A little blurb from The Power of Introverts. I am an introvert and damn proud of it.
Today we make room for a remarkably narrow range of personality styles. We're told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts - which means that we've lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one-third to one-half of Americans are introverts. If you're not an introvert yourself, you are surely raising, managing, married to, or coupled with one.
If these statistics surprise you, that's probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts. Closet introverts pass undetected in playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corporate America. Some fool even themselves, until some life event - a layoff, an empty nest, an inheritance that frees them to spend time as they like - jolts them into taking stock of their true natures.
It makes sense that so many introverts hide even from themselves. We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal - the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong. She works well in teams and socializes in groups.
Introversion - along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness - is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.