Right before NaNoWriMo started, I read Amador‘s blog post about introversion, and in there he linked Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I was intrigued by what he told me about it: psychological studies, introspection, all things I enjoy reading and thinking about.
Since NaNoWriMo takes up a lot of my time at the moment, I’ve been making very slow progress through it, usually only reading it for a few minutes at night before bed or during my lunch break at work. However, I’ve been extremely pleased with what I’ve read.
I’ve always known I’m an introvert. When I was little, I remember preferring going out into the field at school, collecting rocks and “treasures”, and making jewelry out of weedy flowers rather than playing games or running around with other people at recess. I have overwhelmingly preferred staying at home to read a book than to go to anywhere where there’s a big group of people. I have also dealt with being very shy, stuttering, and some forms of social anxiety, especially when under pressure or answering and calling people on the phone.
Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot better about all of the above, simply due to professional, academic, and personal obligations and exposure. However, it was interesting to read about how you still feel an instant of discomfort or nervousness, but you “pep talk” yourself out of it so quickly you start not to notice it and believe that it has gone away. I know that I’m not at that point yet, because I still give myself that “pep talk” every time I answer a phone call from someone I don’t know or call someone for information. Sometimes I still stumble over my words, but I’ve gotten a lot better at handling myself.
It has been very interesting reading about how introverted people are “high-reactive”, where they are more sensitive to their surroundings, therefore are more easily overwhelmed by an abundance of stimuli, such as new people, new places, unfamiliar tasks, etc. It doesn’t mean that they can’t do it, but will often feel more tired or drained at the end of a day than their extroverted counterparts.
Introverts are also more empathetic, and are more sensitive to violence, people being hurt in other countries, or simply what is said to them on a regular basis. Some things that were worrying for me was that introverts tend to experience more marital tension and conflict at times because they will react more sensitively to a statement that isn’t meant to be hurtful than someone else would have.
As I said before, I haven’t yet finished the book, and I believe I might not until November is over. I am really enjoying reading it and will provide another part to this review once I have finished reading it. If you are an introvert, or you have a loved one who is one, it’s a good book to read to really understand who they are and better be able to understand where they’re coming from.