A couple months ago I was asked to be on a segment for HuffPost live about introverts and how the introvert movement was gaining a lot of traction.
I had to decline.
There were a few reasons why I decided not to go on. First, Although I’m an introvert and have a few things to say on the subject, I also think the introvert movement is kind of a joke. Secondly, because I’m an introvert, there was no way I was going on to a twenty minute long live television segment where I’d be expected to converse with people in a public discourse. To be honest, I’m surprised they found any introverts to do it considering our irrational dislike of social interaction. Third, and most irrationally, I don’t think I look presentable on camera.
As an introvert, I’ve seen and resonated with all the gifs, graphics, lists, books and segments that describe introverts and although I do agree with most of them there exists an air in the movement that introverts are somehow better people than extroverts because of our rich, multi-faceted, extremely meaningful inner worlds that we cultivate with great care and yet, don’t share with the world.
Extroverts on the other hand are portrayed as having no filter essentially blathering at the mouth to whoever will listen.
It’s been said time and again that introverts get their power from alone time, self reflection and quiet while extroverts get their power from interacting with other people.
The thing that a lot of introverted writers seem to fail to mention though, is that life in our society requires social interaction and more importantly social grace. Everyone has to engage in it whether they like it or not.
Saying introverts are persecuted because we don’t like to do something that’s required of us is like saying people who don’t like to go to work are persecuted or people that don’t like coffee are persecuted.
Although there may be truth that introverts need time to recharge, and they do, it still remains mostly a personal preference for how some person or another likes to feel energized.
It’s not a struggle to be an introvert aside from the minor annoyance you get when you’ve been at a party too long or when you’re friend won’t shut up. As I said, these things are nothing but a minor annoyance.
My point is, maybe we should save movements, like the one that seems to be going around for introversion for actual horrible problems like homophobia or racism. These are things that actually have to be changed.
I am an introvert, but I’m not going to say I’m a proud introvert because that would imply that I’m being oppressed for preferring to leave parties earlier rather than later. It would imply that I think extroverts opinions are less valid than mine, simply because I haven’t said anything in the last 10 minutes whereas my friend has explained her entire life story to someone she just met.
Sure I’m an introvert, sure I get nervous when I have to talk to people and sure I prefer to be at home rather than out at a loud bar but that doesn’t make me any better than the entire half of the human population that prefers to be out at that very same bar.
I am an introvert but I’m also nothing special. You may be an extrovert and while that natural inclination is different from my own we are still both humans. We are still both cogs in the unending clockwork of the world going round that have to go to work everyday, provide for our families and do our part to influence those around us positively.
Introvert or extrovert we are both a part of this world.