Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: The new (quiet) me

Published: Sunday, Aug. 26 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

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.

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