Lately, blogs, books, video clips and conversations are centering around a not-so-new personality trait….the Introvert.
I heard about this re-emerging term through a friend as we compared some of our personality quirks. She made an observation and said, “We are most likely introverts.” Really? She went on to tell me of a popular new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Upon searching Google, I found the author, Susan Cain, giving a little TED Talks on this very topic.
All this discussion certainly caught my attention. So, just for fun, I took the short quiz on Ms. Cain’s web page. My score came up quite positive: I’m an introvert. It surprised me a bit. Can we honestly trust these non-scientific assessments to carry some element of truth? Take a look at a few of the questions:
#1 – I prefer one-to-one conversations to group activities (Yeppers – I would rather glue myself to a wall rather than stand in a crowd!)
#3 – I prefer solitude (Photos of scenery, solitude, books and quiet hobbies fill my blogs, Pinterest and albums….I truly do prefer the quiet…a lot…who knew after raising six kids??!!)
#6 – I’m not a big risk-taker (oh wow! you got that right!)
Continuing my little search….
On The Huff Post Life Style site is an article entitled, 23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert. A few more items raised my eyebrows, and I had to chuckle over others.
#1 – You find small talk incredibly cumbersome (sigh…yes…let’s get serious)
#3 – You often feel alone in a crowd (how does that happen?)
#5 – You’ve been called “too-intense” (quite often!)
#9 – When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle. (well, we don’t have subways where I live, but I think you get the picture)
But, to be clear – introverts are not recluse (although they often thrive on solitude and a good book to recharge), nor are they to be confused with being shy (shyness is more of an anxiety issue). Introverts just see the world differently than this extrovert-driven world we live in.
I’m a mom of six kids adult kids. This means we had a lively household for many years. From wrestling boys and emotional daughters, to Boy Scouts and swim teams…we were on the go and in the midst of activity most of those growing years. It would seem that our kids had extroverts as parents, but if you could see behind the scenes….
If I left my room each morning before I had a few minutes to pray, journal, read my Bible – I’d be a worse mess than if I hadn’t. I needed charging first thing of the day, because, once I left that room, I hit the ground running. I wasn’t always successful at this, but it helped keep me grounded. Journaling was my escape and venting practice. Praying, crying, being still before the Lord brought perspective and calm, as did reading the Word. Still does.
Therefore, the “Quiet Time” was just as important most afternoons. This meant NAP time. If the kids had outgrown this coveted mom-break, then they were expected to find something to do and do it quietly for an appointed hour or so. Mom needed to recharge and gain some level of order. During these coveted quiet hours I could be found sewing, connecting with a friend, working on a project while at the same time reading a book left open nearby.
When driving from here to there and back again…the kids were not allowed to carry on and be noisy in the car. To this day my adult kids comment how their friends are surprised what little conversation goes on when riding in our car. Distractions just don’t help an introvert stay focused.
Mom, the cheerleader, the supporter, the encourager. To see my family experience new things over the years brought joy to this mother….still does! I didn’t feel a need to be in the middle of it…not that I didn’t want to…but, I was most comfortable observing and working from the sidelines. Yes, I could, and did, serve on committees and such, but when all was said and done…I thrived to see my family succeed in order to pass the baton to the next person. Today, I have those little twinges of jealousy (tongue in cheek) as my adult kids and their families enjoy new adventures beyond what my husband and I could imagine while younger.
Which brings today’s greatest joy as our children spread their wings, launched from our Nest. I remain very content to serve from home. This sometimes can be seen as passive or uninterested in this world full of extroverts. From my perspective, support is vital to those who have the dopamine to be on the front lines in this big world. Not all of us will take the same risks, if at all. It’s not an excuse, it’s just the way we are different, and the roles we fill.
When my friend enlightened me to the character traits of the introvert, it did help explain some of my quirks. Who knew? I just thought it was the way I was wired, as described here.
What do you think about these popular terms: Introvert? Extrovert? I’d love to hear in the comments.