A friend recommended the book, Quiet by Susan Cain, that will be of interest to both introverts and extroverts, and even to those in-betweens called ambiverts. “Ambiverts” is a word and a thing since the designation itself lies on a spectrum with extremes at each end and variations along the line. Acknowledging herself as an introvert as she addresses the differences in the book, Susan points out that our world seems stacked toward the extroverts. Then she goes on to recognize the introverts both famous and otherwise who have made huge differences in our lives.
Susan mingles studies that have been done of the pros and cons of each as well as personal examples from her own life, making this a knowledgeable read but one that is also down-to-earth. The reader can easily spot likeness to themselves or people in their lives in her examples. She also gives useful ways for both introverts and extroverts to adjust to the needs of the other and of the times when they at least need to act like they have a bit of the other in their makeup.
One of the most interesting points was the tendency for introverts and extroverts to attract each other romantically much like the positive and negative points of a magnet. This can benefit both if the two use their strengths to advantage. Of special interest, beyond their public encounters is her look at how a marriage like this handles differences of opinion. That part requires some work and understanding.
FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt became a notable example of this pairing. FDR, in his element with a big crowd and a public speech, married to a young woman terrified of public speaking but with a genuine concern for people, found that people opened up to her in a way they did not to the powerful politician, making her an asset. Eleanor also became an example of ways that one can go beyond natural tendencies.
Parents and teachers would do well to read the book, particularly the final full chapter, “On Cobblers and Generals: How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in a World That Can’t Hear Them.” With her look at the prevalence of introverts in a world that has fitted itself for extroverts, she gives good suggestions of how to help these children see their value and cope with the odds that seem stacked against them.
You may want to check out where you stand on this spectrum as I did. In her informal quiz at the beginning, I came out as a solid ambivert. I love big fun events and being with people, but look forward equally to significant time alone when the furor is all over. Her profile also puts writers and avid readers solidly in the introvert category. Some of us just can’t be put neatly in a box which just may leave us sympathizing with both sides.