Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Name is Nancy, and I'm an Introvert

I am an introvert. That means that I am energized by solitude and quiet. As much as I love my friends and family, I find too much time with others tiring. I like stillness and quiet, and I'm unnerved by too much stimulation. I have an active inner life that may not be apparent to others.

I'm raising an extrovert. Sometimes, she and I don't understand each other. She recently told me that she finds quiet "creepy." Huh? I love silence. It soothes me. She prefers noise--the louder the better. She also thinks everything is more fun if she has a friend along. She wants to bring a friend to the grocery store. I prefer shopping all alone. Companions distract me.

I don't think one temperament is better than the other. We're just different, and I'm fascinated by traits that make people unique. 

What really fascinates me is how different members of one family can be. Caroline is more like me. A few years ago, Caroline's teacher told me that our daughter was "so shy." I didn't correct her, but the teacher's assessment didn't ring true to me. Caroline was quiet at school, but she didn't demonstrate social anxiety. So I asked Caroline, "Do you think you're shy."

"No," she answered.

I said, "You just don't have a lot to say."

"Right," she said.

I nodded. I get it.

If you are interested in temperament types, I urge you to read Susan Cain's excellent book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. I think this ought to be required reading for the human race. You can also see her TED talk here.

1 comment:

  1. As soon as I read your headline, Nancy, I had one thought: "But she thows such great dinner parties!"