- You cry easily at commercials
- You have friends who talk more than you do
- You prefer e-mails to phone calls
- You think small talk is shallow
- You keep your stories short so you won’t waste people’s time
- You prefer to study alone rather than with a group
- You get personal on social media
- You can’t scrapbook with a group
- You’ve been told you’re too sensitive
- You blush easily
- You leave a party with less energy than you arrived with
- You become speechless over a piece of art or a poem or a song
- You’re never labeled a “people person” despite having strong friendships
- You have fewer hobbies but you stick with them
- You hate scary movies
- You can be too tired to talk
What I learned in Quiet:
American culture encourages extroversion whereas many eastern cultures respect introversion. (The tipping point for extroversion in America was around 1900; prior to that our culture emphasized the importance of virtuous qualities over having a “good personality.”)
Introversion is not about shyness.
It’s not about levels of self-confidence.
It’s not about IQ.
It’s not about whether you like people or not.
It’s not about the ability to carry on a conversation.
Though these qualities—either negative or positive—are often attached to popular definitions of introversion/extroversion, there is no scientific evidence correlating them to either introverts or extroverts.
What is introversion about?
It is about how much stimulation you need to function well.
For introverts, less is more because they’re more sensitive to stimulation than extroverts. Introverts tend to process the world more deeply, thinking and feeling more thoroughly about what they notice.
In infancy, introverts are high-reactive babies, typically very sensitive to their environments. Low-reactive babies are often extroverts; it takes more stimulation before their nervous systems are overloaded.
The upside for introverts is they are more empathetic and cooperative. Kind and conscientious.
They have thinner boundaries, able to empathize and focus on personal problems of others instead of considering them too heavy for conversation.
They have greater powers of alertness, seeing extra nuances in everyday experiences.
The downside is they may react to stress with more depression and anxiety (and yes, sometimes shyness) than an extrovert.
They can feel more guilt because of their heightened sensitivity to all experiences—positive or negative.
They are also more easily disturbed by cruelty and irresponsibility.
Introverts are geared to inspect. They think more and act slower.
Extroverts are geared to respond. They think less and act faster.
Should either try to change? No, except when it’s temporarily appropriate to do so. Otherwise, stay true to yourself.
If you’re an introvert, learn to use it to your advantage. If you’re an extrovert, strengthen those skills. Walk alongside your opposite to complement each other, not compete. Each has much to offer the other.
Who should read this book?
Teachers, managers, artists, engineers, students, mothers, fathers, church staff, loud people, quiet people, spouses, singles, women, men (have I left anybody out?).
I highly recommend this book. Granted, I am an introvert so I appreciate the confirmation of worth in introversion, not just in spite of it.
But whatever your temperament, we all have much to gain by better understanding and valuing each other. God uses all types.
Learn your type and let Him use you.
* * *
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
(And out of curiosity, are you married to the same or the opposite?
My thanks to Edelweiss for the review copy of this book.