Last year, I was invited to join a book club. I was ecstatic to be able to have a better excuse to lock myself up in my room and veg with a book for hours at a time. Not to mention the luxury of one-night-a-month guaranteed girl time for at least four hours where I could not only dish about the book I just devoured, but spill anything else on my mind as well. Which is usually a lot.
Well, turns out some of the girls in the club thought I may be talking too much and they would probably be right. I was promptly put in my place and asked to please let others share their thoughts and insights because — gasp — they might actually have something to say, too.
After some tears were shed, apologies were shared and friendships were strengthened, I am back in the club (oh yeah, I took a small break for awhile) and came back to this book: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," by Susan Cain.
You’re kidding me.
I laughed when I heard that this is what we were going to be reading. I also made it a goal to be louder and more annoying than ever, just to rub all my (supposed) extrovertedness in their faces.
What can I say? Sometimes I like to “push people’s buttons,” as my mom warned my husband before he proposed.
And then I got the biggest wake-up call of my life when I started reading “Quiet.” Not only was I totally and completely fascinated by the world of introverts, I discovered something absolutely unpredictable:
I am one of them.
That’s right. I wholeheartedly believe I am an introvert.
I have all the characteristics: the need to be alone, to create; shyness (which may seem like a stretch, but I actually loathe cocktail parties and socializing in big groups) and complete stage fright (that thankfully, I’ve outgrown). I would rather be with a book than at a party. And I do feel I can express myself sometimes better in writing or to small groups of people.
That being said, I do love to perform. I love speaking to large groups of people; actually, public speaking has never been a fear of mine. Ironically, public singing always has been.
As I was reading, I kept turning to my very extroverted husband and saying, “You should read this! Did you know there’s a whole section about business and the rise of the ‘groupthink’?” He’s just starting a two-year EMBA program at the University of Utah, and I couldn’t believe how important the insight into the world of introverts is in creating a successful, well-run business.
Needless to say, upon completion of one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time, I am happy to have discovered that I may not be the person I always thought I was.
Which may not be a bad thing.
Now, if I can just keep my mouth (more) shut at this month’s book club so I can — quietly — discuss this newfound discovery.
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.