How Does Society View Introverts?

In America, being an introvert is like having a disease. As if “quiet” and “reserved” is a synonym for illness and outsider.

My mind still saves the snapshots, little memories, a collection of all the things I’ve ever been told for simply being . . . me.

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I still remember the time my math teacher asked me why I never talked in class.

I still remember that classmate who questioned why I never held conversations with my teachers.

I still remember the way they used to whisper in the back of the classrooms as if I was not right there, sitting right in front of them; does she ever laugh? Does she ever smile? I remember going home and having no one to express these feelings to, because what college would accept a quiet girl and what parent wants to hear their child never speaks in class?

I still remember that time I told the private school interviewer that I was an introvert. I remember how I confessed to someone, for the first time, that society does not favor my personality. I remember, for the first time, someone agreeing with me.

I still remember the constant need for smiling, just to remind them that I was, indeed, somewhat like the rest of them.

I remember the countless times jokes were made about my introversion. I remember the countless times teachers never understood that I do not learn by participation.

I remember tons of other introverts, but I always seemed to be the most introverted one.

Think of it this way: you are water. You have to be fire, but water and fire do not mix, and how can water be fire? How can fire be water?

I was water, but everyone, from adults to the American education system to even my own parents, wanted me to be fire. I was quiet, sweet, and did what had to get done, but society wanted me to be confident, outgoing, assertive, loud. Like being one thing but needing to conform to the opposite.

Please, please understand that my introversion does not make me any lesser than you, and neither does it make me any dumber or less talented than you.

Please remember that I’m just like you, another human being with their own set of problems.

Have you ever stopped to consider that I might just be an extrovert trapped within a protective shell of introversion and shyness?

This answer originally appeared on this Quora question on Shyness.

How Does Society View Introverts?

How Does Society View Introverts?

Answers from: Gary K. Searle Olivia Tang William Smith Olivia Tang Yolanda Samosir Kalli Noble Matthew Roberts Gopichand Kolluri

Society or at least Western society is known to discriminate against introverts. This is because in a world where extroverts are believed to be the high achievers, introverts are misunderstood and forgotten about. However the misunderstanding of introversion leads people to see high achieving introverts; of which there are many to be more extroverted. The reality is these introverts are able to thrive because of their self and social awareness and their high intelligence. J. k. Rowling, Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian are not how typical introverts are viewed. They are three examples among many who have found enormous success despite their introversion. Reason? They are not defined by their introversion. Say what you want about Kim Kardashian, she is incredibly successful. Does she have any identifiable talent? That’s open to interpretation. But her success cannot be denied. She has made the most of what she does have. Kim Kardashian knows what sells. Barack Obama became the United States first black President despite being an introvert. He used his humour, intelligence and charisma to become loved by so many people. Obama is one of the most socially aware introverts around. These people are not shy or anti-social they simply need time to reflect on their own. A chance to recharge their batteries. They are living proof that not all introverts are shy and reserved. Our society is geared towards extroverts and gives more opportunities to those people. But when introversion is combined with social awareness and intelligence they are often able to thrive in the most incredible way. They slip under the radar and strike when least expected. They can be quiet one moment and the next they are speaking up for what they believe in. This takes people by surprise and are unable to counter it. The way society views introverts can be a great benefit to their chances of success. So if you are introverted, don’t hate the way society views you and misunderstands you. Use it to take success from the extroverts who undervalue you.

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