It has taken me a while to finish Quiet. Not because I wasn’t interested, but as is my way, I’m reading several books at once.
The non-fiction titles tend to take a backseat. Especially at the moment with the classics taking up so much of my reading, thinking and blogging space.
But on Friday night, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by my busy, stimulating week and in desperate need for some quiet time to recharge…and it seemed only logically to pull Quiet off the pile of half-read books by my bed.
Quiet confirms and reaffirms all the stuff about being an introvert that I had picked up and worked out for myself over the years. It gave me research, statistics, case studies and anecdotes that reflected who I was and my experience of the world.
As I read Quiet, I recognised my husband, my stepsons, my family and many of my friends and colleagues.
Over the years I believed that my level of introversion had shifted closer to the middle ground. After reading Quiet I wonder if I’m still as introverted as I ever was, but have simply learnt better coping mechanisms. I have also developed pseudo-extrovert skills to get by in our society that views Extroverts as the Ideal. But these skills come at a price.
After being in extrovert mode for work or at a social gathering I then have to factor in downtime to compensate and recharge my batteries. If I go too long without downtime, I become grumpy, irritable, moody, impatient, cold, distant, incredibly tired and eventually ill.
I’ll let Susan Cain explain what an introvert looks like:
“reflective, cerebral, bookish, unassuming, sensitive, thoughtful, serious, contemplative, subtle, introspective, inner-directed, gentle, calm, modest, solitude-seeking, shy, risk-averse, thin-skinned. Quiet is also about this person’s opposite…ebullient, expansive, sociable, gregarious, excitable, dominant, assertive, active, risk-taking, thick-skinned, outer-directed, lighthearted, bold and comfortable in the spotlight….Few individuals identify fully with one or the other.”
Quiet has provided my husband and I many opportunities to discuss our personalities and how we juggle our need for quiet with our social obligations. My colleagues have also talked about how we can provide quiet time at work when one of us is feeling over-stimulated!
Blogging has become one of the ways for this particular introvert to be “out there” without exhausting my social reserves. I suspect I’m not the only one 🙂