Friday, October 07, 2011

Ten Introvert Myths

I saw this on another website the other day and thought it was very interesting and staggeringly accurate. I have always thought extroversion makes it easier to acclimate to society, while introversion kept its victim at a distance from the variables society thrusts upon us. Being a introvert myself, I always thought it strange that I could sit back and study the social habits of others, especially extroverts, and naturally diagnose the underlying causes of their behavior. This became very apparent in high school, where teens are just learning how to grasp and adapt to the ever changing social atmosphere and adjust their position in the social hierarchy accordingly. Watching all the peer groups and like-minded ones congregate in their respective corners of the social spectrum was an interesting experiment that I enjoyed back then. Even today, I can tell when someone is genuine, and when they're patronizing.

If you are not familiar with the personality traits known as introversion and extroversion, acquaint yourself with the Wikipedia article here. But be sure and finish this blog entry, as it debunks many of the myths that even the Wikipedia article depicts.

So, here's to living in a world where society, the Corporate World, and even (and this is profoundly unfortunate and pathetic) the Church, values extroversion more than introversion. Even so, I thought this might bring clarity to our recondite ways. Enjoy!

Introvert myths...

Myth #1Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.


#1 - Respect their need for privacy.

#2 - Never embarrass them in public.

#3 - Let them observe first in new situations.

#4 - Give them time to think. Don't demand instant answers.

#5 - Don't interrupt them.

#6 - Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives.

#7 - Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing.

#8 - Reprimand them privately.

#9 - Teach them new skills privately.

#10 - Enable them to find one best friend who has similar interests & abilities.

#11 - Don't push them to make lots of friends.

#12 - Respect their introversion. Don't try to remake them into extroverts.


1. Practicing conversations with people you’ll never talk to.

2. When you want to cut all ties to civilization but still be on the internet.

3. When your friend wants to invite more people over, and you don’t want to sound like a bad person by saying no.

4. When spending a heavenly weekend alone means that you’re missing out on time with friends.

5. And you fear that by doing so, you are nearing ‘hermit’ status.

6. When your ride at a party doesn’t want to leave early, and no one seems to understand your distress.

7. Trying to be extra outgoing when you flirt so your crush doesn’t think you hate them.

8. That feeling of dread that washes over you when the phone rings and you’re not mentally prepared to chat.

9. When you have an awesome night out, but have to deal with feeling exhausted for days after the fact.

10. People saying “Just be more social.”

11. When you’re able to enjoy parties and meetings, but after a short amount of time wish you were home in your pajamas.

12. Staying up late every night because it’s the only time that you can actually be alone.

13. People making you feel weird for wanting to do things by yourself.

14. Having more conversations in your head than you do in real life.

15. The need to recharge after social situations.

16. People calling you out for day dreaming too much.

17. Carrying a book to a public place so no one will bug you, but other people take that as a conversation starter.

18. People interrupting your thoughts, and you get irrationally angry.

19. Having to say “I kind of want to spend some time by myself” when you have to deal with that friend that always wants to hang out.

20. When you’re asked to do a group project, and know that you’re going to hate every minute of it.

21. When you hear the question “Wanna hang out?”, and your palms start to sweat with anxiety.

22. When you hear, “Are you OK?” or “Why are you so quiet?” for the umpteenth time.

23. Having visitors stay with you is a nightmare, because it means you have to be on at ALL TIMES.

24. When people stop inviting you places because you’re the one that keeps canceling plans.

25. Being horrified of small talk, but enjoying deep discussions.

26. When you need to take breaks and recharge after socializing for too long.

27. The requirement to think introspectively rather than go to someone else with your problems.

28. Not wanting to be alone, just wanting to be left alone. And people not understanding that.

29. When people mistake your thoughtful look for being shy, or worse, moody.

30. That people need to know that you aren’t mad, depressed or anti-social. You just need to not talk to anyone for a while. And that’s okay. 


Katelin said...

Hey, love your blog! Found it while looking for Narnia quotes :)

This list is very interesting, and I can especially identify with myth #1. When I was a child my teachers at school would always push me to participate more in class discussions as I wasn't doing this enough. Often I just wanted to listen and wait until I had something worthwhile to say!

Son of Aslan said...

Glad you liked, Katelin, and enjoy the Narnia quotes.

cs badger said...

I can't find the 'LIKE' symbol. I didn't want to say anything other than: Amen brother!

Anonymous said...

Ditto cs badger. So true, so true...

Anonymous said...

I'd be a good example of #1. We're friends on facebook so you've seen my rants. They're not very frequent but every now and then a topic will virtually drag me to the nearest keyboard and away I go. Heh, back when there was a couple of coffee shops in the area to go to a friend once said I was an "extroverted introvert". I asked him what that's supposed to mean. He commented about how quiet and "to myself" I am, but on poetry night (oh I miss those so) I came out of my shell barrels blazing.