This comes up in the writing world often: I’ve heard it said time and time again that writers either tend to be introverts, or become such due to the solitary nature of their profession. (I’ve met many extroverted writers and in my opinion, personality type depends upon the person. But I digress–that’s not what brings this subject to my mind.)
The untimely death of the late Robin Williams has stirred my thoughts on this. Why? Because in the flurry of media and on-line discussions on clinical depression, I’m hearing similarities in the way people view this…and unfortunately, introversion. As much as the clinically depressed person is told to “cheer up” by those lacking knowledge or empathy, the introvert is often told to speak up, have more confidence, be stronger and just about everything in-between. In essence, both the depressed person and the introvert are often made to feel as though they are mentally lacking, and that they must change for what most view as the better.
We all have strengths and weaknesses, and one personality type is no better or worse than another. It’s what we do with our personalities and our strengths within them that matter. Extroverts certainly excel in outwardly and openly interacting with the world around them, and they have no problem at all in making themselves seen and heard. That’s an admirable plus. Introverts, however, work with a different arsenal. They are silent, mannerable and respectful of others’ space and wishes. They observe and then act upon what they witness, at the right time and with the right words. They think about what to say before saying it. Introverts use this concert to their benefit as much as extroverts gain from the world by actively engaging it, and exuding a “hey, I want to get to know you” aura.
So I say, is the introvert weak, mentally or socially challenged, or lacking in personality? No. Is the extrovert strong, more mentally sound and dripping with personality? Sometimes. Sometimes not. And are both equally strong and equally valuable to the world around them. Most definitely!