You’re single and shy. Are you doomed to a dateless, lonely existence?
Our contemporary culture would have you think so. Television, social media, and advertising all scream: look at me! Our culture tends to reward extraverts who are bold and assertive with a million connections. Extraversion is often cited as a key to success on the job.
But a new bestselling book suggests that the introvert’s natural gifts may win in the end. Susan Cain is a former Wall Street lawyer who discovered that her introverted talents such as speaking quietly and reasonably, asking questions, and listening were key factors in successfully negotiating deals and arguing cases. In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking she outlines the unique strengths of the introvert that even extraverts should try to attain.
The research she uncovers is intriguing. In one study of college students at the University of Virginia it was discovered that women found men more attractive when they weren’t sure whether the guy liked them or not! So if you’re a shy guy, you might have a slight advantage with the gals!
Another study showed that, contrary to popular belief, introverts often make better leaders.
The capacity to listen, to enjoy solitude, and to value a rich inner life are qualities that are sadly lacking in today’s hyperactive, distracted world. They’re qualities that any single Catholic, no matter your disposition, would strive to cultivate. Same goes for the virtues of empathy and compassion, self-control and the ability to listen. Strong relationships and happy marriages depend on these virtues.
Introverts may not be the life of the party, but they have God-given gifts that are valuable in lasting relationships: empathy, sensitivity, capacity for depth, quiet commitment, and the ability to listen well.