Happy Introverts

I’ve never been a big fan of small talk. That’s why I look forward to most parties the way other people look forward to a trip to the dentist.

It was different when I was a kid. Back then, parties were about presents, games, cake and sugar highs. These days, parties are about mindless chatter, listening to complaints about the government (local, international, basically every government in the world) and attempting to sidestep the resident alcoholic who’s had too much too drink.

Yes, party-wise, things have certainly taken a dive since my primary schooldays and I’m always pleased when I have a genuine excuse not to attend one of these sorry soirees.

Unfortunately, I also tend to feel guilty about being party averse (or as others would point out a party pooper). I genuinely admire people like my husband, The Engineer, who feeds off the energy of a crowd and gets more and more vibrant and cheerful as the evening wears on.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting in a corner trying to stifle a yawn.

I’ve always felt my lack of interest in hobnobbing and making small talk was somehow a failing on my part but I was really pleased to discover recently that not being an extrovert may not be such a bad thing after all.

I found a nifty little article on the topic in the February issue of O magazine.

The article called Shh! Your Inner Introvert Is Calling caught my eye. Written by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, the article is about the subdued power of people who are more quiet caterpillars than social butterflies.

Susan says talking deeply can help people feel happier. She explains how jumping quickly from subject to subject (i.e idle chitchat or small talk) isn’t the forte of the average introvert who generally prefers deep,serious conversations that focus on a single topic (that’s me!). She cites a study by University of Arizona psychologist Matthias Mehl PhD. He found that the happiest participants were twice as likely to have substantive conversations as the unhappiest ones. The happy people were also far less likely to take part in small talk.

This is great news for me! Finally, a study that gives me a real reason to sidestep small talk. Less small talk = More happiness!


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