People are getting better at accepting the wide variety of personality types that exist in the world. Compared to when I was a kid/teenager, I have met many more people recently who can get why I am quiet. Or, they can at least accept that introversion is not a personality disorder. That being said, there are still those who do feel that introverts are holding themselves back or that they are shy or that they should try to remove themselves from their “shell”.
What people first need to understand is what extroversion and introversion is. Introversion does not apply only to social situations. Introverts gain energy from being alone, from creating or reading or thinking. Extroverts gain energy from other people and thrive on social situations. Introverts are more sensitive to external stimulation, such as noise, people, or taste. Extroverts, on the other hand, function better in busier situations. They are drained by prolonged silence and not enough external stimulation.
One personality type is not better than the other. In fact, many introverts can find balance by being friends with extroverts, and vice-versa.
Introverts are not shy. When I think of an introvert, I actually think of “Quiet confidence.” There are different types of introverts as well. I am a part of the “Idealist” introvert personality type (Taken from the Myers-Briggs Personality Test) and these people are the dreamers, creators, artists, therapists, and writers of our society. They can do these things because they can function very well at working alone. They prefer to do so. Being inside of their own heads allows them to conceptualize stories, artwork, problems, or ideas easier than the other personality types.
While we may not be the life of a party (Though this can happen on rare occasions as well), we’ll be those people sitting on a couch willing for someone interesting to sit down and entertain us with a philosophical discussion.
Introverts benefit the world in many different ways, just as extroverts can and do.
Is it “all in my head” that I prefer most evenings to myself so that I can write, read, or sketch artwork? No. Is is strange that I prefer to have a close group of friends? Nah. Am I timid? Not a chance. In fact, I will be the first person to tell someone off when they make a racist comment or make light of rape. It’s actually bemusing how often I find myself in such situations, but despite my supposed timidity, I seem to usually be the one who has the strength of character to defend other people. So I do.
Introverts are introverts. It is not something that they can overcome, or something that they are pretending to be because of bad experiences. Introverts simply re-charge and function better when they can get plenty of alone time. They still enjoy going out, spending time with friends, and many of them enjoy loud concerts or night clubs. They really enjoy conversation, and will be exceedingly glad when they meet someone whom they can finally talk to for hours without becoming that drained. The key is being around less people rather than no people.
What introverts need is balance. Most of us do not wish to be alone in the true sense, but we long to be left alone long enough to get our work done. We need meaningful relationships and amazing friends as much as everyone else. We like to have fun and be recognized in a group, but we do not want to be the center of attention in that group. We may go for days without wanting to go anywhere, but then there will be days that we want to get out and see new things. We want to be appreciated for our strengths rather than demotivated for what others could consider to be our weaknesses.
There is a world of difference between antisocial behavior and introversion. In fact, more people should look up the word “antisocial” because it actually refers to sociopaths.
If you’re an introvert, which you probably are if you’re writing and blogging, be proud of that fact. 1/3 of people are introverts, so we are in the minority, but I also kind of like that.
How in the world could we write if we spent most of our free hours of the day talking? Instead, we usually listen to our characters talking in our heads so that we can write them down. How cool is that?
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Or, are you somewhere in between? Have you received flack for not being an extrovert at social functions?