First of all, yes—there are posers out there. Apparently, a lot of people are claiming to be introverts, although their actions obviously point to the opposite direction. I suppose they think it makes them “cool.”
“Oh, yes, I’m definitely an introvert. I prefer staying at home and reading books and thinking about the meaning of life and stuff.”
Yeah, sure you do.
Can’t blame them, though. Being an introvert does carry with it a bag full of benefits. After a myriad of tests (ahem, standardized tests, not the ones on OkCupid.com), I’ve finally come into terms with being a legit introvert, and so far it’s been pleasurable. No, really.
The funny thing is that these benefits are almost exclusive to the real thing. Meaning, if you’re just pretending to be one, you really won’t be able to appreciate much of it in the long run, because your true ‘social’ nature will eventually resurface. So yeah, good luck with that.
What are these benefits I’m talking about?
If you’re a “people person,” others would—almost always—expect you to give a damn. You’d constantly have something to say about something, and in turn, people would need to hear you out for them to validate their own opinions. True extroverts have no problem with that.
We introverts, on the other hand, are not so generous with feedback (well, observable feedback, anyway). An introvert’s interest is earned, not given away. So even when in the midst of all the fuss you spot us still indifferently immersed in our own world, you really won’t expect us to jump in. And we thank you for that.
To presume that we hate talking to people is just sheer ignorance. Introverts actually love conversations, but we don’t talk unless we have something to say. We’re allergic to small, empty talk, not only with strangers but even with people close to us.
True introverts do not feel any sort of obligation to verbally reach out to someone just for the sake of doing it. But if we see something in you, we may just break out of our shell and say “hi.” Just don’t bet on it.
The beauty of being an introvert is that our words are more delicately expressed than those of others. It’s not really because we choose our words more wisely; it’s just that we don’t possess an irrational urge to immediately spit out whatever goes inside our minds. We’re not saints; we also judge and think ill of people. The only difference is that we can choose to shut up about it. This leads to a very low “speak-now-regret-later” ratio, although we do have a relatively high “I-should’ve-said-something” percentage.
Introverts are extremely focused people, even when working on something they don’t really enjoy. We’re capable of shutting ourselves off from our surroundings and paying full attention to a singular thing. I’m not saying other people don’t have that ability, but we are less susceptible to distractions, especially in the form of, well, people.
Einstein, one of the most famously documented introverts, once said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
Since introverts are biologically wired to be introspective rather than being obsessed with seeking attention, the basic tenets of romance are also quite different for us. We don’t “put our best foot forward” and use charm to attract people we like. Instead, we keep on doing the things we normally do and wait for someone to notice us. “Pa-mysterious” effect, if you will.
We basically have an “if you don’t get me, you don’t deserve me” attitude, which makes it hard for non-introverts to sink their teeth into. The advantage? It saves us from the hassles of pretending to be someone we’re not.
Despite of having become a respected debater and public speaker, Abraham Lincoln was a documented introvert. His flair for influence was not solely attributed to his communication skills, but also to his ability to listen.
When people see you as someone who reserves words for whenever only necessary and would rather lend ears, they tend to be respectful of your opinions. Yes, extroverts can easily harness a crowd’s attention, but it’s the quiet ones that compel people to really listen and take action.
We don’t need to get drunk on Prom night (but we can). We don’t need to do videoke with colleagues (but we can). We don’t need to go to the mall and watch a movie with rowdy friends (we do our movie-watching rather intimately, but yeah, we can hang out). In short, we can entertain ourselves.
We can endure solitary weekends with just a couple of good books, an external HDD full of “House M.D.” episodes and a reliable internet connection. Yes, we can be an absolute drag, but if these things are enough to make us happy, who is to say otherwise?
We don’t go out as much, but when we do, we like to grab the chance to appreciate our surroundings. We enjoy examining people, curiously, from the sidelines. We try to avoid getting caught up with what people do, and perhaps try to understand why they do it. We like to gain different perspectives, look at different angles.
Being introverts allows us to talk less and observe more—to see things that others may not.
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