I’m reading a really interesting book at the moment. It’s called Quiet by Susan Cain. There’s also a TED talk. She writes about extroverts and introverts and thinks the extrovert personality type has an unfair advantage. The extrovert is seen as the ideal type, which can mean those of us who favour the introvert way of being can seem odd. Cain suggests the world needs introverts to be introverts. Although the words introvert and extrovert are not new to me, it is new to hear that it’s perfectly acceptable, in fact necessary (for an introvert) to be an introvert. No one told me.
(Old weather-beaten wall)
Cain explains that extroverts are energised when they’re with large groups of people – they love parties, they dislike solitude. Wait a minute… they love parties? And they refuel their energy when surrounded by lots of people. I didn’t know that was even a possibility. While introverts prefer solitude and get energised in nature or alone and they like to chat with one person at a time. Turns out the introverts often push themselves to be more extrovert so that they can fit in or get things done….. like give dinner parties or talk to a committee or whatever. But it is a very tiring activity for introverts to behave in an extroverted way and they need to refuel with space and solitude.
I used to be very shy as a child and I remember when I went to college at seventeen making a decision, from that day forward I would be outgoing. It was easy, no one knew me from my previous school and I was good at pretending. So I watched outgoing people and copied them. I enjoyed it and since there were only four girls in a class of eighty I got a lot of attention! I was rewarded well for my efforts, but it was very tiring. I often used to wonder why I didn’t like parties, I thought there was something wrong with me.
It’s okay to love solitude. Mairead.