We're the creative Dr. Seuss', the soulful singing Adele's and the eccentric Salvador Dali's. We constitute a great percentage of the world's best thinkers, philosophers, scientists, and artists. Yet we find ourselves bullied, belittled, and misdiagnosed as being socially inept and threatening.
If one of the highest instincts in mankind is self-preservation, it's no wonder that many people fear what they don't understand: the quiet and insular introvert. Below are 15 of the most popular myths about introverts, and why they're misinformed.
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Myth #1 : Introverts are arrogant.
Truth : We're socially cautious.
It's true that introverts can come across as being too cold or aloof, but this is because we're preoccupied with thinking and processing information internally. We also like to keep to ourselves around people who aren't close to us, and take great precaution in uncharted territory. This makes us appear standoffish, for sure, but our silence isn't snobbish self aggrandizement. If we don't interact with you much, it isn't because we dislike, or think we're too good for you. It just means that we're still cautious of you, or simply want to keep to ourselves.
Myth #2 : Introverts are rude - they're surly and ill-mannered.
Truth : We're selectively social.
We can be blunt, and appear slightly bored and impatient at times, but this is because small talk disinterests us. We prefer intimate and meaningful conversations. We also become physically drained easily if we're around too many people for too long. This can make us appear not only rude, but avoidant as well, especially if we've been invited to parties and social functions that we turn down. This is simply a quirk of our natural temperaments. We rarely intend to be deliberately rude.
Myth #3 : Introverts always want to be alone.
Truth : We're easily drained.
Many introverts aren't loners. And even if they were, what's so wrong with being a loner anyway? The truth is, the majority of introverts don't like to always be alone. Frequently, we have one or two close friends we like to spend time with, but at certain times and certain levels. Although we value and thrive in 'alone time', we value small doses of social time as well.
Myth #4 : Introverts don't like to go out (they're agoraphobic).
Truth : We're internally stimulated.
Although we like to spend a lot of time in doors, we don't suffer from a pathological disease. We find our stimulation inside of ourselves with our thoughts and our own hobbies. This means that we don't need to "go out" all that often, as we already have what we need to thrive. Introverts also value the comfort, safety and privacy of their own personal environments, which may lead us to staying indoors more than other people. We usually don't mind going out - but it just isn't necessary to us.
Myth #5 : Introverts have no friends - they're losers.
Truth : We're intimately selective.
It's true, we struggle to make friends in many cases. But this is because we pick selectively people who we think would make worthy long-term companions. Many introverts have one or two friends to confide in, but the fact that we take a while to open up to people means that it's difficult at first for us to make friends. This is why many introverted children and teenagers find themselves friendless in school. It doesn't mean they exclusively like to always be alone, and without any companions.
Myth #6 : Introverts are depressive people.
Truth : We're quietly complacent.
Just like depressive people, introverts can come across as being quiet and detached. The essential difference between depressed people and introversion, is that introverts are complacent in their quietness, whereas the depressive are dissatisfied in their quietness. There is such a thing as a depressed introvert, but the majority of introverts are quietly content in their world. They aren't in constant conflict with themselves and the universe, although they do occasionally face issues, they aren't trapped in them, as depressive people are.
Myth #7 : Introverts are weird.
Truth : We embrace eccentricity.
It's unfortunate that out of fear many people make sweeping generalizations about the nature of introverts. Being a twisted lunatic is just another of them. True, we may do things differently and have unconventional quirks that deviate from the popular norm, but we aren't dangerous, or completely mad. Introverts feed from their own worlds and minds, not those of other people. This makes the introvert's behavior at times odd, and other times unique. Perhaps this was how the world made it's greatest progress: through it's introverted scientists and thinkers and their individual eccentricities which didn't vomit the same repeated ideas.
Myth #8 : Introverts hate people - they're misanthropes.
Truth : We value people.
As quiet, thoughtful and occasionally skeptical people, introverts can come across as being people-haters. Of course, it can't be said that 100% of introverts value people, but a vast majority of them do. Besides, not liking being around people does not equate to not liking people themselves. Introverts just value calmness and intelligence, and people in small doses, which is why they can come across as being brusque and short-tempered in hyper-active people environments.
Myth #9 : Introverts don't like to talk - they have nothing to say.
Truth : We speak selectively.
While people yap away and verbalize anything that comes to mind, introverts prefer to quietly hang by the fringes. They prefer to think before speaking, and closely listen to what is being said before contributing. If too many people are present, introverts usually have a hard time getting any word in, so decide to remain silent instead. There's no point voicing a well thought-out opinion if it will fall on deaf ears. As a result, introverts are usually labelled falsely as people who don't like to speak, or who have nothing to say. The truth is, we just speak selectively.
Myth #10 : Introverts are uptight party-poopers - they can't have fun.
Truth : We're uniquely fun.
Introverts make their own fun, and tailor it to suit themselves and their own unique needs. Sure, we don't like to participate in drunken karaoke, or sip piña colada's in elite social clubs. But we have fun in different ways - like book clubs, making gnomes in pottery classes, and designing our own web-comics Sure, we may come across as being uptight and uncomfortable in socially "fun" and overwhelming situations, but this isn't because we're party-poopers. We just prefer to have fun in different ways.
Myth #11 : Introverts are mentally inept - they're stupid.
Truth : We're insightfully intelligent.
Many people falsely assume that introverts are unintelligent because, one, they don't frequently voice their ideas and thoughts, and two, they're too quiet and submissive. The fact is, if people just stopped to listen and observe, they would see that the introvert has a fountain of useful knowledge and well-constructed thoughts to contribute. Quietness does not equal stupidity, neither does loudness equal intelligence.
Myth #12 : Introverts are sneaky - they're sly and devious.
Truth : We value solitude.
This is one of the more bizarre myths about introverts out there. Some people assume that because introverts go off by themselves a lot, they have something to hide. Many people also become suspicious of introverts, especially when they share so little of themselves to the world. The truth is, introverts aren't evil or sneaky. Perhaps some possess these traits, but most introverts simply need alone-time to re-cooperate and revitalize - not build bombs, or swindle people.
Myth #13 : Introverts are shy.
Truth : We are reserved.
It's true that many shy people are introverted. Yet not all introverts are shy - they're just reserved, or in other words, they like to keep to themselves and not involve themselves in the affairs of other people too much. The different between shyness and introversion is that shy people are scared of social contact, introverts aren't. They just prefer to avoid it in large quantities.
Myth #14 : Introverts have low self-esteem.
Truth : We are sensitive, but strong.
Of course, low self esteem is common to many people, and introverts are no exception. But most importantly, introversion is not defined by possessing low self-esteem. Even extroverts and ambiverts have low self-esteem, which manifests itself in different ways to the introvert's. The point is, by default, introverts don't suffer poor self esteem. Being quiet and detached from other people at times is not an instant marker of self-hatred or poor self confidence.
Myth #15 : Introversion is an affliction that can be fixed.
Truth : Introversion isn't curable.
If introversion is a deeply embedded personality temperament mostly determined by genetics, then it can't be "cured". It's also false to assume that introversion is some kind of curse that should be fixed. Certainly, being introverted has many down falls (including all the false myths described in this article), but it also has many perks and positives. See this article to check them out.
The purpose of this article was to dispel 15 of the most popular and harmful myths about introverts. So, if you think that I've missed any you feel are important, please share them below. :)
Photo by: Theicon92