Sunday, December 5, 2021

Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: One Introvert's Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan


I'd been curious about this book ever since I heard about it because I do identify as an introvert, but a lot of books about introverts end up really annoying me because they either (1) act like introverts are secretly better than other people-- especially extroverts, God we hate those guys, ammirite? or (2) conflate introversion with things that sometimes but don't always accompany introversion, like depression, social anxiety, social phobias, anxiety, OCD, and agoraphobia. Number one is annoying because introversion is just a personality trait and not a defining personality characteristic-slash-secret-club that some people think it is, but number two is especially annoying because it pathologizes normal behaviors and makes it seem like being an introvert is a type of neruotic behavior (it isn't).

I liked SORRY I'M LATE, I DIDN'T WANT TO COME because it acknowledges that introverts come in a veritable crayon box of colors and flavors. It's also a fun thought experiment and as a psychology major, I'm big on those. Pan doesn't say that this is what SHOULD be done or preach from her soapbox, she just decides to live her life as if she were a bit more extroverted and see where it takes her.

This is the introvert book I think I relate to most strongly. I used to have really bad social anxiety/social phobia but now a lot of people tell me that they think I'm an extrovert and they're always surprised when I say that I'm not. Throughout my life I've been exposed to situations that required me to step out of my comfort zone and while I didn't make a systemic project out of it the way Pan did, these experiences also changed my perspective and shaped me as a person, sometimes in big and sometimes in small ways. I hesitate to label this as a self-help book because it isn't really trying to fix anything or provide a solution to something, and she says as much; SORRY I'M LATE is more of a guide to enriching your social interactions by either big or small choices, which I like.

I'm giving it a three because the second half of the book loses steam. I wasn't all that interested in the travel sections or the parts about her stand-up/improv sessions. Others might be if they're more into that, but I think Pan is better about writing about her emotions and inner-thoughts than she is about travel and events. It did make me think, though, and I quoted a lot of passages in my status updates on Goodreads that I really liked. If you're an introvert looking to read a book about introversion, I think I'd pass right over QUIET and go to this one instead.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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