Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Quiet (Susan Cain)

Since I couldn't wait until I had finished the whole book to start talking about it, I wrote about this book on my other blog already.

There are a few things I can add though.


It was refreshing to read this book. It made me realize I don't need to feel guilty about my need for quiet. I was reminded of when our family moved to the city. We had lived on an acreage up until I was in Gr. 6. When we moved to the city kids would call after school and invite me to play. I clearly remember hiding to avoid the invitations. I just wanted some time to myself.

I also found myself having to hide, sometimes, to enjoy some of the things I truly enjoy, like reading. I remember well being at family reunions and having people grab my book away and say, "What are you doing?!" Clearly reading wasn't socially acceptable in that situation. So, instead, I would find ways to steal away and read now and then without people noticing. I still do it as an adult, actually.

In our society, we tend to lean towards idolizing the extrovert ways. This book does a great job of showing the value of being an introvert and talks about how extroverts would do well to learn some of the quiet skills that come naturally to introverts.

It isn't just in family situations where this occurs in my adult life either. My kids are swimmers. A lot of our extra time gets absorbed in our swimming world. When we first started I quite enjoyed sitting and visiting with other parents at practices or at meets. After a few years, however, a "new cool" group started to rise. They volunteer a lot (that's good...we need people to be involved), they sit together and cheer for everyone in the club (that is nice), they have tail gate parties in the parking lot (that's okay....it's a free world, right?), they wear matching t-shirts (still not sure why), and they are loud and gregarious....so much so that I find myself saying, "I'm out!" Recently, at an out of town meet, I went for a walk and could hear one loud gregarious member of this group even after walking for 15 minutes....this guy is loud! I have  found this group to be rather overwhelming. If I'm totally honest, I have to say I don't want to be part of that crowd at all. After reading this book, I understand why. It's not that they're so bad to hang around, it's just too much for me. I like our swimming friends, but I also need space. While some of them are pretty happy to have their lives quite intertwined together, I have another world, besides my swimming world, that I want to be in.

I really liked how the author addressed the need for situational extroversion and the need to plan for time to re-energize if all that extroversion doesn't come naturally to you. You don't have to be a banker or a statistician if you're an introvert. Nor do you have to avoid jobs where you interact with people a lot if you tend towards being introverted.

She also talked about how to parent or work with kids who are introverts, and how to help them learn to live happily amongst extroverts.

All in all, a great book!

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