I want to thank Jen Robinson for a blog she posted earlier in the week about Shrinking Violets, which led to a marvelous link from one of her readers, Monica, to a 2003 Atlantic Monthly magazine article entitled Caring for Your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch. Don't you just love blogciprocity? We're sending Jen and Monica SV mugs to thank them!
This "astonishingly popular" article struck such a chord with the Atlantic Monthly readers that three years later, it is the most frequently visited on their website. I've excerpted a part of AM's 2006 interview with him here. Do yourself a favor and read both the original article and the interview.
Robin and I will see if we can get an interview with him here. A-hem, Jonathan! In the meantime, enjoy, friends!
"We love people—we're not misanthropic for the most part. We just can't socialize with them all the time. We want to hold their hand or hug them or just sit quietly and read a book with them.
I was tongue-in-cheek about the introverts' rights movement, but the main principle would just be that it should be as respectable for introverts to be who they are socially as it is for extroverts. We ought to be trying to make extroverts conscious and not uncomfortable about the fact that we're here. Extroverts should understand that if someone is being quiet it doesn't mean they're having a bad time; it doesn't mean they're depressed; it doesn't mean they're lonely or need psychiatric help or medication. A lot of the battle is making the extrovert world more aware. The onus is on us to do that. Maybe this article is a start. One thing you'll notice about the article, by the way, is that it addresses extroverts. I think that's very much the strategy; we need to tell the world who we are. The first step is to understand who we are ourselves, but the second step is to educate extroverts. This is stuff extroverts need to know. They're driving us crazy. We need to tell them."