a) feel thrilled. Yay! It's my day and now everyone in the restaurant knows it.
b) look for the nearest exit. Oh no! It's my day and now everyone in the restaurant knows it.
If you answered b), you're probably an introvert. In her book, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking," Susan Cain demonstrates why it is perfectly fine to be introvert. In fact, it's better than fine.
"Quiet" is a long overdue validation of Introversion as a legitimate and valuable way to move through the world. Susan Cain clearly and compassionately defines and describes introversion. She puts into context the struggles of introverts living in a culture that is strongly geared toward extroversion (group projects in school; open-floor office plans, anyone?). She also describes the ways in which introverts can maximize their gifts and extroverts can support them.
The most valuable take-away is that we all -- introverts and extroverts -- need to be aware of how we operate. If you are rejuvenated by being around others or taking risks, be sure your life's work and most of your days include these. On the other hand, if you recharge your batteries by being alone or working through a problem independently, honor that and make sure others support you. Trying to make yourself into the opposite will wear you out and you won't be your most effective self. What a waste!
If you are an introvert or love an introvert -- especially if you're raising an introvert -- you need to give this a read. At the very least, find her TED talk on the internet and watch that. It will change how you think about those who are Quiet.