I’ve known I was one for a long time, but have never thought that much about it, even though I’ve been reminded now and then. Sometimes people ask me if there’s something wrong or, “What are you thinking?” I’ve never had a good answer for that. There was a bar I patronized in San Francisco. After a year of more or less steady attendance the bartender returning change said, “You don’t talk much do you?”
“Nope,” I answered. Couldn’t resist that one.
Most people are uncomfortable with silence, they make small talk, weather, sports . . . whatever. I’ve never been good at that, or at finding the silence I so often crave. Silence is hard to come by in this world of elevator music, sound in shops, and at the gym. Most people like this, or it seems that way. I suppose we don’t here all that much from those that don’t, except for writers, if you count the written, soundless words.
“Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance. For many quiet types, chitchat can feel disingenuous. Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
* * *
Extroversion is a cultural ideal. I make no judgment of this fact, but simply state that it is, what is . . . an extrovert’s world. My thoughts have been validated in: ‘Quiet,‘ a book by Sudan Cain – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It’s an interesting read, uplifting. On one of the pages she states, “…introverts are more likely that extroverts to express on line…” Interesting.
Extroverts tend to make decisions, or give answers to a question faster than an introvert, even if they’re not that sure of the answer. Politicians tend to be extroverts, she maintains. Sounds right to me, and scary. At the same time it’s been a relief to read these words. A bit of a psychic load removed from my back. Most folks have seemed much faster on the draw than me. I’ve tended to be self critical, even after seeing others make some huge judgment errors. I’ve never been good at group think, spitting out clever ideas. I have seen myself as a bit slow, unsure, and tended to keep my ideas in a mental incubator until I felt I could trust them.
My best ideas seem to come on the way home, long after the meeting has been disbanded. I’ve noticed when I do have a good idea in these sorts of situations, sooner or later someone else will most likely come up with the same thought. And that’s been fine with me, no problem. Introverts tend not to be excited about fame and glory, the author tells us. I have sometimes worried over my lack of ambition . . . mid-seventies now and still have not made the cover of time magazine. My chances of being a rock star have been greatly diminished. Have I not tried hard enough? Did I not want it, (whatever that may be) enough?
I need to stop before this gets too long, but I’ll be back. I think this is a subject worth pursuing.