Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Quiet"

I'm a talker, but I'm really an introvert.

I recently read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. That's when I reaffirmed my true nature.

When I was a kid, I loved to read. When my mother would host a party, she'd want me to mingle, and I would want to go into another room and read. I remember once when I was in high school and committed some now-forgotten transgression, my punishment was that I couldn't read for pleasure for a week. I still remember that, over 50 years later.

I like one-on-one or one-on-several conversations with people on topics I'm interested in. And talk to my neighbor who has become my friend. And talk to the proprietor of the Greek-Italian restaurant in our small town, or the local barista, or any of my kids, or my husband.

If I've made arrangements to have coffee or lunch with a friend and they happen to bring along someone else, I am annoyed. Or if they say, when we're confirming the time and place, "Is it okay with you if I bring along a friend?" I'll say sure, but I'll mean no. I may even take a raincheck if I can figure out how to do it on the fly. "The more, the merrier?" Absolutely not, in my book. That makes me an introvert.

I don't like going to parties, even if I know everyone. Especially if I don't know everyone. If I can get out of going to a party, I will. I'd rather stay home and read, or write, or have a nice chat with one person of my choice.

If I'm asked to speak at a gathering - whether five people or five hundred - I'm good with that. According to the book, introverts can behave in an extroverted fashion when they're engaged in an enterprise for which they feel passion.  I interpret that to mean that I'm willing to put myself out there in order to get the word out. And I do.

Last summer I organized a weekend gathering of six bloggers. I had met only two of them in person. But I felt like I knew every one of them before the weekend, from reading their blogs. I also knew we'd each have our own bedroom and plenty of space for solitude. The weekend worked out very well, I think. But if I hadn't been the organizer, or if there'd been a couple of people invited whose blog I didn't read, I might have said no thanks.

Yesterday I was in a water aerobics class. All around me women were chatting with each other. Well, gossiping. I wanted to put in a pair of ear plugs. I hate chatting and gossip. I like meatier conversations. I am seriously considering looking for another water aerobics class so I don't have to listen. But I suspect they'll all be like that.

I'm not shy or antisocial. But it's nice to reconfirm my status as one of the introverts of the world.



12 comments:

Teri said...

I'm definitely an introvert. When I had my tax business, I could speak at groups about taxes because it came naturally to me. I have a hard time in groups of gossiping people and avoid parties, too.

June said...

You are describing me as well. I put on a show all day long at work, and when I come home I just want to be silent. There's only so much sensory input I can handle before I have to recharge. If I ever retire, I expect I will go for days on end without speaking to anyone except Husband.

Olga said...

I also read that book based on a Linda Reeder recommendation. I have been known to take a book to family get togethers--something that is perfectly acceptable in my family, maybe not so much in others. The first time my brother brought his prospective bride for a family dinner, she left in tears because she thought we all hated her since no one was talking. in her family, they would find my brother in the basement behind the furnace having a quiet time-out.

DJan said...

I am a true extrovert, and I know that during our blogging retreat, even I needed some space now and then, as we spent so much time together. I like gatherings but as I've grown older I'm turning more introverted, I realize. :-)

Rian said...

Definitely an introvert... and happy about it. Didn't read the book but heard them talk about it on NPR. Sounds interesting. Am fine in small groups, but don't generally talk unless someone talks to me. Even in my Yoga classes where everyone talks small talk before class, I usually sit on my pad and exercise or read... unless someone says something to me. It's not that I don't care for talking, but don't want to initiate the conversation. And Linda, I would never take you for an introvert... so I am really surprised.

Out on the prairie said...

i enjoy my time but can blossom in a group.

rosaria williams said...

Funny how we are! I've always enjoyed people I knew and felt uncomfortable with new folks, but my job required me to be available to everyone. The stress did take a toll, and I didn't realize how much until I retired and was able to pace myself.

Linda Reeder said...

That book defined me too, and comforted me to know, finally, that there is nothing wrong with me. I finally had permission to be me.

#1Nana said...

Like most things in my life, I fall somewhere in the middle. One thing I enjoy about retirement is the solitude. I don't see other people unless I make an effort. I enjoy it when I breach the walls of my castle, but I also enjoy coming home. As one of the participants in the blogger retreat, I was grateful that it was made up of bloggers who I read and enjoy. One reason I like writing is because I sometimes don't know what I think about something until I talk about it. Writing lets me talk without the need to see people.

ain't for city gals said...

I liked the book Quiet also..especially when she described the difference between shyness and introvert...something I never knew. Another good book is Party of One..the loners' manifesto by Anneli Rufus. I just can't imagine anymore dealing with people all day.

Barbara Torris said...

I am with you. Sometimes chatter is painful for me. But I am left handed so nothing is true all of the time. I have quite a few dear friend that I would join at the drop of a hat.

Be well.

b+

Galen Pearl said...

I'm with you, too. I prefer one on one conversations or small groups.