The Curse of Closeted Introversion: “You’re not an introvert! You’re so happy and friendly!”

Let me take this moment to address the word “introvert”. We cringe at it because we’ve learned that it’s not something anyone wants to be called and certainly not a characteristic any company would admire, according to common belief. It’s gotten such a bad rep in today’s world because opportunities are reaching out and grabbing at people that have the “loudest and proudest” personalities, leaving the people with the same intellectual capacities but a less dominant demeanor to wait for the next round of opportunities, fully aware of the kind of discouraging environment they face. I mean, who wants the quiet guy or girl, right?

Actually, wrong. Very wrong. See, the belief that an introvert would not be as successful as an extrovert is completely outlandish because the terms “extrovert” and “introvert” simply classify one’s interactions with their self and their environment, completely and totally separate from intelligence, ability to cooperate with others, and one’s personal initiative. These labels aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I know people label everything and everyone they interact with and that is how they classify and remember their surroundings, but how do you think I feel when others respond to me that “there’s no way I’m an introvert” because I’m friendly? When did anyone say an introvert can’t be friendly? It’s hard enough having to label myself, let alone try to explain it to another individual in a comprehensible way that, just because I can be loud, charming, and humorous, I know myself better than anyone else and that if I’m not an introvert, I lie close enough.

Deep down, I know I am an ambivert, but that term is such a foreign concept that holds all kinds of shades of grey, and it’s all about black or white with labels. Ambivert doesn’t classify in anyone’s folder, and the monotony of explaining being an “ambivert” deters me from using the term all together.

Introvert, ambivert, or extrovert, we all still have our own skills. We’re all talented, and a lot of us do need to care about society’s perception of us to some degree because of our future involvement in the workforce relies on it. Let’s try to redefine what is believed about introverts so they are given an equal shot at changing the world as everyone else. Introverts aren’t broken isolationists that can’t handle anything. We’re strong on the inside as much as we are on the outside. Our abilities should not be define by our tactics of socialization but by the character that we possess and the work we put forth to bring forward the talents we cultivate.

What are your thoughts?

6 responses to “The Curse of Closeted Introversion: “You’re not an introvert! You’re so happy and friendly!”

  1. I was just researching this a few months ago in conjunction with my work. I took a course that described the Myers-Briggs personality evaluation, and I was so intrigued that I found a free online test and took it. Then my husband took the same test. There are all these other traits/labels as well, but it does tell you (according to their test, obviously) if you are an extravert or an introvert by percentages. I came out as an extravert by just 1%. I found this fascinating because I feel I live in my head quite a bit (while externally functioning and interacting where necessary). I never have a problem in groups when I am out and am known to be lively and witty. I usually do talk to strangers if I am waiting in a line, or sense someone feels or looks down about something. Despite these things, I’ve found that often, although I interact well with friends, I prefer to be alone. Even at friend events. So I’ll make an appearance at the spot where all my chums are, say hello and make some jokes, then slide off to a corner by myself to read or listen to music (if there is live music, for ex.). So the 1% made sense to me.

    Now, the Myers-Briggs evaluation (& Carl Jung) points out that introversion vs. extraversion has to do with, not solely our interaction with others, but how we conduct ourselves in our environments and in our heads. I think that’s interesting.

    I think introverted vs. extraverted is intriguing. I also read that our degree of whichever we are is constantly in flux based on situations. That makes sense. Situations/life experience can obviously alter one’s personality to makes us more of an introvert, less extraverted, etc.

    But to me, at the end if the day, it’s all subjective. We are who we are. Although we are all humans, we are individuals with varying strengths and weaknesses. To me, there is a place for everyone. Personality traits can be evaluated to determine potential careers, certainly. But it’s important to realize that no personality type is better than another. One may be more common, but that doesn’t = preferable, at least, in my own opinion. We complement one another, I think, by not being all the same personality type. It keeps things interesting.

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    • I took the Meyer’s Briggs in one of my college courses as well, and I am very even on both sides. I’m extroverted in group settings and greatly push myself to be more forward, but if there’s any room to spend alone, I’m going to take it. This article was based on my experience and several of the people I close with as we’ve gained internship and job experience. I do wholeheartedly believe that everyone has their own skills they can bring to the table, but I also believe that companies overlook some pretty creative minds simply for the fact that they’re not as “in your face” to get things done. Pushing myself on others to get what I want just isn’t how I conduct myself.

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      • Me, neither. It’s great when people can be outgoing in certain capacities, but I think being reserved or expressing oneself in a quieter manner is perfectly acceptable. I work from home on a laptop, but when I go into the office, I find that I prefer my quieter colleagues. It’s not that they aren’t funny or aren’t amenable to connecting with others–but they carry and conduct themselves differently from more outspoken coworkers. We don’t all need to communicate the same way. I definitely feel that more introverted people get a bad rap these days, even in the midst of the social media phenomenon (which draws us away from physical interaction, thus, in my mind, helps us embrace our internal introvert).
        Great post! I appreciate a post that gets me thinking. Thank you!

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    • I love your comments, Barb. Thank you for being so interactive and insightful! πŸ™‚

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      • You’re welcome. I am loving you blog, obviously. I appreciate the variety of topics. And you’re an excellent writer.

        You probably saw it, but if not, you should watch the video “Word Crimes” by Weird Al. I think you would like it. Have a great day!

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      • Because you recommended it, I’m definitely going to check it out! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog! I’m certainly enjoying your company πŸ™‚

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