Some people thrive in large social gatherings, while others prefer smaller, more familiar environments.
The latter group consists of people who choose to stay at home with a book, a movie, or any other hobby. The same people also feel extremely out of place at a party.
These are introverts.
An introvert is someone who depends on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation.
Psychologists refer to introverts as people who tend to rely on self-refection for energy and hence feel drained after social interactions.
Although extroverts and introverts are often seen as extreme opposites, most people have some traits of both personality types and identify as whichever quality is more dominant in them.
“I’m conscious about what everyone around me is thinking and definitely tired after, you know, meetings and talks,” said Rakshak Adhikari, a freshman physics major from Itahari, Nepal.
“An introvert is a little bit on the shy side and is frightened about meeting new people,” said Jean Orendorff, a lecturer in the psychology department. This particular trait, shared by many introverts, can work against them at times.
Sometimes people can perceive this “shyness” as rude or indifferent. A large part of college experience is making new friends and better connections.
Introverts can refrain from making friends or even seeking help if their fear of approaching someone overcomes their need to do so.
When you find yourself unable to actively participate in the environment, you find yourself at a disadvantage. You cannot be as productive as you could be.
“Opportunities present themselves,” Adhikari said, “but the feeling that I might embarrass myself keeps me from trying out new things.”
However, you cannot let certain weaknesses keep you from achieving your goals. So, the best course of action is to buckle up and work past these fears.
That, obviously, is easier said than done. Approaching someone, for personal or professional causes, can be extremely frightening for some people. It is not, however, an impossible feat.
“An introvert can have good social skills,” said Orendorff. “You have to work with yourself to gain confidence. You can learn by observing how your friends or parents communicate.
“But you have to start small, and you have to practice.”
“I used to be really introverted,” said Ethan Acison, a freshman criminal justice major from Goshen. “I couldn’t talk to people.
“I gradually learned, but maintaining communications for a long time still tires me.”
“When they keep me from the things I desperately want to get involved with, I can overcome the introversion,” said Adhikari when talking about overcoming fears.
Motivation is a big factor when it comes to overcoming any kind of fear. It is then important to undertake small steps and achieve small goals.
Over time, you learn the skills to, at least, function at social gatherings.
Of course, you probably will never enjoy it, but the very thought of an interview will not freeze your insides.
At the end of the day, you can always curl up in your happy place and forget the world.