Jordyn Fortuna | Echo Staff Contributor
Taylor University values intentional community, but for those who are introverted on campus that looks a bit different.
Introverts and extroverts are often pitted against each other societally, which leads to negative relationships and stereotypical cliches as to what each of these terms mean.
“The term [introversion] has myriad meanings, e.g., can be expressed as a personality type characterized by a focus on internal feelings, or being recharged by solitude,” Laura Edwards, a professor of psychology at Taylor, said.
Introverts want to form meaningful relationships, but they are better able to do so one on one, instead of in group settings.
Being expected to participate continually in event after event is not possible for them. Their energy becomes depleted, and they burn out.
“Forcing someone to do these things in order to look like they’re a part of an intentional community is a mistake,” Julie Borkin said.
A professor in the communication department, Borkin realizes that society as a whole tends to value extroverted traits and make introverts feel less than.
Although introversion should not be considered a negative quality, many introverts find that they need to adopt a different persona to get through certain situations without making others feel awkward.
“Some days I just have to turn on that bright personality and pretend that I’m glad to be there. It can be exhausting,” junior Charis Negley said.
Acknowledging that both introverts and extroverts have positive qualities is a step toward helping to dispel potentially harmful societal expectations, as is recognizing that they have different needs.
It is crucial for everyone to have spaces where they feel restored. Everyone needs to be able to relax and become rested, but it is significantly harder for some to find those spaces.
“Everywhere is made for being social, but there isn’t really anywhere where you can just not be social,” sophomore MaryGrace Osborn said.
Extroverts often find it hard to understand why that would be an issue. They feel rejuvenated easily on Taylor’s campus, and therefore can fail to consider how others might be impacted by the environment.
They do not intentionally put added stressors on others by expecting them to have the same desire to attend events, but introverts have to find creative ways to convey their needs sometimes.
“Even though homework is exhausting, it’s a relief from social demands because people will understand way better if you say you can’t hang out because you have homework,” junior Anna Molendorp said.
Laura McClelland, a professor in Taylor’s psychology department, has been conducting research to determine how to make spaces more restorative for everyone.
They discovered that the only place better suited in this capacity for introverts rather than extroverts was the library study rooms.
Professor Dan Bowman lends his perspective as both an introvert and a person with autism. He finds himself negatively affected by the loud noises and bright lights that surround what are considered community spaces.
“I generally don’t go over there [the Student Center], which is a bad thing because it is a hub of the community. And I want to be in the community,” Bowman said.
Finding a balance between participating in events and taking care of oneself is necessary for both introverts and extroverts.
Introverts need to be willing to say no to things to prevent themselves from burning out, and extroverts need to be able to accept that as a valid response.
“Our research indicates that more introverted students on campus generally have lower life satisfaction, experience fewer positive emotions, and experience more adverse emotional states,” junior Brynna Cheek said.
It is important for everyone to find ways to participate in Taylor’s staple intentional community, but it is equally crucial to recognize that for introverts this may look different than how some people choose to advertise the concept.
Jordyn Fortuna is an English major with a literature concentration and is a professional writing minor.