Why being an introvert isn’t a bad thing
In society there are many labels that people put on themselves which describe aspects of who they are. Such examples may be being rich or poor, or being tall or short – but an interesting one looks at a person’s personality and says whether they are an introvert or an extrovert. These are two common terms used by people, but I don’t think they are necessarily mutually exclusive.
I’m sure these labels are commonly spoken about in life, whether it’s a passing comment from a friend or a work colleague regarding a person’s personality, or a more in-depth look at who they are and questions about why they behave in a certain way by a family member, or even from themselves. In my experience, being an introvert is a way of saying that a person is quiet. Being an introvert can be used to describe lots of varieties of being quiet, and it is the opposite of being an extrovert which describes someone who is outgoing and socially confident – but is it really such a bad thing to be different? Of course not.
It could be said that there are positives and negatives for most of a person’s characteristics, but being an introvert is often viewed as being more of a negative. Maybe it’s because being quiet doesn’t allow other people to know what that person is thinking or feeling. However, as I’m sure we all know by now, the loudest and most confident person in a room may be the one who is masking their real feelings of sadness and loneliness. You can never really tell what a person is thinking unless they tell you, truthfully.
These labels may be the ‘default’ labels of choice for two distinct personality traits, but I don’t think one is good and one is bad. An introvert may be someone who stands back and takes everything in – maybe they are ‘reading the room’ rather than going straight in. Or maybe they like hearing about other people’s thoughts and opinions, but will eventually talk about their own as well. Can you also not portray extrovert characteristics in certain situations? You may display introvert qualities, but in the right situation you may love to talk to people, and enjoy socialising. Extroverts may not like spending too much time on their own, while introverts might, and usually we all have to spend at least some time on our own. Confidence could be the main factor behind why being an introvert is viewed more on the negative side as confidence and self-esteem are linked, but again someone could have these qualities and not show them all the time – there is a term ‘quietly confident’ after all!
Labels are not always a good thing to use on people, but they do allow for a spotlight to shine on certain things which can allow people to think about what they discover. People may be totally happy being an introvert or an extrovert, or the varieties in-between, but they may also want to aim to be slightly more of the opposite. It can provide a goal, perhaps, to change a little bit because it could lead to more things, such as socialising more at parties and getting to know more people. But it’s also completely fine to not. At the end of the day, we have to be happy in what we do in our lives and how we behave. If you want to change something in your life, then go for it, but it’s also great to be happy with who you are, no matter what other people may think.
Sarah Keeping MBPsS MSc PgDip GDip BA (Hons) Cert HE
Follow Sarah on twitter at @keepingapproach