Updated: Aug 17, 2020
As I was browsing my Google News feed, I stumbled upon an interesting article titled "Can we please stop treating extroversion as the default and introversion as a defect?" on which I clicked almost immediately. This truly is a question that I have never really thought of before - only once did I wonder why I was born an introvert, and for years I thought I was the problem - the "defect" in society.
I've always noticed the ill-treatment of society toward introverts and extroverts. Society views extroversion as the default setting for human beings and introversion as a deviation from the norm.
Parents encourage their children to be more social and sharing, and seek help by all means available - whether it be on Google or "Parenting 101" groups on Facebook - to save their child from the illness of quiet and disease of incessant silence. Oftentimes they misinterpret their child's behavior; no friends, no social life, no school participation, and hates going out to social events - therefore the child must be sick. And so they seek help for depression.
.Despite the fact that these symptoms may be symptoms for teen depression, it usually happens suddenly and with a noticeable change of the child's behavior. A complete reversal from being socially active to a total shutdown. Here, you might want to consider solving a "problem" with your child.
As for those who exhibit these symptoms from an early age, which do not change over the course of their life, they are called introverts, and their dissimilar peers, the extroverts. The former are those people you can find in the corners of the room, who do not speak unless spoken to and share not their feelings with anyone. They are always alert of everything and everyone in their space, as though they master paying attention. They prefer solitude over the company, and the best thing that can happen to one is if a social event they were invited to is suddenly canceled. The latter, however, thrive in a social environment where they can share their feelings and opinions. They speak whenever they get the chance, with loud confident voices, and can casually step onto the stage and give a spontaneous speech.
In the West, introverts and extroverts are treated differently - not necessarily negative. But that is not just in the West. In every society in the world, there is a similar case of differentiating between the two types of people. In the West, however, there is a lot of research involved in studying the two types, whereas in the Arab society in general, I could not find any interest whatsoever in the Psychology and Sociology fields online. Thus the importance of the parallel existence of these types is not nurtured. Or even worse, avoided. This is why people who are normally introverts are mostly diagnosed with low self-esteem or shy.
According to Western studies, 75% of American society is extroverted. Research suggests that 60% of gifted children are in fact introverts, despite the fact that extroverts take up most of the managerial roles in work and the leadership personas in schools. According to studies (which are all listed below, by the way), introverts excel in creative thinking.
There is no seen difference between the two in the levels of basic knowledge (e.g. language, math), but we should pay attention to how the different minds process information and to think:
One key study conducted at the University of North Georgia shows that extroverts excel in "procedural knowledge exams" such as converting Celsius to Fahrenheit. Introverts, however, do better in IQ tests, due to their ability of "taking time" to think about problems.
American studies suggest that introverts make better leaders in managerial roles, despite the empirical excellence of the extroverts in short-term memories.
Our society (mind you, societies) appreciates and rewards extroverts. Work bosses and "leaders" prefer extroverted employees over introverted ones. The latter are treated as foreign and incompatible with the needs of the world (i.e. they cannot socially contribute). They treat solitude as a dangerous disease that needs to be cured, whereas extroversion is the pinnacle of social health.
In her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain raises a great point: “Extroverts are routinely chosen for leadership positions and introverts are looked over, even though introverts often deliver better outcomes,” Cain says. “They’re not perceived as leadership material.”
In response to an article published in the Oprah Magazine on Twitter, unsurprisingly entitled "Introvert? Here's How to be More Social," @tomandlorenzo tweeted:
The end of the introverts' struggle does not seem to be near, but we should never lose hope.
Sources and Related Stuff: