Self-Balancing: Being an Introvert in an Extroverted Society

In order to succeed, people need to network and interact with each other. Social skills and being able to approach people are necessary for furthering yourself and advancing your own causes. If you can’t, then you may very well be doomed to not achieve as much as you could have if you could just talk to people without becoming exasperated. 

But some people just aren’t like that. Talking to people naturally is a skill that has to be learned, just like a language or a trade. If you’re less social or extroverted than others, how can you better yourself or achieve your dreams?

“It’s a challenge at times because I have to force myself to be social and place myself in uncomfortable situations,” said Malia Padalino, a freshman English student. “I do like keeping to myself at times because I find it hard to relate to others and fit in. I have friends but I tend to stick with a small group rather than a large crowd,” Padalino added. 

Being an introvert affects how you deal with other people and is different for every person. But it’s not always a bad thing; spending less time in a large group can give students more time to think about themselves and thereby gauge their own strengths and weaknesses. 

“It kind of gives me time to just relax and think about things. Since we do live in such an extroverted society, everything is very rushed. Being introverted allows me to take a step back from the craziness,” said Tianna Gabriel, a freshman communication student. 

It’s sort of an “outside looking in” scenario: introverted people can observe groups from a distance, usually while keeping to themselves. It’s all about finding a balance within oneself in order to balance real-life relationships and networking. Although people don’t always need to view their personalities as black and white, sometimes it’s more evened out, while favoring a specific side. 

“Being extroverted, I do love hanging around my friends and I always have fun around them, but certain days I just want to hang out by myself and play video games until I feel like dealing with people again,” said Connor Power, a sophomore computer science student. 

It’s important to know when to be with yourself or others, as some people simply deal in absolutes and can become upset with the lack or overabundance of other people. You have to pace yourself in interactions, as it’s difficult to know how you’re going to feel that specific day. 

There’s a balance in everything, and whether you’re introverted or extroverted you’ll have to work it out on your own. Talking to others is necessary, but no one is doomed from the start if they’re nervous or uncomfortable around groups over larger periods of time. 

“Think of it like theater,” commented John Burke, Director of Theatre Arts and associate professor. “You can be backstage but still be part of the production. Theater isn’t just the actors in the spotlight.” This is an important point, if we think of introverted people as the stage crew of society; they manage to keep things going even without being front and center with others. In an almost Atlas-like metaphor, introverts make up some of the most important people in our society.  CEOs and Editors and numerous other professions can be had by people who prefer their own thinking to larger crowds of people. It’s inspiring, charming, and a little relieving that small-time college journalists like yours truly can make their own way in the world. 

We live in a society that’s pretty extroverted, but we also live in a society that’s generally accepting of those who aren’t. It’s comforting to know that greatness can be had by people who don’t need to be in a crowd to be comfortable. Our society, like a great set of scales, has spots for those that prefer one thing and spots that prefer another, yet they balance one another. Whether introverted or extroverted, it’s clear there’s a place for everyone.