Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Introvert's Way by Sophia Dembling

Writer Sophia Dembling knew she'd hit a nerve when she wrote an online essay entitled "Confessions of an Introverted Traveler" and hundreds of people responded with comments. Dembling's piece, which celebrated the charms of exploring new places alone, clearly resonated with others who, like her, had never felt the need to be sociable by reaching out and connecting with strangers.

Dembling started a blog on the topic, comparing notes with thousands of others, resulting in her book The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World (155.232 DEMBLING). For those who prefer a quiet night in to a noisy night out, a party of two to a party of 20, this is the book for you. For those who have friends who always seem to shun the social scene and you want to know why, this is the book for you.

Readers who are introverts themselves (or who don't realize they're introverts until they've read the book) will find vindication in its pages. Dembling puts forth a case for why introversion is common, normal and, perhaps most importantly, totally okay. Readers who have introverts for friends will come to understand what fuels an introvert and how best to find common ground.

What makes an introvert? An abiding need for privacy and periods of solitude. An aversion to small talk and crowds. A tendency to take time to think things through rather than fling out off-the-cuff reactions. These qualities, Dembling writes, goes against the very grain of American culture, which gravitates toward the clamor of the multitudes, two things that introverts abhor.

Dembling goes on to give an easy-to-digest pop-science account of how introverts are different from extroverts and the connotations — most of the negative — that society heaps upon them.
We appear mild-mannered and we're not usually ones to gripe in public, but introverts can be as surly as the next guy. We get annoyed by assumptions made about us and behaviors directed at us.
With chapter titles like "I Like People, Just Not All People All the Time" and "Introverts are Not Failed Extroverts," Dembling doesn't pull any punches and make any apologies. She's frank and personable as she disputes common attitudes and researchers' often less-than-charitable descriptions of introversion, bolstering her argument with her own experiences and those her readers have shared.

What Dembling succeeds most at, however, is soothing the slighted souls of her fellow introverts, affirming their legitimacy and their right to be who they are. They don't need therapy. They don’t need to change. They simply need acceptance.

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