Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Daze of Christmas (Day 2): Introversion at Christmas

One of the most interesting books I've recently read is "Quiet" by Susan Cain. With its tagline of "The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" and its sleek white cover (it draws you towards it subliminally due to its almost invisible title) it makes both a powerful and understated first impression. One that drew me straight towards it on the shelf of WH Smith in Glasgow's Central Station.

Having flicked through the introduction I straight away took the informal introductory quiz. It told me that I was pretty much an out-and-out introvert.

As the train pulled off, having parted with my  £7.99, I was hooked.

So, hear me out on this one if you can.  Ms Cain discusses different levels of "stimulation" which are sought by and which, are needed by extroverts in which to thrive. I'm probably not telling you anything new here, but these levels are much higher than those of introverts. So, while an extrovert might find their "sweet spot" on the dance floor surrounded by strangers and friends and some thumping drum and bass, an introvert may be able to survive these stimulation levels for only a short time before needing to retreat to a more optimal level of stimulation or brain arousal. This might look like a quiet corner with one or two friends having a more focused chat.

The previous paragraph is a woefully inadequate introduction to the book, but I'll link Susan Cain's TED talk at the end and she will enlighten you herself on the power of introverts. Better still, buy the book.

But what, you might ask, has this all got to do with Christmas?  

Well, it strikes me that what we have is a series of social encounters which could challenge introverts and which they may well struggle with. There's the noise and the glitz and the over-stimulation and excesses of get-togethers and  parties and dances and pantos and general brightly-coloured "excitement".

Of course, you already knew all of this didn't you? If you're an introvert like me, then, for sure you were aware of it.

Christmas can be difficult for any number of reasons, but the challenge is how to carve out a meaningful, restful time at Christmas whilst  negotiating whatever else comes your way...

So, what do you think? What are your top tips for a restful, meaningful Christmas? Share your best ways to relax...

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts


  1. I am a self-confessed and self-aware introvert ND - and very happy with who I am. During my early twenties I had to develop an extrovert extension to myself, develop a voice if you like, for if not I would be a silent partner to a great wrong.
    Oddly, most who know me - or think they know me - would consider the real me to be the well-offered extrovert.
    But I am not. I am the person who loves quiet and hates noise. So, I exclude myself from big gatherings - luckily I am at work(nights) on most of these events so my excuse is valid.
    My best way to relax? Ensure only close family come to dinner and snuggle into chair and sleep after - and enjoy a few glasses of wine.
    Anna :o]

    1. Anna- this is very familiar. I remember one of my high school students being shocked when i told him i was an introvert. The book talks about extrovert as a cultural ideal that is thrust on all from school days on. As for your Christmas tip for relaxation that sounds great.Hope it's a peaceful one for you. David


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