What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “introvert”? You probably immediately envision an insecure, quiet, shy and perhaps even awkward person. You might think of that guy at the party who was sitting all by himself in the corner looking down at his phone. This is the stigma that our society has constructed for introverts and consequently, an assumption about this personality type has emerged – being an introvert is bad.

Today’s fast-paced world favors extroverts who are able to talk to anyone they meet, be the life of the party and dominate crowds. The workplace, school, media, and even our families, all seem to ingrain in our minds that embracing an extroverted lifestyle is the way to go. Yet some of us just weren’t built for that.

For the most part, I consider myself a classic example of an introvert. I like spending time alone, I work better independently, I get tired from spending a long time around large crowds and I would almost always pick a quiet evening at home watching a TV-show over a night out. As such, I want to break some of these negative stigmas around introverts and tell you why being an introvert is really not such a bad thing.

We are good listeners:

There are two types of people in this world: talkers and listeners. Most of the introverts fall under the latter category. While extroverts are busy blabbering about every little detail of their life, introverts take in all the information, keeping it to themselves. I’m sure you have at least once encountered a person who, as soon as you start talking, begins typing on the phone or looking around the room, and this can be very frustrating. You will often avoid this problem around introverts, because they would much rather listen to you than talk themselves. This can be really helpful in establishing sincere relationships, since showing an interest in what a person is saying can be crucial.

We are thoughtful and caring:

Introverts are masters of observation. Taking in their environments and noticing little details about others is something at which introverts are naturally good. I, myself, have many times been in a situation where I’ve noticed something while everyone else in the room has not. As a result, introverts are often more sensitive and caring than their extroverted counterparts  because they are able to more effectively analyze their surroundings and others.

Over-thinking isn’t always a bad thing:

While sometimes over-analyzing can act as a sort of blocking mechanism, in certain cases it can be a great advantage. “Think before you act” is something most introverted-types live by religiously. Thinking through a situation and all the possible outcomes can help avoid awkward and sometimes even potentially dangerous situations. A lot of extroverts suffer from impulsive tendencies that can lead them to uncomfortable situations or unwanted scenarios. Introverts are less likely to end up in such a situation, since they will have already gone through the potential outcomes in their minds.

We have some brilliant thinkers:

As introverts, we spend the majority of our time inside our heads, thinking and analyzing our surroundings, and this can lead to the birth of some amazing ideas. Notable figures like Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Gandhi and Mark Zuckerberg are just a few people who belong in this category. I bet you want to join the club now, don’t you?

We are able to build intimate and deep relationships:

Introverts, as a general rule, prefer quality over quantity when it comes to people in their lives. Having a few close friends is more valuable to them than having a large number of acquaintances. Many introverts strongly dislike small talk as they feel that it is not a stimulating conversation and won’t lead to forming strong bonds. Because of this, people may be quick to label introverts as anti-socials, but the truth of the matter is they would much rather direct their energy towards genuine, long-lasting relationships rather than wasting it on strangers who they may never speak to again. So the next time you see someone sitting quietly in the corner, keep this in mind.

The world needs both extroverts and introverts to maintain balance. It needs talkative and outgoing people just as much as quiet, introspective ones. So instead of trying to change the latter, I hope we can embrace both to help achieve a more harmonious existence.

Photo courtesy of Chau Nguyen