What a timely book this was to read. I am reading about Aspergers and stumbled upon this book from someone’s suggestion. Aspergers and Introversion seem to go hand in hand. I would say that most of the Aspergers spectrum are introverts but perhaps not necessarily the other way around. I kept agreeing with what she said with her research into various aspects of what introversion was and how introverts cope in a world that is designed for extroverts.
Realising that I am indeed an introvert, embracing the notion is quite freeing. I recognise that how I lived the first part of my life was as an introvert acting as an extrovert, surrounding myself with extroverts and wondering why everything wasn’t gelling the way I wanted it. A third or more or the population are introverts, more depending on the culture. It’s a sweeping statement I know but I would say that Western cultures embrace the extrovert culture whereas Asian cultures embrace the introvert culture. It makes me understand why I feel so much more comfortable in Asian society. Being quiet shows respect, waiting for an answer, allowing space between words is again respect. That is not to say that there are no extroverts in Asia. Of course not.
Introverts need extroverts and extroverts need introverts. Together the implementation of ideas can reach quicker and further than if just one. We are in an extrovert world. Sometimes the introvert never gets heard. Not because the idea is poor but because the extrovert doesn’t give the introvert the space in time to speak or sees hesitation as a sign of weakness on the idea rather than a reluctance to take the centre stage at a business meeting. Extroverts need hand breaks sometimes, they need an introvert to caution that they are running off in the wrong direction. Enthusiasm alone doesn’t always make for the best plan.
School teaching styles are star shaped cookie cutter designed. We are taught to teach extrovert style and the intended classroom child is extrovert. Students are encouraged to participate, to be vocal and share opinions in front of the whole class. School reports are written with verbal activity in mind and a child that is quiet is regarded as abnormal in society. Schools are preparing children for the workforce and so a gregarious child is going to fit the extrovert mold and better perform in group work, speaking in meetings and interviews. Nowhere does the introvert child feel welcome. Quiet time is when ideas form. Alone time is when ideas get developed. You cannot hatch a plan if you are constantly talking. It may be a plan but perhaps not as good as if you sat by yourself and pondered further. Giving introvert children a voice in the classroom is vital to give them opportunity to contribute and hear what they have to offer.
I could not bear to work in an office where you have to face a colleague’s desk. The productivity of an introvert would be greatly improved by just a privacy panel. It is all very well to give the appearance of an open office but there are plenty of places for casual encounters that can be set up instead. The open plan home is also a modern concept with the extrovert in mind. The introvert has nowhere to curl up and read a book. Modern does not always mean better.
Extrovert systems are in place naturally in Western society that when they are pointed out I see few places for the comfort of the introvert. When you consider that a third of the population are introvert and introverts marry extroverts more thought it needed to encourage introvert to share their ideas and to be heard. The world is heavily skewed to the extrovert. Introverts need to change this. Without the introverts leading the way, no matter how uncomfortable that may make them feel in the spotlight, unless introverts make noise the extroverts will never hear.
Being true to oneself, to one’s real nature makes living life much more comfortable and makes one aware that the effort to understand oneself is absolutely worth the journey.
Sir Issac Newton
J K Rowling
Tips to better care for introverts and extroverts.
Quiet – Non Tiq