The world is increasingly recognizing the introvert's way of operating in life.

The World Is Starting to See—and Cater to—the Introvert’s Way

When you’re an introvert, you get used to the world catering mostly to extroverts. Slowly but surely, though, the introvert’s way is coming into focus—and recognition.

One of the best (and worst) ideas I’ve ever had is to open a public golf course where everyone would be able—required, actually—to play alone, spread 15 minutes apart from each other and under absolutely no pressure to hurry.

I would call it Golf on Lonely Fairways (or GOLF—get it?), and it would be the introvert’s very own 
exclusive country club.

Some of my fondest memories growing up on the golf course are of the many times I found myself playing, alone and barefoot, at 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening, with the sun setting behind the trees and water hazards—both of which I knew well!—as I strode the fairways in utter peace.

(OK, yes, I just as frequently strode in the deep rough, too. But that’s beside the point.)

I relished the feeling of the dampening grass underneath my feet, especially on the closely cropped greens.

And I didn’t have to worry about talking to other people, or having someone ask if they could join me, or catching up to some big group and asking them if I could play through (i.e., go ahead of them and be on my way).

I could just be me.


It’s still possible to play golf alone today, in my city at least. But you have to either be extremely lucky or, more likely, choose to play on a day when no one else in their right mind wants to or tries to.

That’s why I still think that Golf on Lonely Fairways would have considerable appeal.

Unfortunately, though, it would also have an inherently fatal financial viability problem.

It’s difficult enough to keep golf courses going when they’re sending out foursomes or even fivesomes every eight minutes, all day every day.

One golfer at a time every 15 minutes?

The place wouldn’t last a month.

So … Golf on Lonely Fairways will have to remain a mere dream.

The Introvert’s Way Becomes Visible

Lately, though, I’ve been heartened to see that other people, in various contexts, have succeeded in finding sustainable ways to connect with and cater to introverts.

Last year, for example, when my wife Adrianne and I accompanied our son Théo on his various college visits, we heard some version of the following on at least three of the guided tours:

Our library is set up so that every other floor is a “quiet floor.” If you want to work in a group and be able to talk to people, you work on an odd-numbered floor. But if you want to work alone, quietly, you work on an even-numbered floor.

As one of the tour guides put it:

“If you work in a group and talk on a quiet floor, you’ll get death stares.”


Workouts Without Words

On another front, Adrianne and I have been doing our daily workouts lately under the video guidance of an Irish fitness trainer named Caroline Girvan.

The workouts themselves are tough but fair, just the way we like them.

But you know what’s best about them?

Caroline does them the introvert’s way.

Which is to say that she doesn’t talk—at all—once they are underway.

She just takes a minute at the beginning of each video to highlight what’s coming. Then she does the workout herself. All you have to do is copy her as invigorating music plays in the background.

Genius again.

But it doesn’t stop there.

A River Refuge for the Introvert’s Way

The other day I read an article about an Estonian writer named Valdur Mikita who recently opened what he calls the world’s first introvert’s reserve. It’s a peaceful spot by the river Õhne in his childhood village of Suislepa, and using it is free.

There’s only one rule, and once again it centers on the introvert’s way …

To wit: Events at the introvert reserve can have only one participant!

And Mikita doesn’t have a pesky viability problem to worry about.

If too many people start visiting the reserve, he says, he’ll just re-establish it.

Someplace else.

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