I'm An Introvert And It's Not A Bad Thing At All - Everyone Has Been Getting It Wrong.
Updated: Jun 5
by Jasmine Surif Buligis. |
In the 21st century, the widespread belief is that in order to succeed, you must constantly put yourself out to the crowds and be a social animal. In other words, the common misconception is that you must be an extroverted person, ready to mingle and speak out anytime and anywhere. To clarify, if you're an extrovert — congratulations! Your social abilities will help you go far in life; but simultaneously, it doesn't undermine the abilities of a supposedly ‘shy and quiet’ introvert like myself, and here's why.
Defining an introvert
Introverts are typically classified as ‘shy’ and ‘reserved’, which can be true, but not always. Generally, introverts are people that feel energised and enriched from their time alone, which enables them to charge their ‘social battery’ so that they can better interact with the world around them. Therefore, just because someone is introverted, it doesn't mean that they are simply unable to socialise or that they are bad communicators. It just means that they have limits, and when they feel socially ‘drained’ and require a bit of time alone to recharge.
We pay attention to detail and are always thinking
Unsurprisingly, introverts are good listeners due to their quiet and observant nature. Consequently, we tend to take note of all the minuscule details that seem irrelevant upon first introduction, but may come in handy later in life. At work, this serves useful as our ability to focus on the input given by others allows us to be cautious and thoughtful about what has been mentioned, therefore able to make better decisions after thinking critically and thus making us assets to our organisations. However, our silence during group discussions is commonly mistaken for blank, idle minds, which is far from being the case. Introverts are actually able to immerse themselves in the ideas that are being put forward and actively analyse their situation in silence. This contrasts against a typical extrovert’s outspoken behaviour, where they announce the first thing that comes to mind.
An introvert’s careful deliberation over a certain topic combined with their attention to detail is what produces fruitful and foolproof answers to solutions. Additionally, our conscientious thoughts make us better communicators, as we choose our words very carefully to ensure that our words have an impact. Although some of us may be timid when conveying our ideas; eventually, those ideas will come forward, whether it is through group discussions, one-on-one conversations with a trusted colleague, or through writing.
We’re inventive and innovative
Who says that only extroverted people can succeed? Among the long list of thriving inspirations that preceded us include Albert Einstein, Mark Zuckerberg, and J.K. Rowling. All of these people have supplied information and input into the world that have been integral to the progress of the world and the development of their nation. These people have a reputation for being introverted and reserved and appearing less welcoming towards the people that they’re not too familiar with (appearances are deceiving). Albert Einstein’s standpoint on being introverted is as follows: “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind”, which is certainly backed up by the numerous, groundbreaking physics theories and solutions that he has developed.
Being alone helps us to focus on the things we’re passionate about, whether it be physics, writing novels, or painting; and the best part is that we’re able to carry them out just fine without having people around us, providing more space for self-expression rather than the input of ideas from the wider community. We are better able to think outside the box, as introverts prefer not to conform to society’s ideals and would rather live in their own world. The ability to think outside the box is exactly what the developers of Apple, Microsoft, and Google were capable of, and what is sought after by thousands of employers worldwide. Studies by the Gifted Development Center have also shown that on average, introverted students tend to be smarter and verbally intelligent due to their nature, where 60% of gifted children are introverts. So, it shouldn’t be any surprise if one day your ‘quiet’ colleague turns out to be one of the most successful people in history!
Our circle of friends are reliable
An introvert’s perceptive behaviour also leads them to be very cautious about choosing who they socialise with on a daily basis. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we segregate ourselves from the wild, social animals – but rather, we close off our social circles to people that understand our needs for time alone but are happy to be around us and go do something fun and absurd once in a while. Our selective behaviour when choosing who we choose to interact with enables us to surround ourselves with positive influences and filter out all the toxic friendships that drain our social battery more than is healthy for us. In cases where we’re unable to rely on anybody, we don’t mind being alone rather than depending on someone that doesn’t reciprocate their love and care for us. More often than not, your fellow introvert will be a very affectionate, compassionate, and loyal person, and they will surely be there to support you every step of the way. Our keen ears also make us the perfect people to rant to and we’re ready to become shoulders to cry on. Therefore, it can be concluded that almost all of the bonds formed between introverts and their friends will be genuine and healthy for everyone.
We don’t need other people to feel empowered
The downtime that we have at home, sitting on the couch while watching the television, is enough for us to recharge and feel energised, unlike extroverts who are compelled to surround themselves with people to feel better. As introverts, we have a lot of time to practice self-love and self-appreciation, which is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Spending time alone on our own is the way to do it, because we’re able to become more aware of what we do and what we adore, rather than being told what we should be doing by everyone else. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we don’t gain empowerment from putting ourselves out in public – one of my most introverted friends currently does Drama as a subject, and I kid you not, she is an amazing actress.
That being said, it is also vital to remember that these ‘–vert’ labels are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ categorisation, but a generalisation. Each individual has their own ideas of how outgoing and reserved they want to be. Therefore, it is important to get to know a person and understand how they want to live their social life. However, if you ask me whether I regret growing up as an introvert at all, I would immediately answer: “Never!” As a student, introversion has allowed me to concentrate on my area of study without feeling the obligation to constantly go out and talk to people. I find peace in being alone with a novel, or typing the draft of a short story on my laptop. At the same time, I have high quality friends, and can enjoy occasional partying and fun-filled social events with their company.
Life is amazing as it is as an introvert – so don’t let the labels and stereotypes fool you into believing the misconceptions about the people around you!
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