Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
If response to the following story is any indication, a good chunk of our CNN.com commenting population identifies themselves as introverts. Susan Cain, a writer and TED2012 speaker, opined that these folks are responsible for some of humanity's greatest achievements.
Readers identified what it means to be an introvert, and how that affects their lives. This was a popular comment:
Travis211: "Score one for the introverts. Something about us introverts that extroverts don't know about us:
1.) We do not believe in artificial chit-chat (We hate small talk, because its illogical)
2.) We only believe in talking when we believe we have something to say
3.) We find happiness in solitude, extroverts find happiness in rooms with people
4.) We are constantly thinking in our heads
5.) We are quietly planning to take over the world!!"
isolate: "I agree on all points but #5. A world where introversion was predominant (itself almost a contradiction in terms) would be a strange world indeed - devoid of professional sports, supermarket tabloids, mega-churches, casinos, and most of what passes for media entertainment these days. Facebook and Twitter, et al, would vanish, and anyone who proposed a television show like 'Real Housewives of New Jersey,' would be banished to an asylum. Imagine politics based on reality and not megabucks, personalities and theatrics. To you and me it would be heaven indeed, but what would happen to the millions of extroverts forced to live in a world without relentless, mindless distractions? Mass catatonia? If I might, I would replace your #5 with, 'We are self-doubting, always verifying what we think we know to be sure it's true.' "
This commenter doesn't like lots of noise.
tapeworm: "I have not been to a mall shopping in years! On top of that I hate crowds and cannot stand a lot of noise. I feel best when sitting outside or in a field where there is a breeze and only the sound of birds and the breeze. Loud music drives me insane!"
Some of our readers found kindred spirits in the comments.
scion101: "I'm an introvert and this obsession with being open and social has gotten me hit hard in school and potentially work; I don't like working with people. Ever since I was in kindergarten I didn't like having strangers foisted upon me during a project for the sake of 'teamwork' or 'building bridges.' I'll do that on my own time thank you very much. Plus, I end up doing most of the work anyway. Now don't get me wrong, if I know someone who's industrious or who I like, I'll work with them in a heartbeat; but don't expect me to be willing to rub shoulders with people I don't even know. I'm here to get the job done, not make friends."
james1095: "I had that problem in school, too. Forced to work together with people, who too often had little to contribute and I ended up doing most of the work. Occasionally I find someone with the same interest and drive that I have and we make a great team, but being paired up randomly is a crapshoot that more often than not is counterproductive."
Can extroverts be good listeners?
Nellen: "I am a rarity: an introverted teacher. Research has shown most teachers are extroverts, so it makes sense they'd teach to their type of student and recognize their achievements more. I find faculty meetings and superintendent days much more frustrating than my time in the classroom because extroverts never listen to the introverts in the room. That time is not a total waste of time because it provides me with an empathy for my students! I re-enter my classroom with a renewed sense of serving their needs. Extroverts don't realize how obnoxious they can be! It's not that I want them to shut up, I want them to listen. Or maybe they're just narcissists. I'm digressing."
LibraLady: "I disagree. I am an extrovert and a good listener. I work with many introverts (programmers and developers) and enjoy the strengths of their work. They seem to like it when we have visitors in the office and I take over and relieve them from the pressure. It does not mean that I am obnoxious or narcissistic. But like all people, we have strengths and weaknesses just like introverts do. The power lies in us all recognizing this and working with it instead of digressing."
This person said they feel like they have to be something other than themselves to succeed.
Keith: "I am an introvert who lives in an extrovert world. Every day I pretend to be that outgoing person everyone knows. Then I go home and collapse under the pressure of being that out there guy."
Some of our commenters admitted to going out of their way to avoid talking to others.
nickmach: "My problem is that I do not find interacting with other people to be pleasant. It is either stressful or boring. My brain does not seem to produce any dopamine at all when I see an acquaintance. All I think is, 'Can I avoid talking to this person without him getting pouty?' I ask my wife when we go to a party, 'How long do we have to stay?' "
kekokeko: "I do the same thing. When I'm walking down a long hallway toward one of my co-workers, I'll duck out into one of the meeting rooms until they pass just to avoid having to come up with something to say! I put headphones on in the elevator so someone won't try to strike up a conversation with me about the weather or something."
The same commenter above noted that their introversion has affected their work life.
kekokeko: "One criticism that I've heard from others all of my life is that I'm 'too quiet.' I've gone on dates with women who have asked me why I'm so quiet and it got irritating to the point where it was a deal breaker if I heard those words. Fortunately, I'm now happily married and don't have to face them anymore. Also, I recently took a job with an employer who told me that she almost didn't hire me because my references said that I was too quiet and kept to myself (even though all had wonderful things to say about my work). It is annoying that simply not talking all the time makes people think there is something wrong with you."
Simon2010: "I hear you man. I also have had jobs where people have told me that I'm too quiet, even though that has nothing to do with my work. I tell them I get paid to work ... not to talk!"
Where do you get your energy from?
MMuddyWaters: "Quick note: introvert means you re-energize by being alone. Test yourself: When you're drained, do you want to go to a party to gain back your energy, or do you want to refresh by being alone? Extroverts do the former; introverts do the latter. Introvert doesn't equal shy – it just means that you get your energy back through solitude."
This person said they get their energy from other people.
mollywins: "It's all about how one recharges. I get energy from being around people, therefore I'm an extrovert. My partner gets energy from alone time and is therefore an introvert. We enjoy time together and time apart. Everyone needs a mix of both to know how to enjoy life fully. There is a point where the need for solitude becomes dysfunctional. Similarly, there are extroverts who feel they must never be alone. For both dysfunctions, learning to balance life in and out of the shell is a huge challenge. The first step in overcoming it is to be honest with one's own self about the need for change."
Indeed, some commenters talked about how tendencies affect their relationships.
BD70: "I, too, am married to an introvert. Allowed my spouse to quit their job and start a business. My spouse needs to invent and create. ... Now I see my grandson who is also introverted. His twin sister is the talker. He is the thinker. I hope that he comes out alright through the way they teach now."
Here's how one introvert describes it:
ding6: "I am an introvert - one of my bosses once characterized me as like a Norse blacksmith who toiled alone in his cave, forging solutions to problems and foreswearing any outside assistance. In retrospect, he was mostly right as I really did not work well in collaborative settings. As an introvert, I got satisfaction from my results and did not care if anyone else appreciated my efforts."
Are the introverted more intelligent?
cawfeegirl95: "People who are extremely bright/intelligent usually have social difficulties."
scion101: "And that's because most people don't value intelligence."
Are you an introvert? Extrovert? Something in between? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.