What comes to mind when you hear the word introvert? An antisocial person who spends their weekends alone? An awkward nerd who'd rather die than strike up a conversation? Or maybe that one shy friend who almost never wants to make plans? What defines an introvert seems to be pretty clear-cut for most people, but what if we told you that most of the things you've been told about them are wrong?
That's right. To this day, a lot of people assume that introverted people are too meek and timid to "get out there" and live their best lives, but in truth, introverts just process and react to things differently than extroverts do. If you happen to be an introvert yourself, you can understand how frustrating it is to be mislabeled as the "loner" or the "quiet weirdo." And if you're not, well, chances are you probably bought into some of the biggest misconceptions about being introverted. If you could use some clarity on the topic, check out these common myths about introverts you should stop believing ASAP.
MGM Distribution Co.
Most people believe that being shy and being an introvert are the same, but they're really not. When you're shy, you're too nervous to initiate conversations or interact, even though you really desire the company. But when you're an introvert, you're perfectly fine with socializing and you just choose not to. Of course, it's possible for people to be both shy and introverted, but this doesn't mean all introverts are shy people!
This couldn't be more false. I mean sure, introverts prefer their quiet time, and they often need to go home to process things while they recharge. But this doesn't mean they always want to stay isolated. Introverts are perfectly capable of enjoying themselves in the company of others. And they're perfectly fine with being alone too!
Um, yes, they do! Just because they're not as outgoing or talkative as extroverts, it doesn't mean that they have dull personalities. It just means that they can find a lot of pleasure in the simpler things, whether they're curled up with a good book or playing a board game. Introverts don't require as much stimulation as extroverts do to feel fully engaged. And everyone's idea of "fun" is not the same.
This goes back to our previous point about how introverts get stimulated more easily than extroverts do. An extrovert usually thrives in an environment where there's a lot of energy, excitement, and people. So in most cases, they're perfectly fine with hanging out at a crowded bar or nightclub for hours on end. But as for introverts, they don't need as much social stimulation. Staying in loud and crowded spaces for too long can feel way too overwhelming, and interacting with a lot of people tends to drain them. This is why you'll find an introvert slipping out of a party after being there for 15 minutes. It's not because they hate people!
News flash: A person's social anxiety isn't tied to being introverted or extroverted at all. So even if an introvert does struggle to interact with others, that has nothing to do with the fact that they're introverted. That said, an introvert can actually be even more skilled at socializing than the most popular extrovert you know. But here's the key difference: Introverts don't just engage with others for the sake of socializing - they need a good reason to do it. So if they decide not to interact, it's not because they're afraid of people, it's because they simply don't want to.
Yes, extroverts are usually better equipped to take on leadership roles, but that doesn't mean that introverts can't be great leaders too. In fact, Jim Kouzes, who co-wrote The Leadership Challenge and conducted the Leadership Practices Inventory, said: "Leadership is a set of skills and abilities that are learnable by anyone who has the desire to improve and the willingness to practice. That's true for extroverts and introverts alike. They each have particular preferences for how they energize themselves, take in information, make decisions, and organize themselves, but both are equally capable of providing exemplary leadership."
A lot of people assume that when introverts spend time alone, they just wallow in their misery. Most also assume that their behavior is a direct result of something that they're struggling with. But on the contrary, many introverts are quite content. They can be positive and energetic, and they don't necessarily isolate themselves out of depression. Usually, they just need some private time to feel their best.
This really shouldn't come as news to anyone, but introverts can be just as fun as extroverts are. They're complex beings and not all of them are the same, so while there are introverted people out there who can be negative, there are many who can literally light up any room that they walk into. Also, what some introverts see as a comfortable silence can often be seen by others as "boredom," so it all boils down to the fact that we have different perspectives.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Yes, introverts are deep thinkers who observe more than they speak. And yes, they prefer to enjoy their own company, to look inward and not follow the crowd. But none of this means that they're isolated weirdos who are never aware of what's going on around them! If anything, this just proves that they choose to embrace their uniqueness, regardless of what other people think. And we see that as an awesome quality.
It's no secret that introverts make good listeners. However, many people make the mistake of assuming that this means an introvert always wants to listen and never talk. Unfortunately, some friends can take advantage of this by treating them like an emotional punching bag. But introverts are full of interesting ideas, thoughts and opinions that they're more than willing to share. Just because they're great listeners doesn't mean that they don't have something to say!
Introverts aren't really fans of small talk or social pleasantries. They much prefer to get straight to the point and have honest conversations, which a lot of people can misinterpret as rude. This is yet another reason why introverts find it exhausting to hang out in a crowded setting, where they're constantly expected to engage in small talk that feels pointless. They're put under a lot of pressure to conform to social norms and it can be kind of draining.
This is probably the wildest assumption we've heard to date. Introverts don't have an issue with people who are unlike them! In fact, there are many who are BFFs with extroverts and they get along just fine. Perhaps people jump to the conclusion that introverts see themselves as "better" because they come off as know-it-alls who are genuinely comfortable with not fitting in. And of course, when people challenge social norms, others may start to believe that they're being a little too proud and judgmental.
A part of us can see why so many people would buy into this belief. It's like a combination of two stereotypes that are very similar, but equally misleading. You've got introverts, who are often seen as loners who think they're smarter than everyone, and then you've got nerds, who are seen as anti-social, super intelligent weirdos. However, while the stereotypical introvert and nerd might pass for one and the same in movies, it's just not the case in real life. Nerds consist of introverts and extroverts, and not all introverts are nerds!
There are literally articles explaining the drawbacks of being introverted, think pieces on how becoming an extrovert improved someone's life and listicles detailing how introverts can literally convert themselves. Extroverts apparently have a natural advantage because they're easier to relate to and blend in with. But since introverts are seen as an anomaly, they're made to feel like they need to be fixed. This is just beyond ridiculous and more people should recognize that introverts are perfect just as they are.
Introverts aren't lazy couch potatoes with no interests or ambitions. And just because you rarely ever see them at parties or at your weekly GNO, it doesn't mean that they're actively avoiding fun activities. Rather, introverts are more comfortable in their private space because they don't have to deal with the pressure of engaging with everyone. They don't have to do a ton of activities or events to have fun or feel productive.
FALSE. Introverts aren't afraid of going out in public, they just prefer to limit the amount of time they spend there. Why? Well, they can only take so much of the drama, complications, loud noises, and pointless small talk than comes with public outings. You're pretty much guaranteed to get bombarded with all of the above if you stick at it long enough. And any extrovert will tell you this, but introverts simply have no intention of finding this out for themselves.
When introverts spend time together, things tend to flow a lot better because they understand each other. They don't have to deal with as many awkward moments and they don't have to pretend to be outgoing thrill-seekers. But still, this is no excuse to tell an introvert the kind of person they ought to be dating. In fact, some of the most successful couples that we know happen to have an introvert and an extrovert, so you don't necessarily have to date someone who's just like you. And besides, whether a person wants to date someone who has a similar personality type or not should be completely up to them.
This site is part of the Clevver Network.