Updated: Jun 24, 2020
The Google definition of an extrovert is “outgoing and socially confident.” I mean, who doesn’t want to be one?
On the other hand, many of us have been taught from a young age that being quiet and reserved are negative personality traits. Even if people don’t directly say it, they say things like “Why is that girl so quiet?” or “Get out of your shell more!” making us feel like we aren’t good enough already. Although our extroverted friends tend to get the spotlight more, we introverts have so much more to offer than people think.
First, let me start off with my experiences. For the longest time, I refused to accept that I was naturally more introverted. I wanted to be like the rest of my friends, extremely talkative, and constantly thriving in social situations. Yet most of the time, I would much rather be in the presence of myself than to put on a facade and talk to other people. Being alone helped me re-energize. I thought there was something wrong with me.
On top of that, I was extremely self-conscious and anxious. I would notice myself sharing my thoughts less and less because I felt as if nobody around me cared. Every time someone asked me about myself, I would suddenly feel like my personality wasn’t good enough to be expressed. I was used to listening to other people, so being put into positions where I had to talk about my own self was extremely difficult. I enjoyed sitting back and observing.
Here are a few things I’ve learned as an introvert.
1. Step out of your comfort zone once in a while - This may feel like the scariest thing on Earth, but it is so important to do. Take baby steps. Getting out of your bubble may be going to a school event, trying out for that leadership position, or even something like FaceTiming a friend! It may seem terrifying, but sometimes you have to put those “what if’s” to the side and turn them in to “oh-well” if it doesn’t go as planned.
2. Don’t feel guilty - We’ve all done it. Ignored a FaceTime call, found an excuse not to hang out with someone, the list goes on. Don’t beat yourself up for not wanting to be social 24/7. Though I recommend not shutting yourself out completely, it’s sometimes okay to take a step back from reality and just be honest with yourself. I’m still working on this, but it can actually be better to tell people when you don’t feel like socializing rather than making up an excuse. They may turn out to be more understanding than you think!
3. Remember that you are heard - Being on the quieter side may mean that you feel invisible at times. We tend to let our emotions bottle up and hide them from others because we want to be self-reliant. Know that it is okay to reach out and ask for help - you don’t have to share yourself with the world, but having one or two people you can openly talk to really helps. Also, don’t let people take advantage of you and stand up for yourself more often :)
4. Embrace your personality - So what if I like being alone more than constantly being surrounded by people? There is nothing wrong with that. Actually, we are much more in touch with our feelings due to our introspective personalities. Introverts are also much more likely to develop lasting friendships and relationships since we pick and choose people more wisely. Not to mention we are great listeners and compassionate leaders!
Being an introvert may feel daunting at times. People create an image of you in their heads, expecting you to have a certain persona. However, once you stop limiting yourself based on what others think, you will see your inner beauty and realize how much you truly have to offer. You are unique and so much more than the stereotype!