Confession time! I’m an introvert. Perhaps you are too!? I’d recommend taking an online Myers Briggs test to find out. You’ll also learn a lot of other things about yourself by taking the test, too.
So what does being an introvert mean? The short description is that instead of gaining my energy from being around others, like extroverts do, I typically feel depleted after social interaction and need to recharge. It’s not that I don’t like being around others, it’s just that too much social interaction can be overwhelming and usually I need time by myself to recharge. Other attributes of an introvert include thinking before I speak, not minding doing things alone, and sometimes keeping things to myself rather than vocalizing my thoughts.
Not all introverts are shy, but personally I’ve always been more on the shy and reserved side, and in recent years, I’ve made a concerted effort to cater to my own needs as a “shy person” and introvert. I never knew why I felt like I needed time alone, but now I do, and I make sure I get it. My boyfriend suggested I read Quiet after he heard about it from a former boss who was an introvert. Although I know myself pretty well, I felt this book validated my being as an introvert. I learned a lot about myself and how I interact with others and operate. For instance, introverts are typically more risk adverse than our extrovert counterparts. Meaning, I’d rather not do something because avoiding risk is usually more satisfying to me than the reward I may receive from the action. This couldn’t be more true.
Quiet made me proud to be an introvert and also gave me some tips on living as an introvert. I particularly enjoyed the sections where Susan Cain specifically pointed out positive qualities that are often overlooked in introverts such as the ability to listen and think before speaking or making decisions. Unfortunately in today’s American society, extroversion is often favored vs introversion. Cain goes into the history of how extroversion became the ideal in American society, and also touches on societies that view introversion as ideal. I have noticed the “extrovert ideal” culture throughout my life, but I’ve refused to let it negatively affect me any more. Quiet also gives some “fake it until you make it” tips and encouragement, which I thought was helpful. You don’t have to change who you are to fit into our extroverted world, but it’s good to know a few tricks on how you can harness an extrovert’s positive qualities. And, hey, extroverts should do the same for our introverted positive qualities, too. I even asked my boyfriend (who is in the middle on the introvert/extrovert spectrum) to read this to get some further insight into how my introverted brain works.
I think Quiet is an important read for anyone who is an introvert, is in a relationship with an introvert, manages an introvert, or has an introverted child. Even if you have (or suspect you have) introverted friends you should read this, too. We introverts have a lot to offer the world and as long as others (and ourselves!) can understand where we’re coming from, we’ll be empowered to harness the power that is INTROVERT!