Silently slithering through crowds, shuffling away from social circles, and stuttering when called on in class, introverts are all around us. Well, sort of. The estimated amount of people that are ‘introverted’ ranges from 16% to 50% of the population, which is quite a large range. Maybe it’s because introverts are too shy to speak up during surveys?
Regardless, the facts still remain; there are more extroverts in the world than introverts.
Introverts are people that prefer the quiet life. Staying home and watching a movie is much more appealing to an introvert than a night out at clubs. While introverts are social and have no problem spending time with loved ones, they often need to have some alone time after the interactions to ‘recharge’. Introverts, on a whole, prefer to be by themselves and do things on their own.
Extroverts are the opposite. They’re people that would rather throw a party than spend another boring day inside. They exude charisma and confidence and do best in groups of people. They’re the ones that have no problem standing up and talking to a room full of people. An extrovert is energized by their interactions with people and thrives on it.
So, after reading the two descriptions, it should be becoming clear as to why being an introvert in an extroverted world kind of sucks. Here are some more clear cut reasons:
1. Most Jobs Favor Extroverts – It’s no secret that the job market favors extroverts. Go to your favorite online job board (Indeed, Monster, SnagaJob, to name a few) and do a general search for jobs in your area. Count how many jobs deal with customer service. If you find more than 3 jobs that don’t require some kind of contact with customers, comment down below. I might hit some of those jobs up. Think about the popular, prestigious majors of college. Wanting to be a Doctor? You’ll be dealing with patients all day. Lawyer? You’ll be intimately interacting with potential criminals. CEO? Oohboy, there are tons of people you’ll have to manage and interact with. Of course, all of this does make sense. Most jobs are designed around helping or serving humanity. A business is a business is a business and for any business to be successful, they have to please people. Most of the time. There are definitely jobs that introverts can excel at – writing, for example. Data entry is another popular option. Artist. Researcher. There are skills that introverts possess that make them marketable, just to a much smaller market.
2. Some People Don’t Get It – It’s hard when people just don’t understand that you need alone time. Once you’ve declined that offer to hang out for the third time, people will start questioning why. Even if you’re honest and explain that you just need some time to be by yourself, sometimes that’s just not enough. You’ll start being called a recluse and hermit. Or, people will even see you as snobby and think that the reason you like to be alone is because you feel like you’re better than other people. What’s worse, being an introvert also means you’re more likely to want to avoid confrontation. It may not be worth it in your mind to correct what people think about you because really, who has the time or energy to explain things that other people really don’t want to hear? In reality, not all introverts are shy, socially awkward, and nervous. Many introverts can have fulfilling social lives, they just don’t want to hang out more than once a week.
3. There’s a Weird Correlation with Mental Illness – Now, I’m going to start this point by saying that, as of right now, there’s no solid evidence that rates of mental illness are higher in introverts than they are extroverts. But there is an odd correlation. It’s no secret that people suffering from depression prefer to be alone for multiple different reasons. It’s also no secret that, when a person is depressed, forcing themselves to be around loved ones often helps ease the depression. What happens when you’re a depressed introvert, though? It’s already established that introverts are drained from being around people, so wouldn’t being around more people only exacerbate the depression? But then there’s the fact that being alone may also exacerbate depression because you’re left alone with you’re own toxic thoughts. The same idea can be applied to anxiety, as well. Introverts are much more thinkers than doers; they prefer to mull over ideas and feelings before acting on it. Anxiety is that mulling but to an extreme. Here is a pretty good article written by a psychologist that delves deeper into these correlations.
4. Harder to Thrive in Loud Areas – Dogs barking, children laughing, cars honking their horns; all are normal day-to-day sounds. They drive me up a wall. Introvert’s brains are wired different than extroverts. Introverts are much more sensitive to stimulation. Noises, lights, too much sensation in general can really set off an introvert. My computer and phone screens are always on the dimmest setting, my volume is never turned up too loud, and I try to politely tell my family to turn the TV down so I can have a little bit of quiet. I’m working on teaching my dog the ‘quiet’ command. If the environment is too bright and loud, I get incredibly uncomfortable. I never go clubbing, for this reason. I also have decided that moving to big city areas would be a bad idea because of all of the noise and light pollution (which sucks because a lot of writing and editor jobs are in those areas. Seattle, here I come, I guess). Other introverts feel the same way. They can’t go out and enjoy a concert or move to a bustling city of opportunity because their brain literally can’t handle it.
5. It Can Have an Effect on Your Physical Health – The dream life of an introvert is a small hobbit hole, miles away from society. They’re wrapped in a cozy blanket, laying on their couch and perhaps they’re reading a book or catching up on a TV show. What the dream doesn’t include is physical fitness. I don’t think many introverts dream of being apart of a spin class or sweating in front of strangers. The one physical activity that introverts have are those sweet, crisp, quiet runs either in the morning or the night. Another hit that introverts have to their physical health is the impact of stress on their bodies. We’ve talked about how noises, large crowds, and overly stimulating situations stress out an introvert as well as how common those situations are. Cortisone is the hormone released when stress is felt and has been linked to obesity and heart disease. Here is another great article that details even more health effects that can arise when someone is an introvert.
So, there you have it. The top 5 reasons why being an introvert living in an extroverted world can suck sometimes. It’s not all bad, though. Introversion and Extroversion aren’t two sides of a coin, rather they’re two opposite sides of a spectrum. It’s possible for someone to land right in the middle of that spectrum (those special people are called ambiverts). Not all introverts are the same, nor are all extroverts. Neither is right and neither is wrong. It’s literally left up to brain chemistry and what you were born as. Do you identify as an introvert? An extrovert? Are you a super special Ambivert? Let me know in the comments and lets talk about it!