An Introvert in an Extrovert World

image by Heather Elaine Kitchen

“Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.”  (Winston Churchill) 

In more ways than one, I often feel like a “solitary tree.”  Hence the name, Uncommonhousewife.  I was the child everyone referred to as “quiet.”  My teachers lamented, “It’s so hard to get her to speak up in class.”  Yep, that was me–full of ideas that I didn’t really want to share with the class.  Fast forward to today, and I still have plenty of deep thoughts that I carefully consider before sharing.  (SuzyQ: “Mom, you’re STILL working on that blog post?!”)

So how does someone like me get along in a world full of folks who need you to know every detail about them?  Well, I’m on Facebook, but only out of necessity to share video with far away family.  I can’t remember the last thing I wrote on my wall.  Every now and then, I comment on a friend’s post.  But really, what can you say about what my neighbor found recorded on her DVR or why a college friend’s cat has a red price tag affixed to its butt?  In fact, why would anyone feel the need to share that publicly at all?  And is one more “Me too!” or “Looks great!” comment really adding anything to the discussion?

This is why I’m a failure at Facebook.  As an introvert, I don’t get a lot of pleasure in all of the Facebook small talk.  On the other hand, I love it when someone sends me a message.  Those are just for me, personal, thoughtful, like a little visit.  The same goes for email.  Except that no one can be bothered to send email anymore.  And the whole idea of Twitter has me shaking my head.  Why would anyone be a “follower,” waiting on my every move and thought during the day?  What would possess someone to think that the world is waiting to find out what you bought at the grocery store or who you are having lunch with or what you are thinking as you sit in traffic?  Extroverts, all of them.

I’m sure I wouldn’t do very well in a corporate setting, either.  Brainstorming sessions, group projects, yelling out ideas during meetings.  None of that is within my comfort zone.  I’m all about organizing my thoughts, working on my own projects without relying on someone else to finish their part, and weighing what I want to say before shouting it out.  When did this “calling out without raising your hand” type of behavior become a desirable thing? 

He who speaks the loudest does not necessarily have the best idea.  It’s easy to see how much this thinking pervades the culture, though.  Take, for example, those people who force their bass-blasting music on the rest of us unfortunate to be near them in traffic.  Why would they assume I want to have my brain pounding in my skull along with them?  Then there are the vanity license plates.  Is there a good reason for me to know your that nickname is “SASSY” or “H8TER” or that you and your wife have the same monogram?

So, just call me the solitary tree, trying not to get muscled out of the way by those who are louder and chattier.  You’ll find me laboring over just the right words to post here because I think, perhaps foolishly, that it matters getting them just right.  And don’t expect me to be happily swirling about at the next wardroom or cocktail party or even the neighborhood Bunco night.  I might be there with a smile on my face, nodding at a witty remark, but really I’m thinking that I would love to home in my pajamas with that really great book in my hands.


1 Comment

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One response to “An Introvert in an Extrovert World

  1. Soul sista! Thanks for this post. It resonates with me alot.

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