The problem with definitions: why introverts want to be non-introverts — or not

Studies show that most introverts are introverted — you can quote me on that.

Yet the conclusion the world takes from that is seldom right. Because a definition has a specific meaning in single context and quite another when generalised. Case in point: some research — but not all — indicates that many introverts want to be more extroverted.

Let’s try an experiment.

Think of a barrier — anything that makes you uncomfortable. That discomfort stops you from getting something you want — the chocolate cake. Would you like to have more chocolate cake?

Many virtual heads are nodding — I bet you’re one of them.

Now, to get more chocolate cake, you need to overcome the barrier. What type of person would you be if you did that? The research would suggest that you’re the type of person without the barrier.

But overcoming a barrier is not the same as not having it.

Many introverts aren’t great at interacting. Particularly with the loudest or most aggressive. Interaction is their barrier.

But they see society often rewarding the loud and aggressive.

The introverts don’t get enough chocolate cake. They think it’s because they don’t ‘fit in’. So they want to get better at interacting.

What’s the name for someone good at interacting?

Ta daa! Introverts want to be extroverts! QED.

That’s like saying I desire to run faster so therefore I want to be a leopard. I’m pretty sure I can run faster without becoming a leopard. In the same way, introverts can learn skills and techniques to be more comfortable around others.

Don’t change the best part of you — just learn to eat more chocolate cake.



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