“If you’re anything other than an extrovert you’re made to think there’s something wrong with you.” – Emma Watson
This quote by Emma Watson is so true! In today’s world where extroverts are seen as the ideal person, introverts are often compared to extroverts. These comparisons are used as a way to understand introverts. Unfortunately, the comparisons are seen through a lens of extroversion. It then leads to the thinking that if an introvert doesn’t behave like an extrovert, there must be something wrong with the introvert. Or maybe even worse, the differences of an introvert are interpreted negatively.
Thankfully, with the publication of Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, the world is slowly coming to understand that introverts and extroverts are different – and that it’s okay to be introverted. The world needs a blend of different personalities to make it a great place to live. The book also teaches everyone, especially introverts, to accept yourself just as you are.
I’m here to bust the top eight myths about introverts:
Myth #1: Introverts Hate Being Social
As an introvert, I want people to know that we don’t hate being social. What introverts do have is a low threshold for dopamine – a chemical that makes us feel good. This low threshold means that introverts become overstimulated and overwhelmed quicker than an extrovert. So, when we are social, it tires us out and we need time to recharge afterwards. And that’s okay!
Myth #2: Introverts Are Shy
I am shy and an introvert, so I sometimes forget that not all introverts are shy. I can work on my shyness and have strategies to deal with it. Shyness can be overcome. But if you are an introvert, then you are an introvert for life. For me personally, I would never want to change being an introvert!
Myth #3: Introverts are Too Quiet
We think before we speak. Often, by the time we’ve put our thoughts into words, the conversation has moved passed the original idea. So, we end up never saying everything that we are thinking. Or worse, when we do speak up and we’re asked “Why didn’t you say something earlier!”. Well, that’s just how our brains work. Also, quiet can be good – it means a person is listening and thinking about what is being said.
Myth #4: Introverts Don’t Like People
Introverts really do like people – we just really, really hate small talk. Instead, we crave deep, meaningful conversations and friendships. We gravitate towards smaller groups, so that we can have these deeper conversations. The result is that we have friendships that are very rich and rewarding!
Myth #5: Introverts ALWAYS Want to be Alone
Introverts are sensitive to stimulation. This means an introvert needs to be alone in order to recharge. But this doesn’t mean we ALWAYS want to be alone. Too much social time or alone time isn’t good. I find that for me, it’s all about balance.
Myth #6: Introverts Don’t Have Valuable Ideas
According to the research done by Susan Cain, “there’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”. Due to the way the introvert brain works, it can be difficult for us to put our thoughts into words. I spend a lot of time just searching for the right words to say. When I speak, it can be disjointed and halting. But once I get the words out, they have great impact. So, please have patience with us introverts. It’s worth it, I promise!
Myth #7: Extroverts Are Happier
When seen through the extrovert lens, happiness is measured by how much a person socializes and interacts with the outside world. But happiness looks different for each person. So, while an extrovert thrives when they are socializing in large groups, an introvert will be happier in smaller groups or low-key activities. What does happiness look like for you?
Myth #8: Introverts Need to be Fixed
This last myth is an underlying current to all the myths above. Since extroverts are seen as the ideal person, then introverts must be fixed to become more like an extrovert. Instead, learn to accept people as they are. Each person is unique and valuable, with their own strengths and gifts that they can offer to the world.
Introversion/extroversion is a temperament that you are born with. It can’t be changed. And why would you want to? The world needs different personalities – each with their own distinct strengths and skills. Learn what your strengths are and find an environment where you can be amazing – just by being your true introvert self!
Until my next blog post, here’s wishing you lots of joy and happiness.