Don’t convert an introvert, please

This world is made up of two kinds of people – introverts and extroverts. Extroverts are these fun people who are good at talking and being around other people; introverts on the other hand are shy and anti-social.

Absolutely wrong!

Those of you who know me personally and have spent time with me, would most probably classify me as an extreme extrovert. But ladies and gentlemen, although I love people and i talk a lot, I am an introvert, an extreme introvert. Allow me to explain…

Extroverts are primarily interested in the physical and social setup around them. They are most energized when they are surrounded by people and are interacting with them. Extroverts love small talk, they can just walk up to a stranger and strike a conversation and keep it going; without really an agenda or topic of interest.

Contrary to what most people think, introverts are not necessarily shy or mousey. In fact, introversion is not at all shyness. An introvert is just a person who is energized by being alone; thinking, learning, exploring their thoughts and feelings. Some introverts have exceptional people skills, and they can also be the life of the party if they deem necessary. But after being with people for any length of time, they need time alone, to recharge. Alone time for them is like loading up on energy, which is spent when among crowds.

Biologically, introverts have more brain activity in their frontal lobes and when these areas are activated through solitary activity, introverts become energized through processes such as solving problems, introspection, and complex thinking. Extroverts on the other hand tend to have more activity in the back of their brain, areas that deal with processing sensory information from the external world, so they tend to search for external stimuli in the form of interacting with other people and the outside world to energize them. [Need reference]

What I don’t understand is why this world looks at introverts like there is something wrong with them. Why does our education system, our work culture and even friends and families don’t approve of introversion? Some common misconceptions about introverts are:

1. Introverts are anti-social –

Introverts don’t hate people neither are they sad or depressed; they just know that people take up a lot of energy, and it can be taxing for them sometimes. It’s just a matter of preference.

2. Introverts don’t like to mingle –

They do; just not all the time. If you want to connect with an introvert, well for lack of better words, just cut the crap and come to the point. On the other hand, if you have a brain stimulating discussion, an emotional conversation or a problem that needs to be resolved, bring it on. Introverts LOVE meaningful conversations.

3. Introverts don’t add value to the society –

Introverts have a lot of very important traits. They have an amazing ability to discover new thoughts, to connect the dots, to observe things, to listen extremely well, to be creative and imaginative as well.

4. Introverts suck at relationships –

Wrong. In fact, they develop strong, meaningful relationships. Unlike Extroverts, who have hundreds of friends, but can still get lonely; introverts are perfectly happy being by themselves, in fact they enjoy it. Because of the thoughtfulness, love and passion, introverts make great friends and spouses.

5. Introverts don’t accomplish much in life –

That’s total bullshit. Mahatma Gandhi was an introvert, and a great leader. Bill Gates, Steve jobs, Bill Clinton, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Larry Page, Warren Buffet are all introverts. Introverts can be great speakers, leaders and have the capability to change the world, just like extroverts.

Practically, no one is a 100% introvert or extrovert; they are only more introverts with slight extraversion or more extroverts with slight introversion. We all have both the traits; it just depends, which one do we have more of.

The world would be so much better if people just respect extroverts and introverts the same and not try to change anyone’s natural personalities.