Thursday, November 15, 2007

minor rant

When and how did extroversion become the yardstick for measuring the social maturity of people, including introverted ones?
 
I remember as a preteen (and even as a teen) being castigated by my mother for not being more outgoing and willing to initiate conversations with people I didn't know at all or barely knew. I was called stuck-up because I didn't do small talk and chitchat with people I had just met and felt uncomfortable approaching strangers, and generally was under steady pressure to go out and do things I didn't enjoy, with people I had little to nothing in common with, all in the name of socialization.
 
I'm 37 now, and I still have trouble with those things. I've learned that I'll eventually work my way into a group, find a connection with a few people, and even have a good time,but it takes longer for me than for people who are comfortable with large groups. Sometimes much longer.
 
Now Evangeline is in third grade, her teacher has approached me about a half-dozen times about Evangeline's slow progress in making friends in class, and at an upcoming meeting with the principal where we're supposed to be talking about keeping school interesting for her instead of boring her to tears with stuff she mastered in kindergarten, the principal has said she wants to discuss how to develop Evangeline's social skills and "educate the whole child."
 
GHAAAAAAAAIIIIIIRRRGGH! THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HER SOCIAL SKILLS! SHE IS A PERFECTLY HEALTHY AND WELL-ADJUSTED INTROVERTED THIRD-GRADER!
 
She gloms onto other kids her own age all the time, and they have a great time playing together. She'll stick like glue to a friend, laughing, playing, and running around. Stick her in a class without any friends, and yes, you'll see her withdraw fairly quickly once she sees that everyone else has put up the No Vacancy signs and pulled in the Welcome mats from their little social groups. Give her time and opportunity to work with her classmates and to discover the areas of commonality, and you'll see her make friends. What, is this supposed to happen in the first week of school, when the only kids in her class whom she knew last year either treated her poorly or barely interacted with her at all?
 
Rassafrassa rassafrassa Dick Distardly.

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