Monday, March 5, 2012

An Old Memory

A friend sent me a link to this video. It's called "The Power of Introverts." I've talked about introversion here and here. Here's what you need to know:

  • Introversion does not equal shyness.
  • We're not antisocial.
  • We really do want to stay home, and that doesn't make us weird.
  • We like you and like to be around you, but we also need a break to recharge. This is not a bad thing. It's just a thing.

Imagine an introvert as being a series of electrical outlets. Now imagine people plugging into those outlets and draining our power. That's fine for awhile, but then we will kindly ask you to stop. If you don't, we'll unplug you ourselves and go hide in a closet. This is normal.

In the video, she talks about going to camp and being encouraged to be more extroverted. I had a flashback to Camp...

Huh, what was that camp called?

Never mind. I went there for a week for a couple of summers so I could be indoctrinated in conservative Christian theology sing songs and fraternize with other kids my age.

I think it was the second year. In the free time in the middle of the afternoon, I went back to the cabin, clamored onto my top bunk and read. By some bizarre fluke, I landed in the cool kids' cabin that year, and I remember one of the cool girls* coming down the hill to the cabin to get something. She saw me and was concerned. "What's wrong?"


"Why are you here by yourself?"

"Because I'm reading."

"But don't you want to be with everybody else?"

I don't even remember how I responded to that. I do remember that all I could hear was a loud voice in my head, "Be with everybody else?  That's what I've been doing all morning! And that's what I'll do at dinner and all evening and at vespers and then again tomorrow morning and then and then and then...." I remember thinking that the weird thing was that there weren't more kids in their cabin reading. And, honestly, I was grateful for that because I wanted to have some time when I didn't have to be on. But, seriously, why were these people together all the time? Didn't they need a break? As much fun as camp was, and as nice as it was to be around other kids who were into Jesus, didn't everyone else feel the drain of spending so much time with other people?


It's stuck with me as a powerful example of the difference between introverts and extroverts.

The next time you see a kid with a book, leave her alone. This is not her retreating into some depressing inner world. This will not lead to her cutting herself and singing emo songs.

This will keep her sane.

Read on, girls.

*The cool girl is nice in this story. I know that's weird, but she was.


  1. I had almost this exact same experience! Only I remember the name of my camp very clearly -- Camp Brosend. And it was a counselor who came back the cabin and forced the two of us extroverts to go play nice with others and do the scheduled activities. I was a very conflicted child...made to feel like I was wrong for being introverted and others who didn't understand were always trying to force me into "fun" with other kids.

  2. er...I meant introverts. See how conflicted they made me?

  3. Another great Bonnie post! I worry about the non-book types. Sometimes they scare me, too. Read on girlfriend!