How does one know whether they are introverted or not? There are many popular personality tests that determine whether someone functions more introverted or extroverted. However, these are the most common and central questions to determine how a person primarily operates:
Do you gain or lose energy through lengthy periods of social or professional interaction with other people?
When you need to solve a problem, do you think through the issue aloud, or are you more productive when you listen to opinions of others, then make up your own mind in a quiet space? (Collins 26)
These questions can bring much clarity in deciphering who is an introvert or not. The statistics for those who are considered introverted is staggering. They make up of only twenty-five percent of the population (Ali Khan); introverts live in a world that is primarily biased to extroverts. The unfortunate effect of this partiality has lent itself to many misconceptions of what they are really like. They have plenty of strengths to bring, but their strengths are often overlooked and instead they are mistaken as weakness.
The strength of introverts is that they gain much perspective and insight when alone, yet in situations such as, “brainstorming” or, “think tank” scenarios they are slow to give their opinion. This is not because they lack an opinion or knowledge. Rather, they need time to formulate their thoughts regarding the issue at hand. Primarily functioning from a world inward, introverted people must frequently resort to a place of solitude if they are to have much effect within their community. They need plenty of time and patience from their counterparts to process information and weigh out the course of action:
The introvert is by no means a social loss. His retreat into himself is not a final renunciation of the world, but a search for quietude, where alone it is possible for him to make his contribution to the life of the community. This type of person is the victim of numerous misunderstandings – not unjustly, for he actually invites them. Nor can he be acquitted of the charge of taking a secret delight in. mystification, and that being misunderstood gives him a certain satisfaction, since it reaffirms his pessimistic outlook. (Jung)
Contrary to popular belief, most introverts do not struggle with shyness. Often times being shy is the direct result of one’s insecurities, therefore they find themselves subject to isolation, whether they desire it or not. On the other hand, introverts choose the time they spend on their own and in the silence of oneself. Some people think that introversion is something to strive for-a sign of deep thinking and intelligence. Most people believe that it is an aversion to society due to shyness or poor social skills (Collins 26).
The same way an extrovert finds life in attending parties and social functions, introverts find their liveliness when alone or in smaller social settings. However, when it comes to social situations that are more demanding than intimate conversations, introverts are not necessarily incapable. Introverts can take leading roles, participate in social events, and contribute to conversations (Collins 27). The primary difference between these two personality types is how they recharge. After spending much time in socializing, introverts often feel physically and emotionally drained, and seek to find time alone to regain energy they lost in having to function outward. Usually their desire for solitude is mistaken for elitism and/or reclusiveness. Their need to rest is not easily understood by extroverts. However, the necessity to get away must not be mistaken as being rude. Their need to replenish energy is crucial in order for them to relate outwardly within their given community.
Another misconception regarding introverts is their inability to build friendships; this is because they are thought of as antisocial altogether. Although they may not often be found as the center of attention, commonly introverts care deeply about developing long lasting relationships. Unlike the extrovert, who will know someone for an hour and call him or her a “friend,” introverts consider a friendship, only that which is more than an acquaintance. Their motto is “depth rather than breadth.”
Susan Cain, the author of the book Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, gives a persuasive list of political figures, actors, inventors and propagandists who were, and are self proclaimed introverts: Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin, Rosa Parks, Warren Buffet, are to name only a few. Throughout history and even today, there are many renowned men and women who consider themselves an introvert. Undoubtedly each one of these has faced great opposition, and in spite of the many challenges, they lived and strived to press pass people’s misconceptions. More importantly, they were able to embrace who they were made to be, and through the strength of their character, live to bring influence and unprecedented change to not only society, but the world.