I tend to be the kind of person who laughs loudly and will dance a jig if I am in front of a crowd. I speak loudly and I always try to make my students laugh. I don’t think that anyone would describe me as shy. But, I am. I often feel like I am going to throw up before I walk into a room of new people, I hate small talk and I always have needed more time alone than other people.
All of these things about myself where always in my mind, but I did not really understand them. For years now there has been buzz around the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain and I always meant to read it, but I kept putting it off.
But after another very people full Christmas holidays I felt so drained, I tweeted about it. After I said I needed alone time to recharge, a couple of people tweeted me back and told me I sound like an introvert and I should read this book. So I did. And I am sure glad that I did.
Like when I was in university I lived in a house with 5 other girls who always wanted to do everything together. And I loved these girls and I loved spending time with them. But I was always miserable, anxious, tired, irritable. And now I understand why. I could not spend that much time with people. It does not work for me. I need to spend time alone to recharge. I need my writing and reading and “Laurie” time. Otherwise I am a miserable human being to be around.
So I liked the book to learn more about myself. And about other introverts. The book was most excellently researched with so much good history and anecdotes that I felt like I was discovering new friends. I learned a lot about the way our society came to value introverts and about the ways other cultures don’t. And as a teacher I learned that I should not always pressure my introverted students to “come out” but learn to work with them the way that they are.