As I think about a couple of the teenagers in my life and the typical struggles that they face regarding who they are and what makes them so special, I wonder how much they struggle with the public perception that people who are quiet and/or sometimes detached are somehow inferior. Do they know it is okay (and normal) to withdraw sometimes? Do they feel it would be some type of social stigma if they or someone else classified them as introverts?
Today, I was fortunate to talk to a proud introvert about this topic and when she told me that Susan Cain’s book (Quiet) changed her life. She told me that prior to reading Cain’s book, she always had a feeling that there was something wrong with her. Our conversation then took a turn towards the classroom and the fact that there is such a big push for collaborative/cooperative learning in many classrooms and that this type of learning can be torture for introverts.
The reality here is that I could write endlessly and never articulate the issues as concretely and articulately as Cain does. If this is something that interests you, please check out the manifesto above and the video below (which has over two million views). If you feel like it, share something that strikes you from your own personal experience in the comment section below.
For example, number seven on the manifesto (“It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk”) hits home for me on a couple of levels. First of all, I have been guilty of this behavior at various times. Secondly, I have been with people who have been offended when others have avoided them or walked by with their heads down in a crowd even though it was obvious that they were avoiding them. In this case, many people jump to the conclusion that the offending party is a snob or has a problem with them. While that could be the case, I would contend that it is much more likely that the other person is simply an introvert…