Have you ever tried to force yourself to go to that work or business party because you wanted to fit in? Only to find when you got to the event you found yourself stood in the corner, looking intently into your phone wishing you never came? You watch everyone else have what they call ‘fun’, but all you can think about is the next chapter of your book!
The thought of pointless small talk and excessive fake smiling turns your stomach. Although you so desperately want to fit in, you just can’t bring yourself to go out every weekend. It may feel like you’re not normal. It may feel like you’re awkward.
Well I’ve got news for you introvert! Your feelings are normal!
And here’s why…
Society wasn’t made for us!
The very set up of our society favours and encourages the dominance of the extrovert. It gives way for people to value socialising over reading. It forces people to ‘hang out’ more than they want to because society deems this as the best way to build and maintain relationships. Our society praises those that speak up and forgets about those that are quiet. Society definitely wasn’t made to encourage any of us to stay home.
Our society has been designed by extroverts; for extroverts.
This is why sometimes you feel like an odd ball!
Integrating an introvert into our current culture means they have to do things they wouldn’t naturally want to do. They may be forced to go for after work drinks or ring their friends every 2 days to ‘catch up’. In a introverted society, a lot of this stuff wouldn’t happen.
So in today’s article I will give you some examples as to how the extroverted culture governs our society. I’m about to unearth some truths that will hopefully leave you feeling more comfortable about your introversion! At the very least it will leave you feeling less guilty about declining your work Christmas party!
First example, is that…
Extroversion is taught in schools
In the past, and we’re talking many moons ago. Learning was very much independent and solitary. Scholars would go away for days or weeks at a time to study a topic. When finished they would come back and reveal their findings. This would work well for introverts. We love working independently so we have the time to formulate and articulate our ideas.
However, in the 20th century there was a rise in this phenomenon called ‘collaborative learning’. Solitary learning became less and less of a focus in education and people were encouraged to come together and learn in a ‘friendlier’ and less informal environment.
(Yes, I hear you introverts screaming that there is NOTHING friendly about collaborating working)
Collaborative learning is all about sharing information, discussions and debate. It’s about talking and communicating at a faster rate! And I guess that’s great! It helps companies work faster and more efficiently!
The only problem with that is…introverts don’t work well like that!
Collaborative learning is an extroverted practice
Another example as to why society wasn’t made for us is shown in the corporate world, through open plan offices.
Open plan offices
Open plan offices are offices without walls! By removing most of the inner walls it was thought to encourages a more ‘open’ and ‘collaborative’ working environment. Colleagues are encouraged to work together as much as possible as it apparently creates efficiency. I can understand that having fewer inner walls means people can communicate quickly. But in reality open plan offices create noise and distractions for colleagues.
From the school set up to our working environments it is extrovert heaven.
I have underperformed in roles that were geared toward extroverts; the large open office, the fast paced environment and collaborative working etc. But then I have flourished in roles that were better suited to introversion; lone working, smaller office, slower paced etc. Although I can see the benefits of collaborative working, I don’t think we should all be forced to work in the same way.
It essentially stunts the performance of introverts who may much likely excel working independently or in their own offices.
To that introverted employee that hunches over their computer screen all day avoiding eye contact because they don’t want to engage in small talk because it will distract them from their work
YOU ARE NORMAL
This society wasn’t made for us, so stop trying to fit in!
Have you ever felt out of place at work or school? Do you feel it hinders your progress?
Make sure you share it with your introverted friend!