We’ve all seen those posts where people declare their love for staying inside and not hanging out at parties. I’m not like other people, they repeat, like a broken record.
Although this practice in-and-of itself is not harmful, it is the tone in which it is said that makes it offputting. The clear distinction that these self-proclaimed “introverts” make between themselves and “other people” gives off an air of superiority. They are implying that because of the fact that they don’t “conform” to society, they are therefore special. No more are they the average Jane, staying out all night to party in the company of others. No, they are the one in a million-— the special snowflake.
This group of people have taken on the label of “introvert,” often making comparisons that pit introverts versus extroverts in a way that wildly misconstrues the true meaning of those labels.
Oftentimes, the people who claim they are introverts haven’t really grasped what this label means in the first place. The only thing that differs introverts from extroverts is that extroverts gain their energy from being around other people while introverts thrive when they get time for themselves. This does not mean that introverts hate talking to other people, by any means. This is a common misconception that bleeds into this new exclusive introvert culture.
For example, an introverted person can, in fact, enjoy talking and meeting new people. However, there will come a point when it becomes too much and they need to have time to themselves to recharge. Not every introvert prefers books to people or drinks tea in bed every day. Not every introvert dreads talking to people. Not every introvert is quiet or shy.
What people are believing is part of being introverted is actually under a different label: to be asocial is to have a disinterest or lack of wanting to be in social situations.
In any case, this same behavior has been seen before with nerd culture: the poor victims who were bullied and belittled in school find a place for themselves online, and become the very bullies they despise. They end up becoming a parody of the counterculture they were trying to emulate.
“Introverts”, as of lately, have gone down this very path of elitism. Those who felt that they were outcasted by their peers found a place to express themselves online. Though the intentions and general practice of this is not inherently problematic, it was when people skewed the original objectives to make themselves superior to those who are different to them.
In society and the real world, it is thought to be extroverts who lead. However, online has brewed a different monster.
In the same way that hipsters take common trends and relegate those who are just discovering them, these so-called “introverts” claim this label as a symbol that they are better than those “extroverts.”
Even as those people claim “I’m not like other people!”, know that they are, in fact, just like everyone else — just with a sprinkle of pretentiousness.