What are you doing this Friday night?
As university students, we’re expected to be going out to a party or a club — somewhere with a lot of noise and people.
For extroverts, who are energized by social situations, this sounds like a good time. But for introverts like me, who need to “recharge” at the end of a long day, this prospect can be exhausting.
Though the ratio of introverts to extroverts is around 50/50, few people would admit they’d rather stay in and read a book.
In Western society, it seems like extroverted people are automatically accepted and embraced, while those who prefer to keep their thoughts to themselves are regarded as strange or suspicious.
Last year, I experienced this stigma firsthand during one of my psychology tutorials. The topic that week was personality, and my group had been asked to put different personal characteristics into one of three categories: good, bad or neutral.
I was both surprised and a bit saddened to note that my group members placed traits such as “quiet” or “subdued” in the “bad” category. Why were these traits lumped into the same category as far more destructive ones, such as “violent” or “unstable”?
I believe people with these supposedly bad characteristics are essential to our society. Introverts require less stimulation than extroverts, meaning they’re highly skilled at focusing on complex problems.
Many people considered to be geniuses — from Newton to Chopin to Einstein — were introverts. These types of people are typically more deliberate and think things through more carefully. Relatively unmotivated by wealth and fame, they derive their ambitions from reaching their carefully-planned goals.
Still, many introverts — myself included — tend to feel guilty when we take some time for ourselves. Yet for us, this biological need is just as necessary as eating or sleeping.
Social events can be fun and open up new opportunities, but there should be no pressure to go out every night if that’s not really your thing.
Introverted or extroverted, take pride in who you are, and live your life in whichever way brings you the most happiness
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