This book was more interesting than I expected.
I decided to pick it up after hearing an interview with the author, Susan Cain, on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast.
I’ve always known of the introvert/extrovert labels, but it was nice to have learned about the psychology and experiments that have been performed in order to study the difference between the two.
I’ve never stopped to think about how our current western world tends to pressure people to be extroverts. To sort of shun introverts, or give social cues that introverts are “less than.” Maybe something is wrong if you aren’t overly social, outgoing, smiling, and energetic? I’ve struggled with this myself.
Generally speaking, I tend to enjoy some form of company. But when I stop and think about it, there have been many occasions where plans are made with friends, and as the event grows nearer I’ll become anxious. I’ll start inventing reasons to cancel, or convince myself that sitting at home would be better. Sometimes the entire day is spent hoping that someone else will cancel the plans so that I don’t have to suffer any guilt. It’s always felt odd to me because I’ve always enjoyed deep conversations with close friends, or even interesting strangers.
This Is OK
“Quiet” made me realize that this is not so weird; many introverts are shy, or boring, or scared.
Introverts tend to love thinking, deep conversation, and learning. The difference is in the amount of stimulation coming in. A one-on-one conversation that reveals intimate details about my emotions, values, and thoughts on the world? Love it! Going to a party, music pumping, with people (strangers) talking about current events? Hmmm…I’m not so sure.
If you were to ask my group of close friends if I felt this way – that I was uncomfortable in these situations – they’d probably disagree. I put on a pretty good extrovert facade. I mean, to be honest, I do like meeting new people. But there are certain situations that bring about too much stimulation. And when you put pressure on yourself to meet everyone, to network, to develop contacts at all costs, I don’t know. It’s weird.
Zero or One
It’s important to mention that this is not a binary situation. It’s not introvert OR extrovert. The lines blur, or so this book has taught me. It’s also taught me that there are extreme strengths in being an introvert and I’m beginning to appreciate my inner dialogue more because of this.
If you’ve ever felt guilty for not being as sociable or outgoing as others think you should be then check out this book. You’ll find you’re far from alone, and even further from wrong.