Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.
Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.”When introverts want to be alone, it is not, by itself, a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or that they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with, can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.
Being introspective, though, does not mean that an introvert never has conversations. However, those conversations are generally about ideas and concepts, not about what they consider the trivial matters of social small talk.
Introverts make up about 60% of the gifted population but only about 25-40% of the general population and even fewer extreme cases of introversion. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings, since society doesn’t have very much experience with these people.
Common misconceptions about Introverts and the real facts about them
(original topic by Carl Kingdom)
Myth #1 – Introverts 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 #2 – Introverts 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 #3 – Introverts 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 #4 – Introverts 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 #5 – Introverts 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 #6 – Introverts 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 #7 – Introverts 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 #8 – Introverts 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 #9 – Introverts 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 #10 – Introverts 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.
My friend Diana Haught explains more on the psych of the introvert
- It is NOT “good for us” to go out and socialize. It drains us. We have to withdraw and recharge. We hate crowds especially crowds with loud music and drunks. Good for us is a quiet evening with a friend or two with maybe some wine or hot cocoa. Not being a People Person isn’t the same as not liking people – we just like our people in smallish doses.
- We don’t sit around waiting for your phone call. We don’t like being interrupted by the phone. We like you a lot but not that way.
- We generally don’t confront. We are not confrontational people.
- Most of us, if abandoned on an island somewhere, wouldn’t notice the lack of people as long as the plumbing and electricity worked (can’t read in the dark) and we had books and a computer and a food supply. Well, we’d notice eventually, but it would take a while.
- Extroverts are dogs. We are cats.
- We write things down. We write in general. Words are the world and the universe. We live many lives and they are all in our heads.
- Very few introverts will know what color is in Fashion this season, although we can usually tell you more than you want to know about the science of color. Style for us means comfortable – preferably with no itchy tags. Sometimes we like to dress up in costumes though.
- An introvert can consider you their bestest friend for years and never see you at all. It’s ok, we write (email really) don’t we?
- Introverts have a hard time knowing what to do with themselves when made the center of attention in a group.
- We are not sitting around secretly wishing we had company. We have a cat familiar or two and it’s all good.
- Our answer to “Don’t you get bored being home all day?” Is “NO.” Being bored while being alone is not something we relate to.
- Introverts love you. You just might not know it.
Sure, anyone who knows me would say, “Duh! Why did it take you so long to realize you’re an Introvert?” It’s not that simple. The problem is that labeling someone as an Introvert is a very shallow assessment, full of common misconceptions. It’s more complex than that. So before you go ahead and judge anyone and label them with whatever comes to that small brain of yours, make sure you get to know that person a little bit and talk to them yourself before drawing final conclusions