Introverts and Extroverts

A Misunderstood and Unknown Concept

An introvert and an extrovert- as kitties.

An introvert and an extrovert- as kitties.

Katherine Kirby, Introverted reporter

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Introverts and extroverts are largely misunderstood. Many of you may not even know what these words mean. An introvert is someone who draws energy from themselves and solitary activities. They are slightly more sensitive to some things such as bright lights or loud music. This can make them seem shy or antisocial, but let me tell you, most of us wish we could be as chatty as the extroverts. It’s just not in our nature. Most people think being bubbly and social all the time is normal, including lots of introverts. Let me tell you, however, this is not true. You can have just as many friendships without being loud about it like all those extroverts. Introverts tend to quiet, making them interrupted and possibly underestimated easily, but when we get out under the spotlight, we can really shine! Sometimes someone else may be more visually appealing, but introverts are just as intriguing on the inside. Get to know us a little, and we can be awesome! What introverts lack in volume, we make up for in depth. When we do have something to say, it’s almost always meaningful.

You are not hostages of your personality. Rather, you are empowered by your ability to listen. “Leadership doesn’t require being social or attention-seeking.” Susan Cain states in her book for teens, Quiet Power. “The most effective leaders are not motivated by a desire to control events or be in the spotlight. They are motivated by the desire to advance ideas or improve the situation of a group of people.” Some of the most notable leaders are self-announced introverts, such as Bill Gates and Eleanor Roosevelt. Cain has observed a popular stereotype in schools; only extroverts can be effective leaders. This unspoken idea, dubbed the ‘Extrovert Ideal’, states that extroverts are better than introverts, causing many introverts to be insecure, or to constantly stretch their comfort zone. A famous study by Jim Collins found that the CEOs of all eleven best performing companies in the United States have introverted tendencies. Introverted leaders are so effective because they have the unique ability to listen to others and act on their opinions and suggestions in a way no one else can.

For example, Adam Grant, a psychologist, recruited over 150 college students to participate in an experiment. Split into teams of five, each team had a decided leader as well as an actor that was good at t-shirt folding and three other followers. At the start of the excitement, the actor told the team that they knew an efficient way to fold t-shirts, which was the objective of the “competition.” The aim of the experiment was to find if introverts or extroverts were more likely to listen to their teammates. As expected, the introverted leaders listened more. However, to all of you extroverts, this doesn’t mean that you’re inferior.

Each personality type typically longs for even a piece of the other. Extroverts can be better at thinking on their feet, a very valuable trait. They may also be more comfortable in situations in the spotlight, such as a speech or performance. These personalities are both extremely helpful, so don’t put down others about theirs, or get down about your own. Like a rubber band, there is a breaking point for everyone. Don’t force yourself or others to be a person they aren’t. Be considerate and thoughtful as well as observant about how others feel. This way, we can break the ‘Extrovert Ideal’ together! Extroverts aren’t the best, but neither are introverts. We all have flaws and strengths. Ask other’s opinions who aren’t confident enough, or loud enough, to speak for themselves. Don’t interrupt someone if they talk less than you, because they have as valid opinions as you, but may be too nervous to show them. In conclusion, don’t put someone down, just because they’re different. Everyone’s different, and they’re all valuable, too.

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Introverts and Extroverts