3 thoughts on “A Giant Step Backward for Introverts”

  1. The writers of the DSM-5 would be better served I think, investigating the plethora of psychological ailments to which we are currently being exposed as a result of 'reality' tv. Perhaps all that reality tv is giving us is a clearer view of narcissism run amok, but whatever it is, it would seem that that is worth studying.

    Worrying about whether my level of introversion is a treatable ailment, or an ailment at all, seems rather a waste of good time. That I would prefer not to be the center of attention doesn't make me unwell it simply makes me different. It is troubling that scientists would choose to deem 'differentness' disease. What's next I wonder? Bearing in mind how wrong-headed law/policy has been in the past (remember, people like me were once considered three-fifths of a person under the law and women were assumed to be too weakminded to vote (that's two strikes for me)), why would clear-thinking scientists create yet another category of supposed illness which employers will likely use as a reason to desselect candidates?

    I say spend time figuring out why so many people have a yearning to be seen – even to be seen as train wrecks on reality tv – that really would be a much better use of time.

  2. In my current role as a market analyst I am often expected to offer immediate opinions on current market conditions and their impact upon our company. In the beginning of my career my inability to do so was often perceived as a lack of knowledge. However, I have learned to be very clear on the fact that I will not offer any opinion until I have reviewed all of the information available and come to a complete and clear conclusion. I have also refused to apologize or make excuses for my need to think about, or analyze a situation before rendering an opinion on it. Because I take the time to come to a clear conclusion I rarely need to backtrack, or alter the conclusions that I come to.

    In contrast, some of my senior colleagues are quick to offer immediate opinions. They can also be quick to discount the conclusions I have put forth. In the short term this makes them seem very knowledgeable and well spoken. It also has the effect of making me look like I don’t know what I’m talking about. My motto for dealing with this problem has become “Don’t react, and don’t retract.” I simply smile and allow my senior colleagues to make their on the spot proclamations. Then, as they start to really go through the information available to us, I watch as they backtrack and reassess…again, and again, and again. In the end I have found that they do indeed come to the same conclusion that I did, but not before putting forth 10 or 12 other opinions first.

    This has not been lost on the people that I advise, and many within our company are coming to know and respect my process. They are also starting to comment on the ever changing opinions of my more verbal counterparts. I feel that the respect that I am starting to earn from senior leadership starts with me respecting my own introverted nature. I have read many wonderful books on how to be a happy and successful introvert, and they have been immensely helpful. The world needs introverts! The world needs people who think first, because there are far too many who speak, act, and react with no forethought. One would think that psychiatrists, whose profession is built around contemplative thinking and analysis, would respect and appreciate those with an introverted nature. Perhaps they’re too busy issuing opinions to give much thought to the harm these new classifications might do to people. Perhaps they need a few introverts to help them remember to think first, and issue opinions second.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *