4 Reasons We Still Need a World Introvert Day (Jan. 2)

For all the progress the “introvert positive” movement has made, there’s still a stigma around being a “quiet one.”

Every Jan. 2, people across the world celebrate World Introvert Day. Its purpose is to honor and validate introversion in an “extroverted” world that doesn’t always appreciate us “quiet ones.”

Some introverts also take the day to recover in peace from what is usually a busy holiday season. (Though it may look different this year, we’ll probably still have gifts to buy for people and Zoom calls with family and friends.) 

But even before the pandemic, an “introvert positive” movement has grown, especially in the last few years. Instead of people thinking there’s something wrong with them for being an introvert, they’ve embraced it and thrived doing so. In part, we can thank psychological research, blogs like this one, and books, such as Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and Jenn Granneman’s The Secret Lives of Introverts.

Yet for all the progress introverts have made, there’s still a stigma attached to being a “quiet one.” Just look at some of the false and harmful synonyms dictionaries and thesuaruses still use when defining introversion, including “narcissist, egotist, brooder, mouse, icicle,” and more. So, here’s why it’s still important to acknowledge and celebrate World Introvert Day in 2021 — and to keep standing up for introverts. 

4 Reasons We Still Need a World Introvert Day

1. WID shows the world that introversion is a superpower, from our introspective natures to being great listeners.

Aside from having a day to do whatever our introvert hearts desire — I might go for a solo walk in nature or relax with my cat on my lap — we still need World Introvert Day for the purpose of increasing awareness about introversion. 

By acknowledging it as a real holiday, we can help people spend a moment thinking about what it means to be an introvert, whether they are one themselves or know people who are.

Because, unfortunately, there’s still a stigma that exists: We haven’t reached the point as a society where it’s fully okay for introverts to just be ourselves. For instance, we need time to be alone to regroup and get reenergized, which is a hard concept for others (who don’t need this) to grasp.

So to help people understand us introverts better, we need to remind them of all the wonderful qualities we have: We’re good listeners, have great focus, and often notice details others miss. (Here are some more reasons to celebrate introverts on Jan. 2 — and really, any other day of the year!).

World Introvert Day is also a great day to (quietly) share images, messages, or articles about introversion on your social media accounts, put on your favorite introvert-themed t-shirt, or sip from your best introvert coffee mug. (For some inspiration, check out the World Introvert Day collection on the Introvert, Dear store; your purchase supports this community.) 

2. WID reminds others that spending time alone is not a bad thing. It’s not just something introverts want, it’s what we need.

Whether it’s plans for a Saturday night, the way we work best, or the living situation we choose, people don’t always understand introverts’ desire to be alone. There are still negative associations around wanting to be alone — from other people, not us — though the truth is, we don’t just want to be alone, we need to be alone. 

My last birthday wasn’t typical (because of the Covid-19 pandemic), but I was able to take a socially distant solo trip to the art museum that day, and I loved it. And in the evening, I spent time with just my husband. I’d love for others (I’m talking to you, extroverted friends and family) to acknowledge that spending time alone is perfectly okay.

We need this alone time to recharge and thrive, a characteristic that’s fundamental to being an introvert. To us, being alone is neither boring nor difficult. It gives us life and enables us to be our best selves, once our social batteries have been recharged.

And there are even scientific reasons we introverts love being alone. The neurotransmitter dopamine, the “feel good” chemical in our brains, helps control our reward centers. In her book, The Introvert Advantage, Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., explains that introverts are more sensitive to dopamine than extroverts. So while all the socializing at a party energizes extroverts, it drains introverts.

On that note, imagine that someone asks you what you are doing for your birthday. You tell them you really just want to stay home — alone. Unless they really “get” you, they might feel sorry for you and wonder why you wouldn’t want to spend it with other people. Little do they realize that for many introverts, the best birthday gift we can give ourselves is spending time alone.

3. WID reminds extroverts that we communicate differently — like writing and texting vs. Zooms and phone calls — and that’s perfectly OK.

I don’t see Zoom meetings disappearing any time soon when it comes to remote work, which so many of us are doing these days. However, I would love if society knew how much we introverts prefer written communication instead — can’t we just email, Slack, or text you?

World Introvert Day is a perfect time to make people more aware of this, to recognize and affirm our communication needs. In fact, getting a “Happy World Introvert Day!” text from a friend would be ideal (versus them spontaneously calling or FaceTiming me). 

While some introverts deal with phone calls better than others, talking on the phone goes against our nature, and most of us loathe it. We actually love having genuine conversations with someone. But exactly because of that, we don’t like small talk and prefer more meaningful, in-depth conversations. 

So before you use your favorite communication to contact me, please keep in mind that my favorite communication method may be different. 

4. WID shows the world a simpler and calmer way of living life — the introvert’s way.

When I was in high school, I remember hanging out with a couple of friends after school one day. We were talking about the future, and somehow it came up that my friend might like to be an actor. 

For me, though, I remember saying being a movie star would be my worst nightmare. On personality assessments, I tested as an introvert even then, and most of us don’t like being in the spotlight, whether it’s at work or on our wedding day.

When my introvert husband and I planned our wedding, for example, we realized from the beginning we wanted it to be small. We chose to have a “micro-wedding” before I even knew it was called that. We did it because a simpler, more intimate event felt right for us. 

But later I heard from acquaintances who saw the pictures and were concerned for me that I didn’t have more people there. What they didn’t understand, though, was that we had a perfect day, of which we still have fond memories.

I think World Introvert Day is a perfect time to show the world a different way of doing things — a calmer, smaller, more meaningful approach — in other words, the introvert’s way. While extroverts may love energy and excitement, on WID, introverts can teach them the value of slowing down and enjoying “the little things” that create a truly meaningful life.

So this Jan. 2, be sure to celebrate World Introvert Day! Mostly, acknowledge your introvert self knowing that introverts across the world will be celebrating with you, but apart (from the comfort of their homes, of course).

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