The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World – Jenn Granneman

Not to brag or anything but my platinum Introvert membership card was recently upgraded to diamond status by scoring 100% on Jenn Granneman’s signs I may be an introvert. You’re more than welcome to join our club. We meet in a quiet coffee shop that’s closed to the general public during our meeting once every blue moon when all three of the people of our offshoot of the organisation hasn’t already had too many meetings or been peopled out that week. Actually, you’re more likely to find us at home reading or Netflix and chilling (although chances are we are really binge watching and relaxing) and texting you.

Famous introverts are listed in this book and include J.K. Rowling, Felicia Day, Audrey Hepburn, Dr Seuss, Ernest Hemingway and Steve Wozniak, so if you’ve ever had introvert shame, throw it off and know you’re in excellent company. If you’re not sure if you are an introvert, some of the following may be signs that you are:

“You do your best thinking when you’re alone”

“You often feel lonelier in a crowd than when you’re alone”

“You’re better at writing your thoughts than speaking them”

“You avoid small talk whenever possible”.

If you’re not an introvert yourself then I’m sure you know one. We’re the blur you see escaping social events after our social meter maxes out. We’re the ones who will be incredibly passionate and talk with you at length if you’ve managed to navigate your way through the labyrinth, cross the disintegrating rope bridge suspended above the lava lake and scale the mountain past the dragons to reach our inner core of trust. If you’ll failed to make your way into our inner friendship sanctum then we will most likely struggle to provide a coherent one word answer to your questions. Or maybe that’s just me??

Jenn’s message to the world is that it’s okay to be an introvert. I’ve personally celebrated my introvertism introvertness superstar introvert powers for many years, despite the extrovert evangelists surrounding me telling me I wasn’t good enough, chatty enough, smiley enough, basically any kind of enough. Seriously, they were actual evangelists, pastors even, who loved to tell me in great detail how much I sucked because I didn’t fit their mould. Needless to say, they’re happily hanging out in their mould and I broke away from their abuse abuse (yep, claiming it for what it was) and I’ve never been more at peace with myself than I am now. I definitely don’t see horns on every extrovert’s head. This is just an example of what doesn’t work if you’re an extrovert trying not so subtly to convert an introvert.

In The Secret Lives of Introverts Jenn Granneman takes us on a journey into the minds of introverts everywhere and shines a light on what makes us tick; in our mind, in the workplace, as lovers and friends. We learn that we are even different to extroverts on a neurochemical level. Common misconceptions are myth busted, our strengths are celebrated, and we’re taught how to turn our weaknesses into attributes that work for, not against, us. Yet this book isn’t just aimed at introverts. There are specific sections throughout the book that explain to extroverts why we behave in ways that often baffle them and how they can champion and understand us.

I’m one of those people who practically hiss when labels are thrown about but in this book the introvert/extrovert labels are used to explain, not condemn, and it’s made clear that we all sit along a spectrum. No one is completely one or the other. Carl Jung is quoted in the book as saying,

“Such a person would be in a lunatic asylum.”

My main complaint with this book was that I got sick of hearing about Introvert, Dear, the author’s blog/online publishing platform. I would have much preferred for there to be a disclaimer at the beginning of the book saying that all quotes, mentions of articles and surveys were from this source unless otherwise stated.

Instead it sometimes felt like I was going to read somewhere on each page, “in an Introvert, Dear article” and it started to bug me so much that it got to a point where I wondered whether it would have been more useful for me to visit there to pick and choose articles and areas of interest rather than read the book. I got over my annoyance and decided to make it a game instead, like Where’s Wally? except it was Where’s Introvert, Dear? Perhaps I should have made a rule that allowed me to have a piece of chocolate each time I found the magic words … 🍫🍫🍫

I found there were some chapters that didn’t relate to me or no longer do and it seemed sometimes that the book was aimed at people who are working or in a serious relationship for the first time. However, even the chapters that didn’t personally apply to me still held my interest. I’m a sucker for books referenced in other books so I loved that and now have a list of follow up reads to explore.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

An introvert guide and manifesto for all the quiet ones – and the people who love them.

Is there a hidden part of you that no one else sees? Do you have a vivid inner world of thoughts and emotions that your peers and loved ones can’t seem to access? Have you ever been told you’re too “quiet,” “shy,” “boring,” or “awkward”? Are your habits and comfort zones questioned by a society that doesn’t seem to get the real you? If so, you might be an introvert.

On behalf of those who have long been misunderstood, rejected, or ignored, fellow introvert Jenn Granneman writes a compassionate vindication – exploring, discovering, and celebrating the secret inner world of introverts that, only until recently, has begun to peek out and emerge into the larger social narrative. Drawing from scientific research, in-depth interviews with experts and other introverts, and her personal story, Granneman reveals the clockwork behind the introvert’s mind – and why so many people get it wrong initially.

Whether you are a bona fide introvert, an extrovert anxious to learn how we tick, or a curious ambivert, these revelations will answer the questions you’ve always had:

• What’s going on when introverts go quiet?
• What do introvert lovers need to flourish in a relationship?
• How can introverts find their own brand of fulfillment in the workplace?
• Do introverts really have a lot to say – and how do we draw it out?
• How can introverts mine their rich inner worlds of creativity and insight?
• Why might introverts party on a Friday night but stay home alone all Saturday?
• How can introverts speak out to defend their needs?

With other myths debunked and truths revealed, The Secret Lives of Introverts is an empowering manifesto that guides you toward owning your introversion by working with your nature, rather than against it, in a world where you deserve to be heard.

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