I am an introverted psychotherapist who specializes in helping my introverted clients thrive in a world designed and built for extroverts. I recently took up a little COVID challenge: to find and read the best self-help books for introverts and to review each one.
My first review can be found here:
For my second review, I read The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World by Jenn Granneman. This book spoke directly to me and felt like I was having a lovely conversation with a good friend while we went for a nature walk. It was an incredibly detailed, comprehensive and well-thought-out treatise on what being an introvert is all about and how we can best thrive. I also loved the fact that the author speaks in many chapters directly to extroverts who are in relationships with introverts and offers sage advice and guidance.
Not only that, Granneman also provides an entire chapter on the science of introversion which I found enlightening and affirming. I like this clear distinction she makes:
Introversion and extroversion are temperaments. Personality, on the other hand, is a mix of both your temperament and environment.
She reminds us that we are either born introverted or extroverted and that it is all ‘nature’ with no influence from the ‘nurture’ of the outside environment. In other words, our inborn temperament is encoded in our DNA and is basically written in stone so we have to really learn to work with the temperament we were born with.
As the author so eloquently puts it:
Why does it matter that you were born an introvert and that you’ll likely stay an introvert for life? Because you don’t want to spend your life pretending to be someone you’re not. As an introvert, it’s important to recognize that your needs are always going to be slightly different from the needs of extroverts- and learn how to work with your introversion, rather than fight against it. (p.31)
After learning about the fascinating science of introversion, the author dispels two common myths about introverts:
- Introverts are rude
- Introverts aren’t sociable
As a an introvert who has been on this planet for nearly half a century, I can attest to the fact that people make these false assumptions about me and my fellow introverts constantly. In high school, people called me a ‘snob’ because I didn’t engage in small talk and because I didn’t smile a lot of the time. The fact is that we are observers and prefer to watch and listen from the sidelines rather than being the centre of attention.
As far as being sociable, people have always wrongly assumed that I am anything but. The fact is, like all other introverts I know, I do enjoy being social very much, just with a small number of people.
In other words, introverts shy away from big crowds of people and large gatherings, but relish in one-on-one interactions or small intimate gatherings like cosy dinner parties at peoples’ homes.
The rest of the book covers the “Introvert Hangover”, why being alone is manna for the introverted soul, dating and relationships and work and career success for introverts. The final chapter was my favourite: Work with Your Introversion Rather than Fight Against it.
Do yourself a favour and buy this book for yourself or the introverts in your life and reap the amazing rewards from the wisdom and guidance contained within its pages.