Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Extrovert's Nightmare Revisited

Back when I wrote this blog post: http://yourownkindofmusic.blogspot.com/2012/08/an-extroverts-nightmare.html, I didn't think that the scenario I described would ever actually happen to anyone. It was meant to be a pure alternate-reality fantasy. It was meant to make a point about how miserable it is for introverts like me to live in extrovert-dominated cultures such as my college campus. It was meant to reach the specific people I went to school with who just couldn't fathom how someone could not want to be around people all the time. I never thought that this nightmare actually existed.

In all the years that I've been in school, from pre-K through the end of college, I never had enough alone time. Other than summer vacations, I was always being overstimulated and experiencing more social interaction than I wanted. I reached the conclusion that the world - or at least the United States - was meant for extroverts and was generally an unwelcoming place for introverts.

But I realize now that this was never the case. Some environments are more suited for introverts and some environments are more suited for extroverts, and the "Extrovert's Nightmare" that I described in that blog post is very, very real. It happens when you get out of school. College was full of excitement and stimulation and being around people, and when you get out, there is a lot of pressure to be okay without those things. There is pressure to be perfectly fine without a huge group of friends and lots of camaraderie. Pressure to be okay with being alone watching Netflix on a Saturday night and not having anyone to go out and party with or go on adventures with. And there is an immense amount of pressure to just be okay with being alone. This is not okay. It is not okay to push someone who needs camaraderie and adventure to be okay with watching TV alone on a Saturday night.

I talk mostly about introvert issues on this blog because those are my experiences, but I want to make it clear that the extrovert's nightmare in today's working world is just as real as the nightmare that I experienced in college, and neither one is okay. My original blog post is good as a piece specifically about college life, since colleges force you spend a lot of time around people, but I want to make it clear that I don't actually want extroverted people to experience the nightmare described in the post. I'd like the specific people who pressured me to be social to experience the reverse so they know what it's like, but in general, I don't want extroverts to ever experience that nightmare. I want everyone to have the social time, camaraderie, adventure, one-on-one time, and alone time that they desire, and never live in a culture where they are expected to be okay without it.

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