While you're indulging in some highly prized quiet time today, take a minute to check out this terrific article in "The Atlantic" called "Caring for Your Introvert" by Jonathan Rauch.
It's one of the first pieces of writing I've come across that really explains the inner life of an introvert and why so many people think we're, well, weird. I wouldn't trade being an introvert for anything -- after all, it's at the heart and soul of my nerdy nature -- but it would be nice to get a little slack for our social awkwardness and have people realize, hey, we just can't help it.
Here's a taste of what Rauch has to say:
Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world.
Well said, Jonathan. If I were an extrovert, I'd send you a note of congratulations.
I know. My name is Jonathan, and I am an introvert.
Oh, for years I denied it. After all, I have good social skills. I am not morose or misanthropic. Usually. I am far from shy. I love long conversations that explore intimate thoughts or passionate interests. But at last I have self-identified and come out to my friends and colleagues. In doing so, I have found myself liberated from any number of damaging misconceptions and stereotypes....
What is introversion? In its modern sense, the concept goes back to the 1920s and the psychologist Carl Jung. Today it is a mainstay of personality tests, including the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast." Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.
Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating....