When the Cone of Silence is Breached

by Marina M.

The epitome of brilliant conversationalists.

I identify as an ambivert. For clarification, that’s somebody that resides in the middle ground of the extrovert and introvert trait spectrum. At work I’ll put on my extrovert hat. I’ll get out there and be a paragon of personality, a skilled and shrewd searcher, a readers’ advisory advocate. At least in my mind I am. In the truest sense of the results from research done by Adam Grant at Wharton, I routinely find myself adjusting to the social work situations at hand.

But, once I’m off the clock, it’s strictly introvert-hat wearing time. That’s when I limit any face-to-face socialization to my cats and dogs. For the most part. Because sometimes family and friends can coerce me out of my self-imposed cone of silence. Especially if there’s food involved.

What am I trying to say?

Now, you may be thinking, what is the point of this? Am I heading into a further explanation of introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts? Am I going to share the types of conversations I have with my pets? (And, to be honest, those chats consist mostly of me asking them if they’re hungry, if they need to go outside, if they’re ready to come in, or just commenting back on the conversations they start.) Maybe I’m leading up to sharing inside information on creating a literal cone of silence?

It’s not what you thought!

Well, surprise! It’s not any of those. It’s at this point that I want to share some of the other friends I share my introvert time with. My best book friends, or BBFs as I call them for short. These are people–either characters in the book or the authors who wrote the book–that I would typically spend more time with than just one read-through*. It’s actually very rare for me to have read a book more than once. So, these people are pretty special indeed. Here are two of my favorite examples:

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The storyline and characters in any Susan Elizabeth Phillips (or SEP as her fans refer to her) book will fall into a pattern if you’ve read enough of them. And I’ve read almost every one.There will be the two main love interest characters, a miscommunication of some sort, a close family member or friend that is usually ready with inspiring words of wisdom or much-needed insight even if their life is bonkers, and a handful of randomly collected, slightly kooky side characters. In this case, our love interests are down-on-her-luck Blue Bailey and luckiest-man-in-the-world and football superstar Dean Robillard. They meet when Dean stops to offer a ride to Blue as she’s walking down a Colorado highway wearing a beaver suit. If that’s not the best “meet cute” in the history of romance I don’t know what is. And from there it just gets even more fun and interesting. I’ve read this book more than once and I always get a kick out of the evolution of Blue and Dean’s relationship.

The Soul of An Octopus by Sy Montgomery

To be fair, I have only listened to this book once. (*There are exceptions to every rule.) But, it made such an impression on me that when I suggest it, even two years after reading it, I am able to recall specific passages. For me, the main reason this book resonates so much is the high level of enthusiasm, awe, and respect for these unique sea creatures the author has and brings to her narration. It also helps that one of the chapters revolves around an event held at the Seattle Aquarium.


Check out the rest of my list of BBFs. And I’d love to hear who you’d put on your BBF list. Because there’s always room in the cone of silence for one, or two, more bookish friends.

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6 responses to “When the Cone of Silence is Breached”

  1. Heather says:

    Thank you for the thorough explanation of ambivert! I too feel like I fit into the category. I only have one cat to talk to, but she is chatty! My BBF has to be Alice McKinley, star of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice series. I grew up alongside Alice and loved her personality and, being an introvert, lived vicariously through her boy troubles. Needless to say, I was super excited when “Now I’ll Tell You Everything” came out in 2013 and I finally got to find out how Alice’s life progressed into adulthood.

    • Marina M. says:

      Thanks for sharing, Heather! It was maybe in the last few years that I started hearing the word ambivert (it came up often on the BuzzFeed quizzes I seem to be addicted to). I know of the Alice series but I don’t know if I’ve read any of them. I’ll have to check her out.

  2. Lindsey A. says:

    This sounds a lot like me, too, Marina. My dogs are great conversationalists. With their own voices and phrases. I’ll need to think about who my BBFs might be, I just wanted to jump in and say that I love the Cone of Silence.

    • Marina M. says:

      Thanks, Lindsey. I know I can always trust that my dogs will pay attention to me. My cats? They’ve got more important tasks at hand. Like sleeping.

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