Be an Extrovert, Even if You’re Shy
In an extroverted world, being an introvert can be difficult. This is because from a young age we discover that the world is set up for the extrovert. In school we are expected to work in groups, at work we are expected to perform on teams, and in social settings those who are not outgoing are either seen as stuck-up or shy. Research suggests that the introvert is less happy in a world built for extroverts. However, there are things you can do to fit in without losing your need for reservation and observation.
The first bit of advice is to realize that introverts and extroverts are not two separate groups, as much as they are individuals who each have different ways in which they prefer to spend their time. While the true extrovert needs constant stimulation from outside forces, the true introvert will prefer spending their time in a low-key environment where they can enjoy self-reflection. The majority of us are what would be considered an ambivert, which is somewhere in between the two extremes.
Respect Your Inner Introvert
A true ambivert enjoys social interaction, but has a limit where they begin to feel over-stimulated. One of the most important tips on this list is to respect these feelings and give yourself time alone whenever you need it. Research suggests that a good portion of creativity is derived during these moments of down time. While an extrovert may become depressed with too much self-reflection, the introvert will experience the same thing without getting enough of it.
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In the introduction I mentioned that studies suggest extroverts are happier than introverts. In truth, it is more likely that each type is happy in different ways. What does seem even more likely is that any introvert can gain some happiness by acting like an extrovert to counter any lack of social experiences. Everybody likes a person who is interesting and curious about the people around them, and since the introvert is more reserved, they sometimes avoid the opportunity to connect with others. By faking it, the introvert can experience the social networks we all crave. It is a fallacy to think that just because you’re an introvert, it is your destiny to be shy and your preference to spend your time secluded from others.
It is a shame that more introverts don’t share themselves with groups, as they have a lot of great things to say. Another theory for why acting more like an extrovert can make an introvert happier, is that all introverts have the need to express themselves, and by forcing themselves into social situations, they will feel more satisfaction as a result. Look at such introverts as Mahatma Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt. One of the common links between these great leaders is that they forced themselves to share an important part of themselves with the world. They felt that what they had to share with the world was important enough to put aside their introversion and the world has become a better place because of it.
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Introverts and Extroverts Pair Well
Without introverts and extroverts working together, great things would rarely get accomplished. Introverts are good at coming up with solutions and extroverts are good at getting these solutions out to the masses. However, either type can find success doing what each other supposedly does well, as we all have the capacity to adapt and succeed when motivated.
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Interestingly enough, extroverts do not always have the great social networks that introverts assume they do. In fact, many of their contacts are superficial and low-quality, and if you were to count the true friends each type had, it would come out fairly equal. In truth, no matter which group you identify with you probably could learn a lot by exploring the other side of the spectrum. There is a great satisfaction that comes from sharing your life with others, and at the same time, there is a great deal more to learn about yourself when you allow solitude to create spiritual revelation.