1. Introverts are not alone
Television and movies often make fun of the introvert and celebrate the extrovert. Schools often seem like popularity contests. And in the business world it’s often more whom you know than what you know. Despite how it can seem, though, most people aren’t extroverts. I took a very unscientific poll of an audience I was speaking in front of — out of 225 people, only 3 considered themselves extroverts. Everyone else felt social anxiety and awkwardness at least sometimes.
2. Introverts can be wildly successful
If you do a quick search online for famous introverts, lots of names pop up. Albert Einstein. J. D. Salinger. Isaac Newton. Warren Buffett. Eleanor Roosevelt. Julia Roberts. . . The list goes on. One of the most famous successful introverts of modern history is Al Gore. Watching him on camera, you could tell that he wasn’t incredibly comfortable. That didn’t stop him from becoming the Vice President of the United States or from winning a Nobel Peace Prize for working on his passion – environmental issues.
3. Introverts are often the glue in relationships
A lot of social emphasis is put on having lots of friends and huge networks. This doesn’t tend to work for introverts. Most introverts focus on maintaining and deepening the connections they do make, rather than working at creating more and more connections. It’s this care that often helps weather the difficult times that occur in every long-term friendship. Most of the introverts I know can go for weeks, months, or even years without talking with a friend, but without feeling as though the friendship has waned. When they do talk with that friend, it’ll probably seem as though no time at all has passed.
It’s okay to be introverted. It’s okay to be extroverted. For everyone else, it’s okay to be ambiverted (having both introverted and extroverted traits). What’s important is to learn to be comfortable with yourself.