President Obama is taking heat for behaving like an introvert in last night's presidential debate. Read More
I thought, while watching, that Romney came off as an angry, disrespectful bully. He ignored requests to cut it shorter, going so far as to talk over other people so he could get his two cents in (even if it was something he had already said). I thought he just came off rude, and I liked him less for it.
Meanwhile, I admired Obama's even-keeled calmness. I thought he came off as sturdy, unflustered, and respectful. And for this, I admired him and his demeanor.
Not until the next day (as you said) did it even cross my mind that this would mean Romney was the "winner." Rudeness and talking over the other person equates to strength? Honestly didn't even see it coming. And I agree that it's a little disturbing that the yell factor is what makes someone "win" these things nowadays. It makes me a little bit sad that the take-home here ends up being, "Obama has to be meaner and more aggressive." What happened to the day when decorum and quiet dignity was what people looked for in a leader?
I did not watch the debate last night. I need to do more research for the non presidential elections going on in my area but that is not super important. I agree with most of what you said.
Except I don't think we ever wanted decorum and quiet dignity in our leaders. Of the presidents I can think of as great, Washington, Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, JFK these were all loud and energetic. I would say Lincoln and maybe Jefferson (although I don't actually know enough about his as a person to day for sure.) Would be more quiet and calm leaders. I am sure some of the lesser known presidents were more introverted but as I said I think many of the "greats" were more extroverted and full of energy.
Again this has nothing to do with the rest of what you said and I think it is sad that being quiet, and taking your time to think before you talk are seen as faults in our society but that seems to be the country we live in.
"I said I think many of the "greats" were more extroverted and full of energy."
I would make the case that people who look for "energy" are usually extroverts themselves. It's all personal perception and preferences.
People who seek "energy" though tend to enjoy things that are a little over-dramatic anyways...that's why they tend to downplay serious transgressions ie. Mitt Romney bullying a highschool kid, and don't have any recollections of it, but did admit, “I participated in a lot of high jinks and pranks during high school, and some may have gone too far."
Extroverts tend to look for a motivational speaker in every person they meet...motivational values and rewards are externalized. Popularity is misguided when you need to put others down to raise yourself up. But in our fair society, sometimes bullying is that "fearless dominance" virtue that pays off....
I had exactly the same reaction. In fact, I was so annoyed that I turned off the debate after about 25 minutes. The next morning, I was surprised to hear the pundits say that Romney "won" the debate. I agree it wasn't Obama's best performance, but Romney was just a steamroller, and not in a good way.
Totally DISAGREE. I am an introvert and I'm actually offended that you would try to make excuses for such a poor performance in the debate that Obama had by writing it off to him being an "introvert". He certainly wasn't an introvert in 2008! He hasn't been an introvert over these last four years! As a matter of fact, ROMNEY has taken an extreme amount of heat over the last couple of months for being "too low-key" and not showing as much of his personality as Obama seems to do.
I'm sorry, but I think you've got this all wrong. Obama lost the debate not because he behaved like an introvert, he lost the debate because he doesn't have the ability to think quickly on his feet. He had no teleprompter or pre-prepared speeches to rely on and he got buried. Plain and simple, he does not have the same debate skills that Romney clearly showed last night. Obama also does not have anywhere near the knowledge and experience with business/economics to even hold his own against Romney on those issues. Not to mention, Obama spoke over the moderator just as much as Romney did - they both took great liberty with the time alotted them on each and every topic. They were each fighting for their lives, metaphorically speaking. I don't fault either candidate for this particular behavior...
So, let's please not make excuses. Let's just be honest with ourselves with the fact that Romney was clearly more prepared for the debate and it showed.
I think its lame excuse to blame the introvert behavior for the poor performance of Obama. He was mumbling, looking down, not moving his hands, nodding "no no", he was simply tired and insecure.
I am also introvert, I dont have problem with talking with people but I like to be by myself rather than hanging out. This behavioral connotation of "introvert" simply does not justify his poor speech, words and performance.
Maybe he is rather cautious because 4 years ago he promised so many things and now he is afraid of promising the same things without any accomplishment.
Introversion matters. You cannot say Obama wasn't an introvert 4 years ago; he was. A personality trait as fundamental as that doesn't change. Just because he seemed more outgoing 4 years ago than in this first debate doesn't mean a thing. All us introverts should know that at times we can summon up energy for short periods of time and appear extroverted. But try as we might we can never fully escape our introverted tendencies. Being an introvert does put someone at a disadvantage in debates. Debates involve quick, on your feet thinking; not a strength of introverts. Candidates also get judged on their style, body language, and who gets in the best zingers; all things that introverts do not value as much as the actual SUBSTANCE of what they're arguing for. I think Obama's natural introversion made him focus on the facts of his policies, rather than on style or empty promises, and when Romney changed his positions, and/or promised the moon on so many subjects (like taxation) it clearly frustrated him. Obama understood the implications of the irresponsible positions Romney was standing for and Romney's unwillingness to back up his arguments with responsible thinking. I mean c'mon, regarding the deficit and taxation Romney essentially said, I'm can lower taxes AND not raise the deficit because the economy is going to be so much better under me. I mean, how irresponsible can you get? He essentially just said, "Trust me. Things are going to be better with me. They just are. Because they just are! And that's the cornerstone of my taxation / deficit policies." Crazy. Yes Obama was frustrated by that. He was debating a ghost; someone who got to say whatever he wanted and sound good while doing it, but had no substance. The pundits need to focus on substance. Policies matter. Facts matter. I trust the voters will have more sense than the pundits and value SUBSTANCE over STYLE.
In 2012, with media the way it is, every move, every word scrutinized to the nth degree, an introvert wouldn't stand a chance running for President of the United States. In the 1860's, Lincoln could get away with being more "reserved" and "introverted" because he didn't have video cameras in his face 24/7 and TV stations reporting his every move. I kind of think the idea is silly - to suggest that Obama is an introvert. Where have you been the last four years? It would appear a different planet from that on which I live because Obama has always taken every opportunity to be very much in the public eye and out shmoozing his media darlings (as pretty much most modern presidents do!). No, I'm sorry, I don't buy this whole "Obama is an introvert" stuff!
It's ludicrous to suggest an introvert could never become president nowadays. For starters the current president is an introvert. If you don't understand that you need to read more on introversion. And I don't say that with an ounce of condescension intended. I simply want you to understand that introverts are able to do some incredibly public things and still be introverts. For instance, many performers are / were introverts including Johnny Carson, George Harrison, and Tom Hanks. Many introverts go into the public eye despite how naturally uncomfortable they find it because they are driven by strong conviction and belief in their ideas. And their ideas come out of a process of deep and long introspection and quiet thought. You seem to think introverts are incapable of "shmoozing" and other such public efforts. That is not correct. Introverts are certainly capable of being public figures but they must always be cognizant of the demands that it places on them... they do find such public engagements more of an effort than extroverts do. Their energy goes down relatively quickly in public... and so they must ration their socializing and public events. So to say no introverts could become president shows an ignorance of what it is to be an introvert. Being an introvert might make it publicly harder,... but there are some incredible advantages to being an introvert such as a cautionary, empathetic mindset, that benefit the introvert. Lincoln for example, was able to slow down, step back and empathize with the South, and extend an olive branch after defeating them in the Revolution... thereby facilitating the nation's reconciliation at that time... a wonderful trait to have in a leader.
I did not see all the debate; however I did find it quite fascinating. I watched only about the last 20 minutes of the telecast, with the sound OFF. It was interesting to watch their body language. I didn’t hear what they were saying but I could painfully tell Mr. Obama was not poised in confidence. He looked down (like a nervous freshman in speech and debate class) quite often and had this smirk on this face. He seemed more reactive then proactive. Mr. Romney did seem quite overbearing and required attention to “whatever he was saying.” Take a close look at how they shook hands and the end of the debate. Both where shaking quite vigorously while grabbing and patting each other’s shoulders (a sign of power over the other) almost manic in nature. Mr. Obama had the last say however has Mit walked away Barack smacked his back, just ever so slightly. Bravo you two, bravo!
I do not think Obama is an introvert. He is an extrovert who chose to be more matured, calm and objective as possible in the debate. The fact that he behaved quietly does not make him an introvert.
Weird. I actually responded earlier to a blog on PT about how Romney's body language supposedly won him the debate.
The blog argued that Romney's body language signified dominance and an alpha male demeanor.
But, for me, I'm not looking for a "dominant," "alpha male" president. If that were the case, I'd say that Arnold should run for president.
So, ya, I'm a hundred per cent with you Ms. Dembling.
Whats interesting about it is that Obama doesnt seem like an introvert but he behaved like one. It was either a political strategy on his part, or he was simply having a bad day where he could not get into that zone.
Great post. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who noticed the "Introvert vs. Extrovert" debate last night. Obama IS an introvert and that is one of the main reasons why I like him. I am also an introvert and every time I see him talk and watch the way he carries himself, I can relate. Obama is very cerebral, calm, and measured in his speaking. Something that I admire in a leader. But unfortunately, most Americans, especially political pundits, prefer their leaders to be bombastic, aggressive, and bold in style.
In the end, I thought the debate was pretty even. Obama had the edge on substance and details. Romney had the edge on energy and aggressiveness. Obama appealed to the mind. Romney appealed to the emotions.
It ain't just a river in egypt.
I know this is off subject. In a class I'm taking for becoming a teacher the professor and some talkative students that like to dominate the discussions were saying that people who are "greens" should not be teachers. I'm mostly a green but I've also got gold in me from the true colors personality test. What are your thoughts on introverts being teachers? Do you think we're better at it than extroverts who tend to unknowingly make other students feel uncomfortable by their insensitive comments?
Do you think greens should be teachers? Do you think introverts are better teachers because we don't make insensitive comments that could hurt our students?
I was hoping you could make a longer list of books that contain introverted characters. I'm reading the elegance of the hedgehog and absolutely love it. I liked the perks of being a wallflower also.
The woman who was just hired to share my office remarked on the first day, "I'm surprised you're in a job like this, being so quiet and shy." I found myself questioning why SHE was in a job helping people, being so ignorant and rude.
Being louder and talking more does not make you a better person or a better employee. Yet, I've come across sooo many extroverts with a superiority complex, who obviously assume that being reserved equates with lacking social skills.
I get sick of feeling as though I have to prove myself, pretend I'm more outgoing than I am, or defend my personality. If I went around saying everything I think and critiquing all the extroverts' personalities, I don't think they'd care too much for a taste of their own medicine.
Personally, I can't get enough of the carefully thought-out zingers that come out of President Obama's mouth. Mitt Romney might make a good politician, but the ability to lie convincingly doesn't make him a good leader, or a good candidate for president.
i totally agree with you. No matter what you do, people will talk so you just have to give them the freedom of thinking. That will also give you more freedom to be you.
I want to give those mean extraverts a taste of their own medicine. When they make insensitive comments like that I want to be like well at least I'm not annoying.
What bothers me is that when Romney was bombastic and interrupting, Republicans rejoiced in his "victory." Then when Biden wouldn't sit quietly as Ryan rolled out lie after indefensible lie, they thought Biden was "rude," and there was vigorous Republican pearl-clutching all around. Phooey. So I guess "my team's" extroverts are bold leaders, but "your team's" extroverts are rude bullies. Got it.
I think Obama won tonight. he really did great with the 47percent comment.
So basically what most of you are saying is that the only people foolish enough to even entertain the idea that Obama won the first debate are the democratic introverts! We can now add "introversion" to the ever growing list of excuses for a poor performance! Anyone ever heard of Occam's razor???
I dont think it's that Obama is an introvert, but he showed introvert tendencies in that debate, and was lambasted for it, that was the point being made with this article.
Perosnally, I would rather have an introvert in office, some who weighs large decisions heavily, and doesnt just shoot from the hip. Not a good quality for a president in my mind.
Of course, as someone once said "Anyone who thinks they know what's best for 300 million people is a colossal a**hole."
Obama is an INFJ. Romney is an ISTJ. It was actually two introverts feuding.
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Sophia Dembling is a widely published Dallas, Texas-based writer. Look for her next book, Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After, coming in January 2015.
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