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The curse of being an introvert - Part 2
It has been 6 months since I wrote on The curse of being an introvert. The response to it has been an unexpected one. Out of all my posts, this has been the most recommended one and brought in lots of responses.
Apart from my friends and colleagues, People from different part of the world wrote to me sharing their experiences. One reader wrote to me saying that companies talk about diversity among employees with respect to gender, race etc but not on personality and how they fit in. Another reader shared her experience on how it is to live with an introverted husband and mistakes on her part to make him extroverted. Another reader told me that he is introverted and it’s nice of someone to come out and write like this. I was extremely pleased to have done my bit in the overall scheme of things to help people struggling with stigma on being an introvert.
Why it is important for this movement to grow beyond a TED video.
Most of the responses gave pointers to watch Susan Cain’s talk on The power of introverts and read her book — Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It is amazing and at the same time, more disturbing that there hardly are any reference that introverts can lean upon except Susan Cain’s work. She has done a tremendous job by taking this topic mainstream and working on it still. She should be given all credits for it. But it is not enough and too big problem for one person.
More people should come out and share their experiences. This will greatly help people who are shy and depressed about being an introvert. This will educate people and companies that judge people on their personality. This will enable an amicable relationship between an introverted and extroverted partners and save many marriages. Children will have a happy childhood rather than being bullied all through school.
An appalling experience — Introversion among children
Recently my wife shared a conversation that she was part while undergoing a training course. The educator was explaining various things on how to bring up children. Educator went on to say that it is prerogative of parents and teachers to bring up children to be extrovert. Otherwise, they will become an introvert. That educator made further comments that being an introvert is a bad thing to be and akin to failure.
This is appalling at many levels. First, the role of schools and teachers is to facilitate (and not to dictate and condition) children and bring out best in them. Second, they have to make the children feel that they fit in. Third, they have to understand that each kid is different and help them achieve optimal performance.
If schools start churning out all as extrovert students, then it is nothing but a conditioning camp.
Introversion is not a disease
Introversion is not a disease. It is not a problem to be dealt with. It is a state of being much like extroversion. An introverted person is not antisocial. I am not sure why people have issues with someone who just wants to stay home and do things that invigorates them. Also, an introvert person never asks an extroverted person “Why are you like this?”
The concept of happiness differs from person to person. I might be happy spending a Saturday night by devouring a book. Your happiness might be going to a party. It becomes a problem when people start forcing their idea of happiness on others. They go to extend where they start conditioning an introverted person to make them as an extroverted person or they completely ignore an introverted person.
State of introversion in companies
When it comes to appraisal, in most of the companies, an introvert would be handed a subpar rating. Also in this age of open plan offices, much thought is not given to accommodate introverts. Extroverts find it easy to rise up the ranks and notching up several awards. But introverts mostly miss out. They should be given enough opportunities to excel and be considered on par with extroverts. Managers should show empathy and help introverts in executing their job.
I would encourage introverted people to come out, share experiences and help others who are suffering from stigma and depression. Also, we should stand up for fellow introverts when injustice is meted out to them.
I would love to hear from readers on what they think on this.