The inspiration for this article initially came from a frustrated place and could easily have become a rant. However being aware of my emotions and how best to use them in a positive way, I decided to be a little more analytical about it and a little less “ranty”.
As an introvert I prefer to balance the time I spend amongst lots of people with much more time spent alone or with only one or two others, as it can be extremely draining to be in busy environments for too long. The biggest drawback to this is that many of life’s standard activities are geared predominantly towards those with more of an extroverted nature who thrive on the energy of many other people.
An example from my own life, that also brought on this realisation, is the gym. I’ve been a member of a gym on 4 separate occasions, and aside from one where I moved away, the reason I gave up my previous memberships was because I struggled to deal with the draining nature of all the people talking rather than exercising, but worst of all was the supposedly motivational music pumped at high volume throughout the workout areas. Both of these aspects quickly become extremely distracting and leave me wanting to finish my exercise routine as quickly as possible to get out and back to silence where I can rejuvenate, not only physically but also mentally. These distractions aren’t really ideal when trying to make healthy progress.
Taking this example to other areas of life, the activity of shopping is also heavily geared around people with an extroverted nature, with closely packed shelves and rails which cause a proximity to others and their conversations to be heightened leading to a state of sensory overwhelm when you included background noise of music, tills beeping and general hustle and bustle. For those who thrive in these environments it’s no issue at all and they’re wired in a way to be able to tune it all out and focus on the task at hand. The same trait allows these people to improve their focus by listening to music or audiobooks while completing a specific task.
But only half of the population fall into the category of being and extrovert. Although I should note at this point that there is a spectrum of introversion and extroversion, so each person would be a different combination of both traits. Despite this caveat, it is still very clear to see that those with a stronger proclivity to extroversion are catered to much more in the majority of the civilised world.
So what’s a more introverted person to do in order to operate in numerous environments that are not designed for people like them? They compromise on a large and ongoing scale. Every situation from shopping, exercising, enjoying live performances by their favourite acts, touring interesting locations at home or abroad, and many social occasions requires some amount of compromise in order to take part in the experience to the same extent as an extrovert.
These compromises may include having to shop online and getting caught in a lengthy process of trying and returning items, particularly clothes, increased stress levels at an overcrowded fitness centre and leaving events early to avoid the crowds or due to mental exhaustion. Of course there are some ways to avoid or lessen these issues, but they require extra costs which others of an extroverted nature will not need to incur in order to take part in these experiences to their fullest extent.
So on behalf of all the billions of introverts out there, please be aware of the effort, to some extent, required by half the population in order to join in the significantly large amount of the civilised world that is built for the louder 50%.
N.B. I may have failed in my efforts to avoid this article being a bit of a rant, but I make no apologies for that.