Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The attraction of introverts

From MyNorthwest.com
I'm reading a very interesting book right now, Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. One of my blogging friends, Linda Letters, mentioned it in a comment to me, and I also mentioned it to my sister Norma Jean. She ordered it from her local library in Florida, and I got on the waiting list at my own library. I was 20 out of 18 copies and had to wait awhile. Finally, after Norma Jean had finished the book and told me what she thought about it, I was able to pick it up at my library yesterday.

I'm already almost halfway through the book, and I've found some fascinating things not only about introverts, but also about extroverts (I'm one). I have always been attracted to introverts, ever since my early childhood when my own very favorite introvert, Norma Jean, was my best friend. She still is, in many ways. I always laughed when I said that I was attracted to introverts because they were such a good audience and never tried to hog the limelight!

But it's more than that, I've discovered. I have often wondered why I sometimes suffer from stage fright, since I'm so extroverted in most situations, but it turns out that it has little to do with shyness. To quote from her book (p. 107):
My fear of public speaking might be equally complex. Do I dread it because I'm a high-reactive introvert? Maybe not. Some high-reactives love public speaking and performing, and plenty of extroverts have stage fright; public speaking is the number-one fear in America, far more common than the fear of death. Public speaking phobia has many causes, including early childhood setbacks, that have to do with our unique personal histories, not inborn temperament.
She explains what she means by having a "high-reactive temperament" in the book, which I won't go into here. Get the book and read it; I think you'll be in for a treat. I know now it's not because I have an introverted streak that I sometimes suffer from stage fright, but because of an early childhood experience where I gave a book report in grade school and was ridiculed. It set me up for a lifetime of having to be completely prepared before I could ever step in front of any audience. It is the only way I knew how to overcome it.

And this is from someone who has taught hundreds of people what they need to know in a First Jump Course over the years. It helped that they were all terrified and I was the experienced one, but just reading this book I've learned more about the vast differences we possess through inborn temperament, as well as personal history and personality. Stage fright has given me a template through which I can relate to what it must feel like to be shy and retiring.

If I could have chosen my temperament, I would have chosen introversion rather than extroversion, and this book has helped me to realize the power of introversion that I have always intuited. By the way, the link under the picture will take you to to Ron and Don, a local radio show that reviewed the book. It's very interesting.

Oh, and before I forget: I was disappointed in the movie Looper, since I was unprepared for all the gratuitous violence that was never mentioned in any of the reviews I read beforehand. It was an okay movie, but the gore turned me totally off, and it was a bit confusing as well. If you see it, let me know what you think of it, but I don't especially recommend it.


  1. I think I was an introvert. I was afraid to speak up but I became lonely and wanted to be better. I began to enjoy public speaking and became our grade 8 grad. valedictorian
    I doubt I'll read the book since it's a chore to read now. EYES ...I miss my better vision.

  2. Thanks. I'll get on the waiting list at my library.

  3. I am an introvert so I will have to get this book and find out about introverts. I don't have any problems with an audience. I do have to be prepared.

  4. ugh, sorry looper was not good...figured it for a redbox night at best...

    and pretty cool on the book...i am a little xtroverted...haha..but i still get stage fright at times too so...pretty cool to help you see how other feel though...will check the library...

  5. Coincidentally I have a post scheduled for Thursday about this book and this topic. I'm an introvert and proud of it!!

  6. So glad you are enjoying the book. I thought you would. You are an insightful extrovert.
    I am amazed, though, that you would choose to be an introvert if you could. While my introversion was coupled with extreme shyness and insecurity, also remnants of my childhood, traits that made being me even more difficult, I have always wished I could be more like other people. I really never came fully into being my own self until I was 40, and even now, reading this book, I found that I needed the approval to be who I am. Introversion can be a burden as well as a blessing.

  7. I'll order this book on my Kindle, which I might take with me on my trip next month. I was an English teacher as well as a preschool-elementary school teacher and hated public speaking and being with people all day. Does this mean I am an introvert? I'll read the book to find out.

  8. I am a decided introvert. However, one of my dearest friends in an extrovert and my partner is so introverted he makes me look like an extrovert. It is a complicated world we live in.
    On of the other bloggers I read on a regular basis said that she walked out of Looper because of its violence. Which made four films in her life she has not seen to the end.

  9. DJan,

    I will make a point to read this. I consider myself an introvert even though I present myself differently to most people these days. I was shy and lacked confidence as a young girl. It took years to overcome feelings of inadequacy.

    Another book that helped me to understand that part of myself is "Are you Really Too Sensitive", by Marcy Calhoun. It has been around for a while, but I still appreciate her perspective.

    Thanks for the movie review - I'll take a pass on that one.

  10. You're the second person in a month to recommend this book. I'm most definitely an introvert who envies extroverts (the grass is always greener); now I know I need to read it!

  11. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  12. Interesting! I'm like a loner extrovert or maybe a social introvert? Kind of both. Terrified of public speaking, though. Love my alone time and never could function very well without it for very long. Outgoing in public situations, love people, have never been accused of being shy, but don't like crowds. Prefer one-on-one interactions or small groups. This book sounds interesting.

    The movie. I guess I expected violence because the character is supposed to kill the older version of himself and it's Bruce Willis, right? I'll still give it a go because of the time jumping concept (always fascinates me).

  13. My hubby of nearly 40 years is an introvert, our only child the same way, they love to be alone and not lonely. They give speeches but usually nearly puke before with nervousness, not me I can talk anywhere anytime, but I love introverts they are more interesting and I think kinder in their hearts, I make them laugh and they keep me calm and grounded...My friends are introverts and I adore them, I spoil them and they are so so sweet from childhood no less. The big yakkers I am always suspect but introverted people when you get to know them they tell the truth and always are kind about it and truthful, I seem to view the big talkers as being untrustworthy and the introverts completely trustworthy must be working as I am happy with my quiet introverted hubby and wonderful adult child she is absolutely wonderful and everyone confides in her and her word is her life and she is peaceful to boot..take care djanity, happy halloween, hope you can still hike in the inclement weather coming..love your blog!!!!!!!!!

  14. Hmm, our review didn't mention the gore. This book sounds great, so onto my list it goes.

  15. the books sounds interesting
    I had a bad public speaking experience in grade school thanks to a terrible teacher and I too suffer from stage fright
    I have become more introverted the past few years

    I had a feeling Looper wasn't very good

  16. Dear DJan, I've never once been disappointed in a book you've recommended, so I'll get my name on at the library for this one. I'm one of those introverts who can extravert for teaching and public speaking. I've always wondered why and so I do look forward to better understanding of the two ways of approaching life--introversion and extroversion. But I bet that isn't the correct take on the two--not approaching life but simply way of being. Peace.

  17. Introverts.
    Do you think Karl Rove is an introvert?
    How about Yan or Matt or Marc?
    We know Hilary sure isn't and either is Mick Jagger!

  18. Looper was an okay movie. If you really want to see a great movie check out Moonrise Kingdom. It's out on DVD now.

    Interesting post on introverts. I'll have to read the book.

  19. I was shy as a child but an extrovert at heart. Fortunately as I grew older I outgrew the shyness and the extrovert took over. Actually it was getting in front of an audience that helped me overcome the shyness.

    I still haven't seen Looper but knowing a little about the storyline and that it stars Bruce
    Willis I am expecting a lot of violence.

  20. Oh no... gore? Art will have to watch it himself then. I really don't like violence.

    I'm definitely an introvert and I don't like public speaking either although I've done it when I had to.

    I really think we're hard-wired this way.


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