I recently watched a documentary about Vivian Maier: a reclusive woman who took highly artistic photographs that would only be uncovered and made famous after her death; I also recently read "Quiet" by Susan Cain about introverts. How weird is it that life is primarily defined based on our interactions with other people? Falling in love, having friends, dealing with a dysfunctional family, heartbreak: these are ingredients of a life considered fully lived.
Can we not consider creating our best selves in solitude the mark of a life well-lived? Or is the creation of our best self-fostered through collaboration? I mean obviously, it's necessary to have some sort of balance between interaction and reflection to live "well", but I think that there's something to be said about the focus on extroversion in modern American society.
As an introvert myself I find that I'm being constantly pushed to have ambition and confidence so as to achieve goals of money and prestige that I don't really care about. I recently realized that my being less outspoken, is okay.
Personally, my introversion in certain social situations has caused people to basically write me off as boring or not worth getting to know, and I can often feel disinterest oozing from their body language. My parents get embarrassed when I'm shy or uncomfortable in crowds like church sanctuaries or parties, and it comes as a surprise to some people when I'm outgoing whilst in my element.
I get the silent judgment from Business/Bio/Premed majors when I say I'll likely major in English. Quiet cites time and again that solitude is a necessity for creation, and thus introverts are more likely to be creative. I would never assume that either personality type is better than the other (like never-I find there's a creativity in itself that comes from playing off of other people and interpreting complex social situations), but I think it's insulting that our society takes preference to extroverts, especially in the case of Vivian Maier and her beautiful pictures, when the people who are able to take a step back and observe life are the ones who are able to recreate it so profoundly.