Introvert in a world designed for extroverts

When you look up introvert you’ll find many different definitions. A lot of them with negative connotations.

“Someone who is shy, quiet, and unable to make friends easily“— www.dictionary.cambridge.org

These interpretations creates a distorted image of introverted people as being socially inept, quiet and shy. And an expectation that extroverts must be socially intelligent, energized and outgoing. It’s important to understand that introverts aren’t necessarily shy and that extroverts aren’t necessarily outgoing.

An introvert is energized from being alone. An extrovert is energized from being with people. That’s all.

We might have to spend more energy navigating social gatherings. We might have to plan ahead in order to not run out of energy. We might need time to ‘recover’ after social events. That doesn’t mean we’re less socially intelligent, funny or cool. It only means that being in groups takes energy instead of filling us with it.

Designed for extroverts

Being an introvert is sometimes seen as something you have to overcome, it certainly isn’t. Being introverted can be a hinderance yes, but only because we live in a world designed for extroverts.

From a very young age our lives are designed to favor extroverts. In schools we are put in big classrooms and are expected to do group activites both during and after school hours. Leaving a very little space for deep thinking and focus. This means that introverts are forced to act like extroverts. But extroverts should also learn how to act as introverts. Learn how to take the time to think and work alone in quiet settings.

Work and diversity

Often the modern workplace is designed for extroverts. Bean bags, open spaces, company socials, a spacious room for brainstorms filled with post-its and often this is understood as good company culture.

Leaders are expected to be extroverted, outgoing and loud. When looking for new candidates companies often look for a cultural fit, as a result we end up with only one kind. We need to understand how we can include both extroverts and introverts in a workplace and get the best out of everyone. Because there is absolutely no correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas!

So let’s:
#1 Give people the space to work and think by themselves.

#2 Make time for private chats.

#3 Be comfortable with silence.

And stop glorifying extrovercy and understand that we need all kinds of people and minds to create the best results.

❤️ Thanks to Slothilda for letting me use all the amazing GIFs