Looking into the challenges faced by the reticent in a culture dominated by those who are more socially inclined
They are everywhere, in your schools, work and cafes, finding ways to avoid social interaction. (Just kidding). Not to be mistaken as ‘antisocial’ or ‘loners’, introverts are essentially those who draw energy from time spent alone. It does not mean they cannot be social and gregarious entirely, but rather receive social stimulation in smaller doses. However, in a world driven by networking, social media and general outgoing behaviour, introverts face a few challenges when dealing with everyday life.
Simply the bane of an introvert’s existence. Nothing is more energy sapping than small talk, the reason being that it has no real purpose or direction. It is used as a filler in order to avoid the dreaded peacefulness of silence. To some, silence is uncomfortable whilst to an introvert silence is golden. Introverts tend to be deep thinkers and therefore lost in their thoughts for the most part. Conversations which draw them out of this would hopefully be more substantial than finding out how many dogs the cashier at Tesco’s has. This does not come from a place of snobbery or rudeness, but rather from a craving for authentic interaction. In an introvert’s world, silence is beautiful not awkward.
A party is essentially a large talking shop, where amazing things can happen. Friendships begin, new love is found, memories are created for a lifetime. During all of this you will probably find an introvert wall hugging; observing the scenes happening before them. They are likely to leave early. It may look like they are not having any fun or being ‘boring,’ however; the fact that they are there (if it be by their own free will) means they’re are fine. Large gatherings can prove to be very draining for those who are used to spending time in twos or threes. It is not so much that they are anti-social, but perhaps selectively social.
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The feeling of being ‘out of place’
It is no secret that everyone has varying personalities, for introverts finding the right people to gel with can be a struggle. In a world where everyone appears to be up for a chat, mostly made up of gossip and embellishments, introverts tend to have a hard time with finding likeminded counterparts. Though when they do find the right kind, they have the ability create strong bonds and create very fulfilling relationships. Introverts can be extremely creative, empathetic, loving and generous. Again, this can be seen as a huge generalization as everyone has varying personalities. Therefore, I challenge you to test this claim the next time that quiet guy or girl you always see crosses your path. You may have met your new best friend.
All in all, personality traits are a spectrum and not definitively one thing or the other. So, a person could largely be introverted but still have extrovert tendencies and vice versa. This goes to show that we live in a complex yet interesting world as human beings. Understanding our own behavioural patterns is a good way of further understanding each other, thus coming to a place of acceptance. Acceptance is arguably one of the most significant concepts as it allows us to harmonise our values and culture though we are different.
By: Temi Adedeji
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