I gifted a book called ‘Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’ to someone recently. Gifting such book is like poking inside a Socket with a Tester Screwdriver. The only problem being is not that you don’t know that there is an electric current there. Rather it is that you don’t have much confidence in the insulation of the screwdriver itself. Another analogy is that when you try interacting with introverts, it might be like asking directions from a person who’s wearing headphones. The headphones might be a signal for You but you are not getting it. It is understandable for me because, surprise, I am an introvert myself here. Gifting such a book might be counter-productive. However, I had gifted the book thinking that there might be some tricks and tips in it which might improve productivity.
But being an Introvert myself, I know how weird small talk is. Looking at the watch, asking about the weather outside, diverting the topic to mundane-most things, is actually my forte. I liked working alone, in a quiet cozy corner, without any distractions and disturbance. But over time, I realized that I am not anti-social. A bit of banter, chirpiness, and a few people around doesn’t really hurt. More so, in the last few months, I actually miss all that the most.
In the last few years, I have worked extensively hard to be an Extrovert. I deliberately took up things that required me to go out, speak in public, manage events with complete strangers, and discuss interesting as well as uninteresting ideas with a group. It required me to do things an Introvert would have never done. For example, calling people and asking for a favor from them. Being an extrovert is sometimes taxing, but there were many moments and experiences I would’ve missed if I had decided to stay back at home. By not speaking up, or hesitating in expressing costs a lot in the short and long run equally.
Then I stumbled upon the word ‘Ambivert’. A person who likes to spend time with others as well as in solitude. But that is everyone else too! Anyone who wants to learn and grow has to have the experience of both worlds. Being an introvert, you can do a lot. By being an extrovert, you can do a lot more. Introverts who aren’t doing anything creative, or making or discovering something, but just preferring to stay quiet and alone, are just being arrogant (and they might be perceived that way too). Extroverts, who cannot stay home and always want to go out and be the life of the parties, also need to know the concept of private spaces.
So, after being an Introvert for majority of my life, and tasting what it feels (and requires) to be an extrovert, I am going to say this:
If you consider yourself as an Introvert, and if you are proud of it, you have already lost the game. By not expressing, you are losing a chance to be heard. Extroverts are too many in numbers and too loud in decibels. Their collective voices make the world deaf and hurt your confidence. They’re a mob. You can be an introvert and but learning to express yourself in some manner would help. Being silent and alone will not take you anywhere. Being silent and alone with a mobile phone is even worse. Using the solace to make something worth is what can save you or make you.
The trick is to still remain an introvert but act like an extrovert. If it is not Agoraphobia, you are fine!