19 February 2011

How much of your blessed depth is due to being an introvert in an extrovert's world?

by Nia

In 2003 I read an essay by Jonathan Rauch in the Atlantic, "Caring for Your Introvert: The habits and needs of a little-understood group," that stated that socializing energizes extroverts and enervates introverts. My brain went, "Ohhhhhh." Up to that point I had only heard introversion discussed in terms of a deficiency or a lack or a handicap or Not Trying Hard Enough. This was the first time I'd encountered the concept presented as a matter of how your brain is wired.

I will walk up five floors if I'm not in the mood to talk to a neighbor in the elevator. The idea of socializing with coworkers outside of work is appalling to me. As a similar-minded relative once put it, "I walk into a crowded room and there are just too many brain waves." (That's right: we can read your minds.)

If you too are fatigued by the social expectations of modern life, you've probably also figured out by now that the world is run by extroverts. Some of them leave us alone. Many others, even seemingly intelligent, mature people, treat us like freaks. And, since they rule the world, this is a problem.

Exhaustion and oppression. Not exactly conducive to a blissful mood.

I just found Susan Cain's Quiet: the Blog. (It's less than a month old; I think she started it after she got a publishing deal for a book on the same subject -- that is, "the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking.") I perked up when I got to item no. 3 on her "Twelve Things She Believes" list:

"Introverts in 2010 are where women were circa 1963, when Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique. Women’s status has changed radically since then, and so will that of quiet, sensitive, cerebral types in the decades to come."


And so begins our rise to global domination! Prepare to be crushed by the soft-spoken forces of our reflective darkness! You cannot resist the deadly motion of our hesitant but thoughtful momentum!

Coming soon to Blessed Depth!: How has your depression been affected by the Glorious Revolution against the Extrovert Tyranny?

Illustration by M. Rhea.