Monday, November 29, 2010

Introverts Unite!

I am an introvert.  There, I said it.  And I am not ashamed.  It's past time for we introverts to embrace our introvert-ism and let the world know it's acceptable to prefer quiet or alone activities over crowds or parties or large public gatherings.  Solitude is empowering!

Being born an introvert does not mean a person cannot function in high-profile roles.  And it does not indicate that a person is un-adept at public speaking or teaching or leadership positions.  We operate successfully in our own way.

During my entire lifetime I have been misjudged by extroverts.  Extros assume there is something wrong with a person who doesn't babble incessantly, who doesn't desire to be the focus of attention, or who seeks a quiet corner in a group situation.  My most dreaded part of this misunderstanding is for an extro to ask me "What's the matter?"  In fact, in an article published in the Wall Street Journal online, Jennifer Kahnweiler wrote, " . . . avoid many introverts' least favorite question: "What's wrong?" For these quiet, reserved types, nothing is wrong. So, why not leave them alone—and enjoy a little peace and quiet yourself?"

On numerous occasions peers who didn't know me well would say in a situation, "Why don't you talk?"  Or, "Why don't you ever say anything?"  Wish I'd had a smarty-pants answer then.  My usual reply was, "There's nothing to say," or "What do you want me to say?"  It's OK to to enjoy the moment people!

The same WSJ article mentions that introverts tend away from showing emotion and do remain calm in heated situations.  I can think of many times that has been true in my life.  Others might ask why I'm unaffected by the turmoil around me; I am affected but it's not my nature to "go public" about it.

I've been thinking about this since visiting my 2 grandgirls, Meme and Majd.   They are polar opposites.  Majd is the extrovert, Meme reminds me of me as an introvert child.  She enjoys quietly coloring, or standing on the 'sidelines' observing without commenting, or being happy without proclaiming it from the housetops.  And I understand her perfectly.


  1. This article alone from The Atlantic makes me want to subscribe to that magazine. It was so liberating to read it.

  2. I remember when Bridget wrote about this subject a while back. It was so good! I tend to be introverted, but I have my times when I'm a bit more outgoing. Actually I think I'm more outgoing online than in person. My husband, OTOH, is extroverted. My Syrian friend noticed this. We talked about our visit to Damascus and he said he could tell I just sit back and listen more whereas Andrew is the life of the party.

    And, yeah, I'm not one to whoop and hollar over good news nor do I like wailing in public. I prefer to cry in the shower.

    Your granddaughers are very cute.