The narrative on introverts has been pretty much the same since the dawn of the phrase. They’re quiet. Lonely. Not outgoing. Often “too nice,” they don’t speak up for themselves. They don’t like people, and a host of other fallacies.
Aside from the world being primarily driven by extroverts for a host of different reasons, introverts’ values are highly looked over. It has something to do with the nature of introverts themselves, but this doesn’t change the fact that the world has an unfair bias toward introverts.
As someone who’s been on both sides of the spectrum depending on the day and time, hopefully I can bring a fresh perspective.
Introverts are Too (Insert Derogatory Misnomer Here)
Oftentimes, the narrative around introverts is negative and meant to break down introverts for their supposed weaknesses rather than their strengths. This leads to a single story, which is a dangerous zone to be in. Soon enough, the only times we hear “introvert” are in a negative light.
Unfortunately, this creates a highly distorted perception of reality and what introverts are actually like. Why focus on the introvert’s tendency to remain quiet when introverts are known for being deep thinkers? Oftentimes their aversion to speak just means that they are deep in thought. It’s not an aversion to people or social interaction.
Imagine if we demonized extroverts for some of their perceived negative qualities? Imagine if we only saw them in the light of arrogance and brashness, of being attention-hogging narcissists? Everyone would be in outrage, presumably, the extroverts themselves. But somehow it becomes okay to shame introverts because they are less likely to retaliate about it.
Difference in Perspective
It’s not a matter of extroverts and introverts being fundamentally different people, it’s more that they do different things to achieve the same results. Extroverts are known for gaining their energy by interacting with others in a social setting. In other words, they gain a lot of satisfaction and social utility in being with and around their peers. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But there’s also nothing wrong with gaining the same level of satisfaction from being in a small group of people or even alone. That gives introverts the time to think and process. By this they fill the same well that extroverts are looking to fill, but in fundamentally different ways.
So, both introverts and extroverts are looking to satisfy something within themselves, they just have different ways of doing this, but neither is necessarily better.
Now, no one is totally extroverted or introverted, everyone has different qualities that land on different points of the spectrum. Most people are probably ambiverts, which means they have a balance of introvert and extrovert characteristics.
It was refreshing for me to learn about ambiverts because sometimes it feels as if the other two box one in to a prescribed way of acting. But that’s hardly true.
For most of my childhood and during high school, I identified more with introversion. I loved to read, write, and spend time with my close circle of friends. I never went to parties, but I never felt the desire to. I never felt like I was missing out on anything.
After high school, I went through a period of extroversion where I valued social interaction and being bold as the best way to live. By being extroverted, I was filling my desire to interact with others. Now, I’m somewhere in between the two. I still love talking to people and meeting new people, but sometimes I’m not always up for it. Sometimes, I’d rather be at home reading, or spending time with myself so I can be more secure of a person. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Be Who You Are
What’s important to learn from this is that every individual—introvert, extrovert, ambivert—is different. No matter your social disposition, you shouldn’t be thought of as lesser or placed in a box due to that.
Everyone requires different things to feel fulfilled and they should be allowed to pursue that as long as it’s not harming others. If you wanna stay home instead of go to the party, stay home. If you want to go meet twenty new people, then go! Either way, don’t throw shade at the other side.