When people use the word introvert, it often carries along a negative connotation. They confuse introverts with being shy or antisocial. But I don’t see that as being the case. While I once considered myself shy, I can no longer attach myself to the label. Plus, I would never say I’m antisocial. For most part, I enjoy being around people and making new friends. I just need to balance those experiences with my need to be alone and recharge.
While extroverts crave high energy environments with people for their stimulation, introverts crave quiet, low-key environments. Although these things aren’t absolute, understanding how someone reacts in these situations tells a lot about a person. The important thing to learn here is neither personality type is better than the other. Our society focuses so much on extroverts: shake hands, assert yourself, speak up, be bubbly. We discard the notion of solitude and reflection. But I think it’s important we find a balance between the two, develop more of yin and yang.
“Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quiet for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.” -Anaïs Nin
If you haven’t yet read Susan Cain’s book Quiet, I highly recommend picking up a copy. Cain offers a thought-provoking discussion on both personality types. She sheds a lot of light on the great introvert vs. extrovert debate. Her book helped me better understand my introverted nature as well as my relationships with extroverts. I’ve learned to embrace my introverted nature. I understand why I react the way I do to situations. I also understand how that reaction impacts my personal life, my job and my goals in life. The knowledge and understanding has made my life a lot easier. I can leverage my strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses.