12 Reasons to Celebrate Introverts on World Introvert Day

World Introvert Day is every January 2.

World Introvert Day was first celebrated in 2011, according to Days of the Year. It’s no coincidence it falls immediately after New Year’s Day; the idea is that introverts take time to recharge after the busy holiday season. No more forced socializing and uncomfortable small talk in the name of being festive — hurray! World Introvert Day is all about resting and relaxing.

It’s also a day to bring awareness to what it means to be an introvert — and show that being an introvert is something awesome, not shameful. So, let’s celebrate “quiet ones” today, and really, every day of the year. As I explain in my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts, here are 12 reasons to celebrate introverts.

Why We Should Celebrate Introverts

1. Introverts really know their stuff.

I have an introverted friend who is basically a walking encyclopedia of Celtic myth. For example, if you ask him about the hero Cú Chulainn, he can not only tell you how he died, but also what kind of chariot he drove around in. Listening to him talk, I’ve found myself thinking, “Wow, he really knows his stuff!”

That’s because many introverts love learning and adding to their vast stores of specialty knowledge. It’s no surprise they often become experts in their field.

2. Introverts are problem-solvers and idea-generators.

Introverts tend to gravitate toward working alone. Rather than chatting in the break room, we’re often the ones sitting at our desks, quietly turning ideas over and over in our minds. And there’s a big benefit to this. When you’re with other people, your brain is forced to multitask. Even if you’re not actually talking with someone, part of your attention is occupied just by their mere presence, research suggests.

When you’re alone, you can clear your mind and focus your thoughts. All this deep, concentrated thinking can lead to novel solutions and brilliant ideas. Working alone can even lead to more ideas. “Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas,” according to psychologist Keith Sawyer.

So forget the brainstorming group. Take a cue from introverts and spend some time in solitude.

3. Give up? Not yet.

Speaking of problem solving, introverts tend to stick with problems longer — well past when everyone else has moved on to another topic or gone home for the day. Albert Einstein, the world-renowned physicist who developed the theory of relativity, was probably an introvert. He once said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

4. Introverts probably make better team players than extroverts over the long run.

Corinne Bendersky and her colleagues found that while extroverts make great first impressions, they may disappoint us over time when they’re a part of a team. Their “value and reputation at work diminish over time,” explains Bendersky. “On a team, you’re expected to work hard and contribute a lot. But they’re often poor listeners, and they don’t collaborate.”

Ouch.

Introverts, on the other hand, may work harder on a team because they are conscientious; they don’t want to be seen as not pulling their weight. So while companies may initially be attracted to extroverts, bosses should remember that introverts pack a powerful (yet understated) punch.

5. Introverts bring incredible depth and intimacy to their relationships.

We “quiet ones” have a penchant for quality, one-on-one time and deep conversation. Instead of talking about the weather or what you did this weekend, we want to peer into your inner world. What have you learned lately? How are your ideas evolving? How are you really? When you have an introvert in your life, you may experience connection and emotional intimacy like never before.

6. Introverts know the power of words.

In general, we listen more than we talk and think before we speak. We choose our words carefully because we know that once said, words can’t be retracted or easily forgotten, if at all.

7. Introverts are low maintenance.

You can leave an introvert alone for hours (or days!) at a time, and we’ll be content doing our own thing. No need to constantly text us, check on us, or “babysit” us.

Although there are always exceptions, introverts tend to be self-starters, and many of us are capable of working quietly and steadily on things. In fact, you’ll probably only hear from us if we have a problem we can’t fix (believe me, we’ve tried solving it a dozen times already before coming to you). Likewise, we don’t need constant praise, gold stickers, and shoutouts in the company newsletter (although sure, those things are nice). If we’re working hard, we’re likely drawing motivation from within.

8. Introverts are the calm in the center of the storm.

Often reserved and self-contained, introverts exude calm. This doesn’t mean we always feel calm — we may only appear that way! For example, when everyone is losing their heads over the company’s latest policy change, introverts may be freaking out internally while at the same time creating an action plan (quietly). The introvert’s outwardly methodical, measured way of dealing with issues can benefit everyone.

9. Introverts “get” you.

Perhaps counterintuitively, solitude can actually make you more connected to others. That’s because spending time alone (which introverts love to do) may help us develop more empathy, especially for people outside our social group, research suggests. The researchers believe this is due to the fact that being alone often involves reflecting on our actions, beliefs, and experiences.

10. Introverts look before they leap.

Compared to extroverts, introverts prefer a slower, simpler pace of life. We hate rushing into things; whenever possible, we like to consider all potential outcomes before making a decision. This applies to our jobs as well as our personal lives and relationships.

For example, one study found that extroverts may jump into a new relationship more quickly than introverts. An Katrien Sodermans and her colleagues found that divorced extroverts were more likely than divorced introverts to quickly remarry. Although not always the case, sometimes hastily made decisions (like committing to a new relationship before you’ve fully healed from the last one) later bring regret.

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11. Introverts create worlds in their heads — and help create the world we live in.

Introverts are artists, actors, musicians, entertainers, and writers, among many other things. Famous creative introverts include J.K. Rowling (only someone with a rich inner world could create Hogwarts!) and Lady Gaga (she’s quoted as saying, “I generally really keep to myself and I am focused on my music.”). David Bowie is also thought to have been an introvert; experts believe he coped with his anxiety and introverted nature by developing various stage personas. Even the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley, was described by his friends as a “loner” and “introverted.”

There are many famous creative introverts, too many to name in this article! So here are just a few more: Shonda Rhimes, David Letterman, Harrison Ford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elton John, Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks… the list could go on and on.

12. Who runs the world? Introverts.

When we think of leadership, especially in the corporate world, we think bold, overconfident, and brash. But there’s a different kind of leader emerging — the quiet one. These days, about 40 percent of executives describe themselves as introverts, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

Gates believes that introverts can make great leaders because they know the value of being alone and focusing deeply. Speaking at an engagement in 2013, he said: I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area.”

Other introverted leaders include Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and many more.

Yes, introverts are the quiet ones eating lunch alone. They’re also the ones curled up at home with a good book, avoiding the party. But introverts are so much more than that. They are leaders, artists, and visionaries. They are the dreamers and the doers of this world.

Today — and every day — they deserve to be celebrated.

Want to better understand introverts? Check out my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World.

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Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. Jenn is a contributor to Psychology Today, HuffPost, Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution, Upworthy, The Mighty, The Muse, Motherly, and a number of other outlets. She has appeared on the BBC and in Buzzfeed and Glamour magazine. Jenn started Introvert, Dear because she wanted to write about what it was like being an introvert living in an extrovert's world. Now she's on a mission: to let introverts everywhere know it's okay to be who they are.