With World Introvert Day on Jan. 2, students reflect on struggles they face

Ayaan Nadeem

World Introvert Day is Jan. 2. According to Psychology Today, an introvert is defined as someone who prefers the inner life of the mind, rather than the outer world with other people. But introverts differ from extroverts in many different ways. For sophomore Evie Fenter, she said she feels that there are some different experiences she has compared to others.

 “I feel like when I am at home, I don’t feel unhappy. Personally, I don’t feel like I have to hang out with friends all the time and I am fine with that. Some people may see that as me being a bad friend, but I just don’t think it’s necessary for me to see people all the time for me to stay friends with them,” Fenter said. “Extroverts would want to go out more and be able to see their friends in person more, and over time I realized that I do not have to hang out with people all the time to be happy.”

 Junior Yezenia PalacioVillavicenio, who also said she is an introvert, said there are some pros and cons to being an introvert.

 “For example, during quarantine, I had no problem having to stay home by myself or not being able to see my friends, whereas some of my friends who are extroverts were dying to see other people.  Another positive thing about introverts is that we don’t need other people in order to be happy.” 

IU psychology professor Dè Bryant said he agrees there are many differences between introverts and extroverts.

Arjun Purohit

“These personality characteristics have to do with the way individuals construct and manage social bonds,” Bryant said. “That is, they acknowledge and pursue their need to connect to something real in our lives. How those bonds are constructed can vary widely; witness the many different ways we dealt with the isolation caused by COVID. We found ways to connect, to make meaning, to be open to understanding how we resonate with the world around us. These choices are very personal and are not easily interpreted by those not inside our heads.” Bryant said via email.

Burr while being an introvert is internal, the way people perceive introverts can present issues. Sophomore Andrea “Andy” Bendaly, who identifies as an introvert, said introverts can have a negative social connotation at times. 

“I feel that sometimes being an introvert can cause people to think that I’m anti-social or that I don’t like them,” she said. “I feel like being an introvert can be synonymous with being anti-social in the way that introverted people don’t talk as much to others. I take longer to get comfortable with other people. It’s not that I don’t want to be other people’s friends, but I’m not used to asking people to be friends with me. It took me three months before I had the courage to talk with one of my best friends.” 

For her part, Fenter said there are many challenges in school that she faces while being introverted.

She said, “In a lot of my classes, they do a participation grade where you have to actively raise your hand in class. As someone who does not want to do that and talk in front of the class, it can majorly bring my grade down. This doesn’t reflect how much of the content I know or how well I am doing in the class.” 

However, PalacioVillavicenio said there is some overlap between extroverts and introverts. 

Junior Yezenia PalacioVillavicenio performs in a dance competition on Nov 5th, 2022. PalacioVillavicenio said a positive thing about being an introvert is that they “don’t need other people in order to be happy.” (Submitted Photo: Yezenia PalacioVillavicenio)

“Although a lot of introverts tend to be shy and closed off, it’s not uncommon for an introvert to have extrovert qualities like being able to talk to a lot of people or have many friends,” she said. It just depends on the person and how they’ve managed and taught themself to deal with their own introverted qualities, especially since some people are more introverted than others.  I’ve found that sometimes introverts will teach themselves to have extrovert qualities in order to better communicate with extroverts and even other introverts.” 

Bryant said, “Someone can, indeed, have more qualities of an introvert in some aspects of their life and then be very sociable in other areas. Even for a person whose dominant way of being is to be an introvert, there will be some situation or individual or life event that brings out the energy and passion that is often out of view.” 

For Bendaly, she said, in the end, “People should know introverted people are great, but it takes them longer to feel comfortable with other people.” 

“I don’t know if this applies to everyone but whenever I’m meeting someone new for the first time or if I’m in a new situation, I can be quiet and keep to myself. After hanging out with the person and getting accustomed to the place, I can be very talkative and comfortable with those around me.”