It isn't easy for introverts to thrive in a world that is constantly trying to get them to change --to become more outgoing, to turn more extroverted.
Take it from me, an introvert who has heard the "you're too quiet line" more times than I can count.
Lucky for us, there are others who understand our plight because they've been there themselves.
In order to thrive, we introverts should aim to be around people who accept us for who they are.
But we have to accept ourselves first!
The worst thing we can do is cave in to pressure to shed our introversion just to fit in with the crowd. It is tantamount to living a lie, one that is sure to deliver no shortage of discontent over the course of our lives.
Now, it's impossible to rid ourselves of all those who take exception to our introverted ways.
Your boss may get on your case for not being outspoken enough, but that doesn't mean you should resign the next day.
Nor should you, in one fell swoop, dump every friend or acquaintance who encourages you to be more outgoing.
In order to succeed in life, you'll have to adapt and at least try to get along with more extroverted types -- there's no way around it given the sheer number of them in our midst. It doesn't mean you have to like or genuflect to them, but the hope is that they will come to understand and respect that your temperament is simply different than theirs.
But once it gets to the point where you're feeling bullied -- or their endless entreaties to "loosen up" begin to wear on your mental and emotional well-being -- that's when it's time to ask yourself these questions:
- Is my personality really suited to this job?
- How long can I go on being around this individual?
- Who should I seek out (e.g., HR, senior management) to try and remedy the situation?
- Are they really my friends if they can't seem to accept who and how I am?