Introverts and Happiness

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Introverts and Happiness

The fact that different people will exhibit different traits and behaviors depending on their experiences is absolute. But what brings about this difference, one would ask? The difference in behavior is almost entirely due to the difference in the personality traits. Personality refers to “the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s unique character” (Buettner 1). Each individual always displays different personality trait. Over the years psychologists have tried to group individuals into different personality groups and today everyone have been grouped into the so called big 5 personality traits. The most conspicuous of these groups are however the extreme personality traits of introversion on the one hand and extroversion on the other hand. Nonetheless it is common knowledge that no one can be an absolute introvert or an absolute extrovert. Even introverts do have some elements of extroversion and so do extrovert posses some elements of introversion. More often than not extrovert have been viewed as the ones who ideally have the most normal lifestyles while the introverts have been considered by many as having some abnormality. Needless to say, extroverts form the majority. Nevertheless, current examination of the introverts lives have started to reveal contrary opinions as the stereotypes that were initially leveled against the introverts begin to be laced out one by. One such stereotype has been the debate about whether or not introverts are equally happy. This paper undertakes to look into the issue of the plight of the introverts with a view to proving that, contrary to the popular beliefs, introverts are actually leading a normal lifestyle and are truly happy.

The difference in personality traits is usually observable in individuals from a very tender age. In the book, The Development of Shyness and Social Withdrawal, the author points out that, “a casual observer of preschoolers free play in the company of peers is likely to witness many distinct patterns of interrelations among the children. For example, some children would be interacting in small groups, perhaps engaged in dramatic play or taking turns playing a rule-governed game. Other children would be playing next to each other, drawing pictures or building with blocks, periodically monitoring what others are doing…..still other children would be playing quietly alone or just watching their peers play, without trying to join in” (Rubin & Coplan, ed. 3). This kind of differences in behaviors normally persists up to old age and is always reflected even in the kind of careers that these categories of people would prefer and indeed excel in. Buettner (1), for instance, writes that whereas extroverts would excel in “active, fast-paced jobs, such as politics, teaching and sales where quick decisions are common place”, introverts are more suited for careers like being “scientists, writers and artists” where they do not have to encounter many people more often.

Most personality theories identify introversion as one of the major personality traits. According to a psychology dictionary, an introvert is “one who is inward looking, one who tends to focus on his own thoughts and feelings”. As such one can say that introversion implies focusing on the internal emotions without looking out for external motivations. The question therefore arises as to whether the so called introverts are able to derive self fulfillments and consequently happiness from within or are they just a bunch of dejected and sad people who prefer to keep to themselves? In an online article appearing on the ‘Psychology Today’ blog, Susan Cain poses the question, “are extroverts happier than introverts?” (1). This is a question that has lingered in the minds of many for a very long time. She, Cain, goes ahead to share her concerns about how the world define happiness to which she wonders, “Is it joy, exultation, and a wide smile, or...
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