Introverts should stay introverted: change may be dangerous to your wellbeing

Stay introverted

What’s up? Humankind is commonly divided into 2 groups: extroverts and introverts. Simplistic as it is, extroverted behaviour is deemed better than introverted. Extroverts allegedly live better physical and emotional lives. Should natural introverts then attempt to change their style and act like extroverts. Scientific evidence says, “No.”


We love to label all humanity on an “either, or” basis

We love to divide people into groups and apply labels: “Type A or Type B personalities”, extroverts and introverts. Most often, people will not fit neatly into the description; most of us are unique mixtures of traits. Still, the habit persists despite the obvious drawbacks of either-or distinctions.

Extroverts, typically, are friendly, outgoing, cheerful individuals. They are party animals — social creatures who thrive in the presence of other humans. Common lore confers many advantages to being an extrovert. They are emotionally and physically better off. They are viewed as optimists with positive outlooks on life. Extroversion is considered to be a state that is worth holding on to or aspiring for.

Introverts feel most comfortable when they are left alone. They avoid crowds and social gatherings; they are party “wallflowers”. They are unfairly branded as negative or undesirable stereotypes. They are viewed as pessimists with a negative outlook on life.

If extroversion is the preferred trait,
should introverts attempt to modify their behaviour?

Science says, “No”.

Constantly considered in a negative light, introverts might well ask themselves if they should make a conscious efforts to modify their behaviour. There are scientific studies that have attempted to answer this question. When introverts are coached and put out on a programme of modified behaviour, they initially feel some positive effects. But, over the duration of weeks and months, this benefit drains away. When interviewed after a term, they usually report of sense of lacking in authenticity, of being fakes and impostors. Physically too, there are no persistent benefits to their health and well being.

BOTTOM LINE: If you are an introvert, then just be yourself. As Oscar Wilde said, everyone else is already taken.

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