Misconceptions of the Introvert: What I Wish Others Would Know

While scrolling through Instagram, I came across a post indicating introverts can’t go five seconds without telling someone they’re an introvert. I laughed hysterically at the irony of that statement just because introverts aren’t even open enough to tell you that! If you enjoy spending time alone, your inner voice is hard to shut off, and your social battery quickly runs dry then you're certainly an introvert like myself. Over the years, I have come to terms that I am not as introverted as I used to be, but it goes without saying that once an introvert, always an introvert. There are so many misconceptions around what it means to be an introvert. In fact, I believed many of them myself until I began doing some research. If you're an introvert, I hope this article praises your configuration, and even if you’re not, I hope you can understand someone who is.

Photo by Luidmila Kot

 

  1. 1. We Are Shy

    Introversion often gets confused for shyness. Although the two characteristics can be related, they are not the same thing. According to writer and lecturer Susan Cain, shyness is when you’re scared of being embarrassed or judged while introversion is how you respond to social stimulation. For introverts, overstimulating environments such as large parties are not much of a preference. We gain our energy in more relaxed settings such as a bookstore. When I was young, the common response that my parents used when others asked, “Is your child okay?” (with regards as to why I was disengaged) was, “Yes, she’s just shy.” However, that wasn’t the case. In fact, I actually love meeting new people! While I can be outgoing around people I'm comfortable with, it's tremendously difficult for me to be that way around strangers. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m shy. It’s just my quiet way of saying I’m just not comfortable around you just yet.

  2. 2. We Can’t Be Good Leaders

    Every introvert needs to neglect this misconception. The other day, I stumbled upon a video by Jay Shetty titled “If You’re An Introvert-WATCH THIS” so of course, I just had to watch it! If you haven’t seen his videos, I highly recommend that you do. He states that comments introverts grew up hearing such as “he doesn’t say a lot” or “he doesn’t have a lot of friends” are viewed as weaknesses rather than strengths. So in aspiration to fix this, children are encouraged to speak up more, not be so quiet and stop daydreaming. Quoting Susan Cain once more, “Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.” Everyone is different. We all have unique qualities which make us powerful in our own ways. So many successful people are actually introverts; Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and J.K. Rowling just to name a few. The point is that introverts are prone to greatness as well. We may have a different way of shining, but the world needs both introverts and extroverts. Rather than feeling a desire to change, it' is so much more important to embrace the qualities that make us unique.

  3. 3. Silence Is Golden

    Everyone’s probably heard the expression “awkward silence.” So many assumptions can arise in the company of an introvert who isn’t saying much. Often times, others conclude that this person must not like them or that they’re being careless and rude. For us introverts, silence isn’t awkward nor do we mean any harm by it. I don’t have to be having a conversation with someone to be enjoying their company. I personally love long car rides just listening to music and gazing out the window. In a way, this silence between us is my human interaction. Just like everyone else, introverts crave interactions too but they don’t necessarily have to be vocal. Being in the presence of someone’s company is fulfilling enough. Just because I'm quiet, it doesn’t mean I’m not having a good time. Chances are, if we took the time to leave our secure homes to spend time with you, you’re truly special.

  4. 4. We Live In Our Own Little Worlds

    Yes, I'm here to reveal that us introverts have a secret society of our own in some other universe and we can telepathically communicate with each other. Actually, we share the exact same planet all human species exist on. That’s right! The Earth! And introverts aren’t too far from the ground, though everyone thinks we’ve got our heads in the clouds. We’re just very introspective. Indeed, we do get lost within our own minds and thoughts, but we are very observant of the world around us and most likely pick up on details others seem to miss. Even if we don’t say much, we're alert. We’re just reflecting and taking things in.

  5. 5. We’re Boring

    Whenever I hear this one, I can’t help but think about the line, “Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination...” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. We might appear to be boring because we’re not the life of the party, but give it a chance and I can guarantee an introvert has a lot to offer. In my experience, my own self-negation has led me to believe that no one wants to hear about the things I like, in fear they’d be viewed as lame. One time, I was hanging out with someone I’d consider to be an extrovert. The entire time, I was just mesmerized at the fact someone who I thought to be so cool, would want to hang with someone like me. No way was he going to find the things I like intriguing! Safe to say, I was wrong about this one. Where we get our energy from is no manifestation of how fun and interesting we can be. So when introverts do manage to get some one on one time with someone, just be a little patient. There is so much more below the surface!

The world portrays many false assumptions as to what being introverted actually means. Susan Cain indicates one-third to one-half of the world’s population is introverted. There is no doubt that even if you’re not an introvert yourself, you have already encountered someone who is. By watching these motivational speakers, I learned that introversion isn’t something that I need to change, nor does it make me any less advantaged than someone who isn’t. I hope this is something that introverts can take into account in how they view themselves internally and in the presence of others. For those who are extroverts, I hope this gives you a better insight into understanding your relationship with an introvert.