I don't think anyone would deny that we live in an extroverted society. The "outgoing" are seen as better than the "quiet and shy" types. Jobs go to the gregarious because we seem to think that louder equals confidence, and quiet suggests weakness. Introverts are often seen as unfriendly, etc.
Obviously, much of this is simply due to misunderstanding. Introverts and extroverts aren't good or bad, better or worse, just different. And indeed, the world needs both.
Awhile back, Susan Cain wrote what has become a best-selling book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. If you haven't read it (and unless you're an introvert like me looking for a little validation, you quite possibly haven't), Cain simply gives the evidence showing what an extrovert-loving society we've become, and then begins to outline some of the reasons this is not a positive development.
Here's a wonderful little animated video which summarizes the basic premise of the book and gives one wonderful illustration.
I know this has been out there for awhile. I'm nearly always late to the party. But I just recently found the video summary, and thought it was wonderful. Anyway...
So there is hope for introverts. We are necessary. It's not a sickness to be cured, a weakness to be overcome, it's a God-given personality trait with it's own pros and cons, but one that is beneficial to the world at large. Obviously, the same can be said for extroverts. We're both necessary.
Now, some might question a pastor defending and claiming to be an introvert. After all, doesn't getting up in front of crowds to preach and doing visits, etc. make you an extrovert. Not at all. That's the problem with all this, the misunderstandings.
Being a introvert simply means you get your "energy" from quiet, alone time vs. being energized by social situations. I do, and even enjoy the social things. It's just that they drain me.
Here are some helpful links to understanding introverts:
Top Ten Myths about Introverts by Jerrry Brito
Four Lies About Introverts by Amie Patrick
A Guide to Understanding Introverts, a clever visual aid
And here's a great article about the "science" of what makes us introverts or extroverts.
Lists of some of the most famous introverts in history include folks like Einstein, Lincoln, Edison, Gandhi, and Isaac Newton. And while it's nearly impossible to fully "peg" Bible characters in this regard, personality experts often point to none other than Moses and Paul as being introverts. Imagine that!
Anyway, just thought I'd try to offer a little encouragement to my fellow introverts out there. You aren't alone. You have valuable things to offer. Don't let the "loud" world overshadow the importance of a little "quiet" now and then. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go crawl back into my hole and try to not speak to anyone today. (That'd be a joke, folks)
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