Respect my introversion, please!

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One of the facts that surprised me when I read ‘Revenge of the introvert’ [Psychology Today] is that ‘there is no precise dividing line’ between introverts and extraverts. Unfortunately because of bias we believe there are more extraverts than introverts, as extraverts tend to be ‘noisier and hog the spotlight’.
It is also due to the far too common assumption that shyness is the same thing as introversion; and shyness and introversion is unfortunately seen as unwanted traits.

I honestly didn’t expect much from this article [Revenge of the introvert] as we, at least introverts, know what it means to be introverted and extraverted — and that we are not shy!

What I found different about it is how strongly it focused on how introverts should not have to change to please everyone else (mainly extraverts of course) around them. It might seem that we are trying to make extraverts to change, but we are not. We are only asking them to understand and accept that we are different. We process information differently and we are not as “out there” as they are.

Telling an introvert to stop being an introvert is like telling and extravert to stop being an extravert; or like telling a man being less of a man or a woman to be less of a woman. Introversion and extraversion are a personality trait. It is something that is hardwired in our brains and part of our personality — it makes us who we are and who we have become. Is that really something we should ask of people, if they can stop being who they are?

If only extraverts understood that people will always be different. Unfortunately this is why people, mostly introverts, will make the unfortunate presumption that extraverts lack empathy for others and that they are selfish.
And if only extraverts could see that they are creating this vicious circle that practically divides everyone and makes a big deal out of people being introverted or extraverted.

It seems though that introversion is becoming more accepted and understood. The more we can educate people about it the less we need to go on about it. And the quicker we can get on with our lives and start working together, instead of working against each other.

All we want is to be treated with respect. Is that really that too much to ask?

The tips and information below is quoted in verbatim from ‘Revenge of the introvert’ [Psychology Today].

  • “‘Why don’t you like parties? Don’t you like people?’ is a common remark introverts hear,” says Marti Laney, a psychologist and the author of The Introvert Advantage. “Usually we like people fine,” she insists. “We just like them in small doses.” Cocktail parties can be deadly. “We’re social but it’s a different type of socializing.”
  • “Surprise, we’ve decided to bring the family and stay with you for the weekend.” Anyone anywhere on the -vert spectrum could find such a declaration objectionable, but it’s more likely to bring an introvert to a boil, according to Nancy Ancowitz. Introverts count on their downtime to rejuvenate their resources; an extended presence in their homes robs them of that respite.
  • Don’t demand immediate feedback from an introvert. “Extraverts think we have answers but just aren’t giving them,” Laney says. “They don’t understand we need time to formulate them” and often won’t talk until a thought is suitably polished.
  • Don’t ask introverts why they’re not contributing in meetings. If you’re holding a brainstorming session, let the introvert prepare, or encourage him to follow up with his contributions afterward.
  • Don’t interrupt if an introvert does get to talking. Listen closely. “Being overlooked is a really big issue for introverts,” Laney says. Introverts are unlikely to repeat themselves; they will not risk making the same mistake twice.
  • Above all, “we hate people telling us how we can be more extraverted, as if that’s the desired state,” says Beth Buelow, a life and leadership coach for introverts. Many introverts are happy with the way they are. And if you’re not, that’s your problem.—Matthew Hutson

About the author: Dr. W (not that kind of doctor) has always stood up for who he is, but it was just a few years ago he found out that he fits the introvert personality trait (INTJ). He has always loved writing, which is why he eventually ended up as a blogger (randomoid.com). At the moment he is very influenced by gonzo journalism and new journalism. Most of what he writes is based on his own experiences; and he prefers to season his stories with facts, rather than assumptions.

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17 Comments

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  2. Dr. W, thanks for this great guest post! Maybe little by little we are all getting educated about the fact that people are different and that it’s insulting to try to force people to be something they’re not!

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  5. As a fellow introvert, I can totally relate the the frustration of being misunderstood by extroverts. They don’t seem to understand that solitude is necessary for introverts to re-charge their energy. A great way to get the point across is to ask an extrovert how they would feel if they were totally isolated from other people for a long period of time. That’s exactly how introverts feel when they are surrounded by people constantly.

    Too little attention is given to the benefits introverts provide to society. Thanks to Jung and others who have researched this area, things are getting better. I just heard of a company in Denmark that actively recruits people with Aspergers syndrome because they are excellent at testing software; they can focus for long periods of time and work happily in solitude. It’s nice to see a company that recognizes the value of introversion.

    Great post!
    Craig@Improve Conversation Skills´s last post ..How introverts can improve conversation skills

  6. Nice topic, Being introvert is not a psychological problem. Many (especially extroverts) laugh at them and feel like they’re not ‘enjoying’ life by going out or going parties.

  7. Some of the bullet points are true and some are not for me. As the article has stated, there isn’t a clear line between being introverted and extroverted. I know I definitely lean more towards the introvert but I do enjoy the occasional cocktail parties because they’re usually more mellow and let me talk to a small group of people without having to raise my voice or assert my personality.

  8. Unfortunately, it is the extraverts that are given more opportunities to advance in this world. We can’t make money if we can’t sell ourselves, we can’t be understood unless we voice out our opinions, we can’t attract anyone unless we make some noise. As much as we ask to be understood and respected. it’s a world made for the extraverts.

  9. Thank you for standing up for us introverts! I often feel that I have to defend or explain my introvert tendencies. Some people don’t understand why I don’t usually like to have long phone conversations and that I need time away from everyone.

  10. I too am an introvert, and really related to what you said about being in meetings and people expecting you to contribute (always a stressful time for me).

    As I grow older, it is becoming more of a non-issue as I don’t really care to gain approval from extroverts.

    BTW, extroversion is more valued in western societies but less so in eastern/Asian cultures, where the ratio of introverts is higher.
    Andrew Johnson @ Self Help Products´s last post ..Mind Movies Reviews- How To Ramp Up Your Visualization

  11. Does anyone else find being introverted can be a bit like being left handed 50 years ago? I get so frustrated having to explain my “introvertedness”, especially because I’m not shy at all. Because I’m very outgoing, people have an even harder time understanding why I need regular time alone.
    Sometimes I need to explain why I’m reading a book in a cafe by myself to waiters (because it’s one of my favourite things to do on a Sunday)
    But I love my introverted tendencies.
    The oddest thing is when people think being introverted means being socially awkward- not true. I know many socially awkward extroverts. The difference is they aren’t aware of why they don’t have friends (it’s because they have zero listening skills so everyone gets annoyed by them, apart from a few very very tolerant introverts). They wonder why they’re lonely and can’t keep a relationship but don’t stop to listen for an answer.
    It’s just that introverts tend to have the self awareness to call themselves socially awkward.

  12. Pingback: Introverts: We Are Fine the Way We Are! - Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

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