If I had any word of advice for introverts it’s this: never admit you’re an introvert. People look at you weird.
Never admit, in any form, that you enjoy being alone more than you enjoy being with other people. This makes others uneasy. There’s something obviously wrong with you. Maladjusted.
It’s a rough stigma and a ridiculous one. I could easily go into how introversion =/= shyness at all (as counterpoint: myself, with a self confidence bordering on narcissism) or how we aren’t all psychopaths (and, for that matter, how there are a lot more psychopaths than you realize and they’re rarely murderous freaks). I could, but today I won’t. Today, I have a few ideas on why this whole thing started, anyway.
Mob mentality is a strong phenomenon and it’s a safety net: the outliers and free thinkers will be reigned in because they feel more comfortable in the crowd. This, from the point of view of the mob, is good. Normal behaviour is king, regardless of what “normal” actually is. But the safety net only works if said outliers want to be in the herd. So when we hear of people who prefer to be alone, prefer to be who they are, it does make us naturally uneasy. This person can do whatever they want! That could include things we see as abnormal or worse: “bad”! How dreadful, that person.
As “that person” I would like to say it’s a tremendous freedom you might be missing out on. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but the ability to simply disregard all of that arbitrary social convention stuff is wonderful. It doesn’t, however, put me / us above the law nor morals. It doesn’t mean we just shrug everything aside and stab old ladies as we please. Not stabbing seniors is social convention, yes, but it’s also one of legal and moral consequences. It’s a big venn diagram. Introverts just downsize one of the rings. Psychopaths another. When people start to pull down all three after including, say, having a haunted childhood, then they tend to have issues.
Now, it should also be mentioned that introverts aren’t “that person” by definition – the favouring of solitude v. suffocation doesn’t imply social convention ignorance. This is important to note. With that said, from what I’ve seen, we tend to inherent these characteristics after years of being outside of social norm anyway. The innocent first steps into aloneness (never to be confused with loneliness) are a personal thing (introversion) that just happen to work out and start “what other social thing can I cast off?” type questions. From mere observation and anecdotal evidence, I’d say this is normal for us.
There are books in favour of every type of lifestyle by pointing to famous people who also believed in it. This, of course, is stupid. I won’t say “Well, so-and-so was an introvert and they did this-and-this awesome thing” because that implies mob mentality itself; justification via association. We would consider it ridiculous to justify genocide merely because we could point to many well known people who have tried it. There are also books trying to “cure” introversion. This too is stupid. It’s not a disease, nor do I want to change myself. In fact, it’s sort of ironic that beside said books on the shelf there are self help books trying to teach you to lead a life of listening instead of talking and peaceful solitude instead of stressful bustle. They don’t call these things “curing” extroversion, they call this medicine for the soul. As it turns out, I am chalk full of this soul medicine all the time.
We make up roughly 1/4 – 1/3 of the population and it’s not something we’re trying to stop or fix. The world needs all types and we often do the things extroverts can’t. Does this make us inherently good or bad? Nope. We’re still just people; the spectrums are independent.
If I had a second word of advice for introverts it would be to remain strong in who you are. People will look at you funny and offer to “help you” but smile, they just don’t know any better yet. It’s animal nature to be afraid of what they don’t know and humans are just animals with clothes.
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