An Introvert Asks: How has society’s view of introverts changed over the decades?

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An introvert emailed me because she was about to embark on some research.

I’ve been always a proud introvert, although hasn’t been easy in the society we live in, where the extravert type of person is idealized everywhere.

I am about to start a research on how introverts (since this term was introduced by Carl Yung this past century) have been seen by society and how this view has changed over the decades.

I gave her a book suggestion off the top of my head and ventured to guess that in the past, introverts might have enjoyed a bit more respect and acceptance than we currently do in western culture. Now it seems that the people who busy themselves talking and even saying the same things over and over again in meetings are what we view as “leaders” instead of those who have unique ideas and go about quietly pursuing them. I’m definitely not a student of history though, so I wanted to give you all a chance – how do you think society’s view of introverts has changed over time?

Photo credit: soulmate02

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18 Comments

  1. I wish I could remember the name of the book I saw it in. I remember reading that introversion was valued more highly in Western culture prior to the invention of electronic media such as radio and movies.

  2. I think with the advent of new technological advances like social media and internet, extroverts have gained importance whereas introverts have fallen behind.They call extroverts as more social.
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  3. I would hazard to guess that, as society has gotten less genteel and less polite and less reserved and less about good manners (especially in America, outside of certain areas of the South), introverts are seen more and more as relics from a former era that are no longer fit to survive. Sort of like a living species that’s going extinct…
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  5. One thing is for sure: most people in our society will never understand introverts because their usually quiet and kept themselves. So people tend to judge them without really knowing them at all. But its not only america but its the whole world.

  6. There’s no question that being extroverted has become more important/useful in today’s world. So many employment prospects, and especially managerial positions, are determined by psychometric tests that it must be very unnerving for the truly introverted. The whole procedure seems hopelessly skewed in favour of the more outgoing, dominant types of people.

    Nonetheless, I am sure that there are many areas where the different mindset of the introvert surely must be more effective. Research, writing, all skills requiring observational skills – these are generally not a strength of the most extroverted people, who as a stereotype are often less interested in noticing, and more interested in being noticed.
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  7. I think there are research and books that could be able to provide more information on how society view the introverts. I have read that some countries think that introvert are highly misunderstood. Maybe these view changes and more information are already provided by the scientists.
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  8. i think introverts have been changed and developed through time especcially in the 21 centurary where social life reflects and is paramount in many aspects in life. for example jobs and buisnesses are relied on conversations with new people. or even surviving through chlildhood trying to fit in. introverts are having a harder time in my opinion

  9. introvert as a person whose psychic energy is directed inward. While most modern day psychologists do not believe in the existence of “psychic energy” they agree that an introvert is more concerned with and interested in his or her own thoughts than in the external world. Introverts often come off as shy and prefer to spend time on their own or with one or two close friends. The introvert typically feels more energy and can work more productively when alone.
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  10. I get so stressed at Christmas. I think its because my grandmother over plans and over thinks everything. Plus, with me being an introvert, I get really burned out by hearing the same music over and over again! Are there any good tips to dealing with Christmas? Please give me some tips that will be a good and will make me feel better. Thank you.

  11. In the past, people needed community in order to survive. Hermits, recluses, introverts, etc… depended on civilization because it was very hard to make it alone. And those lone wolfs who just didn’t like to be around others, were generally ostracized from the community. (except for Grizzly Adams ;) But, I wouldn’t be suprised if the witches of the past were introverts.

    In today’s society, weirdos of all shapes and sizes are much more accepted. Today, you’re weird if you don’t accept the weirdo. In movies, TV, etc… there’s almost always a role that’s an introvert. And they’re usually interesting characters.

    I think introverts are subtley celebrated in today’s pop culture. and portrayed with respect. Think about all the introvert characters you know… they usually have some special skill that saves the day :)

    imo, today’s internet social networking is a Renaissance for introverts. One can have a worldwide network of friends without ever talking to them. Online forums are the communities of today and no one will ever know you’re an introvert. In fact, the forum post/email that you spent a few hours on, putting your thoughts together, getting it just right, is valued over the usual banter. who knew? Today, you can survive perfectly fine as an introvert.

    I’m so glad I found the introvertzone! thank you !!!
    rejoicing in my solitude,
    robosax

  12. I think that introverted people are viewed as abnormal in western culture. But in eastern cultures such as Japan, introversion is a trait that is valued and even preferred. Because of this, many people feel as though Japan is lagging behind but I would have to disagree. There are way more extroverted societies than introverted ones so let us introverts have our small victories :)

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