The Misunderstood Introverts
Introversion is often mistaken for shyness; however, the terms are not interchangeable. Shyness is a feeling of discomfort or awkwardness in social settings. While some introverts may prefer to avoid social settings entirely, others may enjoy them, but seek time alone after interacting in a group setting.
It’s also important to keep in mind that introversion is a personality trait, not an impediment to learning or something to be “fixed.” However, they can still benefit from a more suitable learning environment in which introverts feel like they can be themselves and thrive in life.
#1: Introverts are shy.
Being “shy” and “introverted” are two completely different things. Introverts are not necessarily shy or afraid of people. They don’t just don’t prefer talking for the sake of talking.
#2: Introverts are unemotional.
Introverts may not show emotion with their facial expressions and gestures, but this doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what you’re saying. Introverts prefer to control their emotions around others and internalize them. Although someone who’s introverted may not appear engaged, this is usually not the case.
#3: Introverts don’t like working in groups.
Introverts often do their best work alone, so co-workers may misunderstand them and think they don’t want to partake in group work. While introverts do have a tendency to shut down in larger groups of people when they feel like their voice isn’t being heard, introverts excel in small group situations and enjoy working in these types of environments, as long as their opinion is valued.
#4: Introverts don’t like talking.
It’s not that introverts don’t like to talk, it’s that they prefer to listen before they talk. Introverts choose their words carefully and they think small talk is a waste of time. But, they’re more than willing to engage you in a deep conversation about topics they’re passionate about.
#5: Introverts are scared to look you in the eye.
In general, introverts may not make eye contact with you as much as extroverts. This is because they don’t feel the need to partake in social norms and rituals as much as extroverts, not because they’re “scared.”
#6: All introverts are poor public speakers.
Some introverts may not like speaking in large group settings; however, many introverts are naturally gifted speakers. And, introverts generally spend more time preparing for speeches and presentations rather than “flying by the seat of their pants.”
#7: Introverts just want to be left alone.
While it’s true that introverts prefer to “re-charge” with some quiet time reading or reflecting, they also crave human interaction and enjoy the company of others.
#8: Introverts over-analyze everything.
Introverts like to analyze situations and consider all possible scenarios before making decisions. Sometimes this can lead to “analysis paralysis,” but in general, it’s a positive trait that allows them to make tough decisions with a rational stream of thought.
#9: Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
False. Introverts may not be comfortable in crowded spaces, but they love experiencing new places, people, and things.
#10: Introverts are high strung.
The opposite is actually true. Introverts tend to be much more even-keeled and level than extroverts. They are able to objectively view all scenarios, even during times of stress.
#11: Introverts are underachievers.
Because we have such an affinity for the charismatic, personable, extroverted leader, some people assume that introverts are underachievers compared to extroverts. However, there are millions of successful introverted scientists, artists, physicians, writers, and philosophers. Achievement is not necessarily related to personality type.
#12: Introverts can “break out of their shell” and become extroverts.
Introversion is an inborn personality type that you can’t change. Many people falsely believe that introverts can (or want to) “unlearn” their quiet, passive tendencies.
#13: Introverts are rude.
Introverts get a bad rap because they don’t show emotion like extroverts do. This causes people to misunderstand them and mistake their stone-face demeanor for rudeness, which isn’t the case.
#14: Introverts are no fun.
Introverts are all about having a good time–they just prefer environments that are quieter and more low-key. They don’t mind going to parties, but they prefer to spend time socializing in their inner circle of friends.
#15: Introverts don’t make good leaders.
Introverts can be quiet but confident leaders. They are particularly effective at managing extroverts because they’re good listeners and don’t compete with them.
#16: Extroverts are happier than introverts.
Happiness has nothing to do with one’s personality type. There are happy and unhappy extroverts just like introverts. Personality type does not pre-dispose you to be unhappy.