How Americans Can Understand One Another Better (“Caring For Your Introvert”)

Author: Jonathan Rauch

Source: The Atlantic, March 2003

Reading Time: < 1 minute

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This timeless dissertation reminds us that one of the factors that cause Americans (or people of any culture) to misconnect and misunderstand one another is the simple but extremely important difference between extroverts and introverts.

Written by an introvert, this charming defense takes extroverts to task for assuming that introverts are basically underdeveloped people who just need to improve themselves.

With tongue in cheek, he offers: “We tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking, which is why their meetings never last less than six hours.”

And, “Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways. Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome.”

It’s vintage, but worth a read, and worth thinking about.

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