Are introverts antisocial? Are they shy? Do they dislike people? Are they quiet? These are often assumptions that people make about introverts. I am one and I am not any of those things. I’d like to take this chance to explain what introverts are actually like; both from my own experiences and pieces I found on external websites.
Extroverts, as we often see them, are people that go out and party. Then the introverts are always depicted as bookworms and/or loners. This is how movies make it look. They also often take a party boy and make him fall madly in love with an introvert; making some unlikely love possible. Charming… Honestly, the way movies make the two ‘types’ seem bothers me for two reasons. 1. A love based on opposites is less likely to succeed and 2. Introverts, if not both types, often get misrepresented.
Every human being feels the need to belong. No human being is likely to choose for absolute solitude. Every human being likes companionship to some extent. Some of us (extroverts) like the company of big groups. The presence of a lot of people gives them happiness.
On the other hand, introverts too enjoy company. But introverts are more common to establish a few deep bonds with people rather than surrounding themselves with a large group of people. They also don’t need company as much as extroverts.
So introverts aren’t antisocial. If anything, they could have social anxiety. This is common for introverts. This does not mean they don’t want to be around people, it just means they have difficulty doing it.
Because introverts struggle a bit more with the pressures of large groups of people, many of them prefer the company of animals; especially cats. Dogs require them to go out and be around other people. Cats allow them to stay in their ‘safe spaces’ and just do their thing. I mentioned this before in my Cat Lady post.
Take a leap of faith? Just do it ‘just because’? Do things you never did before without really thinking about it? Ideas like these are called impulsiveness and are often associated with extroverts. Extroverts are usually considered to be bigger risk-takers and more adventurous.
While the extroverts are having a ball just doing whatever they feel like doing, the introverts sit and think about it. They analyze and strategize. What will be the consequences of doing this? How can I best achieve this? Introverts are planners.
Peer pressure, where a group will attempt to egg on an individual into doing something, could be problematic for an introvert. The group will say it is nice to do the particular thing but that might not be true for the introvert. That isn’t the introvert’s fault, either! It is about brain processes. Risky or impulsive acts give extroverts more satisfaction through the release of dopamine. The same activity will not have the same chemical outcome for the introvert.
Isn’t science fascinating, guys?
Here’s a fun fact for you; introverts are commonly better at public speaking than extroverts. Why is this, you might ask? It is a combination of earlier named traits. Sure, extroverts might enjoy the company of the group, but there isn’t necessarily interaction. Introverts, although perhaps anxious, are better planners. Therefore, they will function better in such situations.
I’d like to take myself as an example. I am an introvert. I don’t build deep bonds with many people. There are just a few I let in. But at the same time, I enjoy doing presentations. Things like presentations also allow me to utilize all my creativity. Because introverts tend to think more and use their time on reading or other individual activities, they often come up with creative and new ideas. Many of my introverted friends are avid writers, painters or artists in some other way. I’d like to think I am too. The few compliments now and then that I get are pleasing.
Another reason why introverts might be creative minds could be to allow for an escape from expectations. Many situations nowadays call for close interaction with other people. School projects or work are often executed in teams nowadays. Teamwork is important but it can be difficult to achieve for people who like the comfort of their own company. To avoid the stress that these activities are causing, the introvert will try to express themselves.
I’m not sure if other introverts experience that. It works like that for me, anyways. The more stressed or upset I get with situations, the more creative I become. Counter-intuitive maybe, but true nonetheless.
Now, I’ve never been one to think of the world in a black-and-white pattern. So here I will present to you the ambivert; which is someone who takes traits from both the extrovert and the introvert. Do you have a lot of friends but still like to take a moment to yourself rather than go out to party? Do you analyze an adventure but still get a rush from it? Do you function well in a group as well as individually? You might be what is called an ambivert.
Of course, I’d like to remind everyone that in-between every extreme, there are grey areas. You could still be an extrovert but keep only a few close friends or be an introvert but like to go out.
I am not shy, I am not quiet. I am someone who will speak up in class when the teacher asks a question, given that the lesson I am attending is with my own class. I know them. They are familiar. Only then do I have the courage to speak up.
I can work in a group but I prefer to work on my own. I like to do presentations. I like to read school books and fiction. I have several friends whose company I enjoy. It just never has to be overly much or I will start to feel tired. I need my own time to write blogposts, stories, music and do all the things that I need to do to regenerate mentally and emotionally.
I like a party now and then and I will fully be present if I am around people I am familiar with. Otherwise I will enjoy it in the company of the people I actually do know. I am not unfriendly but I will have reservations with people I am not close to. Perhaps something like that makes me as black-and-white as the concept of ‘types’.
What do you think about introverts, extroverts and ambiverts?