We live in a society where nowadays, the loudest tends to garner the majority of attention. The most outrageous elicits the greatest number of gawks and gazes (and even “likes”). Our culture has very much become one with a “look at me, look at me” mindset and value system.
In terms of personal temperament, the most outgoing are touted as having the best chance for making friends, landing the job, and seizing all manner of certain opportunities.
The more quiet among us, tending to be put down or thought of as though there is “something wrong” for their being “too shy.” People might label them “strange,” “quiet,” “anti social,” “not like us,” or “not much of a go-getter.” Simply by means of preferring one’s own company, not aching for attention and routinely stealing the spotlight, and actually pausing to consider carefully and think before speaking.
Instead, we turn towards those who shout, figuratively and literally, as opposed to those who are more watchful and considering.
We afford the most mind to whomever posts the most shocking, revealing, attention grabbing or bombastic posts, as opposed to those who are more thoughtful, the information offered having been carefully selected and well articulated.
We watch those in the center of the action, tending to ignore the ones along the sidelines.
We give the attention to whomever is the most scantily clad, their clothing begging for attention, instead of the more modest and mysterious who leave us to wonder and aren’t desperate in their bodily displays.
We tend to shun those who are quiet, shy, deep thinking, analytical, or thoughtful. Writing them off as strange, antisocial, or boring (without taking much time to actually find out), and then often assume those who are loud to be the charismatic, “fun to be with,” charming ones.
Even if in fact, the things this loud person says and does are not especially intelligent, charming, or great. Often enough, we ignore peoples actual words, their sense of character or values, and are instead swayed by the outward displays of noise and energy.
We live in a culture where the bullhorn is seen as top. Quiet is relegated to the lower rung or hardly noticed at all, dismissed to the sidelines, and even shunned.
We inhabit a society in which noise is perpetual and seen as a good thing. Talking and noise ever filling the quiet, even deemed a necessity by some.
The truth is that those who avoid silence and their own company fear introspection, silence, reflection, and ultimately, themselves. They are afraid of what things they might feel, or what they might bump into if alone with themselves for too long.
So instead, we fill space and pause with noise and distraction. A majority of which isn't of especially high quality or deeply nourishing to our mind and hearts.
1/3 to 1/2 of people are introverts. That is a significant number.
Most of us are subject to the bias that this is not a good thing. Can it really be though, that there is something wrong with 1/3 to 1/2 of the population? That seems highly unlikely. In which case, our negative perceptions are unfounded, and even flat out inaccurate.
There is a common misconception that introverts are anti social or that they dislike social interaction. Not so. Not even close.
The true definition and distinction between extroverts and introverts is where they derive their energy from. That is it. It’s merely how they respond to external stimulation.
Extroverts derive their energy from social interaction. This energizes, fills, and excites them.
Introverts derive their energy from being within their own minds, in their own company, or within the company of just one or a couple other people. They feel energized and refreshed by frequent introspection, and being in more low key environments.
This is not the same as shyness. Shyness is about fear of social judgement. Introversion and extroversion are about how you respond to external stimuli. Two completely different things.
We tend to judge extroverts as being better students, when in fact introverts often get better grades and even in some cases, according to research, are actually smarter. Many of our transformative leaders and important people throughout history have been introverts. To name a few: Eleanor Roosevelt, Ghandi, Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Sir Isaac Newton, Steven Spielberg, Abraham Lincoln, J.K. Rowling, and Dr. Seuss. There are many, many more.
All of these people describe themselves as quiet, introspective, introverted, preferring their own company to time spent in highly social environments.
When researchers look at the lives of the most creative people, they find those who are very good at exchanging and advancing ideas also have a serious streak of introversion to them. This is because solitude is often a paramount ingredient to creativity. Numerous poets, authors, inventors, engineers, etc, spend hours and hours in their own company.
With all of this said, there is a sliding scale of introversion and extroversion. Most people tend to be some mixture of both. Though the majority of us do tend towards one side more than the other, we each have moments and tendencies of both introversion and extroversion.
Extroverts and introverts both carry crucial qualities which add towards our cultural landscape in meaningful ways. However, our culture doesn't see it this way, tending towards prizing extroversion, talkativeness, and the most dominant, charismatic person in the room. (Even though there is zero correlation between the loudest person being the smartest).
For some people, solitude and introspection is the air they breathe. It is the life force of their most peaceful moments, life joy, and of much fulfillment.
We need to learn to value people just as equally with a need towards tending to their inner selves (those deep thinkers and solitary oriented beings), just as we do for the extroverts (aka, those life of the party, fun loving, energetic people) in our society.
Both introverts and extroverts have much to offer, within friendships, romantic relationships, the workplace, and as members of our community.
No one is better than the other. We need them both.
Lastly, none of this is to say that there is anything wrong with being charismatic and outgoing. On the contrary, those are fantastic qualities, along with many other highly positive traits which extroverts possess. Instead, it’s saying that the more freedom we give to introverts to be themselves, and that when we stop assuming that being quiet means a dislike of social interaction or taking such to be a social impairment or detriment, that shifting our mindsets in these regards will be better for both extroverts and introverts alike.
It should not automatically be marked as a strangeness or problem if one isn't the loudest in the room. On the contrary. There are so many incredible aspects of introverts, which we miss out on when dismissing them as “weird” and “apart.”
We should instead, pause and shift our perspective to consider those who might be more reserved, standing quietly on the sidelines. We should not readily assume them to be boring, or “strange,” or with less to offer, simply by means of their not shouting from the rooftops and sharing all with any person within earshot.
Maybe instead, consider that those who are quiet have worthwhile gems and thoughts for the accessing, if only one might offer them a focused interest. Consider that the introvert across from you might just be a better listener than all the center-of-attention people you are used to. It is possible that introverts might have quite a bit to say, and are instead waiting quietly for the right people on which to bestow these gifts. Introverts can be just as fun, as well as compelling presences with which to spend time, as extroverts. It might just look differently.
It is time we ceased assuming that one temperament is better than the other. That instead, we look at introverts as being just as interesting, worthwhile, intelligent, and with just as much to offer, as extroverts.