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I just stumbled across a new blog called Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking thanks to Gretchen Rubin from the Happiness Project.

Today's post is called When does socializing make you happier and it started me thinking and reflecting.

The post struck an an introverted chord with me. I was the typical child bookworm, who would always choose reading over any other activity, inc. playing with others. It took me a long time to realise that this was okay, and that more importantly I was okay. I found a different groups of friends in Upper sixth / my gap year / University who taught me that being quiet was okay, liking studying was okay, being a christian was okay and that I could be happy with who I was. I didn't have to adapt myself to fit in to the extrovert group.

As an adult, I have learnt (and learnt to enjoy) the skills of networking and socialising. Starting a new life in Zurich forced me to actively network, make connections, find a job, find friends and groups to support me. My work in learning and development means that professionally I have always given presentations, delivered trainings, facilitated groups, led big events. At work, I put on my extrovert role and this works. It was hard when I started 15 years ago, but once you get over the fear, you just keep doing it and enjoying it!

I think that I have learnt to know and recognise my limits. I know how much "going out" and "being extroverted" I can take in any given week. I know what it costs me, to meet new people, go to a new event. I know that I am much better in small groups of one or two people. I remind myself that introverts gain energy and strength by time spent alone, and that extroverts gain energy and strength by time spent with others!

So I say, power to us introverts and I am proud to be a little bit geeky! What about you?

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 8th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
Nice to meet you
Hi Helen,

Susan Cain here -- nice to meet you! Thx much for your comments on my blog.

Wanted to let you know that I went to London all the time with my parents when I was a kid, and we always brought with us a spare suitcase that we filled with books from Foyle's, Hatchards, Blackwell, etc. British books for kids were just so great! I read all the boarding school stories, horseback riding stories, and so on. Will be coming to London for book tour next year and can't even believe I might visit those same stores this time as an author.

which books did you read as a child? I will probably know many of your favorite authors...

Thx again and cheers!

Susan

nice_cup_of_tea
Feb. 9th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice to meet you
Hi susan thanks for your lovely comment. I got lots of replies to this post on my facebook account, your original post and my addition obviously struck a lot of chords. I think us introverts are always so surprised to find other kindred spirits!

My childhood authors? Massive Enid Blyton fan - from Famous five through the secret seven, to Mallory Towers... and on and on. My mother was desperate to wean me off them! She "made" me read the hobbit, which I hated. Then I progressed as a very young teenager to Agatha christie, which I devoured and adored, then CS Lewis. Oh, before that, Noel Streatfield (ponies, ballet, none of which I was actually interested in, but that's the power of reading... Oh, and then I progressed onto dodgy novels by Barbara Taylor Bradford! eventually I came out the other side. But there was a definite lack of young adult books when I was 12/13 in the 80s :-)

Will be following your blog avidly. If you send me your email, I can send you a screen dump of the facebook comments I got on your post.
here_be_dragons
Feb. 12th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
Ooh! I'm excited about reading this blog. I'm also in the funny position of being an introvert who presents as an extrovert, so people rarely understand my need for space because I can, for short periods of time, enjoy being the center of attention. (I don't mind getting up on stage and singing in front of an audience, for example. Try telling people you are an introvert after that - I imagine you're in a similar position as someone who regularly gives presentations). :D

I have learned over the past few years that sometimes I need to actually tell people this fact about me. It makes it easier to decline invitations. It has also been useful to be able to tell my son (and others with whom I spend a lot of time), "I'm feeling a bit overstimulated right now. Can we have this conversation later?" And, like you, I am careful to pace myself and am learning to NOT feel guilty about staying home on the weekends, rather than going out and "doing things" - when I'm surrounded by people all week at school, sometimes I really do need that time at home to recharge my batteries. :)
nice_cup_of_tea
Feb. 14th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
good advice from you, thanks!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )