Are Introverts at a Disadvantage?


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We live in a world where extroverts are everywhere. Or at least it seems that way. There are many characteristics of extroverts that are aligned with the characteristics of successful people such as CEO's and celebrities. In short extroverts are people that are outgoing and energized people. There are many people who think that these are important features to have to stand out and be successful. I think one of the reasons this is the trend is that extroverts are more easily seen. Since they are more outgoing, they will show any thought they have with enthusiasm and great energy which will lead to more people noticing them. 

There is a negative connotation with being an introvert. "Quiet" is the best way to describe an introvert in one word. But that doesn't do them justice. To many people, being quiet is seen as a bad thing. People won't want to be your friend because they assume your shy. Companies won't hire you because they assume you can't communicate "effectively". As an introvert, I would disagree with almost any assumption of an introvert. Amy Lord explains quietness best, "to me, describing someone as 'quiet' is like saying they are tall; it doesn't give you the full picture. I can be softly spoken, reserved and introverted, but I am not shy, stupid or lacking in communication skills, I'm just careful of what I say and when I say it." This is a perfect explanation of why introverts are seen as quiet. Introverts always have a reason for their silence. This list has some very interesting reasons why some introverts are quiet and not shy.

So are introverts at a disadvantage to extroverts? I think the answer mostly depends on the situation and the person. For example, if an introvert goes in for a job interview, they have to communicate to the company that they are intelligent and diligent. Just because one doesn't come off as enthusiastic, it doesn't necessarily mean they're not interested. One great advantage that introverts have is that they are good listeners. This is an underrated characteristic to have because when you listen, you have a better chance of understanding. While introverts are being quiet, there is a lot going on behind the scene. While listening they could be showing consideration, contemplating, preparing, showing restraint, or just being stoic. 

While all of that plays in favor of introverts, it doesn't mean that extroverts are at any disadvantage. I would argue that if there were an advantage to either group, it would be towards extroverts. I believe this because since they are friendly and outgoing, more people are attracted to them. This gives them more of a chance to get noticed, be in a position of leadership, and just being liked better. 

In conclusion, I don't believe that introverts are a disadvantage to extroverts. If there is a shortcoming to being introverted, its very minimal. I don't think that it is better or worse to be either. I think it's a matter of being comfortable and happy with yourself and how you're perceived. I arrived at most of these opinions by reading about half of the book  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It's a very interesting book that gives you a different perspective on introverts and their somewhat negative image.

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It is hard to deny that extroverts seem to have a strong foothold in the successful positions in today's society. I was curious to see how many recognizable figures identify themselves as introverts, and I found this list. There are some very surprising and prominent people on that list, and that’s only 16 of them. Other famous introverts include Michael Jordan, David Letterman, and Harrison Ford, to name a few. I do wonder about how accurate these are, however. What are the attributes that make someone an introvert? The article states that it is a list of famous icons who identified themselves as having introverted tendencies, but does that automatically make them an introvert? I only bring it up because looking at the list, there are a number of people whose occupation seems like they would be required to be extroverted to some degree. Actors, sports stars, famous politicians, all of these seem like jobs that require you to at least have a great degree of interpersonal enthusiasm. I suppose it is entirely possible to have someone like an actor or singer who brings a lot of gusto and energy to their performances, but in his or her downtime they like to be alone. It is just interesting to think about how we define people as black and white, when clearly everyone is some shade of gray.

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