By Sarah Gallegos
Introverts often get disturbingly misinterpreted. An introvert’s favorite thing to do is to simply stay quiet and listen to the world around him or her. Unfortunately this does not sit well with most people since we are bred in a culture that believes one must always be talking or adding to a conversation in order to be social or intelligent. It seems that in today’s society we believe that the person who is the best talker is somehow more valuable than the person who is more comfortable listening rather than talking.
From the moment we enter school as children a strong emphasis is placed on us to make friends, talk, constantly talk and talk and talk. But what about those children that don’t want to talk all of the time? Who don’t want to socialize constantly? Who enjoy spending time by themselves? Who enjoy being quiet? Well at the teacher parent conference the parents of this introverted child are informed by the teacher… “Your child is such an excellent student but the only problem is he or she is just so quiet and doesn’t seem to socialize enough with the other children.”
Oh what pain the child must be in!
Actually this is not the case at all. This is just who the child is: quiet and a thinker. This is his or her nature. However the child didn’t view this as abnormal or different behavior that needed to be changed; until the teacher determined that this was a problem. Acknowledging this as a “problem” makes the child feel isolated and horrible for being who they are. They determine their gentle and reserved spirit to be a flaw of themselves. As the child grows this feeling persist and grows larger with every conversation they cannot start and every amount of small talk they pretend to be interested in (but cannot fathom why anyone would enjoy this on a daily basis).
This child along with others just like him or her will be called awkward, shy, a loner, antisocial and be thought of as unintelligent at times just based off of their lack of speaking and quiet demeanor. While some will spend a majority of their lives believing that they are the outcast of society, since that’s what we have made introverts out to be, and that they need to be fixed in some way.
Fortunately, others will come to that beautiful feeling of realizing that they are perfect the way they are and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. Which is exactly what all introverts as well as society and our culture need to realize.
Introverts can be viewed as snobbish or unhappy because they don’t usually express their emotions in a visible manner for all to see. What most fail to understand though is that introverts are passionate and genuine people. Introverts are very good listeners and in a society where everyone has an opinion it is refreshing to experience someone with a completely open ear as well as heart. Introverts also love to think and imagine and create so why don’t we let them work alone instead of always forcing a group project. We should encourage schools to assign less group work in order to teach children how to figure out problems independently and allow them to explore the depths of their own minds.
In today’s world being an extravert as well as having a strong voice is respected and valued because we believe that the louder you are the more you are listened to. Society has created this wild expectation that everyone needs to be loud and outgoing when in actuality this is a standard that not everyone can, or should reach if they have to pretend to be someone they are not comfortable with. It is imperative that we let the introvert embrace who they are without the fear of being told their personality does not fit or work in this society. I believe that we need to let the introvert’s voice be heard no matter how quiet it is.