blog | 3min Read
Published on January 20, 2021
This pandemic has forced us to stay indoors and avoid people. So now are we all automatically introverts? Does this classification of behaviour even hold true? Will we be introverts or extroverts after the pandemic is done? Will we shake hands with strangers at a meeting? Will face to face meetings even happen? Will Zoom dictate all our social interaction? Will college classrooms be with lesser people?
Well no one really knows. But one thing is for sure, this hard classification of being either an introvert or an extrovert is going extinct.
For the longest time, it’s been easy to categorise a quiet person as an introvert and a talkative person as an extrovert. Parents and teachers play their part by reinforcing these stereotypes, because it was done to them as well. The truth is that most of us are Ambiverts, which means that we have some features of extroverts and some of introverts. And almost everyone would agree to that. Carl Jung, who came up with these terms, himself said that nobody can be a 100% extrovert or 100% introvert.
So wait, what is an introvert or extrovert? Simply put, an introvert is someone who gets their energy from being alone and an extrovert is someone who gets their energy from being around other people. Now this is also related to how our individual brains are wired, so there is nothing wrong with being either. You can’t control this aspect.
But a lot of it also has to do with social engineering, which we can control. Most often people who think they’re introverts are actually shy and scared. You’re afraid of being embarrassed or failing, so it’s easy to retreat into books and spend time alone. True introverts choose this alone-time, because they need that time to think. Bill Gates is an introvert, but he deals with millions of people across the world. Elon Musk is an introvert. Meryl Streep is an introvert, but she gets up in front of the camera for a living.
So think about it, are you an introvert or are you just shy?
Introverts tend to be bold, aggressive and intelligent. They just need to go to a lakeside cabin to recharge, and not a party. Many famous people are introverts, but they still work with groups of random people. Sure it can be awkward, but they still get the work done.
When you’re in high school, you might see this image of being an introvert as an identity to have, so you take it. Then people double down and tell you not to be quiet and aloof. So you go even deeper into this hole of being an ‘introvert’. An image often develops that the loud ‘extrovert’ behaviour is rewarded, so you might even form a negative association with being an ‘introvert’.
Now nobody is telling you to be someone you’re not. But unless you explore, there is no way to know who you really are. Rejecting something without trying it, or for the wrong reasons, is not the way forward. Especially after this pandemic.
When you’re in college, you’re going to have projects and study groups with other students. Are you going to wear the badge of being an introvert and reject them? Or will you make an effort to connect with them, and create bonds with people apart from your friends and family. When you join an office, are you going to reject your colleagues? Just because you believe that you’re an introvert? An actual introvert would engage with all of them, but recharge their battery alone at home. Don’t run away from confrontation and collaboration. Don’t let your fear of judgement masquerade as being an ‘introvert’.
Again, this doesn’t mean that you need to hit the next party you’re invited to. It just means that maybe you need to find hacks to be more adaptable. Maybe learn to be more honest with yourself and even others. Maybe you need to learn how to converse with strangers. Often, in large groups, we try to speak to everyone or no one. Next time just try one or two people, but truly engage with them. See what might come out from that. See if you learn something new about yourself. Maybe you’ll reject these tags of ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’. And maybe you’ll realise that enjoying solitude is a strength, not a weakness.