by JESSICA SMOCK
Would you rather be described as bold, active, sociable, and dynamic? Or, rather, as sensitive, quiet, and serious? Outgoing, engaging, and a leader? Or contemplative, reserved, and uncertain? And do you associate either of these temperamental extremes with either powerful males or females?
In our culture, we value the extroverted personality type: talkative, dominating risk-takers who are comfortable in the spotlight and prefer working and spending most of their time with others.
We, as a society, perceive extroversion as the ideal personality type, the real “go-getters,” as Susan Cain describes beautifully in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
Over the past few years, and especially since I’ve become a mother, I’ve come to recognise and appreciate my own temperament. I am an introvert and proud of it, and this does not make me meek, submissive, or lacking in leadership qualities.
I’ve always preferred expressing myself better in writing over speaking. I prefer solitude to groups of people. I’d much rather go to a dinner with a couple friends—or even better, one friend—rather than a large party.
I do my best work on my own, rather than collaborating with others. When I do spend large amounts of time with other people, especially lots of them, I feel drained, even if I’ve had a great time. I need time to myself to recharge.