“I love how ingoing he is!” I have never heard anybody say that before, ever.
I’ve always thought of myself as extraordinarily “Ingoing”. I like immersing myself in my own thoughts, analysis, and daydreams. It’s not only my thoughts though. When I’m with others, I listen to them, really listen. I immerse myself in what each person says, almost becoming like a vessel that contains what the person said, enveloping their words with utmost interest.
It’s hard for me to quickly throw ideas around and superficially ‘touch’ the surface of them, so I’ve never understood why being “outgoing” was so great.
Why is “outgoingness” such a desirable virtue in the first place? And why do so many people pride themselves in being outgoing?
Is Outgoingness a Virtue?
He had red hair, looked like Pugsley from the Addams Family, and was chasing me around the classroom with his arm stretched out trying to stick a booger on me. That was one of my earliest school memories. As I ran passed his mum who was watching us play, I overheard her say: “…yeah, he’s so outgoing!” If this was what being outgoing was like, I knew I wanted no part in it.
Why are outgoing people so great? Is it because they are spontaneous? Me? I’ll sometimes get out on the other side of the shower curtain when I’m feeling rebellious.
Generally outgoing people are described as socially confident individuals who are quick-witted, easy to get along with and simple to talk to. They are very accommodating, charming and make everyone feel important. Basically “outgoingness” is a virtuous quality to have because it makes you fun for other people to enjoy. Essentially you become a stimulating toy. So now we know why “outgoing” is a virtue in society.
But what is a virtue? A virtuous (good) person is praised by others for the good he does to them. Some common virtues in our society are: obedience, chastity, honesty, kindness – most of them aren’t necessarily beneficial to the person who possesses them. In fact, they can even be harmful. In our society we praise virtue in others because we, as a collective, gain advantage from it.
So is “outgoingness” a quality that by itself can benefit a person? What can you gain from it apart from the generic “networking” advantages?
Extroverts Are Happier And Live Longer
At least that’s what it appears on the surface. It depends on what we define as the opposite of “outgoing”. Mental and physical stagnation?
Countless research, such as various studies on meditation have linked meditation to an infinite amount of mental and physical benefits from less anxiety and aggression, to more creativity, greater insight into one’s problems and a greater capacity to think clearly. These are just a few of the qualities that can be found in an act of “ingoingness”, such as meditation.
The opposite of “outgoing” is often thought of as being shy, or is associated with the feelings of rejection and exclusion. It’s as if by default, all human being were intended to be gregarious and outside-world driven. Common perceptions state that not being “outgoing” is detrimental to your happiness, as well as your longevity if you’re striving towards forming a lively personality, or if you gain personal fulfillment from social acceptance.
In fact, if you check the sources of the studies above, the extroverts are happier study in particular mentions that ‘neuroticism’ plays a large determining factor in the levels of unhappiness an extrovert may face. Those more susceptible to psychological distress and physical illness, are deemed to be neurotic. In other words; only neurotic introverts and extroverts are affected in well-being and life satisfaction.
And in the longevity study, it’s not the quality of “outgoingness” that makes a person live longer, it’s possessing a “positive attitude towards life and emotional expression.”
The Necessity Of Ingoingness
Outgoingness is not solely reserved for extroverts, although it is predominantly found amongst them. By itself, being “outgoing” is not enough.
Outgoingness is only superficially beneficial in making you likable amongst others and providing you with extra social opportunities. It’s the embodiment of a warm, friendly and caring vacuous depth.
To truly be caring, to really be able to help yourself and others through trying to prevent life’s many reactionary and unconscious mistakes we make that harm ourselves and others, we need something else. We need to cultivate insight into ourselves and have a deeper understanding, as well as more self-discovery and awareness of the obstacles and harmful behaviors that our minds create.
The only way to cultivate this greater self-discovery, awareness and understanding of ourselves is through spending time Ingoing. We have previously written about many other benefits of solitude and spending time alone.
Ingoingness is a necessary process of Involution. There’s nothing wrong with being outgoing, but it won’t completely fulfill you unless you balance it out with a healthy dose of ingoingness.