Lost Among Europeans

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Sensitive or introvert?

I’ve begun 2014 digging into introversion. Recently the concept seems to be getting a fresh coat of paint, especially with Susan Cain’s TED Talk and her book “Quiet”. A slightly different take is offered by the Highly Sensitive Person theory. You can take the HSP test. I like the HSP theory better than plain introversion, but both are similar.

Now, I bought a book on HSP, as well as the aforementioned book Quiet. I mostly skimmed, I didn’t find either too interesting. Quiet, in particular, annoyed me. I wholeheartedly agree that being an introvert has a bit of a social stigma, but Quiet strikes back by attributing to introverts a lot of great victories, from the iPhone to the Theory of Relativity, and to extroverts a lot of resounding defeats, like the 2008 recession. It’s that simple, huh? If Einstein or Steve Jobs were alive, they’d probably be appalled at how often their names are thrown in to justify arguments - as if the name alone is all that’s needed. Incidentally, Cain posits that Steve Jobs was an extrovert, and Wozniak an introvert. I have my doubts.

Here’s the thing. Introverts/sensitives or whatever you choose to call it, can sometimes have a hard time socially. We’ve all been dragged to a party by a well meaning extrovert friend who wanted to perk us up. We typically learn to become protective of our time alone, and of our ideas under development. We learn to accept it when people tell us we think too much, without retorting that maybe they think too little. Most of us introverts/sensitives would really enjoy it if more department stores used subdued music, if flyers and cheesy sales slogans were not pushed at us, and if people cut us more slack in parties. The funny thing is, I think many extroverts would want the same things.

Sign me off any crusades. I refuse to join the Introvert Pride movement, if there is one. And I don’t think there’s a lack of awareness. Or have we become that self-deluded?