Are you and Introvert or an Extrovert? I just finished reading the book: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts” by Susan Cain. It is funny, I always sort of thought of myself as an extrovert, but after reading Cain’s book I think I lean more towards being an introvert, and at times am more of what she calls an “Ambivert.” An ambivert is someone who is in the middle between an introvert and an extrovert. After finishing her book, it makes me more “okay” with being an introvert. She talks throughout her book about how our society, schools, and companies award extroverts, and yet there is just as much of a need for introverts. I think it is the first book I read that truly made me feel that it is okay to be an introvert. Here is a short excerpt from Cain’s book:
“Finding restorative niches isn’t always easy. You might want to read quietly by the fire on Saturday nights, but if your spouse wishes you’d spend those evenings out with her large circle of friends, then what? You might want to retreat to the oasis of your private office in between sales calls, but what if your company just switched over to an open office plan? If you plan to exercise free traits, you’ll need the help of friends, family, and colleagues. Which is why Professor Little calls, with great passion, for each of us to enter into a ‘a Free Trait Agreement.’
…A Free Trait Agreement acknowledges that we’ll each act out of character some of the time—in exchange for being ourselves the rest of the time. It’s a Free Trait Agreement when a wife who wants to go out every Saturday night and a husband wants to relax by the fire work out a schedule: half the time we’ll go out and half the time we’ll stay home. It’s a Free Trait Agreement when you attend your extroverted best friend’s wedding shower, engagement celebration, and bachelorette party, but she understands when you skip out on the three days’ worth of group activities leading up to the wedding itself.” Page 220-221
This resonates with me because as a child, I preferred to stay home and read a book (and I still do). Yes, I liked riding my bikes and hanging with my friends, but at the end of the day I hated the annoying social ladder of who was mad at who, who was new friends with who, and who was now on the outskirts of the social circle. It always seemed easier to me to find my book and jump into the adventurous world the author had cleverly crafted for me. I learned through the characters. I got excited about their worlds, mysteries, and dramas. It meant I could create my own world, where there were no bullies, no comparisons, and no race to maintain my status in the world.
Today, there are times when I do not feel much different than I did as a kid. I have often asked Chris, “Have I become a boring adult?” Yet, I love my life. I enjoy snuggling on the couch reading a book, while Chris is next to me watching an action movie I have no interest in seeing. I like the time to myself when I go for a run. I enjoy being at home. I do not need many social engagements to feel better about myself. If anything, I prefer less social interactions all the time. After a full week of work, I just want to relax and decompress at home, and be with Chris. I guess that makes me mostly an introvert.
So are you an introvert or an extrovert? Read Cain’s book for more details!