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The Campanile

Society pressures introverts to transform their personalities, conform to standards

Everyone should be able to succeed without compromising their diverse range of personalities
art by Teresa Wang

It’s the first day of school, and as I take my seat and observe my new teacher and classmates, I make a mental note for myself: be the first to introduce yourself and raise your hand as much as possible. The teacher asks a question, and despite the nagging voice in the back of my head urging me to keep my mouth shut, I force myself to raise my hand and speak.
For most of my life, I’ve been led to believe being talkative, sociable and energized is admirable, and even the more preferable qualities in a person. I’ve watched social experiment videos on YouTube where people say they don’t like introverts because they come off as unconfident because they don’t speak much. Due to expectations from the people around me and social media, I’ve unintentionally correlated negative descriptions and undesirable traits with introverts, which has pressured me to change myself.
Many introverts are told to be more proactive and social, but we shouldn’t be uplifting extroverts as the standard because everyone is unique. According to a 2019 Positive Psychology article, most people don’t fall into strict introvert or extrovert categories and are often on a spectrum between those two.
Everyone has both an introverted and extroverted side, and we don’t need to overemphasize one or the other because we all fall on a bell curve between the two extremes.
It doesn’t make sense to cause undue stress or anxiety for people to change themselves just to fit into a restrictive box.
However, just because you are an introvert doesn’t mean you should avoid pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. A 2020 Science Direct study shows that short-term, extroverted qualities benefit people’s mood and energy, while long-term, extroverted qualities can cause undue mental stress, fatigue and anxiety, even to students that usually do not experience these issues.
While being social with others can help strengthen relationships and boost mood, it’s important to also embrace what you need in the long run.
Taking the time to rest and recharge on your own is crucial for healing, meaning constant extroverted activities are not ideal for your mental stability.
There’s also a belief that extroverts are more likely to be successful. In sophomore year, I was encouraged to speak more to my teachers and show them my capabilities for future letters of recommendation. Instead of usually listening quietly, I forced myself to actively find opportunities to speak up and talk to my teachers as much as possible.
I thought that it was the only way I could stand out and prove to everyone that I was worthy. At the time, I didn’t realize that being an extrovert isn’t the only way to stand out or become successful.
In the media, I’ve seen excellent speakers who’ve climbed their way up the ladder through skill and persuasion to get to where they are today.
We are taught that to persuade, you must be great at connecting with people.
However, people like former President Barack Obama or former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates identify as introverts, and they’ve managed to achieve ample success. According to a 2016 Inc. article, Obama honored his personal time despite the social interactions his job required. He had dinner with his wife and kids at 6:30 p.m. before retreating to his private room for at least four to five hours each day. He created boundaries for himself and created an environment for his own needs away from other people’s demands.
It’s important to honor your own needs over expectations of what will be better for you. No one should have to force themself to be an extrovert to guarantee achievement. We shouldn’t put this unnecessary and unfounded pressure on introverts because they don’t need to change.

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Cynthia Huang
Cynthia Huang, Staff Writer
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    DEBORA KHUMO DITSELEJan 7, 2024 at 10:29 pm

    I really love it because I can testify to same I managed to embrace my personality after much struggle and during that time I was so unhappy because I was compromising myself,however, now I realized what a magnificent peace ART I am.I am beautiful in my quiet authentic self and I love and appreciate it.