March 3, 2016

It's the Quiet Ones You Have to Look Out For

Our family of five consists of three extroverts and two introverts. If David, Michael, and Kate start a conversation, Amanda and I just kind of melt into the background. Actually, we usually leave the room, because the noise is deafening. Don't get me wrong, we can get right in there and hold our own, but we have a threshold. Those three must have a word count they're trying to reach. We like quiet, calm, peace, and we especially need our alone time. 

Poor David came home the other night and I think I might have said five words to the poor guy. I was spent. I had been writing all day long having conversations in my head with my characters, I didn't have any more to give. I know he sort of understands, but sometimes I don't even understand. I hadn't talked much at all that day, what was up?

I'm in the process of reading the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. As you open up the cover, she lists her Manifesto for Introverts. It's such validation. Here are my favorites...
  1. There's a word for "people who are in their heads too much": thinkers.
  2. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time for quiet later.
  3. It's OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk. 
  4. "Quiet leadership" is not an oxymoron.
I've been researching the subject for a while now and I've found a lot of interesting information that has really allowed me to finally feel like I'm okay, normal even. Being an introvert was/is seen as a negative, when in fact, it's actually a positive. Everyone wants to be listened to, and that's what we do best. 

I mentioned that Amanda and I are indeed introverts, when in fact, I've always thought of us as "extroverted introverts". We do like our quiet, but when when we're passionate about something, you can't shut us up. So we may actually be Ambiverts. This person is generally happy to meet new people but might be still uncomfortable if they weren't with at least one other person they knew. On the other hand, that same person would talk your ear off if a topic of interest was to present itself in the same situation. These are some of the characteristics of an Ambivert. (After watching a movie last week, it was decided that I was definitely Divergent, but David would be Factionless. I'll let you look that one up.)

These illustrations, by artist Maureen Wilson, tap right into the core of what being an introvert is like. Among her doodles is a link to an article that suggests that being an introvert may actually be hardwired. Hmmm. As the daughter of two extroverts, I'm thinking it might have skipped a generation. As I look closely at my family tree, I can see a mix of extroverts, introverts, and ambiverts very clearly. So if it doesn't actually skip a generation, it certainly is selective. 

I often ask myself, perhaps because my parents were such extrovertsthey were always throwing parties, inviting people over for dinner, going out on the townI would naturally go the other way. In fact, my sister is the same way. We'd rather spend the night in than face the struggle of going out. I guess we got our fill during our childhood. 

So, what do you think you are?


Patty said...

Extrovert all the way! I love talking, hanging out, and being with as many people as I can. I know I can be too chatty at times, but it works for me.

Good luck getting introverts to post a comment. Lol.


Anonymous said...

I'm an introvert. But I like it this way. I don't need to be the center of attention and I like looking and listening to other people. I think I understand things better without all of that noise.

Anonymous said...

I'm both, so I guess that makes me an Ambivert? I've been an introvert most of my life, and I think I still am. But I like to socialize with people (on a limited basis) and treasure my along time. I think it's interesting to think people are already hard-wired on way or the other.