The Myth of Introvert Weakness

Weak, shy, sheltered, spineless, head in the clouds, detached from ‘reality.’

These are the things extroverts tend to assume about someone who does not immediately compete for attention.  All such a person knows is the attention game.  Anyone not playing is of course just someone who can’t play it very well.  The extrovert sees people who can’t quite make it sleeping on park benches and assume they’ve encountered the same phenomenon when they meet an introvert.  If they can be bothered to notice, their response is a mixture of pity and disgust.

In their view:
-One who does not speak out loudly is weak
-One who does not automatically assume they are right about everything has no spine
-One who does not attend attention conventions(social events) is sheltered.
-One who puts priority on mastering their inner selves has their head in the clouds.
-One who looks to the way society could be and recognizes that change is constant is out of touch with ‘reality.’

What we have ultimately is a rather low and contemptible individual.  What we also have is a misunderstood individual.

The true introvert is in fact very strong and far more stable than the extrovert:

-There is no need to compete for validation from others by speaking loudly.
-There is the resourcefulness to consider what other views have to offer
-The ‘sheltered’ introvert builds knowledge and skills while the ‘wordly’ extrovert fritters away countless hours in idle chitchat.
-One who masters their inner self is made strong against anything that comes from without.
-One who looks to future possibilities recognizes that the present ‘reality’ is fleeting.

Extroverts readily click with their society and swim in its substance without difficulty.  It makes life a lot easier.
Life is a struggle for the introvert.  A struggle just to survive even as we watch the socialites thriving.  We learn early that life isn’t fair, that society is inherently unjust.  We expect punishment before reward.  To be left alone is usually the best that can be hoped for.
Extroverts tend to deftly blind themselves to injustice (‘that’s reality’) are rather sheltered compared to introverts.  Since there is no life for them outside of social status, they will follow any instructions given them by their authority figures.  From the introvert perspective this seems rather spineless!  Without some measure of self definition and defiance, most introverts would have been crushed long ago.

The introvert regularly deals with challenges that the extrovert simply cannot imagine.  Basic social survival can never be taken for granted, only alone or with a few friends can one’s guard be relaxed.  Life under the shimmering surface of society is not for weaklings.

Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion (and elsewhere).

The Myth of Introvert Weakness appears here by permission.

[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]

on 06/13/11 in featured, Society | 1 Comment | Read More

Comments (1)


  1. The Shytrovert says:

    Excellent point. I have always thought extroverts as weak because of their over reliance on outside validation. No one has ever validated me except for my mother, and she barely did. I played alone and developed a very rich, imaginative inner life. I never would have survived through adolescence without it.

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