Introversion in Today’s society
Being an introverted in today’s society is not an easy feat. Most people will not even understand what makes an introvert or extrovert or know where in the two they fit in, maybe both.
But this subject is important to me for one reason. Finally realising that I was an introverted not only helped me understand more about myself but also made me realise that there is absolutely no problem in wanting to stay home and read a good book.
I have been an introvert for the better part of my life. I pretended to be an extrovert for another part. This imbalance in one of the critical parts of my identity caused me to not accept my own thoughts and actions, made me be upset with myself and even critical of why the hell was I always tired of people.
The truth is that society makes you want to be an extrovert, it praises extroverts and most of educational/work places are made with only extroversion in mind.
I am graduating next July and I am dreading to have and find a job because I know that my career will take place in crowded offices with open desks.
And why does this bother me? Because being an introvert has peculiarities ,and for me one of them is that I cannot be very productive when in a room with a lot of people. It is too distracting and there is too much space for interruptions from another person.
Schools praise group work which for me was always an inconvenient. I work my best alone. Completely alone. I don´t mean that I never need help from other. I am just staying that I need solitude to be more productive and really focus.
Group work was draining to me. And I couldn’t be more grateful about being in a degree that has no group assignments.
My journey to figure out how to be an introvert was deeply aided by a very special book to me. It is called Quiet by Susan Cain. I read it some time after getting the worse identity crisis ever. I was around 20 and alone in a new country.
I had been pretending or even believing to be an extrovert for most of my high school and now I was alone and had to come to terms with being just…well myself. And I had no idea who I was. So I kinda of researched myself and wrote down my likings and what I hated.
That is when I found out why I hated parties, well not the party in itself but the late hours. Whenever I went to one I had fun in the first hour but after that it was just boring and tiring. I understood that I was burned out.
I cannot be in a social event for more than two hours maybe, even less if it is too crowded.Also, I am a little claustrophobic but only with too many people. I physically feel bad staying for too long in these place. But doesn't mean I don´t have fun.
Here is Susan Cain Ted talk about this topic:
I understood why books where my favourite escape and mostly importantly I understood that it was okay to say NO.
BUT what does all of this has to do with books? Well I pushed back how much I loved reading until I felt it was okay to be an introvert.
Books were my saving for a long time and then one day I just stopped reading them. When I returned to books I kept it kind of a secret. And when I started taking them to classes and reading in the hallways I saw the lack of invites to hang-outs.
This post is just me saying for the introverts out there that it is okay to be quiet or not. I was never quiet but I needed time to be alone. And it is not weird.
People are important but forcing yourself to be near them is not okay. Pick up a book and get lost in it for a bit, say NO to some parties or leave early if you are burned out.
Really I cannot stress this enough.
Do not listen to your family that doesn’t understand that family reunions with awkward cousins and uncles are not your thing, or your friends that say you have your head in a book at all times.
I love being who I am. I love being alone. And I also love people. You don´t need to hide your peculiar introversion just because society deems it “social awkwardness” or “social anxiety”.