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Top 5 Misconceptions About Introverts

Charlene is a quiet and reserved person who finds it easier to express herself through writing than through talking.

Extroversion-introversion is one of the five major personality traits, but people often have misunderstandings on what introversion is.

Extroversion-introversion is one of the five major personality traits, but people often have misunderstandings on what introversion is.

I am introverted. I am also shy, quiet, and socially awkward; however, that is not the same as introversion. I know of introverts whose personalities differ from mine.

Pretty much the only definition of introversion is energy from solitude, though there are more habits and characteristics that are common when it comes to introversion, such as:

  • Texting instead of calling
  • Preferring to work independently than in a team
  • Choosing to observe before trying new activities

Introversion inherently is not negative. I think it is important for there to be more awareness surrounding that and for common misconceptions to be dispelled. If an introvert does have negative traits, then it has more to do with the person’s habits or other personality traits—not introversion.

Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.

— Anaïs Nin

Myth #1: Introverts hate socializing.

Social interaction is a fundamental human need, important for every aspect of health.

Social interaction is a fundamental human need, important for every aspect of health.

Introverts do enjoy solitude more than the average person and usually prefer to do activities on their own. However, they don’t want to be left alone all of the time—they can get lonely too. They still enjoy and crave social interaction, especially with people they feel comfortable with.

Myth #2: Introverts are shy.

Introverts can be shy similar to the way I am, but not all of them are. They are two completely separate concepts.

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IntroversionShyness

Emotionally drained after spending a lot of time with people

Afraid to interact with people

Gets energy from being alone

Fear of social disapproval

As a matter of fact, it is possible for some extroverts to be shy.

Myth #3: Introverts are mean and standoffish.

Some people may interpret the actions of introverts as rude, and I am sure that many people have seen me that way. However, I am kind if you get to know me. I like to treat people with respect, and it actually bothers me whenever I find that I have unintentionally hurt someone in some way. I do not like conflict.

The reason introverts are seen as rude or even annoying may be that they don’t show emotion as often as extroverts do. If someone decides to approach me and I don’t engage in the conversation, it’s not because I hate the person. I’m actually a pretty emotional person, but I find it difficult to express myself face-to-face with people I don’t know well, usually because I feel that I haven’t had the time to thoroughly think through the situation.

Myth #4: Introverts want to be extroverted.

Introverts do not need to change.

Introverts do not need to change.

Introverts do live in a very extroverted world, so I can understand why this sentiment exists. Extroversion is often preferred, which can make introverts feel as if they are out of place. But saying that they want to be extroverts is still offensive, because it implies that they need “fixing.” Introversion is not a trait that needs to be “fixed.” It is normal and healthy, and most introverts like getting their energy from being alone. Depriving them of alone time by force can lead to negative effects, such as emotional exhaustion, decreased productivity, and concentration issues. When they do socialize, they can act extroverted around a select number of people, but that doesn’t make them extroverts. It just means that they prefer socializing in moderation.

Myth #5: Introverts are less happier than extroverts.

Happiness has nothing to do with how much a person can handle stimulating environments.

Happiness has nothing to do with how much a person can handle stimulating environments.

Some extroverts are happier than introverts, but not all of them are. Happiness has nothing to do with whether or not a person is an extrovert.

People are typically judged when it comes to outgoing settings. With that in mind, it is obvious that extroverts would feel more at ease in these types of environments while introverts would prefer to return to their own space. Not to mention, people often measure another’s happiness by the positivity they exhibit on the outside rather than by their feelings on the inside. Inward feelings are undeniably more difficult to identify, and introverts tend to be more quiet. However, inner feelings are what is more important, since a lot of people fake outward emotions.

All sorts of people base their internal happiness on different factors. Happiness is not solely a function of one’s personality type, either introverted or extroverted. An introvert may enjoy working from home, while an extrovert may enjoy hanging out with their friends several hours a day. An introvert may be annoyed at the thought of going to a large party, while an extrovert may freak out after not hanging out with friends for over a week.

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