A quiet Confidence

When I was young, I liked staying home, reading books, watching T.V., exploring the neighborhood, and creating my own adventures. I have 10 brothers and sisters, most of whom would party, go shopping or just hang out with friends.

I can think of three very distinct times in my early life when I was told, I should find some friends. Each time it was painful, probably because each time it came from someone close to me and they were telling me that something wrong with me and that perhaps others saw the same thing. I think this isolated me even more. In truth, I enjoyed being alone. I enjoyed exploring the neighborhood on my bike. I enjoyed getting lost in a book. I practically lived at the library. (Even today when I move to a new place, I first check out the library.) I enjoyed climbing trees, and creating adventures in the woods near the house. As an adult, I see now that I was perfectly fine.

I recently watched the TED video - linked below. Some of the things Susan Cain said, I've experienced as a prejudice. (My mother gave me a book "How to Make friends and Influence People" I tried reading it. It was written for adults and a bit over my head.) Now as a mother, I look at my children and see, they too are introverts. "You're daughter has a quiet confidence in the class," my daughter's 4th grade teacher told me. I like the sound of that and refer to it quiet often when some likes to use the word shy or introvert. So for my children's sake, I hope you enjoy this TED talk. If you are an extrovert, perhaps it will help you to understand introverts better. And if you are an introvert, perhaps you will see that you are not alone. :)

Update: You will see in the video, that Susan explains that we all fall somewhere between introvert and extrovert. No one is the extreme. It's just some lean towards being introverted more and some lean towards extroverted more.

Comments

  1. Am an extrovert but read at least a book a week.

    Have learnt a lot from my blogging friend Pat Weber about introverts. The more I learn the more convinced I am that most of us are a mix of introvert and extrovert.

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    1. Yes, Susan says this in her TED talk, no one is a true Introvert or Extrovert, we all fall somewhere in the middle. And I don't think she meant to say that only introverts read books :) I think she was trying to say we all need time to ourselves, that it is not a bad thing, it helps us with deep and individual thought.

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  2. I would agree with Catarina that most are a mix of introvert and extrovert. For me, I find that I am this mix because there are times and situations that I am an introvert and other occasions when I am an extrovert. I have no problem spending an entire day or an entire weekend alone at home doing what I want to do. I actually really enjoy that. Other times, i want to go out and interact and I do on a big scale. I can talk to almost anybody and keep a conversation going for quite a long amount of time. Do I always enjoy this? No. Do I often wish I was alone? Yes. But the mix keeps life exciting.

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    1. Susan Cain says the same thing. And I would say I'm an introvert with extrovert skills but still prefer more introvert activities.

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  3. I was always told that I hide my light under a bushel - I didn't hide it, I lost it!

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  4. I guess the quizzes that sometimes say I'm an extrovert are right then since we aren't 100% either way. I always thought something was wrong with those quizzes!

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    1. I agree - and the person who gave me the test said, "People with your personality time, feel they are right and have a hard time seeing another way." I rolled my eyes and thought, stupid psycho-analysis hee hee hee

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  5. I'm definitely an introvert, but it's not the same thing as being shy. It took me many years to finally figure that out. The world rewards extroverted behavior, though it's often the quiet thinkers who really have vision.

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    1. I was told I was shy too. With my kids, when someone says "Oh they're shy" I say, "No, they just don't have anything to say." I also think there is an element of they don't want to talk to them. There is a difference between being afraid to talk and wanting to talk.

      I think Susan would agree with you about the vision.

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  6. This is a great TED post. On the Keirsey & Bates temperament test I score right in the middle. My husband, however, scores high on the extroversion side, no surprise there, pretty obvious to observers. Even he needs periods of solitude to recharge.

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    1. I've never taken the Keirsey & Bates but I've the Meyers Briggs and consistently get introvert. I haven't taken it in a while. I have learned to be a very good networker however I still prefer to be on my own. On a scale, I would imagine I'm closer to the center - I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the info.

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  7. Thanks, I needed that :) I'm an introvert too and I've lost count of the number of times people tried to tell me I'm just shy and just need to get out with people more. Thing was, the more time I spent trying to be "normal" the less I liked it. It's nice to be with people sometimes too, but I still need my alone time.

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    1. Here, here Amber. I was the same way. Part of my problem when I was younger was that everyone loves hanging out at night. By that time I'm exhausted being around other people. It gets better - I think around 30 I started to really feel comfortable about who I was - by 40, you care even less what others think :D

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  8. Yup, I can relate. My favorite things to do as a kid (and now, actually) were reading, watching movies and watching TV. When I was in third grade, my mom felt the need to tell off my teacher when said teacher complained about my lack of friends during a parent/teacher conference.

    The world values extroverts, but I feel like, overall, the world is a bit scared of introverts. It's as if people need to know everything others are thinking to feel safe around them.

    I'll absolutely check out the video!

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    1. Go Mom!

      Yeah, I can see introverts being scary - are they plotting something? lol I also think extroverts have a harder time understanding introverts than vice versa. And I have to agree with Susan - extroverts are people of action. I think the action is entertaining. :)

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  9. Introverts are for sure misunderstood, sometimes even by themselves. I only discovered recently that I'm more introverted than extraverted. A friend of mine who majored in psychology (with hopes of being a clinical psychologist, ironically) told me that I should take the Myers-Briggs test, and she wasn't surprised when I got ENFP. She said I was definitely extraverted. She was, I realize now, basing this assumption on a comparison to herself (she's an introvert, and much more reserved than I am, and far more judgmental), and the fact that I'm louder, more loquacious (but no more eloquent), and sometimes (only sometimes) more outgoing. That was two years ago. I started realizing this January that I fit the description of introverts more, but maybe I've just changed. Idk...

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    1. LOL - I don't think introverted and judgemental is related - I think we all can be judgemental.

      I will say this about extroverts - they have a social intelligence. They easily rally and motivate the troops. So if you come in the middle or if you one of each, you'd be a force to be reckoned with :D

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  10. I would say I am a mix of both as well. In new situations or meeting new people, I tend lean towards being an introvert. Get me talking about one of my passions...I am definitely an extrovert.

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    1. Same here - I have to pull in the reigns sometimes because I think I scare people off.

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  11. I am an extrovert most of the time. As I get older I am becoming in certain situations an introvert as I don't like confrontations. So I would say the most of us are somewhat of a mix of introvert and extrovert. I think I am more of an extrovert as I am in sales and you have to be. There is really no right or wrong way to be

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    1. I can be outgoing but really I get most of my energy from being on my own. I too have gotten better at talking to others especially in a business setting. I'm not very good in a friendly setting - I need purpose to a conversation.

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  12. Oh I don't know about that I think you do quite well in a social setting maybe one to one is just more comfortable. I personally fluctuate. I have never been much of a public speaker though I keep on trying. I am to the point that my hands don't sweat and say "uh" very little.

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    1. Lynn, you wouldn't believe how far I've come. It does help that I come from a family of extroverts - 10 extroverted brothers and sisters and me. HA! Probably why I was the first to move far far away.

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  13. I liked Susan Cain's book a lot. It includes an example of a couple that included one introvert and one extrovert and therefore had difficulty planning their socializing. I think that couple developed a good solution on their own. Other similar couples might get help from a professional family mediator or a marriage counselor.

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  14. I find myself to be between the two as well! At most times introverted, I too love to be around extroverts.

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  15. Very timely - thanks for posting. I was just talking online with a friend about introverts in Jane Austen, and she referred me to Susan Cain and her book. Now I have an idea of what my friend means.

    I am probably a cross between introvert and extrovert - more introvert when I was younger, more extrovert as I begin to enjoy being around people when people share my interests (which did not happen often enough in my childhood).

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