And are the rest of us ready to become more introverted?
January 2nd is World Introvert Day. We could make a good argument for calling 2022 world introvert year. As we enter year three of a pandemic that’s clearly not done with us, it’s a commonly held belief that introverts are handling the psychological impacts of lockdowns and social distancing better than their extrovert friends. Does the evidence bear this out?
Psychological research suggests otherwise, indicating that Covid-related changes to our circumstances have increased depression and anxiety more severely for introverts than for extroverts. But there’s some nuance to bring to those conclusions. A tendency to withdraw from others is widely recognized as a potential indicator of depression to begin with. Evidence suggests that introverts are in ways more prone to depression and anxiety in general. Depression also tends to increase introversion at the same time, creating a self reinforcing feedback loop. So perhaps what we see here is merely consistent with an established pattern that we already know about, magnified but still essentially similar.
What we know is that psychological impacts associated with the pandemic’s disruptions to our previous lives can impact anyone, and both introverts and extroverts need tools to help deal with that trauma.
Homo Sapiens are generally social animals.
The survival unit of humanity is the community rather than the individual. In subtle ways and others that are not so subtle, our culture has long rewarded extroverts and marginalized introverts. Charisma reaps rewards. Being gregarious, personable, and outgoing opens doors.
This bias is structural and systemic. Several routes to power or wealth in our society, like politics or the entertainment industry, aren’t technically forbidden to introverts, but certainly more of an uphill climb for them. Surely that’s a factor in why introverts’ average salaries are $12,700 lower.
Of course, introversion and extroversion aren’t black and white polarities, but exist on a spectrum, and in some circumstances introversion is a better success strategy. Rather than a disadvantage to overcome, it can prove…