In her book “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking“, Susan Cain illustrates how today’s world has created an Extrovert culture; the ideal is to be sociable, loud, bold, and it is so because it resonates with how most of our interactions are nowadays. We are bold and loud all day on our social media; the corporate environment favors the “golden boy/girl”, who wins over investments with daring ideas and a charming personality.
But what about the other side of the spectrum? What about introverts? The people who choose a quiet evening at home instead of a large social gathering can obviously be equally capable, strong and successful. So, what does it mean to be an introvert? It’s not the stereotypical notion of the shut-in, that is for sure.
Below are 14 things about being an introvert that can help you understand what it means to be one (or you can experience a moment of recognition if you are, like the writer of this article, an introvert herself):
1. An introverted person can function better when working alone, than when working in a team. It’s not about being a “team player”, it’s about what can help them produce the best possible result. And working in a team, well…it’s is distracting.
2. Being quiet does not mean “having nothing to say”. It means that one simply enjoys being quiet. As an introvert, I find some of my most satisfying moments when I am in a gathering and observe people talk, without saying something myself. Why don’t you speak? Because I am perfectly content absorbing the stimuli of my surroundings without producing any of my own.
3. Going out in a coffee shop with your book, work, or music, and enjoying that perfect little state between sociability, but without interaction, is very, very satisfying.
4. Introverts choose who they connect with very carefully. And when that connection has been made, it runs deep. Some people can be all depth, instead of breadth. And that is perfectly okay.
5. Rainy days at home are blessings. Period.
6. A trip alone to a foreign country or another city is not scary. It’s an adventure, and not having anyone meddling with your planning is pretty liberating. The lone wolf does survive (if you got my reference, you are awesome).
7. You can never comprehend how some people can spend the entirety of their day together, even fresh lovers in their honeymoon phase. Space is healthy. Silence is necessary.
8. Time alone means time for introspection. While many people avoid looking at their problems, letting them fester and become toxic for them, an introvert can take the time to listen to themselves and perhaps find solutions.
9. Being the observer in a group can actually be very beneficial. It gives one more chances of operating in a behind-the-scenes way.
10. Similarly, the observation of people can lead to better understanding them, which can make an introvert a very likeable person. Everyone wants an understanding confident who lets them speak out for a change, in a world where everyone has an opinion that can, unfortunately, be pushed on to you.
11. Spending less time socializing means coming up with so many more things to occupy your time! There is always a book to read, or a movie to watch, or a language to learn, or some volunteer work you can do, and so on. An introvert can see adventure in the most ordinary settings.
12. That moment when you finally come home after a large party is like the first breath of air in a long time, and a great relief.
13. It can be funny, interesting, and a little bit sad when people get surprised that you have so many interests and hobbies. “Oh my god, I had no idea you did so much!” I mean, it’s not like I sit and stare at my ceiling when I am not with people. But your surprise entertains me.
14. Socializing can be draining, but an introvert can love spending time with an extrovert. Opposites do attract, and one fulfills the other. There are things an introvert cannot do without an extrovert, and vice versa.
To sum up, being an introvert is a great thing. Being an extrovert is also a great thing. The greatness lies within the fact that we hopefully live in a world where people can just be themselves. Being clever and successful is not about learning to separate the more capable (read: sociable) ones from the less capable ones. It’s about fully utilizing every resource, and more often than not, an introvert might just be the ace up society’s sleeve.
Embrace introverts, whether it is the one hiding inside you or someone in your social circle. You won’t miss out.