Does Society Cater to Extroverts?

We’ve all seen those posts on Instagram, “5 Ways to be More Outgoing!” or “10 Tips on How to be More Social!” But what if I don’t want to be more social, or party every weekend? What if I’m comfortable with just a few close friends? 

As a self-proclaimed “introvert” I’ve thought all of these things to myself when reading various social media posts telling me how to be more likeable. Why is it that people of a quiet nature are so quick to be condemned for their behaviour when someone who loves to talk is praised for doing just that? I’ve especially noticed this around the older generation of people I have in my life. Since I was a child it’s been ingrained in me that it’s rude not to say hello to this person and I’ll get in trouble if I don’t hug great aunt Mary. Even now as a 19-year-old woman I find myself being clocked as rude or moody when I don’t initiate conversations in new groups of people or if I turn down an invitation in exchange for some me-time. 

I wanted to figure out if other people felt similarly, so I posted a Google Form to a few of my social media accounts.  Although the response selection was small and consisting of mostly women my age, I found that 90 percent of responses agreed with me.  

Elyssa Sherwood, a student at Brock University described how social media posts she’s seen are displaying introverted traits as undesirable.

“I've seen stuff that condescendingly explains that if introverts "get out of their bubble" or "form better habits" then they'll become more extroverted and it's essentially choice making that makes someone introverted or extroverted, and that's not really the case,” said Sherwood. 

Overwhelmingly, almost all responses described how extroverted traits like partying and socializing are praised while introverted habits like enjoying time alone and keeping to oneself are judged.

Kennedy Byron, a student here at Ryerson described how extroverts are usually recognized for their achievements while introverts seem to fall through the cracks. 

“The world likes people who are extroverted, extroverts are always in charge and have big places in the workplace,” said Byron. 

I was glad to see that I’m not alone in my feelings but also upset that so many people understand the feelings of disapproval from friends and peers. I think that overall it’s extremely important for us to recognize the strengths that come with introversion that are unique and useful, rather than simply brushing them off as antisocial or standoffish. 

It is deeply fixed in society that louder, brighter, and more assertive is better. This comes from many years of what I believe is societal acceptance of toxic masculinity. 

Remember that extroversion by definition is “the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self” not being loud or talking over everyone at a party. The idea that in order to be successful one must possess these traits, usually attributed to hypermasculine men in power, is antiquated. 

While being extroverted isn’t a negative thing in the slightest, I think often the traits of an extroverted personality can be misconstrued and a power-dynamic is created that puts introverts at a disadvantage in social situations and the workplace.  So instead of using the labels of extrovert and introvert to make people feel bad about themselves for not possessing very specific personality traits, we should work to recognize the advantages of both.