I am an extrovert. I live in an introvert world. Most of the people I know are unashamed introverts and I love them. I love that about them. I love that they are comfortable in their own skin and allow me to be comfortable in my own skin.
In my own little family of 4, I am the lone extrovert. I don’t whine and cry about it. I don’t expect them to be just like me. And they don’t expect me to be just like them. I need the people in my family and they need me. We need each other to work together. We need each other in relationship.
Our world is comprised of both introverts and extroverts. The world needs both introverts and extroverts. The book Quiet by Susan Cain says 1/3 of all people are introverts. I don’t know, I would expect it to be closer to 50%.
I spent many years of my life living the life of an introvert because it was the “only accepted” way to live. I learned that early. Now that I am an adult, comfortable in my own skin, I expect other people to also be comfortable in their own skin. I desire them to embrace their uniqueness as individuals. Yes, we can all be divided into two groups, introverts and extroverts but we are all individuals. We were all created with a need for relationship. We need relationships with our fellow man and we need relationship with the God who created us in His image.
His Son spent time both alone and in huge crowds. He was comfortable in both. I am like Him in that area. I am not saying Jesus was an introvert and I’m not saying He was an extrovert. Because I don’t know.
I do know He says that what we do for Him in secret, His Father will reward openly. We can see there are times to be secret, which is hard for this extrovert to do and there are times to do ministry in crowds which is difficult for the introverts to accomplish.
I did not like the tone of the book Quiet. The author is an introvert but that isn’t why. One gets the impression that the introverts of the world are hated, picked on and belittled and amount to nothing. Yet she gives case study after case study of introverts who have been hugely successful in society, life and business.
I live surrounded by leaders who are introverts. So it is more than a little difficult for me to picture the world and society being against introverts. I find it extremely difficult to swallow that the church has the same ideas. To the best of my knowledge, every pastor I have known has been an introvert.
I got the impression from the book, which I expected to LOVE, that I am the enemy. I expected to love this book I also expected to learn how to live with and how to deal with people who are not like me. I wanted to learn about the inner workings of the mind of the introvert. I wanted to learn how I can best help, serve, and love those who are not like me.
Instead I got the distinct impression that if myself, and others like me were not here the world would be a great place to live.
I did not like the “everyone expects us to be extroverts”. Everyone doesn’t! I don’t. I expect them to be who they were created to be. She cites one example of visiting Rick Warren‘s Saddleback church. In the worship time they were given an opportunity to greet those around them. The pastor she was with said it was a bad idea because it was too much to force cheerfulness.
My church does this. I know many, many churches do this. Not to alienate anyone. But so everyone will feel valued and welcomed. If you don’t want to greet someone, then by all means don’t. But please don’t sit in judgement on those who do greet and who might greet you. Smile politely, say “Good morning” and move on.
Extroverts are not the enemy. We are not evil. We are not intent on stamping out everyone who differs from us. Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.
Quiet by Susan Cain sadly disappointed me greatly. It was not at all what expected nor what I needed.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.