What's worse: being smothered or slowly coming to the realization that others don't know and don't care?
Every introvert has heard this phrase in one way or another: "You'll never be happy unless you socialize with others!" And, for an extrovert's world, this is a completely logical mantra. After all, the consensus is that "humans are social beings," and when one has that kind of science behind it (the science of public opinion), it's easy to see why introverts get trampled.
The challenge of being an introvert is not simply that one is deprived of his needed personal, quiet space, but the accompanying fact that people don't realize or care that a person might want this space. To clarify, not only do extroverts want to constantly talk, socialize, or just 'hang out,' but also the extrovert will unapologetically seek to do these things, while believing that the introvert who actively rejects these activities is weird, unnatural, and antisocial. Of course, the extroverts - being much more prominent - can set the doctrine on the matter, so introversion, instead of being a normal alternative to extroversion or a normal part of the human social spectrum, becomes demonized as a fringe, peculiar thing for the mentally or socially deficient.
That is the true challenge of being an introvert. It is not the introversion itself. it is not being alone or being in smaller groups. Rather, it is dealing with the perception that many other people have that supposes that there is something inherently wrong with not wanting to be around others. It is something foreign that they can't wrap their minds around, so they fear it, or worse, reject it.
The true challenge of introversion is having your very personality marginalized or doubted. How can it BE that someone who actually enjoy spending time alone? How could that be? It is inconceivable. There must be something very defective that must be fixed.
As a result, many extroverts try to turn introverts into projects. To try to bring us "out of our shells." They suppose that our nature is simply hidden by "shyness" that can be overcome with a good dose of forced interaction. And so, that's where the smothering comes in. The true challenge of introversion is coming to understand that not only do extroverts often not feel that what they are doing is smothering, but they don't care if it is, because they are so insistent on being heroes who can change the world and make everyone like them.
Living in the extrovert's world has so many disadvantages: how can it not when societies have maxims that go "The squeaky wheel gets the grease"?