Born into a world that values extroversion, we are told to be loud and bold, to be the life of the party. Because to be the life of the party is what everyone wants right?
As an introvert, I’ve always enjoyed going to parties, but to be the life of the party was never what I set out to do. I enjoy getting dressed up, talking to friends, listening to the music, and observing all the crazy things people decide to do, but to be the center of attention frankly scares me.
Over the past few years, I’ve been pushing myself to be more outgoing and extroverted. To be bolder, and to try new things. To be daring. And I think I’ve done a great job, but when it comes down to it, I’m still an introvert. And I’m proud of it. 🙂
Often times, extroversion and introversion are confused with one’s personality, when in essence, it is how we energize and recharge. Extroverts recharge by being around people, while introverts recharge by being alone. So it is true that one can be outgoing and an introvert, and vice versa.
Even with this in mind, both extroverts and introverts have stereotypes based on how they are perceived; some are accurate, while others are far from it. Overall, extroverts tend to be seen in a more positive light as outgoing, friendly, talkative, and leaders, while introverts seem to carry a more negative connotation of being anti-social, reserved, and loners.
This saddens me, because neither the extrovert nor the introvert is superior. For it is the combination of both which makes teams, families, and life in general more complete. And to confine an introvert to a stereotype is to limit their true potential. Although introverts may come across as a little more reserved in social situations, that doesn’t mean they are any less friendly.
Ultimately, it just comes down to caring for people for who they are instead of trying to make them into something they are not.
Below are a few great ways to care for the introverts in your life.
- Respect their need for privacy
- Never embarrass them in public
- Let them observe first in new situations
- Give them time to think. Don’t demand instant answers
- Don’t interrupt them
- Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives
- Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing
- Teach them new skills and reprimand them privately
- Don’t push them to make lots of friends
- Respect their introversion. Don’t try to remake them into an extrovert.