Introverts: Strength In (a lack of) Numbers
Sometimes, you just don’t feel very much like socializing … but what if that happens more often than not. Are you sick? Are you inhuman? No – you may simply be an introvert. As another Ode blogger once discussed, just because you enjoy being alone doesn’t mean you are lonely. Many introverts are often quite good as socializing, they just choose not to. As Wikipedia so intelligently states, “Introversion does not describe social discomfort but rather social preference. An introvert may not be shy at all but may merely prefer non social or less social activities.”
Pick up your average thesaurus and find the word “introvert”. Accompanying it, you may see “brooder, egotist, loner, narcissist, self-observer” or “wallflower”. Though I am sure some introverts fall into a few of these categories, I’d have to say the most accurate synonym is “self-observer.” In fact, I dare say the world is lacking in introverts.
The worlds of entertainment and technology have driven us to dim our mind, sitting still in stupefying amusement. When do we have time to think, to ponder, to let your minds expand in infinite directions? Like the concept of yin and yang, there is an opposite of introverts: extroverts. We can not have one without the other, but a lack of balance has developed. I asked my fellow introverts on Twitter what they think of all this:
“We need both; I'd just say it's important to remember introverts aren't necessarily shy. We just need down time’.” - @thewordisberry “As an introvert, I think we crave social contact just as much as extroverts - but we want it to come to us organically, meaning: we want the other person to NEED to reach out, to genuinely feel the connection with us. Then, it's valid & strong.” - @LateShow16
While some may still chastise those that don’t enjoy the club or bar scene (like myself), introverts are starting to get more attention and praise (which, of course, we are humbly amused by). Instead of jabs and jokes, books are written to help introverts embrace themselves while living productive lives in our overtly social world:
+ The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extroverted World by Marti Olsen Laney Psy.D. + Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength by Laurie Helgoe Ph.D. + The Happy Introvert: A Wild and Crazy Guide for Celebrating Your True Self by Elizabeth Wagele + The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler + Confessions of an Introvert: The Shy Girl's Guide to Career, Networking and Getting the Most Out of Life by Meghan Wier + Oh, the Humanity!: A Gentle Guide to Social Interaction for the Feeble Young Introvert by Jason Roeder
The Atlantic published a wonderful piece titled, Caring for Your Introvert; Psychology Today has an entire section of its website and a blog devoted to introverts. Websites like Introvert Zone and Living Introverted share practical tips and perspective.
An introverted personality need not fight its true nature – we can live and thrive as we are. I honestly believe that, at one point, there were more introverts than extroverts. Maybe technology and the crazy internet world has led to more extroverts than introverts … or are they introverts posing as extroverts through the guise of the World Wide Web? Can one soul be both introvert and extrovert, adjusting their personality for the situation at hand? The mysterious line between introvert and extrovert continues to exist in a haze.