Sofie Hagen’s show, Shimmer Shatter, busts a few myths about introversion. It clearly indicates that being an introvert does not mean you are cold and closed-off. It doesn’t mean you won’t stand up and be very funny in front of an audience. And it doesn’t mean you are unable to tell people about the strangest and most personal aspects of your life, like the time you married a plank of wood and invited your school friends around as witnesses.
What is true, though, is that inside an introvert’s brain particular things are happening. The neurotransmitter dopamine is to blame. It makes us all, whatever our personality, more talkative, alert and motivated to take a risk.
But while extroverts love the thrill of chasing the release of more and more dopamine, for an introvert the joy of dopamine more quickly turns to overstimulation. In fact, as Dr Marti Olsen Laney has recently written, introverts favour the reward of a different neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Very differently to dopamine, this chemical leads us to turn inwards, to reflect and focus, preferably somewhere calm.
As an introvert, Sofie Hagen reveals that she favours spending periods of time at parties hidden away in the toilets. She says walls are good because they are a place where a person is not.
Yet she is still a great people person, and the combination of comedy and honesty in her show has clearly struck a real chord with the audience.
At the moment it feels like introversion is getting all the attention it may never have wanted. Books like Quiet by Susan Cain, and her TED talk, present the introvert/extrovert divide as the most fundamental dimension of personality, with at least a third of people on the introverted side.
Maybe the time of the introvert has come. With the help of high profile people like Sofie Hagen, perhaps introverts will get their time to speak – if the extroverts of the world can just stop talking for a moment. (RM)
BBC article on what makes someone an extrovert: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130717-what-makes-someone-an-extrovert
Dr Marti Olsen Laney’s book: https://www.amazon.com/The-Introvert-Advantage-People-Extrovert/dp/0761123695/?tag=quietrevol-20
Susan Cain’s TED talk The Power of Introverts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4