"You're not shy, you're just quietly confident"

That's what Pauline Dunne's mother told her to say when she was growing up and people would ask her the inevitable: "Why are you so shy?"

 Another way of describing someone who is ‘quietly confident’ is as an ‘introvert’.  Which, it turns out, Pauline is. This realisation explained a lot. The school reports, the constant requests to speak up, her complete lack of ease with small talk.   

Like others, she’d gone around for years thinking there was something wrong with her. So when she found out that being an introvert is perfectly normal and, actually, something you’re born as, she couldn't stay quiet anymore. She had to do her part in clearing the names of introverts everywhere. Or, at least the ones in Ireland.

So, she decided to make a radio documentary about it.  

In the documentary, Pauline found out that the experts define being an introvert as 'not being an extrovert'. But defining someone by what they lack doesn't seem fair, so this documentary also highlights the many things that introverts can bring to the table, when given the right opportunity.

She also discovered that introverts in America have an advanced campaign in schools to make sure introvert children get the same chances as everyone else.  In fact, they say, one of the characteristics of being an introvert, not answering immediately but thinking something out carefully, can be of benefit to a whole class.

Making the documentary, Pauline tells her own life story as an introvert.  She also spoke to other people who consider themselves introverts, many of whom have chosen less-than-typical lifestyles considering their personality-type:  For example, Sam Coll is an author - ideal introvert work - but he also works as an actor.   Mark Walsh, has a career in the kind of job you would rarely associate with someone who'd rather not hog the limelight: public relations.

While being proud of her introversion, in the documentary, Pauline also decides to try something that may appeal more to the extroverts among us, and which she dreads:  public-speaking.  She joined her local Toastmasters Club and agreed to learn how to make a speech. The speech was about the joys and miseries of being an introvert and was entitled, "The Little Mouse in the Corner". 

She had no problem writing the speech; all she had to do was stand up and deliver it to a room full of people.

 How did she get on?  

Find out in, The Documentary On One: The Little Mouse in the Corner

First broadcast on December 2nd, 2017, 2 pm on RTE Radio 1

Produced by Pauline Dunne and Ronan Kelly

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One, the home of Irish radio documentary.