I’ve got issues with my smarts in that I feel I’m lacking them. It’s not that I think I’m dumb, but I don’t think I have all that much knowledge. It’s one of the factors that makes me uncomfortable when I meet new people. Everyone in the conversation (All people meeting for the first time) seems to know a fair amount about the various topics being thrown around. Everyone but me. So, I stay silent unless I’m absolutely sure what I have to add won’t make me sound stupid. Needless to say, me speaking to new people doesn’t happen much.
Thank goodness for my wife. She can talk to ANYONE with ease. It’s like watching a magic trick and as long as she’s with me, she does the talking for both of us. The thing is, I wish she didn’t have to.
In a few weeks we’re going to her high school reunion. I have no clue how many people are going, but they’ll all be new to me and for once, I’d like to have things to say. No so much because I care what strangers think of me. I just want to feel like I fit in with the rest of world. And I don’t want my wife to have to tell people, despite my silence, I’m having a good time.
The good news is I know my problem with social situations, which is less a problem and just who I am. I’m introverted, which carries a host of traits including brain freeze when under pressure. Like in groups of people I don’t know. I didn’t know much about introversion, so I figured if found some books that could explain why I’m this way, I’d feel okay at the reunion and . . . life in general.
I found two. The first one, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, is really interesting because it goes into the societal changes in America that created the terms introvert and extrovert. It also goes into the shift in extroversion being the more desired personality. I’m only fifty pages in, but reading about where the terms came from and what society thinks about each group (Extroverts outnumber introverts two to one) is giving me a lot of insight into myself.
The other one, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, hasn’t gone that deep into the history like Quiet. What’s it’s done is given me numerous examples explaining why my brain works the way it does. Here’s a particular line that struck me:
Many introverts don’t feel as if they know enough about a subject until they know almost everything.
It’s not often I feel like a book was written specifically for me, but the author could’ve easily have replaced “introverts” with “Andrew.” I’m guessing after I finish the book, I’ll conclude it should’ve been titled The Andrew Advantage.
But it’s not enough to tell me I need to know everything before I think I know anything, the author tells me why:
- Introverts can imagine the vastness of any subject.
- Since we have experienced our minds going blank, we overcompensate by acquiring as much information as we can.
- Since we don’t always say what we’re thinking, we don’t get a lot of feedback to tell us we know more than we think we do.
Well . . . well shit. This author has me pegged. In a paragraph she managed to explain why I’ve spent my whole life feeling awkward in groups of people.
I’m glad I bought both books because of the different, yet awesome perspectives on the same subject. As a gatherer of information, this is essential. I feel a little better about the reunion and might be more inclined to talk since I probably know more than I think I do. If anybody reading this is introverted and wants to learn more about yourself, I highly recommend these books.