Monday, January 30, 2012

introverts are underrated

I read the cover story of the most recent TIME Magazine just one day after having a discussion with some fellow design students about the positive and negatives of introvert and extrovert personalities in our field of study. This really resonated with me because back in my undergrad one of my professors was adamant that introverts could not succeed in our industry because of the necessity for self-promotion and constant client interaction. In this class we also took a questionnaire that gauged our societal tenancies and I remember falling smack dap in the range of introvert and feeling momentarily panic-stricken. Was I headed into a career in which I was destined to fail?

However, I quickly recovered and realized that this was not news to me. I've always known that I am more a listener than a talker, that I have my limits with it comes to socializing, and that hiding in the bathroom for a moment to myself (like the author of the TIME article describes) is an experience that I can relate to.

The article hits the nail on the head when it talks of the challenges introverts face in today's world where everything revolves around the loud and the talkative. However, I feel my skills as an introvert are often overlooked. My introvertness is often misinterpreted as shyness, or worse, snobbery, and I get the question "Why are you so quiet?" pretty incessantly. Instead I am watchful, attentive and contemplative and while it took me most of my adult life to come to terms with, these are qualities that I appreciate in myself.

Another point the article focused on was the ability of introverts to fake extrovert-ness in some situations. Prior to reading this I thought my ability to do this just made me a little confused but who would have guessed that this is just one of many ways we introverts adapt to our environment. We can BE extroverts, but only for a short amount of time before we're exhausted and ready to turn our attention back to the good book we left at home.

So what does this mean for my future as a designer? I think it just means that I'll no longer feel guilty for rewarding myself with a night in after a taxing day of charming clients, or when I find myself alone in the kitchen for a moment to myself at dinner parties, or when I bribe myself to talk to a stranger (yes, I've done that).

Image from Toothpaste for Dinner.


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  2. I have definitely done the hide out in the kitchen or the bathroom thing during a party. I even left Nathan's family's "welcome to the family" party to go read my book for awhile.

  3. Do you happen to still have that questionnaire you took in college? Hanna, hate to break it to you, but you are not an introvert.

  4. If I blogged I would have definitely written that third and fourth paragraph.... I think the four of us are all healthy well-adjusted introverts who can be extroverts when we so choose!

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