“Solitude matters. For some people, it is the air that they breathe.” – Susain Cain
All individuals fall at different points along the introvert/extrovert spectrum. No one can be just one or the other. But if you’re an extrovert, please don’t shame an introvert over their lifestyle just because they’d prefer a low-key dinner with a few friends or simply be alone and read a book, instead of going out to a concert or a party. Not that all introverts avoid large social gatherings, sometimes they definitely need it, but it’s not something they prefer on a regular basis.
Susan Cain talks about how society tends to favor extroverts over introverts, and this is not just a loss for introverts, but also the world at large. Check out her TED Talk titled The Power of Introverts, it’s full of great insights. For instance, when it comes to creative endeavors, you need alone time to generate big ideas. Teamwork is crucial to any kind of success, but it’s also important for all teammates, including the extroverts, to have some alone time to think and reflect. You need to channel your inner Buddha and go into the forest and attain your version of enlightenment.
Also it’s important not to confuse introversion with shyness or social awkwardness. Introversion is a distinct term – it means that you feel most alive when you’re in a quiet environment. Most human beings require social interaction to feel human, so being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re a hermit. I’d say I fall in the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum, even though I’ve had issues with being socially awkward. Thankfully I’m working on coming out of my shell, although it’s easier to do that with some people more than others. But when I write, I need my own space to think, reflect, and create.