Reading all these books on introversion has made me think about all the ways our education systems favor certain types of engagement and expression. On the teachers’ side, I have heard things like, “How do we get so and so to talk?” and as a student, I have felt the pressure, the inquisitive looks, the sense that someone is waiting for me to speak, the overenthusiastic response when I do. Education can feel like a constant coercion to speak.
Conversely, there have been periods in which I was the only student speaking in a class, moments when I was always the first one with my hand up. That was in my more extroverted period, I guess. But I am not any less intelligent or thoughtful than I was when I was the Hermione Granger of Developmental Psychology, I just questions my motives for speaking more. I speak when I feel I have something real to contribute or an honest question, not just an excuse to her myself talk.
I honor anyone’s right to be quiet. Mine especially. I have done all the speaking I need to do for a little while.