Introversion as a deficiency

During the course of conversation and brainstorming with my group during a training, someone mentioned that they have children whose parents put them in an ensemble (band or orchestra) to “get over their shyness.”

First of all, in a traditionally-run ensemble, there’s not a lot of verbal interaction between players, so that’s not really going to help the cause.

But more importantly, being shy is not a deficiency.

Shy people might be introverted, might be socially anxious, or both.

If a person is socially anxious, it’s a good idea to work some of that out. Most paths require us to interact with strangers fairly regularly, and being anxious about these interactions (or avoiding them altogether) makes life hard. I know about this.

Throwing someone into an uncomfortable situation—or a series of them—doesn’t make the discomfort go away, though it could help the person to gain skills to mask it. I’m pretty familiar with that, too.

But if a person isn’t anxious about interacting with people and just doesn’t care to, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not something to “get over.”

Band is where I have found many of my best friends through life, but I certainly didn’t learn to be social there. (And, as a teacher, the kids who aren’t social are generally easier.)

Introversion isn’t a deficiency.

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