Lifestyle

Life as an introvert

Traits, debunking stereotypes and living in the world as an introvert

The world is designed for extroverted people. Crowded places, strangers that want to have small talk while waiting at a bus stop and countless public speaking presentations at all levels of education are just a few examples. 

That’s why the outspoken and socially assured receive praise for social qualities that, although are great to have, don’t come as easily to introverts. 

These daily environments often make introverts feel anxious, giving them the urge to dodge talkative cashiers, cold calls and social gatherings. 

It is not better to be an introvert or an extrovert, they’re simply different. One major difference is that introverts often feel excluded from the social corners surrounding them, even though introverts make up about 25 to 40 per cent of the population.

The concept of the introvert came from Carl Jung and is known as a major personality type. Oxford Languages defines an introvert as “a shy, reticent person.” Although a quiet nature is a common trait in introverts, the definition does not do justice to what an introvert is and their capabilities. 

An introvert’s actions, feelings and thought processes can vary. One introvert will never mirror another in the exact same way. However, there are some basic behaviours that a majority of introverts may relate to.

An introvert thrives in activities that can be done during their alone time, like reading, watching shows or journaling. They have a close-knit group of friends since people may find it difficult to get to know them. Introverts usually gravitate to jobs that are secluded, meaning they are uncomfortable with customer service positions that involve frequent interaction with strangers.

Due to stereotypes about introversion, timidity and social anxiety are shoved into the same melting pot. But the reality is that while an introvert is a silent observer, they can still have friends and the capacity to be outgoing, courageous and sociable. 

Shyness is a feeling that comes from fear of a negative event, but an introvert is different because they have weaker social batteries. Introverts get easily over-stimulated by social events and need alone time to recharge. 

Another common stereotype is that an introvert cannot be a leader. However, according to an article by Bustle, introverts can actually thrive in leadership roles because of their natural desire to observe and listen to their employees. 

The misconception that introverts are bad communicators fuels this stereotype; however, an introvert’s patient nature will allow them to take the time to give proper direction and feedback to those who need help. Introverts are also likely to use their alone time to brainstorm ways they can help staff to work as a cohesive unit. 

Since introverts are naturally over-stimulated beings who can sometimes be perceived as rude, they need some added support from their small social circle. Introvert, Dear suggests supporting an introverted friend by encouraging them to speak about their opinions while also allowing them to be quiet in social settings, giving them plenty of notice before spending time together and being understanding when they leave a social event early. 

Dopamine is released in the brain during social interaction, but introverts seek happiness in different ways. 

An introvert can find contentment with themselves by acknowledging their strengths. This can be woven into their daily lives. For example, if an introvert’s strength includes being a good listener and giving good feedback, they can utilize this when giving advice to a friend.

The fact that some people feel the need to ask themselves if it’s OK to be who they are means that everyone is different, despite society attempting to place everyone in a confined box. Some introverted people have extroverted qualities and vice versa. People should be careful about stereotypes because although introverts are particular about who they socialize with and how they do their work, all personalities can be flexible.  

About the author

Reporter at Youth Mind

Grace Nelson-Gunness is a reporter for Youth Mind. She enjoys watching Criminal Minds or reading a suspenseful horror-thriller novel while drinking a vanilla latte.

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