A very thoughtful blog post by Christina Hyun of the Seattle PI. I, too, am happy to be an introvert!
Introverted? Happy about it? I am!
The first time I realized that the label “introvert” carried an inferiority complex with some people was at a work meeting years ago. All of us – brand new employees to the company – were led through an interesting get-to-know-you activity in which the introverts and extroverts were physically separated in a large room. The extroverts cheered and hugged one another as well as anyone new who was sent over to their enthused group by the moderator. And the introverts mostly observed – with wry expressions on their faces that varied from amused to pained. I was in the introvert group and was rather proud to be in that category to be honest. But then…
…I realized several people in our introvert group were NOT proud of their status at all. They were ashamed. They felt inferior to the “party people” cheering on the other side of the room. A couple of the introverts in our group even made comments about the fact that our group was doomed to lose whatever contest or activity was coming up that pitted us against “them.” The loud, expressive, “fun” group would obviously win.
I just stood there and listened to the mutterings, feeling a little sad, a little baffled. I remember wondering, “At what age do people ever get comfortable with themselves?”
As a classic introvert, I have of course experienced embarrassment and failure when forced into extrovert-required situations. I am not cut out that way. But even in spite of those kinds of situations, and the ridiculously self-righteous individuals who have pressured me in the past to “improve” to become someone I am not, I have never, NEVER been ashamed that I am an introvert by nature. I am GLAD to be one as a matter of fact.
Basically, I have learned over the years to just not concern myself if someone has an issue with my introverted nature.
1) I can’t change it at the core.
2) Why should I?
3) It’s really not ME who has the problem when someone apparently believes everyone else should be just like them, comfortable with the same roles, skilled at the same things, and interested in the same activities.
4) I have no interest in forcing extroverts to take pleasure in my introverted activities or to somehow become more introverted in general, just like me. What a total joke to think that you can “improve” someone to become opposite of who they really are, or persuade them to regularly and naturally engage in activities that are absolutely distasteful and draining to their personalities. What nonsense to believe you can introduce them to things they hate and realistically expect them to succeed!
I’ve heard it said that it’s an extroverted world out there. I disagree. Balance is needed. Everyone can have a meaningful, purposeful place without having to totally force self to be something other than who they are naturally. BUT…you have to get really comfortable with self to flick the judgmental morons away. 🙂
If you are an introvert and are ashamed to be, think it through. Everyone can certainly use some skills in things that don’t come naturally, and everyone has some level of obligation to stretch uncomfortably as needed sometimes, whether introverted or extroverted, but there is a limit to going somewhere you don’t belong. Temporary stays are fine, but to be told you have to live there is wrong.
I am glad to be an introvert. I am turned off by people who try to change me or place unrealistic demands on my personality. I will tolerate these folks for a while, but eventually, I feel full liberty to cut them out of my personal circle if they continue to pressure me unreasonably. Believe it or not, but there ARE things I cannot and will not do in life, as interesting and multi-talented as I am. 🙂 And the more someone tries to make me feel bad about who I am, and what I can and cannot do, and what energizes me or depletes me – and here’s the biggie – what I SHOULD or SHOULD NOT do (as if they could even know that FOR me), the more quickly I’ll tell them to shove off.
Hmmm? So what do you think? If you are an unhappy, ashamed introvert out there, feeling all inferior in this supposedly extroverted world and wishing you too were born an extrovert because life would then be easier or more successful and people would just like and accept you