I wrote the original post on February 9, 2012, because of a TIME magazine article on introverts by Bryan Walsh. Among the interesting things he said about introverts was:
(1) They make up about 30 percent of the population.
(2) Introverts are not always “shy, although there’s some overlap.”
(3) Introverts don’t shun people. They just prefer them in smaller groups and less often. For example, I love intimate dinners of four to six people. Big cocktail parties not so much.
Walsh says this is especially difficult to do in America, which he calls “the land of the loud and the home of the talkative.”
Because we introverts are outnumbered and the culture expects people to be outgoing and sociable, we can be uncomfortable in situations that extroverts enjoy. To make matters worse, those who don’t understand our personality can be unintentionally cruel. They may chide or even insult us, or treat us as if we have some silly problem we just need to “get over.”
Make no mistake. We’re born this way. Scientific studies have shown that small babies exhibit behavior that marks them as future introverts. If the parents of such a child are extroverts, they may try to influence his behavior, thinking it’s not normal, causing, at an early age, the tension that goes with feeling different. At the very least, parents may feel that their child will not have friends or be successful in life.
Not to worry, Introverts learn to adapt early and there are plenty of occupations which require what introverts are good at, such as thinking things through.
Yes, it turns out that we introverts are actually smarter than extroverts. We make fewer wrong decisions, are less likely to get into danger, and take better care of our health. And why not, when we spend most of our time reading or thinking, while extroverts are bungee-jumping or talking?
Walsh mentions well-known introverts, such as Mahatma Ghandi, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mother Teresa. He names no famous authors, but I suspect most writers are introverts. Why else are we so happy alone, or at our computers, inventing stuff?
What about you? Are you an introvert? How do you cope in our mostly-extrovert world?