Introverts are often difficult to understand if you are not one yourself.
In fact, it’s tempting to think they’re just imitating it to be difficult, or to seem different.
But that’s not how they really are, and in this article I’m going to give you 10 common misconceptions about introverts and tell you exactly why they’re wrong.
1) Introverts are snobs
Many people have this preconception that introverts are snobs because of how they don’t like to hang out or chat all day.
But that is far from the truth.
In fact, introverts would rather be alone because interacting with other people – and even just being around crowds – is very exhausting for them.
When they are around people, they prefer to be around small groups that do not require their participation and yet do not make them feel alienated. Even then, they need to rest and recharge afterwards.
Snobs, on the other hand, ignore people because they think they are too good for them. They choose not to talk to people because of their class, race or their fat wallet.
Anyone can be a snob – introverts and extroverts alike – but don’t confuse introversion with snobbery.
2) Introverts are simply traumatized
No one is free from trauma. But it would be a mistake to think that introverts are the way they are because of past trauma.
In fact, trauma can sometimes cause people to act more extroverted as a way to mask their wounds.
Thinking that introversion is caused by trauma is actually harmful, because it assumes that you can “cure” introverts by putting them through therapy.
Introverts are no more or less traumatized than extroverts are. They just treat human socialization differently.
3) Introverts cannot be good leaders
We usually think of leaders as bold and outspoken. Determined, quick and charming.
Introverts, on the other hand, we usually think of as awkward, slow and quiet.
Throw away those stereotypes! Many of the best leaders and innovators in our world are introverts. People like Bill Gates, Barack Obama and even Abraham Lincoln.
A leader’s purpose is to guide, and introverts can be quite good at this. They talk less, and spend more time observing and thinking things through before committing to an action.
Introverts are just as capable of being good leaders as extroverts are, although they lead a little differently.
4) Introverts just lack social skills
As I have said before, introverts are easily exhausted by socializing and especially by the presence of crowds.
They want to minimize their interaction with others, not because they are rude or because they don’t know how to talk to people, but because they are aware of their limitations and try to ration their social energies.
Seemingly pointless discussions like small talk and gossip frustrate them because it wears them out without actually resulting in anything useful or meaningful…and the energy they used could have gone to something more worthwhile instead.
So they prefer to stay on the sidelines and only chime in when there is something worth talking about.
5) Introverts are geniuses
We tend to stereotype geniuses as withdrawn and quiet—that is, introverted—so we automatically assume that someone is smart because they are introverted.
And there are actually people who try hard to act introverted because they think it will make them look “cool” or “smart” or “mysterious.”
But that is not necessarily the case.
Sure, being introverted gives you more time to reflect and remember, but there is no direct correlation between introversion and intelligence.
Introversion is simply a different way of interacting with the world, and it’s just one of many personality traits that define a person.
6) Introverts are just shy
People often confuse introversion with shyness. And on the surface they may look the same – a shy person and an introvert will both prefer to be alone and avoid being the center of attention.
But that’s as far as the similarities go. Introversion and shyness are completely different personality traits.
Being shy means that you feel anxious at the thought of interacting with other people or having people pay attention to you. Being an introvert means you don’t want attention because you find it exhausting or unnecessary.
One can be a shy introvert, just as one can be a shy extrovert. It’s just that with extroverts, their love of interaction overshadows their shyness.
7) Introverts don’t know how to have fun
They don’t like going to clubs and parties, and don’t always seem too enthusiastic about hangouts. So it’s easy for an extrovert to think that introverts just don’t know how to have fun.
But of course they do – it’s just that their idea of fun is a little different.
The extrovert’s idea of fun often involves doing things with other people (and this is where clubs and parties come into play).
But introverts prefer things they can do on their own, such as reading books, collecting plushies, playing games, and gardening.
And it’s not like they aren’t adventurous either. Au contraire! Mountain climbing is especially popular with the more sporty introverts out there because it allows them to enjoy the greatness of nature far from busy crowds.
What they don’t do is please people. If someone pushes them to have fun and it’s just not their thing, they’ll politely say no.
8) Introverts don’t need others
Just because they don’t talk and engage with you regularly doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate you.
Introverts still need human interaction, just like everyone else. They are just much more reserved than extroverts are.
Instead of having a dozen or so friends they can talk to for months, they instead have a handful—usually three or four—of people they interact with when the mood strikes.
And when they do talk, they prefer to discuss matters that are either important and significant, or relevant to their interests…in which case they can actually be quite talkative.
9) Introverts have poor self-esteem
No, they are not unsafe. Well, at least not all of them!
Most introverts simply do not feel the need to conform to how society should behave so that people will think they are “nice” or “happy”.
You could even say that they have better self-esteem than those who try to conform and people-please. Why? They are happy with themselves, without being too concerned about what other people think of them.
They are much less likely to care if people think it is childish to buy toys at the age of, say, 60, and buy them anyway. You won’t see someone with low self-esteem doing the same.
They also respect themselves enough to know how to prioritize their happiness and comfort (again, a sign of good self-esteem). They probably know that some interactions drain them, so they allow themselves to just be in a corner. And for them it’s a-okay!
Introverts do not strive to be sociable and “fail” at it because they somehow have low self-esteem. They simply think differently than extroverts, and people should strive to respect that.
10) Introverts can be fixed
Sorry, not possible. Introverts are damaged for life.
Of course they can’t be fixed because there is no fixing to be done in the first place!
Again, no amount of social skills 101 will turn them into a social butterfly.
No amount of “exposure” to friendly people will turn them into extroverts.
No amount of guilt tripping can turn them into someone who will be happy to hang out with you anytime you want.
They are what they are to the core. Might as well love them for who they are because they have things to offer that extroverts simply cannot. Again, not to say that extroverts are inferior. They are just different.
Introverts can be “social” and act like extroverts too, if they think it’s necessary. It just drains them fast. So if you love an introvert, don’t pressure them to “socialize” the way you like.
“You’re too quiet, speak up!” is particularly rude, so please don’t say it.
It is easy to get carried away by stereotypes when you are faced with something you do not understand. And to extroverts, introverts can almost seem like they belong on a completely different planet.
But that’s all the more reason why you should try to understand them. Recognize that they socialize differently than you and that they are perfect just the way they are.
Let’s paint a picture.
Imagine a world where everyone is an extrovert. Now you don’t want to live there, do you?
So value your extrovert. And trust me, they like you even if they don’t talk much!
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