Family Life Personal

Why Did The Introvert Kiss The Frog?

Like the late, great journalist Con Houlihan, I'm still a small boy posting scribbles and hoping they reach an audience

Why did the introvert kiss the frog?

You may want to ponder this question a while — or see it for what it is:

The closest I have ever come to producing click-bait!

See I was writing about introverts and extroverts last week and I haven’t exhausted the topic.

I didn’t want you going: ‘Oh jeez, not introverts again!’, so I asked my brain to come up with something to draw you in.

And that’s what it threw up!

Why did the introvert kiss the frog?

Now brain might have been aiming for deep and existential, but I think he was just trying it on.

Sad, eh?

Anyway, this is a blog, and blog pieces are all about generating a reaction.

Getting you, the reader, to kiss that blog!

The best part of the whole enterprise.

And that piece generated a lot of comments.

Some really brilliant and fascinating observations that really made me think.

Maybe writing is the introvert’s revenge, I don’t know, but it’s just brilliant to get this kind of feedback, and then feed on that feedback.

It’s all about communication, isn’t it?

One of my favourite sports writers, nay writers, the late Con Houlihan, was far more than just a sports writer.

Houlihan was a columnist for years with the late and lamented Evening Press newspaper.

My favourite pieces of his were the ones where he would wander completely off piste, and write about all sorts, like his youth in Castle Island, in Co Kerry, in the peninsular southwest of Ireland, and the many adventures he enjoyed on his singular path to coming to write for the now-defunct Irish Press newspaper group, which the Evening Press was a part of.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Con for my college magazine, The Metro, many years ago, and it was an absolute blast.

My very favourite of Houlihan’s columns – and I am sorry I could not find the original, and can only quote from another article I wrote on the great man – was the one in which he described his very first attempts at writing.

And I quote:

“Long before I could write the word ‘cat’, I used to scribble letters to a favourite aunt in the United States. I used to “post” them at nightfall when the wind was high.

“The reason for the darkness was simple: I could convince myself that my epistles would reach their destination; it was a pinnacle of self-deception – things haven’t changed much since.

“In the meantime, I have learned to put letters together and form even such words as “mouse” but I got more satisfaction from the little missives which from a treetop I would loose into the wind in a kind of airmail.”

Houlihan goes on to talk about sports writing in general, but then at the finish, he wraps the whole thing up by deftly, returning to the image of the small boy “posting” his letters across the Atlantic:

“Most of us who feel compelled to write are lonely people; they hope vaguely that somebody out there somewhere may understand them.

“In a slightly more sophisticated way, they are posting scribbles from out of a tree on a windy nightfall and hoping they will reach their target.”

Nice, eh?

Windfalls, houlihan

Which brings me back to our friends the introverts and the extroverts.

Like many of the people who commented on my post pointed out, we are really a mixture of the two, but probably with a strong leaning towards one or the other.

And we really need both in this world, extrovert and introvert, and everyone on that continuum between the two.

But I do feel that writing, naturally, leans towards the introverted side of ourselves.

It does for me anyway.

For the largely introverted me, and for many of you who commented last week, a huge part of our journey has been the relief, first of all, of discovering, that one is primarily introverted and is not alone, and then the joy of building on that discovery to nurture that introversion, or creative side, and give it expression.

Like here.

And it has given us the confidence to avoid, wherever possible, situations that are uncomfortable to us, and to hopefully lead a fuller and a more contented existence.

Oh, the blessed relief in not being so caught up in trying to please others.

We learn to go with our own flow – whether upstream or down.

And to recharge our batteries when needed.

And then, if we are parents, we can watch and nurture our children, and try to help them work with their own natures, and come to be the very best versions of themselves.

Quite the enterprise, that!

And post a few scribbles along the way.

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51 comments on “Why Did The Introvert Kiss The Frog?

  1. Interesting. I need to think about this (whether there are extraverted writers – as to me there seems to be some. But maybe that’s just for their media appearances…) #Globalblogging

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  2. I am definitely extroverted and actually started writing my blog as a way of connecting with others to satisfy that extrovert when I was mostly only surrounded by babies… I guess writing works for us all in different ways. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does, Kirsty … I hadn’t thought of it quite like that, but maybe it is quite an extroverted act, putting your thoughts and feelings out there for others to read about !

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  3. I feel you’ve opened a can of worms here Enda, maybe to feed the frogs? I do feel that writing gives introverts an outlet, somewhere to put down their thoughts that may not otherwise be listened to. But are they introverted if they then seek people to read those words, if they wait for comments to arrive, and approval or disapproval or any kind of reaction at all. maybe if you don’t expect any reaction then you are only writing for yourself, which is good for you, but not if your are writing to be read. I’m babbling now, I’ve been writing far too much today already.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The more I thnk about it, Anne, and reading the various comments, it is too extreme to consider oneself totally introverted or the other extreme, and yes, I agree, there is of course an extroverted side to putting stuff out to be read — and commented on!!! I would be some idiot blogging just to myself wouldn’t I? Hehe

      Liked by 1 person

      • I started blogging 14 years ago, I wanted to keep a record of my journey at the time (Lady stuff…I was trying to get pregnant in my late 30s) I was totally shocked to find that people where actually reading me. The internet was a whole new outlet to someone who’d been sending paper manuscripts out for years with very little success. I love that the Internet gives potential introverts to explore a different side of themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like that aspect to … the fact we choose how to represent ourselves, and can, as you say, explore aspects of ourselves. Work for me! Hehe

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  4. This is an interesting one. I’d say I was an extrovert. I’m not sure you can be a journalist for 15 years and be an introvert. Death knocks are not for the faint hearted! Plus when I post a blog, it’s because I want people to read it. If I was introverted, I’d write it and not care if anyone ever looked at it. It’s a ‘talker,’ as they say in the trade! #ItsOK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, it’s a talker, Helen. As other commenters have suggested, and I agree, writing can cater to both sides of one’s personality. Broadly speaking there’s the introverted writing side, and then there’s the extroverted side putting it out there and interacting — like now!

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  5. Karen Dennis

    I think I am an extrovert, but not entirely sure, will have to think about it #blogginggoodtime@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I go along with the view that there is a little introvert and extrovert in us all. I’d say I lean towards extrovert, but I certainly have my introvert moments when I feel less secure. #Ablogginggoodtime & #Abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d say you’d have to have extrovert tendencies to do what you do, Fiona … but everyone needs a to recharge!

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  7. The paper airplanes that you send out here in your blog really do have a lot of interested readers, Enda. I think blogging has its introverted side (writing) and extroverted side (interacting with all the other bloggers). You have to be a little bit of both to be successful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mackenzieglanville

    Lots to ponder, reading through the comments so far it seems there is a lot to consider. I would have thought most writers are introverts, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way of knowing the stats on that! I guess it is lovely knowing people are reading and commenting on my blog, but even if it makes me sound mad (I’m ok with that because I am a quirky soul) I do write for myself, I would need to write even if no one read it, it is theory in a way, a way for me to get my thoughts out and read back over some days and ponder how I feel. But then why not just keep a paper journal? Hmm? I think i just like my ow little space where I can add pictures and type. Well you know you are good at getting us thinking and talking, well done! Thanks for linking up #ABloggingGoodTime

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    • I suppose we have to satisfy ourselves, first and foremost, before we post anything, so maybe we are writing both for ourselves and for an audience!! I wonder how we could measure the introversion/extroversion of writing … maybe we will just keep on doing it, and worry about that later — or never! Lol

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  9. Yeah, I’m inclined to agree. Writing and lonely people do go hand in hand. I can also see your sub editing skills coming through with that headline! Great and thought provoking post Enda. #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John … mind you, I really couldn’t imagine submitting that headline on my next subbing shift, somehow! Hehe

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  10. thanks for linking up to #Wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  11. After six years of blogging, I’m still often surprised that anyone actually reads what I write. For introverts, it’s like a safe way to dip your toe into the world of communication without the risk of having to actually come face to face with anyone.
    Lots of food for thought (or frogs in this case). #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Angela … I like blogging as a safe place to express stuff, and connect with people, without having to “perform” as such. Thanks for commenting

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  12. I like that image of sending letters on the wind in the dark. Writing has always been the main way I express myself. It’s interesting to consider whether it is more of an introvert thing to do or extrovert. Most of the time I’d say I was an introvert but I love performing which is quite an extrovert thing to do. I think as you have said, most of us have both tendencies but lean towards one or the other. #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Louise. I think it is interesting how many “out there” performers are actually shy and reserved off stage! Maybe we use different mediums or activities to satisfy the introverted ad extroverted aspects of our personalities!

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  13. Enda, I never imagined that I would one day be intrigued by a sports journalist! I have zero interest in reading about sports, but the image of a little boy posting letters to his aunt on the wind at night really got to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It got to me too … It’s a favourite piece of mine. Houlihan was, as I said, more than a sports journalist, writing about all sorts. Thanks Jean

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  14. Tracey Carr

    Well all I can say with certainty is that since I started writing my own scribbles, I have probably been happier than I have ever been. It is all mine (not a single person in my family knows about it apart from my husband) but they will probably find out eventually. For now I am happy to keep it like this though because it is the first time I have done something for myself without anyone else’s influence. So I am definitely paddling upstream! And my inner introvert is loving it! #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear that. It’s so good to find an outlet for our inner selves, and to do something by ourselves and then put it out there. Go us!

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  15. Tracey Carr

    Or is that downstream? Sorry paddling downstream! I think it’s time for me to make some tea!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Writing letters sounds a lovely idea X #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I love this and may have to post it on the office wall somewhere! “Most of us who feel compelled to write are lonely people; they hope vaguely that somebody out there somewhere may understand them.” Does this make all us zillions of bloggers sad and lonely? A thought for later. This thread could go on forever Enda. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it really is a lovely image, from a wonderful column – one I wish I still had in its entirety, Jo. I don’t feel sad or necessarily lonely, but there are definitely parts of myself that I can only access through writing, I think!

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  18. Am I a sad and lonely blogger? Possibly.
    I have colleagues at work not friends, outside of work I don’t socialise with people, but am happy to be sociable at work, I have a public focused job. Very rarely, once or twice a year, do I go out outside of work.
    So yes I am an introvert and happy to be that way.
    Maybe my blog is the voice that I do not share any other way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is something the way we can access and use different aspects of our personalities in different situations. I too am happy to be largely introverted but I also allow my extroverted tendencies to have an outlet … and I think writing can utilise both aspects. Thank you so much for commenting, Elaine

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  19. loopyloulaura

    I think writing allows me to be the person I am inside but without all the worry of social interaction. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  20. That’s a lot to think about. I think I write for a lot of reasons. I think I have both introvert and extrovert in me so writing plays into both sides for me. Everyone is different though and have different reasons for doing what they do so who am I to say which is which? This definitely got me thinking. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Lovely to see Con Houlihan here. Discovered him on my Teenage paper round realising that some journalists were real writers!

    Regards Thom

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  22. I love the idea of the leap of faith, sending his letters across the Atlantic. I guess it really isn’t very dissimilar to writing a blog post and pressing the publish button. I also like the idea that as an introvert, I’m connecting to people on my own terms, by writing instead of being there in person. Your description of Con Houlihan reminds me of Alistair Cooke’s letters from America. (And we come full circle) #MMBC

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A lot to think about here. I am bit of an introvert, but I am trying to change that a little. I do find it easier to write my thoughts and opinions rather than actually say them out loud publicly.
    #TriumphantTales

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re a bit of a mix and I think for introverts, they are relaxed with some more than others. But that’s pretty normal, no? Thanks Ali

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  24. I think you need to have a level oc introvertedness to write, because you need to be able to listen to your own thoughts before you can put thoae thoughts onto paper.
    #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree … I thing writing is maybe the introverted side, and then promoting it brings out more the extroverted side …

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  25. Kate Holmes

    Lovely just lovely post. I identify as an introvert but once I trust an extrovert party animal of sorts can come out. Also as I have done some out there stuff like public speaking through work, others will say I cannot possibly be an introvert but of course they do not see the torture that goes on internally when I put myself out there. Agree with Con and thanks for introducing me to a clearly wise person. Writing keeps me sane, makes me feel less isolated and in the most wonderful way seems to help other people along the way which is a thrill. Always a joy to visit your blog. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Kate. A think of lot of people will relate to what you say … people only seeing the outward projection, and not seeing the furious paddling beneath the water! But I do think that public stuff gets easier, once we get and take the opportunity to regroup and recharge.

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