A World of Extroverts

alone-in-a-crowd.jpgFew Months ago, in order to escape from my daily work routine, I decided to take a break and go for a mini vacation. The thought of it appeared to be really exciting initially but I was not aware there will be a lot hurdles to cross to make this thought transform from ideation stage to execution. The challenge was not to decide where to go but with whom I should plan the trip along.Honestly, convincing a friend to change two metro lines to meet at C.P. on a Saturday evening is a task in itself. Leave aside to ask him to come along for a weekend trip. I felt like not to bother anyone and more importantly myself in this case and decided to go alone on this trip. I contacted a Delhi-based travel group where all the travelers are basically strangers to each other. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to meet and interact with new people in a completely new destination. This was one department where I desperately wanted to work upon. My excitement levels were rocketing sky high. The butterflies in my stomach were reproducing every single day. On the day of the trip, I boarded the bus and took one of the window seat. Other travelers started interacting with each other and I merely gave a smile listening to their conversations. It was an overnight journey and the next day early morning we reached our hotel. As I entered my hotel room, my roommate asked me, “You were quiet during the entire journey. Are you a quiet person otherwise as well ??” To this question of his, I politely replied, “Actually, I am an introvert.”

It wasn’t that I gave this kind of reply to someone for the very first time. There has been several instances since childhood where this statement would have come up. In family gatherings, when guests used to ask in which class I am studying, my mother used to cover up stating “He is an introvert. Doesn’t talk too much.” I have sat in multiple sales interview and despite of the aggressive personality demand of the job profile, I have managed to sneak in the same answer. Sometimes I realize that I have copied that statement given by my mother to multiple incidents I have faced just because I don’t know what other reply I can give. But that day, on that trip, in that encounter with my roommate, I wondered what is need for me to give any justification for my personality to anyone. Why do I need to put myself into any of the category  of extrovert, introvert or a new term nowadays, ambivert? Even if I belong to the category of introverts, what is the necessity for me to make a switch to the category of extroverts?

Going by the definition given by dictionary, introvert is a person who is shy in nature where as an extrovert is believed to be an outgoing person. The only difference between these two personalities is the behavior exhibited by them in a certain kind of environment which involves a large group of people. Introverts are people who are mostly concerned with their internal feelings. They are good observers but does not feel the need to articulate about everything to the rest of the world.  However, I believe the definition of an introvert has been getting misinterpreted over a period of time. Introverts may not be the one who might initiate a conversation with a group of strangers but that does not allow anyone to tag them as under-confident, poor communicators or less talented. It is true that extroverts are able to stand out even if they belong to a large group of people because of their sociable behavior. And from the first appearance they may stand out as those with a strong personality but that does not mean that the personality of other category of people is inferior in any case.

The debate here is not to identify which personality is better than the other but rather instilling a belief system in the world we live in where we consider both the personalities to be individualistic and equally important. No personality should be overpowering the other as it is leading to an undesired clash. Since childhood I have been given this advice by my elders and seniors to open up and be outspoken. But I was never able to understand why should someone be asked to surrender a part of his inherent personality just because the other one is more illuminated. This societal pressure of transforming from one personality into another has already become one of the most misunderstood concept in the ongoing times.

Human beings are those living forms that have evolved over the years and will continue to do so. I do see a lot of people around me making an effort to acquire certain skills possessed by extroverts that may help them in their personal growth. But the realization of bringing such change is always internal which is something where introverts are best at. It may be true that we are living in a world of extroverts but the idea of forced evolution which has become an ongoing trend nowadays would certainly not benefit anyone in any cause. So the next time if you get an opportunity to share a room with a stranger and you being asked “Why are you so quiet?“, rather than justifying your personality trait, the better way to answer would be “Have I asked you why do you talk too much?

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