I saw this at two different media news outlets: readers asking advice columnists about how to make their introverted children “extroverted”. One is on Slate, an American news outlet, and one is on Guardian, a British one. This also reminds me of a reddit post in which a man claims he wants to help his coworker overcoming her “shyness”.
Those people believe they have the other people’s best interests; they are being pushy because they don’t want their children and coworker to get trapped in their shells and missing out on life.
But, I haven’t told you some “interesting” details.
In the same letters, the parents also acknowledge their children are very active in group activities. In the same post, the redditor also acknowledges her coworker interacts with others in the office*.
And I have similar personal anecdotes.
Admittedly, I am not as socially active as those kids and coworker. I also have moments of tactlessness and awkwardness. But, I am still able to interact with my fellow human beings.
I have interacted with my relatives, my mom’s friends and acquaintances, my classmates, my teachers, the staff at the veterinarian’s clinic and even complete strangers with ease. In fact, surprising for a borderline wallflower with emotional issues like me, senior high school is the most social period of my life. To say introverts are hermits is an exaggeration.
But, that doesn’t stop people from pressuring me to socialise more.
Now, for extroverts out there:
Before you help those loners, you should ask this first: do any of them need actual help?
If you have personally witnessed them thriving in social settings and yet, you still believe they are anti-social simply because they enjoy solitude, you are making a problem out of nothing.
Despite seeing evidences to the contrary, you believe solitude is a deranged state of being which deprive us of our ability and desire to bond with each other. You believe love and appreciation of solitude is an anti-social behaviour, a sign of mental illness. You refuse to believe that not only solitude is harmless, it can also be beneficial.
If a harmless and possibly beneficial state of being triggers you to no end, it is obvious you are the one with problems, not the loners you keep harassing.
Maybe you suffer from some sort of mental disorder. Or maybe, you just need to learn to accept fucking trivial differences and accept life is not that black-and-white.
Just like introverts need to socialise, extroverts also need to appreciate solitude; how can you be contemplative when you can not be alone with your own thoughts?
Oh, and as the COVID pandemic has shown, one’s inability to be alone can be deadly to others. Don’t pretend those party animals didn’t help spreading the virus.
*Instead of one about an extrovert harassing an introvert, it can be argued the reddit story is more of a case of an older man harassing a younger woman. Personally, I believe it is both.
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