The Rise Of Introverts: Science Says Introverts Will Save The World
I will proudly say that I am an introvert; but it’s taken me a long time to accept it, much less be proud of my nature.
For a long time, introverts have been made to feel as if they were at a disadvantage in the world. In the same way that the more attractive you are, the more likely you are to get a job – extroverts are always seen as the preference in any social setting. The stigma against introverts, that they are “unable to socialise” or “boring”, has only caused us introverts to feel less confident, unappreciated, undervalued, and misunderstood. All of these only serving to push us further away from society.
However, in recent years, we’ve seen more and more introverts embrace their preference for alone time. And, according to researchers from Princeton, it is for this reason that introverts will lead the survival of our species. Their study on the “significance of loners”, where “loners” are “individuals out of sync with a coordinated majority”. Don’t let the use of the term “loner” trigger any negative feelings; it is simply coined based on the fact that introverts are generally comfortable being by their lonesome.
Although, it was way back in 1921 that the term “introvert” and “extrovert” was coined. Carl Jung, distinguished “introverts” as needing less stimulus to have more fun as they are more connected to their inward thoughts and feelings, unlike “extroverts” who are more focused on the external world. The findings from Princeton researchers were based on the fact that, as demonstrated across the animal kingdom, loners turned out to be the ones that ensured the continuation of their species. They discovered that “loner behaviour” is not random, rather, it is inheritable based on what the environment and their communication with their species’ needs at that point in time. Seems like it’s a good thing that introverts make up 25 to 40 per cent of the population.
Think of it this way, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantines/lockdowns/movement control orders, there has been an influx of social media memes dedicated to introverts:
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Ok gonna stray from meme generator formats and do a little effort and find some possibilities myself.. Like this one. Credit: Mehself #pewdiepie #memes #minecraft #anime #meme #dank #dankmemes #animememes #minecraftmemes #idk #funnymeme #lewd #lewdanime #yandere #ecchi #nsfw #reddit #Twitter #introvert #relatable #music #dark #darkhumor #netflix #intermet #Weebs #Weebmemes
Why is this? Simply because during a world in crisis, they are thriving. As a result of their aversion towards big social groups, they are less likely to be vulnerable to a group threat. And because they have no issues with staying at home until the threat has been subdued (i.e. in the form of vaccines), they have a higher survival rate. But one thing is for sure, introverts have been mischaracterised for centuries. Corina Tarnita, the study’s co-author and an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton said this about loners,
“We call them misfits or geniuses, contrarians or visionaries, very much depending on how the rest of the society feels about their behavior.”
It is a common mistake to confuse “introversion” as “shyness” because they are not one and the same. Susan Cain, in an interview with The Guardian in 2012, distinguished shyness as “the fear of social judgments”, where introversion is simply the preference for a quieter setting. One thing’s for certain, whether you are shy or introverted, more often than not, you are likely to be mistaken for being a slow thinker, slow analyzer and a bad leader or manager. That’s not the case; just because the extrovert beat you to the punch does not mean you are less capable. Cain goes on to share the importance, need and power that introverts have and should be allowed to have.
So, the next time you notice that your introverted friend is quiet in a social setting, remember that:
- No, it is not an insult to you if we do not engage with you.
- Yes, we can be quiet and still be enjoying themselves.
- No, we’re really okay with not having plans.
- Sorry, we need to be alone to recharge our batteries.
And introverts, it’s okay to be wholely yourself – to stay home on a Friday night, to prefer reading a book over partying; to like your time with yourself over time with your friends, because remember, science says that you’re capable of saving the world.