Debunking Myths About Introverts

Originally composed by Carl King I expanded upon it.

introvertsMyth #1: Introverts don’t like to talk.

This is not true, not true at all. We just don’t see the sense in talking unless we have something to say. We hate small talk. Hate it! But if you get an introvert talking about something we are interested in, we may not shut up for days.

Myth #2: Introverts are shy.

Being shy has nothing to do with being an introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. But we do need a reason to interact. We don’t interact for the sake of interacting (see myth #1). If you want to talk to an introvert, just start talking. We’ll either climb on board with you or suddenly remember that we left a casserole in the oven at home.

Myth #3: Introverts are rude.

Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with platitudes, pleasantries, or deceptive approaches. We prefer everyone to be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in many settings so introverts can feel a lot of pressure to be someone we’re not in order to fit in; which we find exhausting.

Myth #4: Introverts are overly sensitive.

There may be some truth to this, depending on where you draw the line for being an insensitive lout.  If you wish to communicate effectively with an introvert, do not admonish us in public.  If correction is required do this in private.  Instruction such as music or dancing lessons is also more effective in one-on-one situations.  We’re fine in a college class room or a seminar as long as we aren’t made the focus of attention.  If you are conversing with an introvert and you keep interrupting them, he or she will stop talking.  To us, you have made it very clear that you value your own thoughts far more than ours, so there is no point in expressing them to you.  We’re not sulking, we’re just not going to waste time and breath talking to someone who isn’t listening.

Myth #5: Introverts don’t like people.

On the contrary, introverts intensely value the few real friends we have. We can count our close friends on one hand, but they are very important to us. 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 our respect as being a person of substance, you’re in solid.

Myth #6: Introverts don’t like to go out in public.

Nonsense! Introverts like being out with other people, but we don’t like being out in public for long periods. We also like to avoid the frustrating complications involved in some public activities. We take in data and experiences very quickly.  As a result, we don’t need to be there for long to “get it”; then we’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for introverts.

Myth #7: Introverts always want to be alone.

introvertsIntroverts think a lot and we are perfectly comfortable with our own thoughts. We daydream. We like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But we can also get incredibly lonely if we don’t have anyone to share our discoveries with. We enjoy hearing the experiences of those we connect with.  We crave an authentic and sincere connection with one person at a time.

Myth #8 : Introverts are weird.

Introverts are often individualists, so yes: we are often viewed as weird. We don’t follow the crowd. We’d prefer to be valued for our own novel way of thinking. We think for ourselves so we often challenge the norm. We rarely make decisions based on what is popular or trendy.  We don’t follow the crowd if we have no idea why the crowd is doing what it’s doing.  That’s for lemmings.

Myth #9: Introverts are aloof nerds.

Introverts are introspective: paying close attention to our thoughts and emotions. It’s not that we aren’t paying attention to what is going on around us, quite the contrary, it’s just that we process what’s going on around us differently. We examine things closely before responding to them.

Myth #10: Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.

Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. We find busy public places stressful. Introverts are not thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, we shut down. Our brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Introverts and extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. It’s true: look it up.

Myth #11: Introverts can fix themselves.

First, we are not broken, we are not sick, we are just wired differently. We don’t need to fix ourselves, and couldn’t if we tried. Secondly, a world without introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. Introverts deserve respect for our natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of introverts in a population increases with the IQ of that population.

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