Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's an extrovert's world and I'm just living in it.

It's true, isn't it? Extroversion is so often seen as the desirable trait. Introverts have to learn how to overcome their introversion. Even writers are encouraged to overcome introverted tendencies because writing can be more about selling the product than creating the product. Writing! One of the most introverted of endeavors seems to favor those who are unafraid to approach strangers, network, self-promote, make friends easily, and cast aside any natural reticence. Yes, it's an extrovert's world and the rest of us have to scramble to keep up.

I've always viewed my introversion as a disability, something to be conquered or fixed.

Then my adorable hubby forwarded me this link. If you consider yourself an introvert, I urge you to take a look. The link provides some explanation as to why you might behave in certain ways. But, it also offers reassurance.

The part that particularly resonated with me was:

"Myth #10 - Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.

A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, etc. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot "fix themselves" and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of introverts increases with IQ."

Not to say that we shouldn't strive to connect with our fellow humans, but isn't that just the most refreshing thing you've heard in ages? A simple acceptance and celebration of introverts. Yes, we're at a slight societal disadvantage, but there isn't anything wrong with us. It's just another way of being.

What about you? Are you introverted? If so, do you view it as an advantage or a disadvantage? What strategies have you developed to help deal with an increasingly extroverted world?


  1. I'm very, very much an introvert. In fact, I go to great extents to avoid being involved in situations where lots of social interaction is necessary. I try to push myself into *some* uncomfortable (for me) scenarios, but I also allow myself to hide out when I need to. lol It definitely feels like a disadvantage most of the time.

  2. Huh, I think the article linked is waaaay pigeon-holing introverts - there are all sorts of introverts! There are introverts who behave like extroverts in social situations and enjoy small talk and meeting new people greatly, but just need time to themselves to re-charge - and I would consider myself one of those people! Also, I've met introvert adrenaline junkies, introverts who like to be in public places and people-watch, and introverts who aren't creative geniuses.

    I don't think being an "introvert" means that someone is disadvantaged socially either. In fact, I've met some "extroverts" who are less socially aware and therefore don't respond as well to the people around them.

  3. I'm an introvert, definitely--and I don't really see it as a disadvantage. I might not like social situations as much as others, but I still have fun around people and enjoy company.

  4. I think there's probably a spectrum of introversion. Where you're located on it can help indicate how comfortable you are with socialization. But, that's just my theory. :)

  5. I'm such an introvert. Sometimes I have to push myself to do certain things. It can be a disadvantage, but it's part of who I am. I love the link!

  6. I'm an extrovert but I love having introverts in my life. They provide an essential balance and when I need to really be with someone insightful who is a good listener, I find that I turn to those thoughtful introverts.

  7. Yay! Great post! I'm an extrovert with an introvert child. I've read a lot about this issue since realizing this. And no, I'm not trying to "fix" her...not at all...I want her to accept herself and be happy with a social life that feels comfortable to her.

  8. I'm a mix. At big gatherings, it's exhausting to be social. But I'll do it. But I can get in front of students and teach. And it a group situation, I'll often be a leader.

    I feel bad for introverts in this world of platform. It's not easy for everyone. And I feel for the children's book writers who endure school visits when they're introverts.

    But sometimes it's good to get out of our comfort zone.

  9. I"m an introvert unless I'm around people I know and are comfortable. Then I'm an extrovert. Does that make sense?
    Hey thanks for the follow on Twitter! I'm following back too.

  10. Thanks for your feedback, everyone! It's kind of fascinating how many differences there are even between introverts. Theresa, as a teacher I can totally identify with what you wrote. I teach. I often find myself in a position of leadership. It's exhausting, but I think it's also good for me to expand my comfort zone.

    I'm curious. I've known extroverts who seem to get their energy from interacting with other people and others who eventually need to take time for themselves. Would the latter be an example of an introverted extrovert? Hmmm.... More evidence for the spectrum, I guess.

    I suspected a number of my blogger friends might have introverted tendencies. ;)