It’s easy for me to become jaded in a world where things frequently go wrong and cynicism reigns. Forgetting about all the good I have can become second-nature. Thankfully, the holiday season can be a time of reorientation, a time to remember all of my blessings.
One of those blessings is being an introvert. There are positives to every temperament, but some are not given the same praise. We introverts notoriously receive grief from the people in our lives, as well as society as a whole, for living a lifestyle that may not be the norm. But introverts have many things to be thankful for.
Whether you’re an introvert yourself or you love someone who’s a part of our group (we are about half the population, so you have a pretty good chance of knowing one of us), here are six reasons to appreciate introverts.
1. We foster deep relationships.
I often find myself worrying that my lack of skill in the small talk department will leave others feeling like I’m a burden to be carried through the conversation. But if you start asking me about things beyond my opinions on the weather or how my lunch was, you’ll quickly see that I have a lot to say. I’m not stumbling over my words as much as I was before. When I’m discussing things that engage my mind and allow me to learn something genuine about my conversation partner, I flourish.
Because in all honesty, I’d rather get to know one person in deep confidence than one hundred people at the surface level.
And that’s something to be thankful for. Introverts excel at cultivating intimacy, because we tend to have small social circles and a propensity for meaningful conversation. This isn’t true just for introverts, of course. Many extroverts enjoy thoughtful conversations and intimate connections, too. But as introverts, deep conversation is natural to us.
2. We don’t need a lot of managing.
In the workplace or at school, introverts don’t usually need as much attention as their extroverted counterparts. Attention is not typically a good incentive for them to succeed. Many introverts are internally motivated by things like their own drive, personal factors (like spirituality or their family), or, if they’re lucky enough to like their job or studies, passion for what they’re learning and doing.
A lot of my introverted friends are some of the most motivated and ambitious people I know. At college, your parents aren’t around to see if you’re doing your homework, and your professors expect you to advocate for yourself if there’s a problem. But something I’ve noticed with these friends is that the academic transition from their lives in high school to now is that the majority of them are thriving without someone having to look over their shoulder and check their work.
3. We dream big.
If you’ve read anything pertaining to introverts, you’ve probably come across the phrase “rich inner worlds.” That’s because introverts know how to daydream. There’s never a dull moment in our heads, and having such entertainment at the flip of a mental switch can sometimes makes us a little… well, spacey.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Growing up, a literary heroine of mine was Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. (Yup, I was that kid. Still kind of am, to be honest.) Sure, she was different. Sure, not everyone was her biggest fan. But she was authentically herself, and she had a grand old time doing her thing, which often involved exploring her extensive imagination.
Don’t be afraid to dream like your introverted nature might be calling you to do. But don’t be afraid to live those dreams, too.
4. We savor life.
Whether it’s at museums, while eating a meal with a good friend, or in our romantic relationships, introverts like to slow down and take things at their own pace. The world we live in has become increasingly fast-paced and difficult to navigate for people who take their time processing and experiencing. However, this supposed weakness should be seen as a blessing in disguise. We take things in. We comprehend. We savor.
5. We’re incredibly observant.
Introverts do a lot of listening. For most of us, it’s second nature to pick up on the details: Whether that’s noticing a change in intonation that might signal alternate meanings to someone’s words or knowing something’s up when someone won’t quite meet our eyes, we notice. Introverts have trained their eyes and ears to sense the things that other people might skip over or ignore.
Next time you see your neighborhood introvert standing with a silent smile on their face, try asking them what they’re observing. They’ll likely be more than happy to share their newest revelation with an eager pair of ears.
6. We know who we are.
Introverts spend a large sum of their time with themselves for company, which gives them ample opportunity to get to know themselves. We all have our idiosyncrasies, but introverts may be more familiar—and perhaps even more comfortable—with their own. Find what makes you different and celebrate it.
Introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts all have their strengths. Use your temperament’s gifts to the best of your ability, because no matter who you are, you’re needed.
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