Solidarity incited among introverts via memes in the theme of staying home versus socializing.
They’ve always rubbed me the wrong way because they didn’t fit me. I’m definitely an introvert. And I definitely enjoy socializing. (In certain contexts.) And, as I wrote about recently, a good girlfriend date is definitely energizing.
My depression is always triggered by some sort of emotional disconnect, whether a breakup or just (“just”) feeling socially isolated. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy looking for the roots of this, but I think the most oversimplified premise is simple: people are social animals.
That runs contrary to the introvert memes.
Perhaps ironically, I was out in the local mountains alone, listening to podcasts, taking pictures, enjoying the perfect weather. It was wonderful and recharging. The first podcast I listened to?
The Happiness Lab, Season 1, Episode 4: Mistakenly Seeking Solitude. Their thesis was everyone is happier interacting than not interacting (as a generalization, but regardless of introversion/extraversion), and automation is causing emotional issues. They talked about the invention of ATMs, bar cars and quiet cars on public trains, and the Museum of Ice Cream. (How did I not know that was a thing?!)
(I was recently tipped off to The Happiness Lab, and I’ve loved every episode I’ve listened to so far. They’re only a season and change in, so I started at the beginning.)
As I continued wandering through the mountains, I thought about blogging about the episode, made a note in my phone, and carried on.
A day or two later, I was listening to Work Life, another one new to my rotation that I’m loving. Adam Grant, the host, was talking about the use (and misuse) of personality tests in the workplace, when he interviewed Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. (Excellent book, if you’ve not read it.)
Adam: Most people think about introversion extraversion as where you get your energy. Like, extraverts from people; introverts get it from being alone. But when Susan studied the science, she learned that wasn’t quite right.
Susan: Everybody, whether you’re an introvert or an extravert, draws energy from other people. And I think that we don’t make enough distinction between how many people and in what kind of a setting. [emphasis mine] There ends up being an idea that introverts are anti-social and I always say, it’s not that, it’s just differently social.
(The conversation with Adam and his wife that follows the above dialogue is very funny.)
Susan goes on to talk about the recovery time introverts need after a party or other over-stimulating event. It doesn’t mean we don’t get energy from people. That’s just … too many people. Past the point of diminishing returns.
This all lines up exactly with what I’ve been thinking for a long time. I felt a little more at peace with myself after hearing people who’ve actually done research said what I’ve been thinking and feeling all along.
How does any of this resonate with you? My curiosity about your opinion is piqued a bit more if you listen to one or both of those podcasts.