Quiet: The Power of Introverts

How to thrive in a world that can't stop talking.

Thoughts on Super Bowl Sunday

Are Social Rituals Necessary?

Jack Kerouac would rather be writing.

Oh, the Super Bowl. I am always bemused by Super Bowl Sunday, and not just because I’m indifferent (yes, it’s true, I’m afraid I am) to football.

It’s the social ritual of the event that strikes me as curious.

This past New Year’s Eve I spent the evening curled up on the sofa with my husband. It was a perfect night. I knew that some years ago, I might have felt guilty about separating myself from the celebrations outside my New York City apartment door. So I was pleased that these days I’m perfectly OK with my homebody ways (and so is my more extroverted husband).

But maybe my preference to stay home on New Year's Eve is unrelated to introversion. It may have more to do with my feelings toward social ritual. I just don’t care much about birthdays and holiday celebrations. I tend to let the feelings that are supposed to be evoked by these events happen when they will, and trust that I’m going to experience the full range of human emotions and experiences over the course of a year, as opposed to waiting for them to occur on the day the ritual tells me they should.

And I have to admit that I wish that everyone felt this way. Then there wouldn’t be so many obligatory ritualistic events to attend.

Yet I know this is simplistic. Rituals have been too central a part of society, for too many cultures, for too many thousands of years, to dismiss them so casually (even arrogantly). Human beings clearly crave them – even humans like me. At weddings, I cry and then I dance. On Yom Kippur, I have felt somber and full of remorse. I love the lights and trees of Christmastime.

But mostly I prefer to mark life’s earthshaking milestones-- and the steady progression of time -- in unscripted fashion.

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What do you think of this? I‘d love to hear about your experiences.

- Article originally published on my blog: ThePowerOfIntroverts.com

Susan Cain is the author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, a popular blog and forthcoming book about introversion.

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