By: Lucy Tyrell
Being introverted in 2018 is considered taboo, or as Susan Cain describes in her Ted Talk, “not necessarily the right way to go.” Being an extrovert is much “preferred” by society. Extroverts have taken over our classrooms, friend groups, politics, work rooms, and other areas of business and culture. This seizure of command by extroverts and constant stimulation to socialize is akin to the creation of a tenth circle in Dante’s Inferno for introverts. However, introverts, as quiet and secluded as they seem, can be some of the most powerful people in our world today. Whereas the rest of the world rushes around with their constant noise and need for attention and stimuli, introverts usually develop ideas and are most successful in quiet, more mellow, and calm environments.
Introverts aren’t a minority of the population; they make up almost two-thirds of the world. People don’t realize this fact because we feel the need to disguise ourselves. They think that they need to be extroverts. But, if introverts keep trying to be someone they aren’t, the world not only loses out on their personalities, but also on their abilities to create progress. Industries, businesses, and the government will not improve if introverts continue to hide ourselves.
By nature, introverts are quiet and don’t like being the center of attention. But introverts are exceptional planners and critical thinkers. Introverts think more about their decisions, producing fleshed out ideas and successful leaders.
Rosa Parks, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and Prophet Muhammed are four of the many introverted leaders who have impacted our lives and the world around us. If Bill Gates hadn’t spent most of his time in the quiet of his school computer lab he wouldn’t have come up with the majority of the Microsoft computer software.
Unfortunately, our current school system overlooks the accomplishments of introverts and pushes students to adopt an extroverted personality. Many teachers have added participation grades to their classes to ensure participation in group discussions, forcing introverts to go well beyond their comfort zone for the sake of a letter grade. Not only have grades evolved to favor extroverts, but also the classroom itself has been changed for the comfort of extroverts. The desks are usually in groups of 3 or 4, instead of rows, and teachers force group work even in classes like math, where students should work on their own.
However, the blatant favoritism towards extroverts isn’t just displayed in school; it is shown in workplaces and social groups. In the workplace, most cubicles are out in the open, surrounded by a noisy atmosphere. People are constantly walking by, talking on the phone, or discussing ideas with their colleagues. Most people, regardless of their personality, cannot focus with all these distractions, so imagine how hard it would be for an introvert. In friend groups introverts tend to be quieter and less inclined to talk because they want others to be heard before them. Introverts don’t want to impose their ideas on others because it may keep someone else from being heard, yet many misinterpret their silence.
Instead of jumping to conclusions, engage introverts in conversation, and, although extroverted individuals will probably talk for the majority of the time, don’t interrupt introverts when they are talking. This shows them that other people are interested in what they are saying.
I am not saying that group work, and introvert-extrovert interactions should be left out entirely. Instead, speaking and interacting shouldn’t be as enforced as it is, for the consideration of introverts. Also, people need to realize that introverts aren’t antisocial; they can be fun to talk to and can engage in a conversation. Introverts often have some of the best ideas, longest attention spans and best grades, but they don’t need all the attention and noise to stay engaged in a certain task or conversation. So to make them feel more comfortable, don’t push interaction with people, whether for a grade, social acceptance, or promotions.