Category Archives: introversion

Bookish update plus the Outgoing Introvert

I usually tweet my #FridayReads, the meme started by Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven), so I thought I’d let y’all know what’s cooking on the reading front this week here as well.

I’ve done my first dive in to The Novel: A Biography. I’ve read the Prologue and most of the Introduction and it’s absolutely terrific reading. Once I get to the first chapter (Literature is Invention), I’ll also be picking up The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, noted by the author as being the first English not-quite-a-novel (but a constant narrator and more of a memoir/travel book.) (It’s free at the link as, written in the 14th century, it’s well out of copyright.)

I’m halfway through Inside by Alix Ohlin. I heard Ohlin read at IFOA a couple of years ago and purchased her book based on that. But never got to it. So far so good, and I hope to finish it this weekend.

On the audio front, I started listening to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. This is for one of the Winter Reading Challenge at Roundtable on Goodreads, and is referenced in The Novel’s chapter title Impersonation.

I have yet to dive in to The Brothers Karamazov, although if I don’t want to get hopelessly behind in the group read, I should pull it out tomorrow. Or rather boot it up. This is one of those cases where my paper copy’s print was too small for me to read comfortably so I ended up buying a copy of the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation for my Kobo. They did a fabulous job on Anna Karenina so I’m hoping Brothers will be good too.

The Outgoing Introvert

This article from the Globe and Mail kinda sums up my project/non-resolution around meeting more people IRL. (It’s well worth a read, if you think you might not have enough community time, and I don’t mean your family or work community.) While I have benefitted incredibly from meeting people online, particularly when I was out of the country for five years, it made me do a bit of a mental inventory of the places where I am part of a community outside of my family. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much less shy and more outgoing. (“Shy” you say, incredulously, those of you who have met me in the past five to ten years? In truth, I used to have trouble ordering a pizza by phone.)

My communities:

Choir: an absolute necessity in my life. My last two choirs (Toronto and Atlanta) have been associated with my parish. Plus a summer choir that was Catholic but not parish-based. When I lived in Ottawa, I was part of a community choir. I love crave the chance to sing on a regular basis. I meet people of all ages, different religions (or none), knitters, readers, professional musicians, students, vegans, retired people, professors, writers) who all come together to seek beauty in the combination of voices.

Book club: While the club started out with mainly people I know, we’ve branched out and I’ve had a chance to meet fascinating people who have a common love of reading and talking about literature. We’re one of the few book clubs that I know about that includes both men and women and I find that this makes for a somewhat more interesting vibe. We’ve also started an annual low-stress December meeting where, rather than read a book to discuss, we each bring a book that we’ve loved to introduce to the rest of the group. This is a great way to get to know each other a little better.

Genealogical meetings: I used to volunteer quite actively but have had to give that up in the past couple of years. I don’t know many people at the events so sometimes I don’t talk with many people, but I”m travelling to Salt Lake City with a group in February and will get to know some of the local people better.

The Salon: In years BC (before children), we held a reasonably regular “salon” where we invited friends who were interested in smart discussion to talk about topics. Wine and nibblies and a moderator. Sort of like a book club but not on a book. I’d love to do this again and have been mulling over format, topics, and logistics. I even have a spreadsheet somewhere….

So, where is your community? Do you have one? Do you need one?

All by myself….. just wanna be…

Really. I have the luxury (for an introvert) of eight days in my own house by myself.

Susan Cain posted a question on Facebook about what sad songs make you happy. I responded with this, my favourite teenage pick on the jukebox at the Calabria restaurant in Ottawa, that high school hangout that made great pizza and may or may not have served alcohol to minors skipping their afternoon classes (OMG – it closed!):

The only thing I’m sad about now is this cold that has been hanging around in my chest for a week now. I had to miss choir today and have been lazing around watching too much television and eating too many carbs. I had spent last week at the cottage for the long weekend and then in Montreal visiting Michael (more about that in a future post.) I had to take the drive home slowly and get lots of walking around time en route (that may or may not have involved shopping). But I love driving alone, with an audiobook or whatever classic rock station I can find on the dial. My next car will definitely have satellite radio.

I have a lot of plans for this week, to get a whack of stuff chopped off my to-do list and to put some order in the household, now that things will stay put when I move them. Both my men get home next Sunday (I think) and the week is stretching out before me like a gift.

Affirmations for Introverts | Psychology Today

  • Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I have nothing to say.
  • Staying home is doing something.
  • Managing my energy is a favor to myself and everyone around me.
  • I like who I like and that’s my right.
  • There’s nothing wrong with saying “no.”
  • I can love other people and still not be responsible for their good time. (Variation on a theme.)
  • Listening to bores is not my job.
  • Parties are supposed to be fun. When I stop having fun, it’s OK to leave.
  • My presence is a gift, not a requirement.
  • I know what I need better than anyone else.
  • Putting on my dog-and-pony show is optional. (This is a biggie for me. And what a relief!)

What works for you? 

If you’re an introvert like me, the entire piece is worth a read. Click on the link above.

Introverts and Extroverts in Love (Psychology Today, March 2010)


… here’s some amateur advice from a professional introvert.

Remember that your way is just one way: Introversion and extroversion are of equal value. One is no better than they other; they’re just different. Once you recognize the differences, respect them in yourself and your partner. No eye rolling, no snide remarks, no guilt trips, no apologies, no shame.

Embrace the differences: Yin and yang, make it work for you. The extrovert can bring new people into your lives, the introvert can create peaceful spaces in the home and the relationship. The differences can enhance your relationship if you work with them rather than fight (over) them.

Set guidelines for socializing: If you don’t want to socialize much, then your extrovert is entitled to the freedom to socialize solo, no guilt trips. And if you like deep, intimate conversations with your friends, do you really need your partner there? The rule in my marriage is that neither of us is required to participate in any particular social event, but we do grant special requests when the other says “pretty please.”

Take responsibility for your comfort outside your comfort zone:  First, figure out how to make the best of any situation, since you can’t avoid everything you don’t love. Maybe meeting new people is easier if you do something–flea market, street fair, gallery opening–rather than sitting around making get-to-know-you chit-chat. Maybe you feel better about parties if you and your partner agree in advance how long you’ll stay, or even take two cars. Then speak up, step up, take responsibility, no whining. The same goes for the extrovert.

Figure out the phone: The telephone can be a surprising source of tension. Must one person answer every ring because the other doesn’t want to? My husband uses his cell phone exclusively so if I don’t feel like answering our home phone (as is the case 97.9 percent of the time), he doesn’t care. And while he will e-mail during the day for necessary discussions (i.e. dinner) , I call sometimes, too, since that’s more convenient for him–although he agrees that I’m terrible on the telephone.

Negotiate quiet time: My husband is an early bird and I’m a night owl so we each get daily solitude that way. (I work alone, but that’s different from unwinding alone.) I also travel alone on business and he doesn’t mind being an occasional  bachelor. Actually, he kinda likes it. Some solitude is important for everyone, especially introverts.You don’t have to apologize for this, but you do need to be gracious about it. For example, insist on quiet time after work if you need it, but your partner should then get your undivided attention for equal time. If you have kids, which we do not, you have another layer to the negotiation.

I read this piece when it first came out and it rang so true! I am a true introvert, married to a raging extrovert, and much of this applies. I laughed out loud at the section on the telephone….he has to answer the phone regardless of what the display says, and I, like the author, ignore it the vast majority of the time.

I’ve hit paydirt in a way because I’m at home all day alone, with kids and spouse at school/work, so I get lots of peace. I find it extremely distracting to have anyone else in the house with me during the day. My stress and headache frequency went way down when I stopped working the regular nine-to-five and I’ve come to believe it has a lot to do with being able to be alone more.

Would love to hear from others in a similar introvert/extrovert situation.