Friday, January 17, 2014

The Introvert's Way

I've always known that I was an introvert. I'm like my father, who has always embodied a strong, silent persona. I think that because I had him as a role model, I never thought myself strange or different. I just was. I always had a few close friends, but I also liked being alone. I found solace in books and art and writing. I didn't realize everybody else didn't share my love of these things.

As I've gotten older and learned more about the differences in extroverts and introverts, I have definitely found the study interesting. God likes variety, and just as he created male and female radically different, he created introverts and extroverts to make life interesting. After all, who would all those extroverts talk to if there were no introverts? And a room full of introverts is definitely a quiet room filled with awkward pauses.A few extroverts certainly help keep the conversation flowing. That being said, two introverts who care about each other can have a very deep, meaningful conversation.

I know that there are extroverted writers and artists, but they are a minority. Without us introverts contemplating life so deeply and recording it, cultural development would definitely slow down. The world needs both kinds of people.

I guess I've never felt put upon as an introvert -I've just been. Maybe that's not the norm. The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling seems to have been written for introverts who have had enough and aren't going to take it anymore! It makes the case that introverts are 50% of the world's population and that we need to stake our claim in it. Truthfully, I hadn't realized we hadn't.

Still, I found the book interesting and fun. It confirmed that I am a "normal" introvert and I laughed when Dembling referred to audience participation at a theater production as "hell" and discussed the pain of group projects. Please, please - just give me an assignment and let me do it! I'll gladly work with others as long as my role is clearly identified and I can go work on it.

My dislike of the telephone is apparently also shared by others. Who are all those people talking to on their cell phones for hours and about what? I just don't understand. My cell phone suffers from neglect. When I have to make a phone call, even to people I love, I have to psych myself up for it. I love email and FB messages. If I had a phone that texted, I'd probably love that, too. I like parties, but they exhaust me. The holidays wear me out. I am not alone - apparently many people feel this way.

We can act extroverted when necessary, but that takes a lot of energy as well. (Interestingly, though - according to this book - it takes more energy for an extroverted person to act introverted).

I also found it interesting that introverts may actually think a little slower than extroverts because we process on a deeper level, which is one reason we find group conversations difficult. By the time we have processed the comment and what we want to say, the group has moved on to something else. I can't tell you how often this has happened to me. Or - I do have something to say, but I'll over-analyze before I speak. "Should I say that? Does it have something valuable to add? Oh well, I'll just sit here and be quiet. Maybe I'll blog about it later." Although, truly, I analyze my blog posts the same way. The world is noisy enough - I don't need to add to it without reason.

"The Introvert's Way" is an interesting read for introverts and for the extroverts who love us. It is also good for extroverted parents of introverted children (or vice versa). It is good to know how the other half thinks and functions.

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