In recent times we have heard Susan Cain speak, in the TED video of the Power of Introverts. She has also written a book entitled “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking“. I am sure this has delighted many introverts. I am more of an introvert myself and am relieved that somewhere, some people value our quiet virtues!
Getting on my flight back from London, I had looked forward to a relaxing time in the skies, watching movies, listening to music, reading and dozing off occasionally. No sooner had I settled in to my seat, my neighbour appeared, an unmistakeable extrovert, laughing along his way to his seat on the aisle, telling me he would leave his coat in his seat and going off to talk to others.
I do sometimes engage in conversation during a flight but prefer this to be just a little. I was determined this flight, to stick to my introverted activities, headset on whenever possible. The last time I obliged a talkative neighbour and engaged in conversation throughout a flight, the constant turning of my head to talk had left me with a serious neck ache.
Well, this flight, when my neighbour returned, he struck up conversation with a few others around who didn’t have their eyes closed. Later on, to my surprise, when I returned after going to the washroom, I found him sitting in my seat! His rationale? Well, he said, it was all the same and we were all going to end up in the same destination. (I believe he was just restless and needed to talk.) I politely requested to have my seat back, a request he acceded to, then I promptly plonked my headset back on. Okay, on hindsight, maybe I should have lightened up, taken the little joke and engaged in light banter. Horrible me! Later on in the flight, I heard (despite my headsets), loud laughter from him for a good half an hour as he watched the inflight entertainment – a reminder to me of the similar scene in the movie “Anger Management”.
In the end, I felt a little sorry and mean. I guess to an extrovert, having me as a neighbour that flight would have been awful. After all, extroverts derive their energy externally and need the external stimuli and introverts get their energy internally – we just cannot help it. It really is hard for introverts and extroverts to understand each others’ inner worlds.