“Why did it take you so long to text me back?” “Why don’t you want to go to the party?” “Why are you so quiet?” These are questions that teenagers who don’t socialize readily or who limit their interactions with others may often hear. These teens may be introverts; they prefer the inner world of their own minds to the outer world of sociability and constant stimulation—the world in which extroverts are comfortable.
Psychologists are analyzing the difficulties that American society presents to introverts, who may feel like misfits in their own culture. Our society tends to demean introversion while reinforcing extroversion. Electronic media bombard Americans with sound bites, loud 15-second commercials, and instant messages—a barrage that introverts find jarring. In addition, Americans are encouraged to be team players, be aggressive, and make quick decisions. These pressures can cause deep stress in introverts, who do best when they work alone and consider each move carefully.
In a recent Psychology Today article, psychologist Laurie Helgoe describes how introversion clashes with the culture of many workplaces. If brainstorming sessions are common at one’s office, the introvert may hold back and carefully weigh an idea’s merits before blurting out a suggestion. That way of working may be seen as passive or unimaginative, or the worker may be labeled as boring or even unintelligent. Introverts may have a hard time getting ahead in the business world, unless they learn how to use their strengths of reflection and concentration to their benefit. Some introverts have obviously learned those lessons. In one study, four out of ten top executives tested as introverts.
- Revenge of the Introvert
This article by Laurie Helgoe describes the difficulties that introverts often face in American society.
(Source: Psychology Today, September 1, 2010)
- The Human Mind: Personality
This brief article provides background on the extroversion/introversion spectrum.
(Source: BBCi, The Open University, accessed October 31, 2010)
- Psychological (“Personality”) Types: Extroverts vs. Introverts
This Web page compares extroverts and introverts, giving the qualities of each—as well as other personality “polarities”: sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, perceiving vs. judging.
(Source: www.socionics.com; accessed October 31, 2010)
- Not All Successful CEOs Are Extroverts
This 2006 article profiled top-performing CEOs who credit their success to inner strength and the ability to think before they act—characteristics usually more associated with introversion.
(Source: USA Today, June 7, 2006)