Some things never change. Apparently, being an introvert is one of them. It’s comforting to think that hundreds of years ago there were still people who felt extreme discomfort at talking to others or being made to be pleasant and outgoing.
Jane Austen was a genius of her time and understood introverted, bookish, cynical people like only a seventh child can. Her salty wit is sprinkled all over the pages of her novels. Here are five quotes that definitively prove Jane Austen understood the plight of the introvert.
“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.“
Let’s start with what we may call the battle cry (read battle quiet side remark) of the introverted. Some of us work very hard to make the home exactly the way we like it. Why bother leaving it? To depart through its front doors is a sure step into discomfort. Grab a snuggie, a cup of your choice beverage, a book, put a binge-able background show on, and lock the door. Bonus points if you have a whimsical view out your window or some type of pet that will encourage your habits.
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?“
Making sport of the neighbors is classic fun because it can be done either from the comfort of your own home or as a means of coping with social engagements. Have you given your own name to all of your neighbors’ pets? Do you know your neighbors’ habits but not their personalities? Do you know secretly revel in the juicy details of their misfortunes or blunders? You may be an introvert… or a legitimate evil person… but let’s go with introvert!
“There is safety in reserve, but no attraction. One cannot love a reserved person.“
Ok, this is kind of a sucker punch because of the other quotes being just fun and fru-fru. But, this is a classic example that Austen knows not just the joys but also the pains of the introversion lifestyle. For many, introversion is a reaction to all of the evil, scary, and painful things that exist out there in the world. There is safety in not putting ourselves out there, but with that safety comes a distance from those who might otherwise love us.
“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”
On the other hand, here is a perfect example supporting the conviction of social reservation. What if we do meet someone, and they’re actually not awful? Think of all the trouble and work friendship is. Think of all the effort, the time… If people are just awful like we might imagine them to be then everything still works just the way it ought to.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
This is a great one to end on because… do we really need to explain anything?