Ok, I’m sure there’s plenty wrong with me. What I mean is: being an introvert is not an illness. We might not say much and we may be chronic plan cancelers, but we’re not just anti-social Debbie downers who sit in the corner of a crowded party, frowning. Well, usually.
Being quiet is ok
As Susan Cain discusses in her TED Talk, “The Power of Introverts,” we’re told from the get go that introversion isn’t “normal” or “good.” It’s important for kids to learn how to socialize and know how to cooperate and work together, but it should also be emphasized that it’s ok for a kid to play alone or find a quiet spot to read. As a child, I would often call on the other kids in the neighbourhood and we would all play together and have a blast. But I also loved going to my room—my little sanctuary—and playing on my own. It allowed my imagination to run just as wild as it did playing with a refrigerator box with my friends, but it was slower. Calmer. Quieter.
The pros of introversion
Sure, constantly being in your head, getting annoyed easily by external stimulants and always being exhausted by socializing doesn’t always make things easy for the common introvert. But there are also many things that make introverts pretty special.
We make great connections. Because we tend to have fewer but closer friends and favour one-on-one time, the connections we make can be amazingly strong. We’re naturally good listeners and happy to let a friend talk out a problem. And because we’re so observant and reflective, we’ll probably give you excellent advice. It might take a while to gain our trust and affection, but once you have it, natures can make us some of kindest people who care deeply for the people in our lives.
We have great ideas. It should come as no surprise that introverts are introspective and when we make space for ourselves, it often means making space for deep thinking and creativity. Rather than saying everything that comes to minds, our thoughts go through an intense internal filter and come out polished. Pay attention when an introvert decides to speak up, because it’s always meaningful.
Be proud of not being loud
Over the years, I’ve also had many people in my life who simply don’t get it. These are the people who ask “what’s wrong?” when I go quiet in a group or tell me to “suck it up” when I say I can’t handle social activity. But thankfully, I’ve also surrounded myself with people who either live it themselves or understand that while I have my share of problems, introversion isn’t one of them.