Thursday, May 29

Invisible (to some)

Introversion vs. extroversion. The next biggest game show, a 'daily living' Survivor. I am so surprised that a bigger deal is not made of these differences. Then again, I know of people who didn't recognize either term.

Introverts are those quiet, thoughtful, self-aware, level-headed, discreet people, who may or may not be awkward at small talk. They think before they speak, are reserved and private, and though they may give the air of being disdainful, they do like people. Introverts need to spend time alone, to "recharge their batteries", because being around people makes them tired.

Extroverts, on the other hand, love to spend time talking, chatting, letting everyone in on their life stories, figuring out problems by talking out loud. Extroverts make people their friends, whether they've known someone 5 years or 5 minutes.

Thing is, it really is an extravert's world. Over 65% of the population in the U.S. is extroverted.* Yet they make that percentage seem more significant; extroverts, with their public displays of emotion and natural ability to interact with and persuade people, are just louder. Politicians are most often extroverts, as are salesmen, lifeguards, nurses... (of course this is a majority, not a totality). The introverts just grin (a conscious effort) and bear it, holding internal dialogue of what they'll do when the small talk will one day be over.

Those who talk the most set the rules, and so the characteristics we admire in others are characteristics of extroverts: confident, friendly, approachable, lovable, people-person. For myself (as an introvert), it is the mask I wear so that I do not give the 'aloof', 'cold' impression.

However, it is tiring, and I often wish I did not have to act to be liked in this superficial manner (for colleagues or aquaintances). This is especially true for women, who are stereotypically warm, caring and motherly. This is not to say that introverts are not this way, but they only open up to close friends with significant depth of relationship.

Is it fair to be held up to a standard designed by people who see and interact in the world completely differently from you? I just want to be the way I am and be appreciated for it, and most of the world won't get that. It's like being pulled out of the fish tank again and again to breathe air, by well-intentioned (and usually oblivious) extroverts.

So who would win Survivor of introverts vs. extroverts? Depends on who made the rules...

1 comment:

Mary Ann said...'ve definitely hit the nail on the head with this blog. As an introvert, myself, I can so relate to what you're saying here.