The world loves an extrovert

Seriously, the world loves an extrovert.  An extroverted child participates in activities, makes conversation, listens with eye contact, answers questions in class, likes new adventures.

An introvert is . . .  well, totally different.

What does the world think of that?  What do I think of that?

An introvert . . .

doesn’t answer when someone asks a questions.  Or not right away anyway.

might not make eye contact.

isn’t a big fan of new things like field trips and different desk assignments and surprise outings.  (AT ALL!  My therapist says not to keep being surprised by this — Duh, it’s her temperament, get use to it already.)

wants to stay at home.

doesn’t sing along in preschool with the rest of the group maybe.

might not feel comfortable answering questions in class if it’s a whole group activity.

So, I ask, does the world think less of this introverted child?


We are shallow, uneducated, extroverted-loving people who don’t understand introverts.  And, I don’t know how to change the world or even my own community to make people understand.  .

I can’t explain (although I try) why my daughter might not answer right away, or look at you, or smile and give you a hug.  Should I have to?  If I don’t, do you think I’m encouraging my child to be rude to you?

We all love an extrovert.  But, do we love the introvert, too?

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3 Comments on “The world loves an extrovert”

  1. The answer is yes. It’s just a little harder. But honestly, if I didn’t know that your daughter was an introvert, the thought would have never occurred to me. I’d just think she’s a little bit shy. A lot of kids are…I was.

    But I think you’re doing her a huge favor by explaining to other parents what’s going on in her little brain. I think it helps us to understand and we can therefore explain it to our children if and when they have questions (this has not come up for me-BTW). And I also think that the fact that you get and keep her involved in activities is wonderful. You are being her advocate which is so important now when they’re kids.

    As she becomes an adult, I worry that being an introvert will only get harder for her.Does the world love an introverted child? Sure. We love all children.

    The real question is: Does the world love an introverted adult?
    That’s a little tougher.


  2. Joana Says:

    All these things are true and yet not true to a degree – it depends on the introvert, so be prepared for some differences. We can get very involved in answering questions and participating if it’s a subject we’re really interested in! As an introvert adult who was an introvert child, I can tell you that, as a gifted child, I figured out by 3rd grade the way around the “answering questions in class as part of your grade problem” – you make sure you’re constantly raising your hand at first to questions you know. After a while, the teacher becomes so sick of seeing your hand up/realizes you know your stuff that you get no “surprise being called on” questions and you can sit back in peace! I did that all thru grade school, high school, and university.

    And no, we’re not big fans of surprise outings, changes in our routines, hugs, or other forms of forced group participation. It’s too overwhelming. I have to disagree with Kristin as to whether the world loves an introverted child – only to an extent. Not everyone loves children for one. Introvert children tend to be criticized by the overall extravert children and adults around them – and it doesn’t stop in childhood, trust me. I’m still dealing with it in my 50s both at work and within some of my family circle. Society likes conformity and introverts are not conformists – unless their sitting in silence and seeming to “go along” is taken as conforming. Some of us introverts are shy – but just as often, it’s because we aren’t comfortable in the larger, noisier group settings or are feeling overwhelmed. Most extraverts I know don’t understand the idea of getting energy/stimulation from within or needing to recharge in silence or relative silence (calming music, for instance).

  3. Anna Says:

    Hi! After reading an article in Time magazine, I recently wrote a post about the positive side of being an introvert. There are many!
    I linked to the article in the post, its title: “The Upside of Being an Introvert (and why extroverts are overrated)”

    Also, in the same magazine there was an article entitled “Charms of the Quiet Child” – it’s only available to subscribers online at the moment but will probably be widely available soon. If you can get hold of the issue it is well worth a read (dated Feb 6th) – the cover story: “The power of (shyness).

    Some of those introvert tendencies are well worth nurturing. Introversion worked for Gandhi, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Hillary Clinton – to name a few. I’m sure it can work for your daughter too! (And hopefully for me and the more introverted of my sons).

    There’s also a book out by Susan Cain: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts”. I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list.

    Extroverts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be!

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