I never considered myself introverted. For that matter, I never thought of myself as an extrovert either. I was just me, with all my quirks, flaws and idiosyncracies. And then I watched this TED talk (rated amongst the top 20 most watched TED talks of all time) and the penny dropped. I am an introvert in many many ways, although I do a darn good job at being a pseudo-extrovert too.
Here it is:
After watching the talk I wanted to know more. So I bought her book, Quiet: The power of introverts and started reading. I am only half way through (confession: I only started it yesterday) but I keep on nodding along with her ideas. I recognise myself in every second sentence. Especially when Susan Cairn writes: "you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favour of a good book". This is me!! Social time exhausts me: it sucks the energy out of me. This is not to say I do not enjoy social time, it's that I can handle it in small doses only. And then I need solitary time to feel normal again. I feel nervous in crowds, I don't like loud music or any other hyper-stimulating activity, I find small talk incredibly challenging, I prefer to write than talk and my ideal weekend would have very few activities in it.
This is my coming out as an introvert and I am sure many people who know me in real life will wonder about my assessment. I guess I have been very good about learning the skills of a good extrovert - but that does not make me one, any more than speaking fluent French makes you a French person.
I continue to read and be amazed. For your introverts out there, you need to read this book (if only so that you will feel less guilty declining party invitations). For the extroverts amongst you, it's a grea insight into how the "other half" lives and will give you a better perspective on others. Enjoy the TED talk!