I wonder if there’s such a thing as a loud introvert. Since introversion and extraversion have to do with how we recharge our energy, I can’t see how ‘loud’ should come into it. Although it must have been an introvert who originally said, ‘Be quiet, I can’t hear myself think.” And the extravert would have the one thinking out loud.

I guess those are stereotypes. Extraverts aren’t necessarily shallow and introverts aren’t necessarily deep.

When we were teenagers, my brother wanted to apply to a military academy. So Mom set him up with his very own special study space, where he would go after dinner and remain until … well, the next morning. The rest of the family kept very, very quiet. Bro eschewed all sports – that’s like me eschewing books – as well as TV and radio. The result: his grades went down. Today I think I know why. Bro is the family extravert. The rest of us are introverts. We didn’t know that being alone was distracting for him, just as distracting as being with people would be for the rest of us. Bro was not recharged by solitude. He was drained by it.

Since then I’ve had the example of Emily and Brandon, my niece and nephew. Emily studies in the kitchen, the action center of the house, with the radio going, the telephone ringing, neighbors traipsing in and out, everybody talking all at once – and she studies right out loud. When her parents check her homework they find it’s well done. Brandon, on the other hand, is an introvert. He’s young and wants to stay with everybody else. His parents allow that for a while. Then they check his homework. Sometimes he’s accomplished almost nothing, so he has to finish studying at his desk in his room. They try very hard to make him know he’s not being banished. Sometimes he polishes off his homework in half an hour, if he’s alone.

I think of washing instructions that come on tags for clothes. Wouldn’t it be helpful if people came with instructions?