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Star Wars Introverts Unite… Alone!

Star Wars Introverts Unite… Alone!

TIE RYDER

I am an introvert. I have been an introvert my whole life, but until about a year ago I thought I was just weird. I’ve always been called shy, quiet, and backward. But mostly I’ve just never loved small talk, and I’ve always been okay with alone time. That always seemed normal to me, and I feel like my introversion has served me well. Especially since I bury my feelings, and Obi-Wan would be proud! People have very often told me that I needed to come out of my shell and stop being anti-social, especially when I was young. But I’m not anti-social. I’m selectively social: selective with whom and when I like to socialize. And then I need alone time so I can recharge. I know I’m not the only person like this. Some well-known introverts include Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Harrison Ford, David Letterman, Albert Einstein, Moses, Warren Buffet, Charles Darwin, and Rivers Cuomo. Obviously I belong in that group. Recently I’ve wondered who in the Star Wars galaxy is like me.

According to various estimates, anywhere from one-third to one-half of the population are introverts. The following are some of the most common characteristics of introverts:

-Intense focus on one thing; sometimes too intense
-Constant inner monologue
-Notice details others don’t
-Alone time is needed to recharge
-Analytical
-Keep emotions private
-Committed to goals
-Feel alone in a crowd
-Start to shut down after too much interaction
-Find small talk uncomfortable and mentally draining
-Look at the big picture
-Few, but very loyal, relationships
-Self-sufficient
-Good at studying
-Writer (and Ryder)
-Alternate between work and solitude
-Interested in self-knowledge and self-understanding
-Thought-provoking

So with these characteristics in mind, who are my favorite Star Wars introverts and why?

Yoda: Yoda spent two decades alone on Dagobah, which sounds like a dream come true for any introvert. Definitely self-sufficient. One would have to be on a swamp planet with no cities or technology. He notices details others don’t, including the danger in training Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi. That actually turned out ok in the end, though, which shows he does see the big picture. He obviously is good at studying. How else would he have known how to become one with the Force when he died? He knew he was strong in the Force, but not strong enough to avoid death, showing he has self-knowledge and self-understanding. And was there a more thought-provoking statement ever made than “Do or do not. There is no try?”

Yoda

Emperor Palpatine: Intense focus? Yes. Analytical? Yes. Committed to goals? He let his face be melted by lightning just to get sympathy votes. Looks at big picture? He worked closely with his sworn enemies until just the right time that he could all but eliminate them. Self-sufficient? He created and executed his entire scheme almost entirely on his own, using disposable pawns when he needed them. Alternates between work and solitude? When his work was finished he didn’t just send his apprentice to the next room. He told him to leave the space station and wait on the command ship. Alone time is needed to recharge? Yes, and the pun was intended.

PalpatineTauntingLuke

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Obi-Wan communed with Qui-Gon Jinn in order to learn how to become one with the Force after death. A person must be studious and have an intense focus to do that. He spent 19 years in seclusion waiting for just the right time to train Luke Skywalker as a Jedi in order to defeat the Sith. Therefore, he was committed to goals and saw the big picture. He must have found small talk exhausting. He dropped off baby Luke Skywalker at the Lars homestead and it didn’t look like he said a word. Also, he was smart enough to live near a large city so he could have some social interaction, but could retreat to his private hut after too much. And a person must be self-sufficient to live in the Jundland wastes all alone.

Obi Wan

Luke Skywalker: Luke is one who became more introverted throughout the saga. I knew there was a reason I liked him more as he aged. He even called Ben Kenobi “a strange, old hermit” in A New Hope. An introvert should never bad mouth another introvert for simply introverting! But….in order to train to become a Jedi Luke had to have intense focus (even if he was distracted by the happenings on Cloud City), sometimes too intense (“Never!!!), be committed to goals (he returned to Dagobah to complete his training), and be good at studying (he learned many of his Jedi skills on his own). He didn’t always keep his emotions private (“That’s not true! That’s impossible!”), but he did learn to control them (and hence the reason he didn’t kill Vader). He only had a few close relationships, but he was very loyal to them. He even left his Jedi training to help save his friends on Cloud City and he was willing to give his own life in order to save his father. And Heir To The Jedi shows that he does have an inner monologue.

Luke alone

Are you an introvert also? Do you hate it? Love it? I now embrace it. As a full-fledged introvert I feel like I am in good company with these four characters. There are other introverts in Star Wars, but these are my favorites. Who are yours? Please let me know on Twitter @ryderwaldrondds, email me at ryderw@coffeewithkenobi.com, or leave a comment below. Thanks again for reading my blog. I really do appreciate it. And remember:

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8 Comments

  1. Dennis Keithly (@DJKver2)
    June 11, 2015 at 10:05 Reply

    I’ve never considered myself an introvert, but I do meet many of the criteria you listed. Emperor Palpatine strikes me as an introvert outlier. I think he carried a very public face and exhibited many characteristics of extroverts, but perhaps that is part of the Sith duality. Nice article.

    1. Ryder
      June 11, 2015 at 21:18 Reply

      Thanks for reading, Dennis. I appreciate it.

  2. Melinda
    June 11, 2015 at 22:15 Reply

    Ryder, just to set the record straight, it was Uncle Owen who called Ben “a crazy old wizard.”

    😉

    Interesting musings here, Ryder. I’ve been pondering them for a while. I do have a few comments, if I may.

    I really don’t consider Yoda, Obi-wan, or Luke introverts. While I don’t dispute the thorough list you put forth outlining some of the characteristics of what it means to be an introvert, in the true sense of the word, an introvert is someone who (shall we say) practices ‘introversion’. Introversion is to direct interest inwards towards one’s own thoughts and feelings rather than outward, to pull away from social contact. In the case of Yoda, Obi-wan and Luke, they most definitely did not live their lives in this manner. They were, however, extremely thoughtful individuals who preferred to give a great deal of consideration to situations before they rushed into action (Luke’s arc toward maturity definitely shows how his growth played a vital role in how he handled situations.).

    Of course, maybe the three Jedi could be considered more “social introverts” — since there most definitely are different degrees of that personality trait.

    I am not disputing the fact that those three Jedi had many of the characteristics you outlined. I just don’t see them as introverts. Then again, I really don’t like labels. I think they box people (or, in this case, characters) in. In so doing, some people (or characters) find themselves hindered, locked into a self-fulfilling prophecy, so to speak.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Ryder. MTFBWY 🙂

    1. Ryder
      June 11, 2015 at 23:23 Reply

      Thanks for the comments, Melinda. Like you said it was Owen who called Ben a “crazy, old wizard”, but it was Luke who called him a “strange, old hermit”, as I said in my blog. Just to set the record straight 😉 I always appreciate the intellectual challenge you present.

  3. Melinda
    June 11, 2015 at 22:16 Reply

    And for the record, Ryder — people who deem you “anti social” just aren’t patient enough to get to know you. Their loss.

    Take care. 🙂

  4. Frazzled Thoughts Friday | The Legacies in SWTOR
    June 12, 2015 at 13:11 Reply

    […] Now onto my next topic here. I recently read a blog post from a Podcast blog. Coffee With Kenobi recently blogged about this Star Wars Introverts Unite… Alone! […]

  5. Jay Krebs
    June 13, 2015 at 12:25 Reply

    Great piece! 🙂

    I actually display many of the characteristics you mention – and I do not consider myself an introvert; although, I DO need my “alone time”, and I would rather fly solo (no pun intended) on a lot of things than be part of a group. I don’t like to eat in the teacher’s lounge…I prefer to run alone…I like to go to the movies by myself every once in a while…I can work in my flower beds or on craft projects for hours on end and be perfectly happy NOT interacting with anyone…I have VERY few people I call my “friends”…hmmm! Maybe I’m an introvert after all???

    I do think a lot of Jedi were introverts. They did what they needed to for the sake of others. But they embraced not having personal commitments (for the most part), and were able to delve in deep introspection.

    Lots to think about, here!! 🙂

  6. Summer Solstice Girl
    January 3, 2017 at 02:06 Reply

    Always been an introvert. I embraced it since childhood. I live in solitude and it’s awesome

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