Not many people understand the difference between introverts and extroverts, and there are many misconceptions about what it means to be an introvert.
According to WebMD, roughly one-third to one-half of people in the U.S are introverts. WebMD defines an introvert as, “… a person with qualities of a personality type known as introversion, which means that they feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what’s happening externally.”
Insider reported that what separates introverts from extroverts is biological, and it’s related to how you recharge after social situations. Introverts need to spend time alone to relax and regain energy after social events since introverts often feel drained after socializing. On the other hand, extroverts gain energy when spending time with people.
According to WebMD, introversion looks different on everyone, but here are some signs that you might be an introvert: you need a quiet space to concentrate, you are reflective and self-aware, you take time to make decisions, you feel most comfortable being alone, you don’t like group work, you prefer to write instead of talk, you feel tired after being in a crowd, you have a couple of close friendships, and you daydream or use your imagination to work out problems. This is not a set list of traits, and oftentimes, introverts have many extroverted traits and vice versa.
There are many misconceptions about introverts. People often think all introverts are shy, depressed, and socially anxious, which is not true. Both introverts and extroverts can be shy or have depression or social anxiety. Another common misconception is that introverts are rude and do not like people.
If you’re an introvert, you may have been pressured by family, friends, professors, co-workers, etc., to change who you are to be more extroverted. Often introverts are told to be more assertive and to speak up. Because of this, many introverts feel that they are not good enough. Forbes reported, “… many introverts internalize the idea that they are flawed. They carry this burden with them and believe that their introversion is a defect, an embarrassing secret, or an obstacle to be overcome.”
Being introverted does come with many difficulties. Introverts can be hard on themselves, and they often value social approval; however, introverts have many favorable personality traits that extroverts may not have.
Some beneficial traits introverts may have include, thinking before you speak, being good listeners and observers, having the ability to participate in deep and meaningful conversations, being empathetic and compassionate, and taking time to fully understand and process new information. These traits help introverts build strong relationships and succeed in school and the workplace.
Having a creative mind is another benefit of being introverted. According to Psychology Today, many famous and gifted writers, actors, artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders are introverts including, Meryl Streep, J.K Rowling, Steven Spielberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Rosa Parks, to name a few.
Overall, introverts have an abundance of skills and personality traits that set them apart from extroverts. Even though people often want to change introverts to be more outgoing, there is nothing wrong with being introverted.