the feeling of exhaustion and becomes averse to it.

Not wanting to admit that the exhaustion is due to the terrible burden of maintaining the false persona, or perhaps not even realizing what’s happening at all, they rationalize it as the manifestation of a hereditary psychological phenotype; or, on hearing that other intelligent people also claim to experience similar symptoms, assume that it’s an unfortunate byproduct of above-average intelligence itself. There really are a myriad of excuses.

This explains why introverts become markedly more sociable when drunk – no longer do they fear the consequences of behaving naturally because dutch courage has ameliorated their anxiety; however, they tend to feel embarrassment and regret afterwards as they remember every ‘inappropriate’ thing they said or did while under the influence. In truth, it’s not the inappropriateness they lament, it’s that they accidentally acted in a truthful manner.

That’s why less socially analytical people tend to be extroverts. They don’t know how to deceive effectively or they don’t see the utility of it, or both.

Since veracity is the heart of morality, it stands to reason that extroverts are inherently more moral than introverts, regardless of what they do. Their feelings, actions and speech are congruent. Therefore, if I meet someone who claims to be an introvert, but they seem otherwise agreeable, I can only assume that the reason for their introversion is that the lie of their agreeability is tiring to maintain. If they’re disagreeable, then I know that their introversion is probably just a defence against social rejection. The other obvious cases are if the person has some physical attribute causing social rejection; e.g., looks, smell, mannerisms, etc., and I can make up my mind whether any of these things are unacceptable to me on the face of it.

Ultimately, this is why an introvert cannot easily become an extrovert. It requires that they break the habit of lying and start to express their natural personality, which feels dangerous as it could easily jeopardize the few social connections they maintain.

In addition, the habit of each lie needs to be addressed individually, potentially a difficult and protracted process. Nevertheless, to overcome introversion first requires one to take inventory of all the lies they tell about themselves. Then, start to address each one in order. Focusing on each lie, one needs to force themselves to instead tell the truth (or behave truthfully) in new social interactions, and start to gently reveal each true aspect about oneself to existing contacts.

Inevitably, some will find the ‘new you’ unacceptable and cease to associate with you – an unfortunate necessity of this process. In breaking the habit of telling each lie, one by one, you will eventually be manifesting your true self. Then, social interactions ought to become effortless. If they’re still strenuous, then you just have to accept that this is a person you cannot get along with. That’s ok.

In accumulating those around you who actually do love you for who you are, extroversion ought to become natural; after all, why eschew company if it’s nothing but a joy?

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