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Aspects of Introversion

It is commonly assumed that extroverted people are friendly and introverted people are unfriendly. But over the years I have come to notice that many extroverts are misanthropic and nasty towards other people, whereas many introverts are kind, considerate and warm towards others.

At core, extroverts are people who require a substantial amount of interaction with other people, whereas introverts require less interaction and more time alone. I believe this is nothing to do with how chatty or talkative a person is, nor their opinions towards their fellow men and women. Extroverts need to interact with people around them whether they actually like the people around them or not. I have seen many chatty and talkative people feign niceness to work colleagues and then say obnoxious things about them when they are not around. Just because someone is chatty doesn’t make them “friendly” and just because someone is quiet doesn’t mean they are misanthropic. A chatty person might, in fact, be quite introverted and require a large amount of time alone to unwind from all the social interaction.

Likewise, shyness is not exclusively an introverts’ sufferance. Shyness is a distinct aspect of personality that is separate to introversion/extroversion. Shy children are often told they need to ‘come out of their shell’. But why? Perhaps what you see is what you get. Given the ubiquity of shyness among humankind it might well be an evolutionary trait that is necessary for the effective operation of society.

I think the best type of person to be is a confident introvert; you have no need for much human interaction so can manage on your own when circumstances necessitate it, but are not constrained by shyness or lack of confidence.

Probably the worst type of person to be is a shy and socially awkward extrovert; such a person has a constant need for human interaction but is intimidated by it and is likely to suffer from loneliness and anxiety.

It is about time that society re-evaluated the introvert. Being quiet is NOT the same is being unfriendly or nasty. Being chatty is not the same as being sociable. Being sociable is as much about listening and understanding as yacking on about boring rubbish. And knowing when not to talk is as valuable as talking. The world would go mad if everyone was highly extrovert. Introverts are valuable and necessary members of society, especially now as we are increasingly "on" all the time in this age of technology.